Enkata 6 Supports Operational Performance Management - InformationWeek

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Enkata 6 Supports Operational Performance Management

New version adds industry-specific features for key vertical markets.

VentanaMonitor™

Summary
For several years Enkata Technologies has supported operational performance management in its chosen vertical markets, Healthcare and Telecommunications. The new release of its product adds not only functionality for these two sectors but also a specialist module for consumer-directed healthcare plans, a new module to support Financial Services and technical changes to improve performance. Ventana Research believes that companies in these new markets will benefit from the experience Enkata has already gained from its existing markets and that all of its customers will benefit from the improved performance.

Assessment
Operational performance management (OPM) is a broad category that encompasses all operational processes, including those that touch the customer. It includes customer interaction management, business-specific processes and analytics. These activities often are distributed among different systems deployed in the front office and the back office so they do not easily communicate or share information.

Enkata specializes in OPM for companies in healthcare, retail banking and telecommunications. Unlike some competitors, it provides support for both customer-facing operations and back-office functions through three tightly integrated suites: Back-Office Performance, Contact Performance and Voice of the Customer. Each of these modules includes industry-specific attributes, metrics, scorecards, dashboards and reports to give operational management a complete view of the processes across the full customer life cycle. Enkata 6 expands industry-specific support with the introduction of new modules for Financial Services and Consumer-Directed Healthcare.

The financial services application is targeted at improving the operational performance of retail banks. It can extract and analyze data from multiple applications across the entire organization, including customer relationship management (CRM), billing, collections and self-service applications. This feature enables managers to monitor operational costs and customer satisfaction, which our recent research identified as the two main business drivers for managing customer interactions. Since the data is extracted from systems spanning the entire life cycle of support systems, analysis can identify points of failure anywhere within the chain of processes and can be used to drive operational improvement as a whole or for individuals.

The new Consumer-Directed Heath Care (CDHC) module is an addition to Enkata's health insurance product that is specifically designed to support insurers that handle the new CDHC insurance plans. It monitors adoption of these plans across the insurer's customer base and across different customer segments, and can compare their performance against transition plans and targets. Like the other suites, it can monitor performance of the entire process chain and identify specific points of failure to be improved. The analysis is done at the individual level, so it can identify costs per customer and their degree of satisfaction - features our research identified as critical to improving performance.

As well as these new functions, Enkata 6 includes operational improvements that provide support across the enterprise. Since Enkata delivers its solutions only as hosted, on-demand services, adequate response times at the desktop and security are key requirements. These have been enhanced with, respectively, new multithreading capabilities and the option to set security levels for accessing data and reports at the individual level. Through the company's acquisition of ePeople, Enkata 6 incorporates technology that allows front- and back-office users to collaborate through shared workspaces on planning and managing projects and resolving customer issues. And reporting and analysis have been scaled to provide information at all levels within an organization, from senior executives to individual agents, in forms most suitable for them.

Market Impact
Our research shows that for 78 percent of companies, improving customer satisfaction is their number one priority. Managing customer relationships now takes many forms, and it is a market where the new approaches of entrants such as salesforce.com and SAP CRM On-Demand are beginning to have a major impact. In its niche, Enkata has led the way in providing its services on demand; as a result it already has a proven track record. Customers always want to get results faster, but any remotely hosted solution will have some limitations in this regard. Enkata's new multithreading capability should improve delivery performance, but no results have yet been demonstrated.

The strength of these products is their industry-specific focus. These new or enhanced solutions for specific economic sectors will make it difficult for providers of general enterprise software such as Business Objects and Cognos to compete because of the required customization and associated costs. Our recent research into the maturity of contact centers also highlighted the major issues associated with coordinating activities between the front and back office. With the three integrated suites, Enkata 6 overcomes some of these issues.

Recommendation
Ventana Research found in its recent research into performance management in contact centers that only one-third of companies are able to link their contact center with their back-office functions, and only an additional third were able to analyze data available in the contact center in combination with enterprise systems. In its targeted markets, Enkata 6 supports both these functions, so we recommend companies within these markets evaluate Enkata's offerings.

About Ventana Research
Ventana Research is the leading Performance Management research and advisory services firm. By providing expert insight and detailed guidance, Ventana Research helps clients operate their companies more efficiently and effectively. These business improvements are delivered through a top-down approach that connects people, process, information and technology. What makes Ventana Research different from other analyst firms is a focus on Performance Management for finance, operations and IT. This focus, plus research as a foundation and reach into a community of over two million corporate executives through extensive media partnerships, allows Ventana Research to deliver a high-value, low-risk method for achieving optimal business performance. To learn how Ventana Research Performance Management workshops, assessments and advisory services can impact your bottom line, visit www.ventanaresearch.com.
2006 Ventana Research

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