Seeking Alpha

RightNow Technologies, Inc. - NASDAQ

4/21/2014, 5:44 AM ET
Quote & Analysis Breaking News StockTalk Description
Sector: Technology
Country: United States

RightNow Technologies (“we”, “us”, “our”, the “Company” or “RightNow”) provides on demand customer relationship management (“CRM”) software and services that help consumer-centric organizations improve customer experiences, while reducing costs. In today’s competitive business environment, we believe providing superior customer experiences can be a powerful way for companies to drive sustainable differentiation. RightNow’s technology enables an organization’s service, marketing and sales personnel to leverage a common application platform to deliver service, to market and to sell through phone, email, web and chat. Additionally, through our on demand delivery approach, or software-as-a-service (“SaaS”), we are able to eliminate much of the complexity associated with traditional on premise solutions, to implement rapidly, and to price our solutions at a level that results in a lower cost of ownership compared to on premise solutions. Our value-added services, including business process optimization and lifetime product tune-ups, are directed toward improving our customers’ efficiency, increasing user adoption and assisting our customers to maximize the return on their investment. Approximately 1,900 corporations and government agencies worldwide depend on RightNow to achieve their strategic objectives and better meet the needs of those they serve.

RightNow was incorporated in Montana in September 1997 and reincorporated in Delaware in August 2000. Our principal executive offices are located at 136 Enterprise Boulevard, Bozeman, Montana 59718-9300, and our telephone number is (406) 522-4200. We have regional field offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; San Mateo, California; Orange County, California; New York, New York; Fairport, New York; Herndon, Virginia; and Toronto, Canada. We also have offices in Maidenhead, England; Munich, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; and Utrecht, Netherlands.


Our solutions are provided through an application platform that is designed to be easy to implement, use and maintain, and to support improved customer experiences across multiple customer interaction points. Our solutions integrate with traditional enterprise and/or back office applications and are available in 33 languages and dialects.

With the release of RightNow 8 in 2007, we have been able to provide enhanced functionality, tools and broader application extensibility. That release initiated a quarterly release cycle which allows us to deliver product capabilities to customers more rapidly.

During 2008, we rolled out functionalities, such as customer portal, contextual workspaces, agent scripting, co-browse, proactive chat, topic monitoring for feedback, and a fully integrated multi-channel customer feedback capability. These help meet our objectives of consistently providing our customers with the most current and advanced customer experience solutions, as well as providing frequent innovation for expanding throughout large enterprises.

In the November 2008 release, we improved contact center agent efficiencies through new modules for agent scripting, guided assistance, and a new agent desktop integration framework. These capabilities push relevant customer information from existing legacy systems out to the contact center agent desktops in real-time to facilitate a more valuable customer interaction, all while improving agent productivity and reducing costs.

RightNow Service ™

First released in 1997, RightNow Service is the flagship offering in our portfolio of customer relationship management (“CRM”) solutions and generates approximately 80% to 90% of our software, hosting and support revenue. Built upon a self-learning knowledge foundation, RightNow Service provides an integrated multi-channel customer service that captures customer interactions across traditional and online channels. Our knowledge foundation automatically learns from each customer interaction to deliver relevant content, thereby improving the customer experience.

Features of RightNow Service

Seamless multi-channel contact center — blends traditional and online channels so customer service agents have a single view of the customer across all channels and can provide consistent information through phone, email, web and chat.

Web and voice self-service — enables customers to access the information they need 24/7 on the web and over the phone, and also reduces contact center workloads.

Patented self-learning knowledge base — dynamically captures and presents complete, relevant and up-to-date information to customers, contact center staff, outsourcers and other business partners.

Email response management — leverages knowledge base content to improve response times and provides customers with accurate answers; also detects potential customer issues for immediate attention and resolution.

Chat — facilitates real-time, online chat sessions between agents and customers. Chat agents provide consistent answers, by tapping into RightNow’s embedded knowledge base. Chat sessions are saved in the customer’s record, so organizations have a complete customer view for the next interaction. Supervisors can monitor and join an agent’s chat session to assist in resolving issues.

