Hitting Customer Supports Suite Spot

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2004-12-06

New offerings from Kana Inc. and FrontRange Solutions Inc. will give enterprises more options for enhancing and expanding customer service and support operations.

Kana plans to announce this week a new application called Resolution that combines BPM (business process management) with knowledge management to automate customer service and support. Meanwhile, FrontRange, of Pleasanton, Calif., announced last week that it is expanding its Heat customer service and support product line into IT service management, giving customers an all-in-one solution.

Application consolidation and process automation will be a benefit of both products.

Kanas Resolution expands on the knowledge management capabilities of the Redwood City, Calif., companys IQ product line, adding integrated BPM to provide a transactional offering in combination with a knowledge base.

The software can also be used as a front end to existing call center applications, said Kana officials, giving customer service representatives a unified interface rather than requiring them to toggle between applications.

"We could provide responses to customers without the agent having to touch the application," said Candyce Anderson, project manager for customer service at ADC Telecommunications Inc., in Minneapolis. "The system would provide automated responses to customers and could cut down on agents time responding."

Despite the cost and efficiency benefits, ADC has no plans to buy Resolution just yet.

The main benefit the city of Olympia, Wash., is looking for from FrontRange is application consolidation.

The city, which is currently using Heat to support 650 internal customers, is planning to upgrade to FrontRanges new ITSM (IT Service Management) suite.

"Right now, we just react to problems," said Cheri Tipton, computer systems technician for the city. "We need a way to handle day-to-day incidents, spot trends and problems, and make changes and have all the tools integrated and working together—fully integrated inventory management, self-service and knowledge management."

The initial release of FrontRanges ITSM will include modules for incident, problem, change, configuration, service-level, release and availability management.

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