Key Criteria for Evaluating Customer Engagement Platformsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Customer Engagement Platform Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take

1. Summary

Modern customer relationship management (CRM) systems are evolving from siloed, modular suites of applications into highly integrated customer engagement platforms (CEPs) that provide the ability to anticipate customer needs and intelligently choreograph a positive and relevant customer experience—driving profitable growth. This represents a significant evolution in both the discipline and the supporting technology.

Traditional CRM applications were designed to provide functional support for specific departments: sales force automation for sales, service automation for customer service, and marketing automation for marketing. While this was an improvement over reliance on multiple spreadsheets and electronic address books, the customer data captured and stored was transactional and offered no insight into individual customer behaviors, preferences, and motivations. Without this deeper insight into customers, sales would make irrelevant offers, marketing would spend money on irrelevant campaigns based on assumptions from crude segmentation, and service agents often lacked empathy and understanding as they had only a limited transactional view of the customer. That was a major cause of dissatisfaction.

Customer Engagement Platforms Break Down Silos and Deliver a Better Customer Experience

The ability to provide a positive customer experience has a significant impact on a business’s bottom line: customer retention, the reputation of the business or brand, and the ability to attract new customers depend on it. Delivering a positive customer experience throughout each customer’s interaction journey, online and offline, demands a unified and holistic approach. It also requires flawless operations to underpin reliability. Data must be converted into insight, often in real time.

Data silos are the most significant impediments to flawless execution; a product of the old industrial age of linear, sequential thinking. Customers, however, are idiosyncratic and choose the most convenient path based on their context. Legacy CRM doesn’t work that way. When properly and strategically deployed, CEPs do. Figure 1 compares the differences and potential impacts of a traditional CRM system versus a modern CEP.

Figure 1: Comparison of Traditional CRM vs. Customer Engagement Platform

The GigaOm Key Criteria and Radar reports provide an overview of the CEP market, identify capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technology) and evaluation metrics for selecting a CEP, and detail vendors and products that excel. These reports will give prospective buyers an overview of the top vendors in this sector and will help decision makers evaluate solutions and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

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