nGenera Antes up in Customer Interaction Management

The story of nGenera could’ve been similar to Divine, Consona, ChinaDotCom, and many others who bought enterprise software applications to put them together and patch a “winning” solution only to find themselves later in life without vision or direction.  However, they made two smart decisions and ended up with three interesting offerings: a Social Platform, the nGenera Collaboration Server and nGenera Customer Interaction Management (CIM) Suite.

To power CIM nGenera acquired Talisma, who had in turn acquired both Knowledgebase.net (KB.net) and eAssist — all great complementary tools in the Customer Service world.  Later they focused on the most important modules: the eAssist original engine and the KB.net original engine as the core for the new product, and later integrated social and community components from their Collaboration Server and Social Platform offerings, updated the eAssist components, and integrated it all with KB.net (yes, even the community-generated knowledge).

The end result? they announced today version 9 of their CIM Suite – a product that is a raring-to-go competitor in the Customer Interaction Management space.

I saw a demo last week and I like the complete set of features and functions in this release.  It is a finished product with power and flexibility to allow their customers to span all the different channels and to seamlessly deliver comparable experiences across all of them.  It has the ability to integrate well with other CRM systems, legacy systems, and even to power processes that span multiple applications.  Brings with it a feedback management module that is good enough to collect customer service feedback although it  certainly needs work to become an EFM tool.

The suite looks like it is a brand new release, even thought it is based on proven components.  That is good, we needed some “fresh blood” in the market to provide an alternative to the established players and propel the market further.  I have only seen the demo, so I am not sure how it works in the real world, and have not talked to their clients about their experiences (working on that).  I like the way it shows, and am excited about what it says it can do.

However this would not be news without the second very smart move from nGenera: they put the right people (the experienced eAssist and Talisma team) to manage the life of the product (updated: John Ragsdale thinks likewise).  Very smart move, and cannot wait for the future releases to see where they take the product.

8 thoughts on “nGenera Antes up in Customer Interaction Management”

  1. Thanks for your post Esteban. As the person in charge of leading the set of acquisitions nGenera did over its relatively short lifetime, I am proud for us to be at this point. We have truly integrated the vision of nGenera into another one of our key acquisitions. We made some tough, yet critical decisions along the way. One was the purchase of Talisma. A second one was the decision to build on the eAssist and KB.net products. And most importantly, we bet on the team (see this post and the comment thread for more on the team’s recognition here).

    Finally, as you mention above, it was important to not fall in the trap of losing the nGenera collaborative business vision – to complete the integration of our collaboration server product with the new nGen CIM v9.0 release – to put us where we are today.

    Congrats to Wade Pfeiffer, our nGen CIM leader, and Nikhil, Tara and the rest of the team that stepped up a year ago and delivered today. Look for more great things to come from this team, and critically, customer successes to come from this new release.

    Thanks again.
    .-= Brian Magierski´s last blog ..links for 2010-03-29 =-.

    1. Brian,

      Absolutely. Forgot to mention Dwayne, my bad.

      I am glad you like the review, now time for me to be an analyst. Make it work and show me how it works 🙂 I can see some interesting times again.

      Thanks for the read and the comment!

  2. Esteban,
    Very informative. I have several former colleagues from eLoyalty that are/or once were here at nGen and so have been following the firm for about three years. Here’s the question I’m trying to answer and maybe you can add some insight.

    nGen started off as, and to what I know, is has a significant consulting business. As such, they are primarily organized around that business model. When I was at eLoyalty, we attempted a similar strategy shift from consulting (and not necessarily hard core systems integration, but more strategy, business process and systems planning work) to software and failed. While the firm is still breathing, and the CEO still clings to the software thing with what they are now calling ‘behavior analytics’, the business model and structure between consulting and software is so different, it destroyed toe fabric of the firm.

    Question: while nGen now has some good tools, and has made some acquisitions to help drive their transition, the core leadership is still all consultants. How do you see this company making the transition from consulting services to software more effectively than eLoyalty? To me, that’s the big risk in evaluating their product portfolio.

    thanks in advance
    Barry
    .-= Barry Dalton´s last blog ..Mister, Can You Spare Some Change? =-.

    1. Barry,

      I am not certain we are talking about the same thing here. I do know that nGenera used to have consulting, but the people I have been dealing with and talking to from the very beginning (even while I was at Gartner) have always talked about nothing but products. So, from my perspective this is a product company.

      Now, the answer to your question is that (and it may coincide with their go-to-market strategy) you cannot shift from being a service to being a product company, or the other way around, while keeping the first one around. You cannot either move from one product type to a very different one while keeping the original.

      The matter of focus is critical and the quick release times and crowded markets make it paramount to be focused on only one thing you are selling. Some of the vendors that have more than one product even suffer as a result of focusing on one more than in another.

      Of course, these are my observations after many years in the market. I did not even observe anyone being successful at it.
      Would love to get someone else to tell me otherwise…

      Thanks for the read!

    2. Hi Barry. I have been with nGenera since the start and have been the leader on our corporate development efforts, including the acquisitions of Concours Group (consulting), New Paradigm (research) and Kalivo & Talisma (software).

      nGenera’s main revenue is software and it is indeed a software company. We operate in the space of collaborative business software, providing software applications to power collaborative business processes. In our CIM business – as Esteban highlights here – we are enabling our customers to connect with their customers in the social networking spaces as well as external communities now with our software.

      Inside the enterprise, we are providing a platform for enterprise-wide collaboration – in competition with Jive Software and others.

      Where consulting and research come into play is in helping guide our customers through the challenges of becoming a collaborative business and establishing the right business processes to support this … so that when the software is deployed, the culture and business processes support its effective use and adoption. What’s more, with a bevy of C-level executives that subscribe to our research and engage us on strategic consulting, we gain unique insight into their true business needs in collaboration and can architect our software to meet these needs – not on a one-off basis, but across our entire customer base and addressing multiple markets and industries.

      The software is the leading part of the model (by many metrics, including revenue), but the consulting and research certainly supports the strategy and we believe it is a critical part of our competitive advantage and what makes us unique. We also believe it leads to better customer success with our software.

      In enterprise software, this mix is not atypical. Look at other vendors serving large enterprise – Oracle, SAP, etc., and you’ll see a significant part of their business is services and it is a strategic part of their models.
      .-= Brian Magierski´s last blog ..links for 2010-03-29 =-.

Comments are closed.