Yes, the title is a bit extreme — but I wanted to get everyone’s attention.
I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) lately; from analysts to conference speakers. Please stop; EFM is a description of the past.
As I discussed in the post Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms Emerge, EFM is an outdated moniker for applications that support voice of the customer (VoC) programs. It’s like talking about music coming on cassettes. Let’s look at the words:
- Enterprise. The focus of these efforts need to be on the customer, not the enterprise.
- Feedback. The analysis needs to examine insight across a variety of inputs, not just feedback.
- Management. The value of these efforts come from taking action, not from managing surveys.
In the Temkin Group report The Evolution Of Voice Of The Customer Programs we label the emerging class of applications as “Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms” which we define as:
A technology for automating multi-channel customer feedback, analysis, and response and the related workflow associated with closed-loop voice of the customer (VoC) programs
How Is CIA Different Than EFM?
- CIA pulls together a full picture of the customer. These applications examine a variety of inputs like who the customer is (often from CRM applications), what the customer has done and is doing (often from analytics and ERP applications), and everything that customer has told us (including call center interactions and sales notes).
- CIA does not overly rely on surveys. EFM grew up as a platform for managing multiple surveys, but these structured data inputs are becoming a less dominant form of insight. As text analytics becomes a more mainstream capability, companies will tap into unstructured data sources at an increasing rate.
- CIA focuses on operationalizing the insights. VoC programs provide value when companies take customer-insightful actions based on the insight. These applications need to focus on getting the right information into the hands of the right people at the right time for them to incorporate into their day-to-day activities.
- CIA makes market research practices obsolete. In the post Market Research Needs An Overhaul, I discuss how new VoC programs challenge historical operating practices for market research organizations; putting pressure on these groups (inside of and outside of the enterprise) to deliver value, not just reports.
- CIA cuts across technology categories. While EFM applications represented a technology niche serving market research groups, I expect that CIA will become mainstream business platforms. The ability to disseminate and act on customer insights offers a compelling value proposition that will likely evolve into a key infrastructure for many companies. Since it cuts across areas like CRM, BI (business intelligence), BPM (business process management), and customer analytics, look for the big boys (IBM, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com, etc.) to get active in this space very soon.
The bottom line: EFM was an evolutionary step on the way to CIA platforms.