Custom analytics and reporting —pre-built reports and a custom reporting engine enable real-time performance tracking. Reports can be automatically scheduled to run on specific timetables allowing customers to head off service and product issues with exception-based notification.

Integration with enterprise resource planning, return merchandise authorization, and other back-office systems —provides access to operational systems so agents can resolve customer issues without leaving the RightNow desktop.

RightNow Marketing™

RightNow Marketing is designed to deliver the functionality needed to manage multi-channel, multi-stage campaigns. RightNow Marketing automates standard campaign activities, optimizes resources and leverages the information captured in sales and service interactions. In addition, with RightNow Marketing, customer service organizations can preempt service inquiries by proactively targeting customers with relevant, personalized communications.

Features of RightNow Marketing

Multi-stage, multi-channel campaign management—users can design, execute and manage campaigns from one central location.

Lead-generating email marketing—enables the creation of personalized email marketing campaigns to boost lead generation, increase conversion and retention rates and improve the relevancy of marketing communications.

Event-triggered messages—automates the delivery of personalized messages triggered from any type of customer action—from a website request to an in-store retail purchase.

Comprehensive response and lead routing—tracks all aspects of campaign performance and provides automated lead routing based on geography, product or other attributes.

Effective list management and deliverability —provides appropriate opt-in/opt-out controls, manages deletion of obsolete addresses, and maintains compliance with relevant industry standards.

Custom analytics and reporting—real-time, pre-built and customizable reports provided out-of-the-box to track and measure the success of marketing campaigns.

RightNow Sales™

RightNow Sales is designed to simplify the sales process so that sales organizations can more easily manage accounts, track leads, organize contacts and create selling opportunities while leveraging the customer information in the common platform. Traditional sales processes such as contact management, forecasting, quote generation and opportunity status are fully integrated, saving sales representatives’ time and shortening sales cycles. RightNow Sales is designed to improve the accuracy of sales forecasting and reporting with real-time visibility into sales pipeline data. Additionally, RightNow Sales allows contact centers the ability to leverage customer information for up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

Features of RightNow Sales

Opportunity and pipeline management—allows the user to see the entire sales pipeline and individual opportunity details on one screen.

Contact, account and task management—users can enter, update and track all relevant contact and deal information in one place.

Lead management—optimizes lead flow across marketing and sales organizations.

Forecasting—opportunity level forecasting provides visibility into performance of sales representatives across pipelines and committed revenue.

Custom analytics and reporting—provides analysis of the total forecast overview with details by region, sales representative and opportunity, and provides for the creation of custom reports to support unique business processes.

Microsoft Outlook integration—users may synchronize emails, contacts, and tasks between Microsoft Outlook and RightNow Sales for increased productivity.

Automatic contract, quote and proposal generation—provides accurate, customer-ready contracts, quotes and proposals.

Territory and quota management—fully customizable quota-setting and real-time performance monitoring tools track staff and management performance.

Sales methodology implementation—replicates and enforces conformance to proven sales methodologies.

RightNow Feedback ™

RightNow Feedback is designed to enable organizations to capture and measure customer feedback across touch-points in real time and take immediate action on that feedback. Companies can also use packaged templates to gather, monitor and act on customer satisfaction and service issues or collect insights from their own employees.

Features of RightNow Feedback

Multiple feedback capture techniques—captures input from customers through email, phone or the web.

Collaborative survey design—allows teams to create and test surveys with various response types and question branching.

Audience management—enables survey audience segmentation and analysis of outbound communications to ensure relevant surveying of customers.

Customer record integration—feedback responses are captured in customer records so that all employees interacting with customers are informed of preferences and potential issues.

Robust reporting and analysis—graphical reporting and dashboard functionality allow the tracking and measurement of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

RightNow Voice ™

RightNow Voice provides voice automation options for interacting with customers and prospects. Customers can use self-service options to access information, and, if needed, calls are automatically routed to appropriate staff for quick resolution.

Features of RightNow Voice

Dynamic voice routing—provides relevant content to callers and directs calls—along with customer-specific information—to the appropriate department.

Voice self-service—enables customers to find answers over the phone 24 hours a day without contacting the call center staff.

