Mark Smith's Analyst Perspectives

NICE to Acquire Merced Systems for Excellence in Customer Service and Sales

Posted by Mark Smith on Dec 6, 2011 11:45:21 PM

NICE Systems last week announced an agreement to acquire Merced Systems, a provider of business applications for customer service and sales organizations. This acquisition slipped by with little fanfare, but it marks a significant milestone for NICE, a major provider of applications and technology for call centers and a player in their evolution into multichannel contact centers. Building on a good 2010, as my colleague Richard Snow noted, NICE expects to reach almost $800 million of revenue in 2011, which would make it one of the largest companies in its segment. NICE has made multiple acquisitions to build its software portfolio, including purchases of Actimize, CyberTech, eGlue and others mentioned below. It recently won our 2011 Ventana Research Leadership Award in the contact center category with its customer deployment at Alliance Data. NICE Systems plans to have Merced Systems as a foundation of its enterprise systems and a complement to its contact center workforce optimization offering. This purchase builds on its other acquisitions, including FizzBack recently and IEX and Performix in 2006, which helped NICE establish its customer service and back office agent performance management software. That area has not grown as quickly as NICE would like, mostly due to marketing that was not aggressive enough in attracting customers. NICE recently rebranded its NICE SmartCenter for helping agents, as Richard noted, and is leveraging its assets into the back office, which he also assessed. Our benchmark research on contact center technology found that companies’ priorities for future investments match up well with NICE Systems’ focuses on expanding customer service agent applications and analytics applications.

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Topics: Predictive Analytics, Sales, Social Media, Customer Analytics, Customer Data Management, Customer Experience, Customer Feedback Management, Marketing, Merced Systems, NICE Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Social CRM, Speech Analytics, Voice of the Customer, Analytics, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Customer Service, Business Performance Management (BPM), Call Center, CFO, CMO, Contact Center, Contact Center Analytics, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Desktop Analytics, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Text Analytics, Unified Communications, Workforce Management, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Varicent Improves Sales Operations Efficiency

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 31, 2011 10:01:16 AM

Sales organizations strive to maximize the performance of their staffs to meet quotas and revenue targets in an efficient manner. This focus is part of my agenda to help organizations innovate and maximize revenue in sales. To achieve this requires automation of various sales activities including compensation, incentives, quota development, territory optimization, channel management, analytics and planning. Varicent is focused on these aspects of sales, offering software deployable in three ways: rented in the cloud, hosted for easier management or purchased for use inside the organization. My last analysis of the company and its products was part of our 2011 Value Index for Sales Performance Management; in it we rated Varicent a Hot Vendor overall across our seven evaluation categories applied to its application suite. That analysis included our analysis of Varicent SPM version 7 that made significant advances in the use and process of managing compensation and incentives but also the rest of their application portfolio from territory management, sales quota management and channel management. 

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Varicent, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Get the Most from Dreamforce for Your Sales Force

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 12:31:04 PM

Salesforce.com’s 2011 Dreamforce conference is under way. If you’re in sales and you use the company’s application, here’s how to gain the most value from your time at the conference. 

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Marketo, Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Qvidian, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Operations, Zilliant, Zyme Solutions, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), Callidus Software, Camelon Software, CFO, ChannelInsight, Cloud9 Analytics, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Varicent, Vendavo, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Xactly

Xactly What Sales Needs To Improve

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:48:29 AM

In addressing the needs of their sales and operations teams to automate and improve performance, many organizations turn to providers of sales applications designed for specific activities. Many of these activities, including sales compensation, incentives, commissions, quotas, territories and others, Xactly has been delivering for years. This company is no newcomer to the market, with significant experience in meeting the needs of small to midsize sales organizations, and more recently addressing the needs of larger ones. 

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM), Xactly

Gaining Sales Traction with Merced Systems

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 30, 2011 9:23:37 AM

Looking to make your sales force more effective by automating its operations? Merced Systems can provide the traction your sales team needs. The company has been providing applications for more than a decade to customer service and more recently sales organizations, helping both measure and manage performance. Several years ago Merced Systems made a substantial investment to expand to the sales organization with new applications and now offers analytics and reporting, compensation and incentives, and coaching and talent development.  

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Merced Systems, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Compensation, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Cloud9 Delivers Sales Forecasting

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 29, 2011 10:45:59 AM

If you want to hit the booking and revenue targets required to operate a business, you have to manage your sales forecast and pipeline. Optimally you should be able to monitor and act upon them any day of the week and make adjustments whenever you need to. Unfortunately, most organizations have to wait until they finish their manual efforts at the end of the month or quarter, or they miss critical changes in deals and behavior because they rely only on reporting from their sales force automation (SFA) software.  

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Topics: Sales, Salesforce.com, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Sales Forecasting, Sales Operations, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, Cloud9 Analytics, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

Here’s What Marketers Should Do at Dreamforce

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 29, 2011 10:03:25 AM

The largest cloud computing conference, Dreamforce 2011, operated by Salesforce.com, is now upon us. This year attendance is estimated to be over 40,000, and there will be more technology- and developer-focused attendees and dialogue than marketing material. Unlike past years, I expect marketing professionals to be a small percentage of attendees, so I thought I would offer them a guide through the circus of activities at the conference.

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Topics: Salesforce.com, Social Media, ExactTarget, HubSpot, Manticore Technology, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing Planning, Marketo, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Pardot, Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, IBM, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Demand Generation, Eloqua, Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Unica, digital technology

Qvidian: A New Player in Sales Efficiency and Effectiveness

Posted by Mark Smith on Aug 26, 2011 9:24:28 AM

Qvidian entered the market for applications in sales performance management in 2011. The company, formed from the merger of The Sant Corp. and Kadient, has introduced a new suite of applications for proposals and playbooks that sales departments should examine if they’re looking to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. These applications are part of what we at Ventana Research call a sales performance management blueprint that helps optimize sales related activities and processes. 

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Workforce Performance Management (WPM)

The Agenda to Innovate and Maximize Revenue in Sales for 2011

Posted by Mark Smith on Apr 18, 2011 8:52:29 AM

The potential of any sales organization is measured by the people and the methods and technologies they use to sell products and services efficiently. Unfortunately, many organizations today still have not embraced new opportunities to improve the productivity and outcomes of their sales teams.

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Topics: Sales, Social Media, Marketing, Operational Performance Management (OPM), Revenue Performance, Sales Force Automation, Business Analytics, Business Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Business Mobility, Cloud Computing, Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), Location Intelligence, Operational Intelligence, Business Performance Management (BPM), CFO, CMO, CRM, Customer Performance Management (CPM), Financial Performance Management (FPM), Information Applications (IA), Information Management (IM), IT Performance Management (ITPM), Sales Performance Management, Sales Performance Management (SPM), SFA, Supply Chain Performance Management (SCPM), Workforce Performance Management (WPM)