Friday, 11 March 2011 16:08

Smoke, Mirrors, Sleight of Hand and Industry Awards

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Awards are not that difficult to come by in the contact center industry.  There are several offered each year.  If you’re a contact center technology vendor and the check you send in for your application fee doesn’t bounce, chances are pretty good that you’ll get one.  This helps explain why so many companies get exactly the same award in any given year.  I don’t think it’s a secret these days that vendors can get as many awards as they can afford. Receiving such an award may sound like a rather hollow victory but, as an industry friend once pointed out to me, buyers like vendors who have awards.  As long as their customers like awards, vendors will keep buying them.

There are, however, some awards that offer a sense of dignity and achievement for the handful of companies that receive them.  One such award is the CRM Magazine Service Leader Awards.  These awards are bestowed upon companies that analysts consider to be the leaders in their field.  Several analysts participate in each award category so there can be no claims of favoritism.  No money changes hands and no deals are struck in smoke-filled back rooms.

This year it was particularly gratifying to see Cisco come out on top in the Infrastructure Service Leader award.  Although Cisco probably doesn’t need any help from any of the analyst judges in terms of maintaining an industry profile, it’s good to see that Cisco’s thought leadership is recognized.  They’re doing some really creative stuff built upon a Web 2.0 infrastructure.  I’m glad to see their vision for the future wasn’t obscured by the cloud of confusion that emanates from the competition.

And speaking of Web 2.0 innovation, Calabrio went from obscurity in last year’s results to challenge the leaders in this year’s award.  This is another company that is quickly establishing itself as a thought leader in the deployment of the Web 2.0 framework in a workforce optimization (WFO) suite.  Aspect also remained on the leader board in recognition of its consistent, industry-leading reputation for customer care and a company direction that is well-defined.

Verint took the top slot in WFO for the fourth year in a row.  With a consistently evolving suite of solutions, Verint led the market in embracing social media as an equally important customer communications channel.  The company has an excellent reputation among buyers and possesses a keen sense of what it takes to be a leader among leaders.  Verint seems to have it all.

If I were a buyer, the CRM Magazine Service Leader Awards would be the ones I paid attention to.  These are the companies and products that came out on top after being evaluated by judges with nothing to gain or lose based upon the results.  You can’t buy that kind of recognition.  Literally.

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