Mobile and Web Chat Investment Set to Jump in 2014
New research published by ContactBabel, the contact center industry analysts, reveals that US contact centers plan to invest heavily in mobile customer service applications and web chat technology within the next 12 months. Senior contact center decision-makers expect the penetration rate of mobile apps for customer service to increase from 25% to 42% over the next 12 months. The use of web chat is expected to grow from 41% to 58% over the same period.
Furthermore, significant upgrades to call recording technology and workforce management systems are also expected, driven respectively by the growing use of speech analytics tools, and the requirement to forecast and schedule for multichannel work, rather than just telephony. 21% of the contact centers that use call recording expect to upgrade it this year, with 17% investing in improved workforce management solutions.
U.S. Consumers Have Little Security Concern With BYOD
Despite the rise in the use of personal devices for business use, U.S. consumers are showing scant concern for security when it comes to bring your own device (BOYD). According to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. a quarter of business users admitted to having had a security issue with their private device in 2013, but only 27 percent of those respondents felt obliged to report this to their employer. The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 995 full or part time workers in the U.S., all of whom use a private device for work purposes.
The threat of cyber attacks on mobile devices is increasing and can result in data loss, security breaches and compliance/regulatory violations. One of the biggest challenges for IT leaders is making sure that their users fully understand the implications of faulty mobile security practices and to get users and management to adhere to essential steps which secure their mobile devices. For many organizations, overcoming BYOD security challenges is a full-time task, with a host of operational issues.
Nearly half of the survey respondents said they spend more than one hour each day using private devices for work purposes. The data also suggests that around half of respondents regularly use their devices for social as well as productivity tasks. This has different implications. It might point to employees considering their personal devices as necessary tools for their jobs. On the other hand, it also points to work-related documents regularly being transferred to private devices, leaving the security of the company network. In fact, 20 percent of respondents also stated that they do access data behind the workplace firewall using private devices.
The key to having a secure device is making sure it is well-managed. Enterprises are being compelled to make decisions about whether or not to allow employee-owned devices to access their enterprise's network and information. Failure to embrace BYOD will force it underground and into the shadows, where it will have the potential to publicly expose private data and open the enterprise to a data breach situation.
In our survey, 26 percent of respondents said their employer required use of BYOD devices and 15 percent had signed a BYOD agreement. A third of respondents have employers who are aware but don’t have a policy in place, and the rest said their employer was either not aware or they didn't know. This means 59 percent of survey respondents who regularly use their private devices for work have not yet signed a formal agreement with their employer.
Organizations that do decide to allow employee-owned devices need to develop solid BYOD policies based on their business requirements and risk profiles. At the moment, BYOD laptop, smartphone and tablet security policies are still incomplete in many companies, and contain gaps and other inconsistencies that don't measure up to business obligations. Many enterprises (especially in the smaller and midsize sector) lack the proper organizational structures to create these policies and must reorganize to provide the necessary governance for a successful mobility implementation.
For a BYOD program to work there has to be strict policy enforcement and compliant users - an issue that CIOs and IT directors are grappling with right now. All policy agreements have to be created with clear guidelines for cases of security breaches.
New Study: Businesses Fail to Deliver on CEM Programs
A new study from Avaya, a provider of business collaboration and communications solutions and services, investigates the emphasis companies are putting on customer experience management (CEM) and finds that increasingly high expectations are creating a business environment where the majority of organizations are struggling to keep up. While CEM programs are being undertaken on a global scale by businesses of all sizes, the Avaya survey found that China leads the pack with 84 percent of businesses having a CEM solution followed by U.S. (73), India (72), Brazil (63).
CEM activities are strongly tied to business success and growth trajectories. The study found a solid correlation between a strong CEM program and increased profits. Eighty-one percent of those who have seen a significant increase in profits have a CEM program in place, compared to those who have seen profits remain static (46%) or suffered a decrease in profits (35%). Companies see the biggest improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention and repeat purchasing, which the survey finds is largely attributed to the fact that 88 percent of customers would rather spend their money with companies that make it easy for them to buy.
