RightNow Technologies has introduced its third industry vertical and appears to be poised to introduce a fourth — in Consumer Goods Products (CGPs) — in the near future.
Thus far, the company has focused on industry groups in which it has a strong expertise and a large number of clients, such as higher education, federal government and, with the most recent rollout, Retail.
The company’s approach to the verticals has been to select categories in which clients can contribute their knowledge base of best practices. It also will break those verticals into subsegments, preferring to focus on a handful of categories, explained Danielle Wanderer, director of industry and partner solutions for RightNow.
For that reason, she told CRM Buyer, “we decided to separate Retail out from CGPs.”
The vertical offerings are based on the vendor’s latest platform, RightNow 8, which has an architecture that facilitates the development of preconfigured templates for verticals.
RightNow Retail includes industry best practices to help retailers improve conversion rates, increase customer loyalty and drive sales, according to Wanderer. Like its earlier vertical releases, the Retail app offers users industry-specific terminology and preconfigured workflow processes for the industry.
To be sure, RightNow is not the only Software as a Service vendor tailoring its platform for specific verticals. NetSuite is another example — as is, more recently, Salesforce.com.
As SaaS has become more and more mainstream, such development efforts are considered mandatory by customers used to the customization capabilities of on-premise applications.
Not that these SaaS verticals come anywhere close to the industry verticals of Siebel or SAP.
“Basically, these are preconfigured templates that help the customer get closer to what it wants to achieve,” Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. “It is not, by any means, an out-of-the-box solution for a company interested in a true vertical application.”
Government Best Practices
The difference between RightNow and other SaaS offerings, she added, is its approach to customer best practices. RightNow puts more of an emphasis on leveraging its own customers’ experiences.
Last month, RightNow introduced its Federal Government industry vertical, which incorporated many of the best practices and reports developed by the Citizen Service Levels Interagency Committee (CSLIC), a General Services Administration created organization. Besides the tailored feature set, the release also offered a Freedom of Information Act interface.
Every cabinet-level agency uses RightNow, according to Chris Sortzi, the firm’s vice president of public sector, and numerous other agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Education, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Security Agency and the U.S. Census Bureau, do as well.
For the Retail app, RightNow borrowed from best practices at Cabela’s, Drugstore.com, Hallmark.com, Sharper Image, Snapfish, The Right Start and Ulta.