RightNow: a key player in customer interactions

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Recently, I attended the RightNow user group in the UK. I have written before of how impressed I am by the way that RightNow operate. It was great to see that their users share my unbridled enthusiasm.

What RightNow provide is an on demand or in house CRM offering. But whereas most CRM offerings are huge bloated affairs designed to cope with eventualities so rare that none will ever use 70% of the functionality, RightNow have focussed on getting the core 100% right. This means that when you buy into RightNow you know that the 26 modules will all work, they will all work together, and that they can be deployed readily. Furthermore, with the on-demand model you only need to pay for things as you use them.

I have come to believe that the biggest problem facing the IT industry is that we have lost the skill to be able to analyse a problem and negotiate with the business to keep applications lean, mean and of high quality. Instead we listen to them and say the customer is right so we build overly large, poorly designed, error strewn applications and blame it on the business for not being able to articulate prioritised requirements. RightNow have taken the pain out of that process by ensuring that their modules are fit for purpose, and of exceptional quality, and they have the five-year roadmaps for how they will expand to take on more functionality over time. It comes as no surprise to me that RightNow actually sell predominately to the business function, and that they can see very little sign that the business is grumbling that it is missing vital functionality. Critically all of the users I spoke to talked of functionality being delivered in weeks and months, rather than the months and years that I see being so commonplace when CRM implementations are talked of.

It must also be explained that RightNow, whilst it may have started off life as a solution which found most favour in the smaller and medium sized companies, is now making big strides in organisations such as major credit card issuers and high street banks. Also, in case anyone feels that to go down this route would indicate that users are going to be short changed when it comes to advanced functionality, what I heard about was work being planned to introduce Artificial Intelligence modules, work on new role based interfaces which will enable blended roles rather than operational silos to be readily supported, and new interfaces which will exploit all of the .NET framework, and will enable users to run their business in a GUI which will be familiar to anyone who uses Office and Outlook. So I continue to be hugely impressed and will follow the further advances of RightNow with great interest.