Managing Emerging Technologies
Walk the floor of any trade show for support managers and you re bound to see dozens of entrepreneurial companies, all pitching new automation and cost-saving technologies. Most will claim to be the leading player in some hot new market segment, or purveyors of a disruptive concept that promises to overthrow the current leaders, or perhaps a strategic partner who will transform every mild-mannered Clark Kent customer into a hyper-competitive Superman. If you feel a bit bewildered at all the noise, it s no surprise.
In fact, emerging technologies are almost always messy and over-hyped. A genuinely visionary idea can transform a whole organization and shake up an entire industry and it s happened many times in the technology world. But separating the genuine innovators from the moonbats has never been easy (that s why venture capital is such a tough business). Support organizations in particular have a track record of spending far too much money on flashy tools and technologies that never delivered much ROI; in many companies, top management has now become deeply skeptical about any investment in support and services automation.
As a result, support managers tend to be somewhat risk-averse about technology. Before adopting anything new, they like to see real-world customers, strong endorsements by their peers, and other signs of traction in the market. Even better, support managers want reassurance that the specific vendor they choose will become a dominant player or at least a survivor.
But where does this reassuring information come from? In typical early-stage markets, product reviews and market research are usually sketchy, and customer references are hard to find (and often out of date). To help fill this gap, the ASP recently surveyed its members and other support managers about their level of interest in ten high-visibility technology areas. Our goal, we explained in the survey instructions, was to suggest what s moving into the mainstream versus what s still mostly on the horizon.
The ASP's Emerging Technologies report looks at relative adoption rates for the following ten technologies:
- Web Conferencing
- Remote Diagnostics
- Automated Chat/Instant Messaging
- Multi-Channel Queue Management
- Agent Development/Agent Performance Analytics
- Workforce Management/Labor Scheduling
- Intelligent Auto-Response (E-mail)
- Virtual Call Center Services
- Interactive Voice Response/Speech Recognition