Inbound and outbound survey tools—enables polling of customers to monitor satisfaction levels, gauge interest in new products or services and gain other market intelligence.

RightNow Analytics™

RightNow Analytics provides visibility into customer behavior across service, sales, marketing and feedback touch points, enabling organizations to capture, synthesize, distribute and manage customer intelligence.

Features of RightNow Analytics

Service analytics—measures the post-sales service experience, enabling organizations to track customer behaviors, identify and act on potential issues and determine how to optimize resource allocation.

Sales analytics—provides visibility into the sales pipeline for more accurate forecasting and historical trending tools to pinpoint effective sales tactics for replication.

Marketing analytics—enables evaluation of historical marketing data for visibility into effective campaigns and offers.

Feedback analytics—consolidate, evaluate and distribute customer feedback to track and measure the effect of customer interactions.

Professional Services

Our Professional Services organization combines project management with technical and business-focused consulting services to our clients. Using proven methods and customer-centric best practices, our Professional Services group is experienced in implementing and integrating RightNow products across many industries, drawing on in-depth knowledge and practical expertise gained from thousands of deployments. Professional services helps customers determine strategic business objectives, align business processes, define success metrics, help with rapid system configuration and deployment, and adjust business solutions to support full user adoption. We also provide tune-up services to our clients, auditing their solution against our library of best practices.

During 2008, we continued to expand our professional service organization with new investments in both partner relationships and additional employees. These investments are expected to allow us to engage in more complex deployments, add scalability to our business and help drive our growth.

Sales and Marketing

RightNow products and services are sold predominantly through our direct sales organization and to a lesser extent through partner channels. The sales team is organized around geographic territory, prospect company size and vertical industry, calling on potential new clients as well as focusing on managing and further expanding those existing client relationships.

A prospective client may deploy a portion or all of our solutions on a pilot basis to ensure that RightNow solutions meet its needs, prior to committing to any subscription fees. A pilot program may last up to 180 days. The prospective client’s objectives are quantified and results measured during the pilot period. As a result of this program, we believe we have experienced shorter sales cycles, higher sale closure rates and larger deal sizes.

During 2008, we continued to see growth in our indirect channel revenue and worldwide partner contribution. As of December 31, 2008 we had 66 partners enrolled in our worldwide partner program. In 2008 we continued to develop and grow our Managed Service Provider (MSP) partner channel. Managed Services Providers deliver increased value to clients through RightNow enabled managed services. These partners represent many of the world’s largest customer care outsourcers, including Teleperformace, West Corporation, Convergys, ICT Group, Harte-Hanks and TELUS.

In addition, we continued to develop an ecosystem of business and technology alliance partners. These relationships with leading independent software companies, systems integrators, and contact center infrastructure providers has opened up new opportunities for our direct sales organization and has created a host of complimentary solutions for our customers.

During 2008, we launched new strategic partnerships with:

• Deloitte, and TATA, leading global consulting services and systems integrators;

• Pivotal Veracity, a leading provider of email deliverability solutions;

• Success Metrics, a leading provider of Birst, a business intelligence and analytical on-demand software solution;

• Boomi, a leading provider of on-demand integration solutions;

• Open Methods, a software development company specializing in computer telephony integration.

We believe these partnerships have enabled our direct sales organization to expand its contact base in key accounts, enhance and differentiate the RightNow solution, and ultimately develop larger and more profitable enterprise sales opportunities.

We continue to work closely with technology partners such as Genesys, Informatica, Cast Iron, Lithium and Sterling Commerce, to expand our capabilities to address the needs of the large enterprise.

In those international markets where we do not have a direct selling presence, we rely on system integrators and resellers to sell our solutions. This strategy is primarily employed in Europe, New Zealand and Asia. In 2008, we continued to broaden our distribution to these markets through resellers.

Our marketing department coordinates future product and service direction, manages generation of client leads, and oversees public and industry analyst relations. To expand our client base, we have also developed and expect to continue to increase innovative marketing initiatives.


