NEWS IN BRIEF: RightNow debuts business intelligence on-demand
RightNow Technologies has debuted browser-based business intelligence and Twitter monitoring tools in its latest quarterly upgrade.
The upgrade finds the company moving deeper into brower-based enterprise analytics with what it calls 'business insight on demand'. This includes an on-demand data warehouse facility and pre-built business intelligence (BI) features that allow enterprises to move customer data into an analytics environment.
Vice president of products David Vap explained that the BI features are integrated directly into the agent desktop. "It's all in the same environment. Our claim to fame is getting our customers up and running quickly, so the last thing we wanted was a data warehouse that has all the common problems that the environment can have," he said. "Now customers can implement this in the same timeframe as our core application."
The second pillar of the upgrade is a social feedback widget called Cloud Monitor, which Vap explains allows RightNow users to monitor online social networks, beginning with Twitter and YouTube. Further add-ons for Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and so on, are planned.
With social networks emerging as both powerful business platforms and as forums for discussing brands, products and services, RightNow believes that the ability to monitor and filter content intelligently will be vital, especially in a downturn. In other words, if someone 'tweets' about a business, either positively or negatively, then that company will be able to search for, rank and respond to those comments. The same applies to discussions on groups or other social forums.
In this way, the agent desktop can be used as either a response or crisis management tool and as a real-time consumer research platform. Over time, more data will be gathered through the desktop, which will enable companies to create audit trails of historic responses.
That said, Vap acknowledges that common words or phrases appearing in the names of brands, products or services could create a huge volume of data that needs to be filtered tightly. Essentially, the tool is a search and tag facility built on the APIs of each social network.
Nevertheless, with more vertical or industry-specific social networks and forums appearing all the time – such as information-sharing sites about airlines and the travel industry, for example – the firm is witnessing the emergence of some influential platforms for consumer action. Being able to monitor and filter such discussions and respond to them will inevitably become a valuable CRM tool.
So what next for RightNow? "We do have a roadmap", said Vap. "We have two more releases this year, in August and November. August will continue to fill out the Cloud Monitor function and improve workflow. We're also doing a substantial amount of work in marketing automation and feedback - a huge growth area... closely related to the economy. Companies want to get really close to their customers and find out what's going on."