RightNow Technologies Interview

RightNow Technologies Interview

CloudTweaks.com recently spoke with Andrew Hull, Director of Product Marketing at RightNow, and JP Saunders, Director of Product Marketing, CX Platform at RightNow, about current trends in cloud computing.

RightNow is well positioned in the CRM space focused on large business to consumer interactions.  The company’s unique focus is on the broader “customer experience,” where customers interact with businesses using email, on-line chat, and call center response.  RightNow’s mission-critical SaaS CX cloud platform, provides reliability, scalability, security, and the flexibility organizations need to support the delivery of an exceptional customer experience. RightNow’s hosting environment also provides much greater scalability than any organization could reasonably afford to provision internally. This performance is especially valuable during periods of peak traffic – which typically lead to significant degradations in performance when companies are dependent on limited internal capacity. And with 2.5 billion customer interactions facilitated annually, 10.2 billion database transactions per week, and more than 500 million contacts maintained on 60 terabytes of storage, organizations can be confident in partnering with RightNow to take on the critical responsibility of application tuning, management and service delivery of RightNow’s SaaS software CX solution.

RightNow is a provider of on demand customer experience solutions that help organizations deliver great customer experiences. Founded in 1997, RightNow is headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, employs more than 800 people, and serves nearly 2,000 organizations worldwide. RightNow is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol RNOW.

Anthony Park:

Thanks for meeting with us.  Please give Cloudtweaks’ readers a short overview of your platform.

Andrew Hull:

RightNow is broadly in the CRM industry and certainly supports sales, service, marketing business processes.  But what makes us unique is that we specifically focus on the broader customer experience.  RightNow’s solution gives companies the power to manage customer interactions across the three experiences that matter most for today’s digitally connected consumers – the web, social networks and the contact center   We are literally the best at it when you collectively look across Gartner’s web customer service, social CRM and contact center magic quadrants.

Anthony Park:

What are RightNow’s key differentiators?

JP Saunders:

Our big differentiators from salesforce.com is that we have a purpose cloud built platform for customer service.  This means we can deliver mission critical software for enterprises that have been built for customer service delivery. Salesforce.com, which is a generic cloud offering, was originally built for sales force automation which is a lot less mission critical.  So it is obviously a critical part of customer experience, but if it went down for a few hours you could not recover. Whereas everything that touches your customer interaction would have significant detrimental impact if the service went down. In fact, according to our fifth annual Customer Experience Report, 82% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company as a result of a negative experience. What is different from years past is that companies now understand this phenomenon and have seen the impact that a negative experience can have on a company’s reputation and bottom line.

JP Saunders:

We build custom objects for customers that are used inside applications.  For example a ticket would be an object in this example.  So, being able to create custom objects and fields you are essentially building a custom application inside our system delivering customer experience, value or assets.  We have a number of integration partners.  There is probably no typical installation although we have standards.

Andrew Hull:

You can go to our website and click on client success and we have a number of links which describe many of our clients.  Companies like British Airways and Drugstore.com and eharmony.com.  The deployments can go from a couple of days to a few months. The integration side is not the same.  We tend to start on the web self-service side as it has a very definable return on investment providing savings while improving the customer experience.  Later, we can drill down into business processes that are very complex.  The case studies I mentioned earlier give some good examples.

Anthony Park:

Are you running your applications on private clouds or on inside your customers data center locations?

JP Saunders:

This depends on the company and their location and where they need us.  We have some fairly large deployments globally, especially for a company our size. We have 5 major data centers in Santa Clara, Toronto (to serve Canada), Chicago, London, and then in Oklahoma we have a DOD (Department of Defense) cloud or Government cloud.  We do a lot of business with Australia, New Zealand and we are starting to penetrate into Japan and other areas.  We do have investments in late 2011 for new data center in Sydney, Australia.

Andrew Hull:

To clarify and further refine that question it is our own infrastructure. We have been in business since 1997 doing this and what makes us unique is that there wasn’t an Amazon or another provider that you could build on then, so we are unique as a Software as a Service platform in that we have our own infrastructure and multi-tenant environment. That has worked well for us.  The scale is impressive in that we service about 8 million interactions a day on our platform so it is impressive on the size and scope just because of the type of customers we are supporting.

Anthony Park:

Who do you consider your biggest competitors?

Andrew Hull:

The biggest competitors we run into are older legacy systems that are coming out like Oracle Siebel systems.  Another one is Salesforce.com in certain type of situations.  If they need higher levels of consumer touch points and multi-channel or chat they head to us or if they are Business to Business or sales force automation the may go more towards Salesforce.com.

Anthony Park:

JP, please put your futurist hat regarding the future of cloud applications.

JP Saunders:

I attended the CIO Summit in Miami recently so I have had an opportunity to network with a lot of people.  The direction is hard to answer due to the amount of change but it is an interesting space.  There could be a lot more centralization in the future as well.  Also, I see more of the private clouds and integration into the family of clouds in the organizations.  More purpose built clouds on both off premise and on-premise will also evolve.

Andrew Hull:

We are also the only SaaS vendor that has gone through the entire process with the government and have 170 governmental clients worldwide.  The majority of those right here in the U.S.

Anthony Park:

Thanks for your time.  I have included the links below that you referenced for our readers to get more in depth information on RightNow CX platform and case studies.  We appreciate the opportunity to speak with RightNow.com

By Anthony Park

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