In the first six parts of this series, we examined why its important to invest in, or upgrade, quality management (QM) and logging applications in your contact center, and focused on four leading vendors: NICE Systems, Witness Systems, Verint Systems, etalk, and Envision. In part seven of this series, we focus on an emerging vendor in the QM and logging market, Magnetic North.
Magnetic North, headquartered in Leicester, UK, was founded in 1994 as a spin-off from a call center integration company called Checkmate. Magnetic North has 75 employees and more than 412 customers (612 sites), the majority of whom are in the UK and 15 European countries. The company has a few customers in the U.S. and Canada. The privately held company claims revenues of roughly USD$6.8 million in fiscal year 2003 and USD$3.7 million in the first half of 2004. Magnetic North was profitable in fiscal 2002 and 2003 and is on track to be profitable in 2004.
Magnetic North Products
The companys QM/logging suite includes:
· Optimise: For compliance/liability recording and QM.
· Maximise: Soft-dialer.
· Energise: Real-time business intelligence dashboard.
Magnetic North Technology
Optimise is 100 percent Microsoft-centric and Web-enabled. Its built using Microsofts new ASP.NET web services development tool. The product uses Windows media streaming technology for compression and playback over Internet Protocol (IP). It runs on the Microsoft IIS Web server and uses a SQL Server or Oracle database. The application runs on a Windows 2000 or 2003 server and the client can be any Windows operating system or Macintosh with Internet Explorer and the ability to play Windows Media files. The product includes its own middleware component called Esprit, which is written in C++ and facilitates the connection between Optimise and switches (time division multiplexing (TDM) or IP). Esprit was designed so that a customer can swap these plug-ins, allowing them to easily migrate from a TDM environment to IP.
Magnetic North Recording and Quality Monitoring
Magnetic North does 100 percent recording, quality assurance recording, random recording, event-driven recording, on-demand recording and live monitoring.
Magnetic North Differentiators:
· Leverages all native Microsoft functionality and therefore does not need to invest in basic infrastructure, unlike competitors.
· Software-based, 100 percent logging solution in the marketplace (the product uses non-proprietary voice cards).
· Web-based software solution enables distributed multi-site solutions without having to place servers at each call center site.
Magnetic North Challenges:
· UK-based Magnetic North has not successfully entered the U.S. market, which represents the largest market opportunity.
· Limited U.S-based support, partners, professional service, implementation or training resources.
· Like many emerging companies, it invests little in marketing and is not well known in or out of the U.S.
· Not until version 5.0, expected to be released in 2005, will Optimise catch up to current leading product offerings. (Version 5.0 will seamlessly integrate speech analytics. Speech analytics is available as an add-on today).
Magnetic North is planning on setting up U.S.-based operations in 2005 in order to expand their presence, customer base and acquire referencable customers. To achieve its goals, Magnetic North needs to invest in marketing its products in the U.S. and establish strong U.S. partnerships to penetrate this market. The company is working to sell more quality management applications in its traditional Western European market and to a growing base of multinational customers, including Virgin Atlantic Airlines, SNT (a Pan European Outsourcer) and Bertlesmann Group.
Magnetic North is also hard at work building out its product suite. During the past year, it has added many features, including live monitoring, screen capture that continues after the call drops, IVR surveying and a multilingual user interface. It has also launched a hosted offering that supports multi-tenancy and on demand call recording and QM. The service is offered by Network Service Providers (Telecos) including Energis, Opal and Streamdoor.
This concludes my series on the QM/logging market. This series is based on DMG Consulting LLCs new 2004 Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market report (www.dmgconsult.com). The second edition of the Quality Management and Liability Recording will be released in February/March 2005.
Donna Fluss is the Principal of DMG Consulting LLC, delivering customer-focused business strategy, operations and technology for Global 2000 and emerging companies. Ms. Fluss, a recognized leader and contact center visionary, is a highly sought-after writer and speaker. She is the author of the industry-leading 2004 Quality Management/Liability Recording Product and Market Report and the 2004 Guide to Successful Contact Center Offshore Outsourcing. Contact Ms. Fluss at [email protected]
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