Wednesday, October 04, 2006

KNOVA Wins at Buzzword Bingo

This was going to be another snarky deconstruction of a press release, based on an announcement from knowledge management vendor KNOVA ( Indeed, some sarcasm may still be in order, given that KNOVA has decided it delivers something called an “Intelligent Customer Experience”. I’m sorry but that’s not an informative label. Nor are matters clarified by learning that KNOVA brings “the power of Web 2.0 to the enterprise.” And there is no obvious connection among KNOVA 7’s highlighted features of “personalized Microsites, new actionable analytics, a new Visual Search Manager and collaborative authoring.”

But in reading beyond the first paragraph—something I only did in service to you, dear reader—I found KNOVA actually makes a reasonable case for these claims. The connecting thread, and what justifies the Web 2.0 label, is the notion of community collaboration. KNOVA makes a reasonable case that it has applied this to customer service, which is a good idea and rather impressive when you think about it.

What actually softened my attitude, however, was a previous glance at the Products Overview tab on KNOVA’s Web site. This is always the first place I look, since it tends to give the most specific information about what a company is actually selling. It met expectations with a list of modules: contact center, self-service, forums, field service, guided selling and knowledge desk. This gave a fairly clear notion of what they offer.

The pivotal sentences came a bit later, after listing several challenges that face support organizations: “There are fundamentally only three ways of meeting these challenges. You can make your contact center more effective, you can help customers help themselves and each other, or you can make your products require less service.”

Now that’s a true customer experience management attitude, and therefore dear to my heart. It will come as no surprise that KNOVA claims to do all three. The basis of the first two claims is fairly obvious, since they sell knowledge management systems to support customer service. The claim for product improvement relates to identifying common complaints and sending reports back to product development staff. It’s a bit of a stretch but within reason.

So hats off the you, KNOVA: it seems there’s truly some there there. Good luck with the launch and I’ll keep you in mind.

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