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Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Mandy Edwards, CIO Of Sitel (Part 3)

Posted on Sunday, May 29th 2011

By Sramana Mitra and guest author Siddharth Garg

Sramana Mitra: OK. Would you talk more about integration? I would love to know more about what is happening in the area of knowledge base. Where is the knowledge base? Do customers maintain it, or does Sitel? What is the process that goes on in augmenting the knowledge base, based on what your agents are learning?

Mandy: Let me just back you up a minute before we jump into knowledge bases. Here is a classic issue of especially large companies. Traditionally, large companies have done product management in silos. So, if you can imagine multiple product management groups, each has its own unique method of wanting to interact with customers. Many times, when we are looking at integrating multiple lines of business across the same client, we will find that each of those lines of business has a unique set of applications, a unique set of analytics processes.

And then, of course, they are usually not geared toward a multi-channel environment. In other words, if I am a customer, a consumer, and I want to interface through Twitter or through an online Facebook-type environment, many of our customers don’t have that back-end integration, unless they have implemented a multichannel knowledge base.

So, I think the biggest change that we are seeing in the industry is the value of having a knowledge base isn’t there anymore.  What you have to be able to do is integrate the multiple touch points of your consumers into a single knowledge base. So, for example, if I am a consumer, and I’m using multiple products from the same company, I don’t want to go through the frustration of having to explain who am I and the products I use every time I connect with those individuals’ product lines, if you will.

Sramana Mitra: How are you resolving that? It is a great use case and brings out some of the contemporary problems of all these Twitters and Facebooks and customer touching you through very different channels. Who picks up that call? Let us a say a customer Tweets about a problem, do you get involved immediately with that customer?

Mandy: We can if that is the service that that customer wants us to engage in. Absolutely. This is all about doing the analytics of the social media environments, right? And that is absolutely a service that we offer.

Sramana Mitra: Would you talk about the IT infrastructure supporting that? When somebody Tweets, how does that person get identified in your system and how do you track that customer?

Mandy: There are tools available today that allow you to plug in to those multiple social environments and you can set up tools such as tag words and say, Hey, if you ever see the word X, then tell me, right? So, those tools are available today, and those companies are companies that we have chosen to partner with, like RightNow, that have the knowledge base with multichannel capabilities that will allow customers to be able to integrate all of those same customer touch points through multiple sources whether it is Twitter, Facebook, and so on.

Sramana Mitra: Got it. Very good. So, that helps understand how you use your knowledge base. Is your knowledge base sitting at the customer’s site?

Mandy: Absolutely. I say absolutely, but the reality is it could sit in either place. It could sit with us or it could sit with the customer. However, most customers, probably 99.9% of them, are going to want to own that knowledge base because it is so valuable to them from a marketing standpoint. Now, we will have access to that knowledge base so that our agents, like their agents, can access the information, track the information, look up information, and so on. But most companies are actually going to want to own that. Now they can operate it as Software as a Service. The knowledge base in itself is a Software as a Service.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders In Cloud Computing: Mandy Edwards, CIO Of Sitel
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