As of December 31, 2008, we had approximately 1,900 active clients in various industries, including approximately 23% from technology, 14% from retail/consumer packaged goods, 13% from telecommunications, 13% from public sector, 11% from travel and hospitality, 7% from financial and insurance, 2% from manufacturing, and 17% from various other industries. For the year ended December 31, 2008, approximately 47% of our revenue was generated from entities with over $1 billion in annual revenue, 39% of our revenue was generated from entities with less than $1 billion in annual revenue and 14% of our revenue was generated from government/educational institutions. No single client accounted for more than 10% of our revenue in 2006, 2007, and 2008. One customer represented 12% of term receivables at December 31, 2007, and one customer represented 22% of term receivables at December 31, 2008. No individual customer accounted for more than 10% of the Company’s accounts receivable at December 31, 2007 and 2008.

Product Development and Technology

Our product development efforts are focused on improving and enhancing our existing solutions and service offerings as well as developing new proprietary technology. Our product roadmap incorporates our long-term strategic view of our market and incorporates customer feedback to improve and enhance our products. We currently are developing products and solutions to broaden and deepen our offerings within the CRM market. We have an applied research group, RightNow Labs, which focuses on knowledgebase, artificial intelligence, information retrieval and novel applications of current research for use within our solutions. We allow our clients to run different versions of our software and provide customers the ability to adequately plan, schedule and implement upgrades of new releases. Our support and development efforts are focused only on the current and future releases of our products. We provide support for our software versions for 24 months, which can be extended for a fee. Our research and development expenses totaled approximately $14.5 million in 2006, $17.1 million in 2007, and $18.3 million in 2008.

We believe we have significant technology expertise in developing and deploying highly scalable and reliable on demand CRM applications. All of our products have been designed using industry standards for the Internet and are designed to meet the following goals: cost efficient deployment, highly configurable, scalable, easily integrated, multi-tenant and capable of being internationalized. The architectural components described below form the foundation for the delivery of a variety of features within our solution.

Intuitive Knowledge Foundation. Artificial intelligence, self-learning, knowledgebase technologies and innovative information retrieval technologies form the foundation of our solution. These technologies are combined within our customer service solution to provide self-service and automatic email response to users and as an automated assistant for our clients’ customer service representatives. Core technologies in the area of the knowledge foundation include automatic learning and decay of the relevancy and relatedness of information, natural language processing, word-stemming algorithms, information clustering and classification algorithms, and information retrieval technologies.

Integration with Other Enterprise Applications. Our hosted and non-hosted clients are able to integrate our solution with their other mission-critical enterprise applications through several techniques, including: web services, application level triggers; user interface extensibility that allows the integration of other applications into our solution; and “pass through” authentication that allows our solution to inherit user credentials from other applications to identify and enforce access to our clients’ web sites. The Developer portion of our Customer Community portal allows our customers an on-line forum that provides information on integration topics such as up-to-date documentation and sample integrations as well as on-line discussion forums that are moderated by RightNow experts.

Highly Customizable and Usable User Interface. The web portal interface portion of our product, which allows our clients to serve their customers through the web, is browser based and provides support for all current browsers and versions, and complies with web accessibility standards. The web portal interface is designed to be easily integrated into our client’s web sites and simple for inexperienced internet users to understand. Our back-end interface utilizes Microsoft Corporation’s Smart Client technology. The back-end interface is used by administrators, agents, sales representatives and marketing users. The Microsoft Smart Client user interface (or “UI”) communicates with our server through web services. This UI combines the speed and power of traditional client/server applications with the flexibility and reduced total cost of ownership associated with browser-based applications. With the Microsoft Smart Client UI, a richer user experience is possible than could be provided through a browser. Because the Microsoft Smart Client is automatically network installed and updated, the desktop

maintenance headache generally associated with client/server applications is eliminated. Our back-end interface can be easily customized without programming to support different workflows and can be extended to incorporate data from other applications.

Software Architecture. Our solution has been developed using a logical three-tier Internet architecture consisting of presentation, application logic and data management layers. Because of the tiered separation, our solution is designed to be highly scalable, allowing expansion at each tier. We deploy our solution in highly available, highly scalable, load-balanced web server and clustered database server configurations.