Despite the fact that 95 percent of business managers say CEM will be important to their organization in 2014, only 59 percent of those surveyed have a comprehensive plan in place. Even with a plan in place, there is no guarantee a CEM approach will garner results, considering 83 percent of companies can only deliver some elements of a personalized customer experience automatically and in real time. In addition, a staggering, 81 percent of organizations have seen their CEM initiatives fail in the last three years. Moreover, 43 percent of Managing Directors, CEOs and owners think the top reason for CEM failure is project misalignment with customer preferences, indicating communication barriers within organizations themselves. Another possible explanation is that companies do not typically associate functions like finance, R&D, IT and operations as dealing with customers. This could be a blind spot in the way they approach and plan CEM initiatives given that people across all departments within the company have direct or indirect contact with customers and prospects and not just the roles typically seen as customer facing.
Today's multichannel/multidisciplinary way of working with customers requires strong support from enabling technology. Of companies without a CEM program, 31% blame its absence on a lack of appropriate technology in place – a figure that rises to 35% of multichannel companies. Avaya’s expertise and insights from working with thousands of companies and organizations has resulted in a portfolio of Customer Experience Management solutions and services that enables the end-to-end experience customers want.
More Than Half of IT Professionals Make Undocumented Changes to IT Systems
Netwrix, a provider of change and configuration auditing software, released results of a new survey, which finds that a majority, 57%, of IT professionals have made undocumented changes to their IT systems that no one else knows about; while as many as 40% of organizations don't have formal IT change management controls in place. Frequent system changes without documentation or audit processes can cause system downtime and security breaches from internal and external threats, while decreasing overall operational efficiency.
The Netwrix survey, '2014 State of IT Changes', collected data from 577 IT professionals in organisations across multiple industries and range of sizes. Key study findings show that of the respondents:
--65% have made changes that caused services to stop
--52% make changes that impact system downtime daily or weekly
--39% have made a change that was the root cause of a security breach
--40% make changes that impact security daily or weekly. Interestingly, industries with higher regulations are making changes that impact security more often, including healthcare (44%) and financial (46%).
--62% have little or no real ability to audit the changes they make, revealing serious gaps in meeting security best practice and compliance objectives
--Just 23% have an auditing process or change auditing solution in place to validate changes are being entered into a change management solution
With consumers engaging more directly with businesses through mobile and social media, more than 60 percent of CIOs will focus more heavily on improving the customer experience and getting closer to customers, according to a new report released by IBM.
The report, entitled “Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines - CIO Insights from the Global C-suite Study” is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries and 20 industries worldwide. The research, conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, reveals that customers drive CIOs to turn their focus to the front lines.
More than 80 percent of CIOs report they are shifting their focus to the front office where marketing, sales and service managers work directly with customers. To do so, they are investing in new technologies to gain deeper insights into customer data. Examples of these items include sentiment mining and social network analysis to identify unique behavioral patterns and reliably predict critical trends.
New Technologies for Engagement
CIOs at outperforming enterprises recognize that technology factors will have a significant impact on their organizations, according to IBM’s study. This focus on technology represents a notable shift over the past five years -- in 2009, CIOs ranked technology factors as their sixth biggest pressure point behind categories like market factors and macro-economic changes.
Getting the basics right has become table stakes for CIOs looking to push their enterprise forward with new engagement and technology delivery platforms. In fact, 66 percent of CIOs believe their IT departments have mastered the basics of technology within their firms. This investment in knowledge and skills is freeing up CIOs to look at new platforms that enable them to build a “Customer-Activated” enterprise.
As customer engagement becomes a critical driver for CIOs, cloud computing has soared in importance with 64 percent of CIOs naming it as part of their visionary plans compared to 30 percent in 2009. Likewise, mobility solutions have also experienced a similar jump in importance with 84 percent saying it’s their top focus compared to 68 percent in 2009. With these as a main driver, two-thirds of CIOs are now exploring how to better serve and collaborate with customers using cloud computing and social networking tools.