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Cutting Through the Data Clouds to Build Strong Customer Relationships
June 17, 2014
Successful companies today run largely on data and analytics. The more precisely you can measure the various aspects of your business, the better you can fine-tune its performance. With e-commerce companies especially, everything can be measured, which has provided some amazing opportunities to improve performance -- but sometimes it can lead to issues.
IBM's Empowerment of SAP HANA
June 17, 2014
SAP's recent Sapphire NOW user and partner conference in Orlando was a love fest for the company's HANA in-memory database technology. SAP has made it quite clear that HANA is far more than an innovative solution for Big Data, analytics and business intelligence workloads. In fact, HANA and complementary SAP solutions represent the future for the company and its customers and partners.
How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
Conspiracy of Culture: 5 Contributors to CRM Failure
June 12, 2014
Most companies of any size have a CRM application. Every company says it wants to build great relationships with its customers. Almost as many businesses say they want to be "customer-centric." However, as any customer can tell you, the companies that attain these goals are few and far between. What is it that's keeping businesses from doing what they know they need to do? It's not one thing.
New Treehouse Tools Gauge Marketing Campaign Success
June 09, 2014
TreeHouse Interactive has rolled out an enhanced version of its Marketing View application, infusing it with advanced reporting and analytics features and a spruced-upped user interface. The point of the upgrades, said Erich Flynn, CEO of TreeHouse Interactive, was to provide and display all the necessary campaign-related statistics a marketer would need to judge the performance of a campaign.
SAP Seeds the Cloud With Industry-Specific CRM Applications
June 02, 2014
SAP has updated its cloud-based CRM portfolio with the rollout of three industry-specific applications. These applications, designed for the insurance, utilities and retail sectors, are the first cloud-based verticals for CRM, aside from a broader-based application with functionality tailored for consumer goods. In addition, SAP has introduced a cloud-based marketing performance dashboard.
IBM Flexes X6 and Xeon Muscle
June 02, 2014
IBM's new Flex System compute node solutions -- the x280 X6, x480 X6 and x880 X6 -- don't qualify as anything new, some might say. After all, they utilize solutions announced months ago -- IBM's X6 in mid-January and Intel's Xeon E7v2 a month later -- which means they simply have been upgraded with the respective vendors' latest and greatest technologies.
Kudos to Xactly
May 28, 2014
Xactly, the SaaS-based incentive compensation solutions provider, has kicked it up a notch. The user meeting I attended last week in San Francisco was very successful -- but more importantly, it made some real news in the compensation space. Conferences like this often are news generators -- or, more precisely, they're PR engines. Everybody with a show announces something.
SuiteWorld's Vision
May 22, 2014
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite, talked a lot about CRM in his recent keynote at SuiteWorld. You might not think that's unusual, given that the company has a whole suite of cloud-based ERP-CRM-E-Commerce, but it represents a departure -- and I don't know if even Nelson is fully aware of it. NetSuite built its reputation and a half-billion dollar business around front- to back-office integration.
Pinterest Tacks On New Marketing Tool
May 22, 2014
Pinterest on Tuesday revealed that it was rolling out an analytics tool for marketers designed to offer them more information on which content does well. The new Business Insights API lets businesses track which of their boards, pins and products are attracting the most engaged users, as well as which ones aren't garnering clicks. Devs also will be able to use the API to track user activity.
Sub-Ledger for the Hybrid Enterprise
May 07, 2014
There is a business problem that comes up in the life of every company, and these days it seems that a lot of companies face it at once. It's the question of how to transition from one business model to another without clobbering your current revenue flow. Even if a company's executives really want to change its model, there is always a faction that says, "not yet."
Mobile Apps, Beacons and the Coming Retail Revival
May 07, 2014
Internet companies are showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to innovation, specifically in the area of physical retail. Smartphones and tablets are the new darlings of e-commerce companies, and they now are being used to provide immersive and entertaining shopping experiences. Many of the characteristics of online retail shopping are being replicated in the physical shopping aisle.
White House Urges Big Data Privacy Legislation
May 05, 2014
The White House last week released a review of Big Data and privacy written by counselor John Podesta. The report stems from President Obama's January request to define what is new about the technologies in this space, how Big Data affects public policy, and how consumer privacy is affected by corporate use of Big Data. The issue has been center stage since the Snowden revelations.
4 Ways to Embrace Crowdsourced Knowledge
May 02, 2014
Traditional knowledge management programs focus on distilling knowledge into systems of record, which end up being underutilized, chiefly because they cannot contain the long tail of knowledge. Conversely, nowhere are successful KM programs as impactful as where they intersect the customer experience -- from customer support to sales to marketing and product development.
Partner Selling
April 30, 2014
If there's one thing that vendors and channel partners agree on, it's selling. Everyone agrees that more selling is better, but the discussion can diverge greatly from there. Vendors and their partners are not immune to the virus that affects direct sales people. We often hear direct sales people say their leads are no good and we hear marketing say that sales doesn't follow up. Sound familiar?
Using Reporting Tools to Turn CRM Around
April 28, 2014
Whenever the term "business intelligence" is bandied about, thoughts immediately turn to the customer. BI, it is thought, should allow you to learn things about the customer by correlation, inference and comparison. However, BI is a two-way street. In the course of using CRM -- which becomes the repository of data that BI then analyzes -- you also record data about the way your business uses CRM.
Marketing Automation's Next Gig
April 24, 2014
If you aren't sold on marketing automation yet, there's another reason to consider it before you end up down two touchdowns with three minutes to play. We usually think of marketing in its traditional role of new customer outreach, which is good but no longer enough. Keep in mind that in today's zero-sum markets, your competition has not stopped marketing to your customers, so why should you?
Federal Initiative Aims to Spur Software Development
April 24, 2014
The allure of Big Data stems from the ability to use advanced technology to manage and manipulate huge amounts of information. Not only that, Big Data offers the opportunity for unlocking information not previously available, and even not previously knowable. However, the software required to underpin Big Data and related IT advances may not be up to the task.
inContact Rolls Out Feature-Rich Cloud Call Center Update
April 23, 2014
inContact has released its first cloud contact center software update for the year. Version 14.1 contains a new two-way SMS channel, more refined automated call-routing, deeper integration with Salesforce.com and Oracle, and new APIs that give enterprise users the ability to customize their own applications and do a deep dive into their data. The company currently is rolling out the new version.
Transcendence and Analytics: What If the End of Mankind as We Know It Were a Good Thing?
April 21, 2014
I saw the movie Transcendence last week, and it was an impressive telling of what might happen were we to achieve singularity. Given this is likely where AI research is taking us and that analytics is a major component to getting there, I not only recommend the movie as entertainment but also as a means to wrapping your head around what we must correct before we take that next big step.
Google Clarifies Gmail Snooping in Updated ToS
April 16, 2014
Google this week updated its terms of service with new language that more clearly spells out how it scans and analyzes user content, such as emails, to match it with targeted ads. "Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection," it says.
SugarCRM Refines Customer Analytics for Sales
April 14, 2014
When SugarCRM debuts version 7.2 in the coming weeks, users already will have had a taste of one of its main themes: tighter integration around productivity tools aimed at better understanding a customer base. That is because SugarCRM has previewed two such integrations over the past month -- one with Marketo and one with Dun & Bradstreet -- both designed to improve the user experience.

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