Intellectual Property

Our success depends to a significant degree upon the development and protection of our intellectual property rights. We believe we have a rich repository of intellectual property. As of December 31, 2008, our intellectual property assets included eight issued U.S. patents, sixteen pending U.S. patents, one pending European patent, five U.S. trademark registrations, and multiple foreign trademark registrations. The majority of our patents and patent applications concern our knowledgebase technology, including processes relating to the relative usefulness ranking and the order of display of retrieved information in the knowledgebase; the ability of the knowledgebase to suggest related information to a user accessing the knowledgebase; and the ability of the knowledgebase to produce a relational map of help information items based on the historical usage patterns of customers accessing the knowledgebase. Our patent portfolio also includes patents and patent applications that relate to our voice technology, and our marketing and sales solutions.

The following is a summary of our issued U.S. patents:

Implicit Rating of Retrieved Information in an Information Search System. This process relates to an information search and retrieval system through a network, such as the Internet, in which the relative usefulness ranking and the order of display of the retrieved information in the knowledgebase is adjusted based on actions taken by a user. This patent continues until April 2020.

Temporal Updates of Relevancy Rating of Retrieved Information in an Information Search System. This process relates to an information search and retrieval system through a network, such as the Internet, in which the relative usefulness ranking and the order of display of the retrieved information in the knowledgebase is adjusted based on the amount of time elapsed since the particular information was last accessed. This patent continues until April 2020.

Usage Based Strength between Related Information in an Information Retrieval System. This patent describes an information retrieval system in which information is displayed based on navigation behavior of previous users. This patent continues until April 2020.

System and Method for Generating a Dynamic Interface through a Communications Network. This patent describes a system for dynamically adapting selections in an automatic phone support system. This invention enables the provision of information from a dynamic knowledgebase through a telephone channel. This patent continues until June 2020.

Usage Based Strength between Related Help Topics and Context Based Mapping Thereof in a Help Information retrieval System. This process allows the knowledgebase to suggest related information to a person based on the keyword search and navigation patterns of that person. This patent continues until April 2020.

Display Screen for a Computer. This is a design patent relating to the user interface to our software. This patent continues until March 2016.

Method for Routing Electronic Correspondence Based on the Level and Type of Emotion Contained Therein. This process relates to determining the emotional content of an electronic correspondence to route or prioritize the information, to set the expectations of a customer support worker, to flag those workers who are using inappropriate language with the customer, or determine another best course to send the correspondence. In a preferred embodiment, a customer sends an electronic correspondence to a company by email. Emotionally charged words or symbols in each sentence are detected. The message is then given an emotional ranking, which is used to determine what future action is most appropriate for the correspondence. This patent continues until October 2022.

Method of Clustering Automation and Classification Techniques. This invention covers a method for automatically classifying and summarizing related information in a hierarchical manner. The system comprises the steps and means for the presentation and analysis of collected data through the application of four distinct processes, namely, feature selection, clustering, classification and summarization. This patent continues until August 2021.

Our six registered trademarks in the United States are RIGHTNOW ®, RIGHT NOW ®, RIGHTNOW TECHNOLOGIES ® (stylized), SMARTASSISTANT ®, SALESNET AND LOCATOR ®. We use our “RightNow” mark as a descriptor of all of our products. These marks continue indefinitely, subject to continuous use and payment of registration fees at the statutorily required intervals. We also use the following common law marks “RightNow Analytics™,” “RightNow Marketing™,” “RightNow Feedback™,” RightNow Sales™,” “RightNow Service™,” “SmartSense™,” “RightNow Voice™,” “RightNow Chat™,” “RightNow Offer Advisor™,” “RightNow Connect™,” and “RightStart™.” Other trademarks, trade names or service marks appearing in this report are the property of their respective holders.

We also incorporate a number of third party software products into our software pursuant to relevant licenses covering such software and related underlying patents, the duration of which range from term licenses to perpetual licenses. Some of the software is proprietary and some is open source. These functions are peripheral in nature, we are not substantially dependent upon these third party software licenses and we believe the licensed software is generally replaceable, by either licensing or purchasing similar software from another vendor or building the software function ourselves.