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Salesforce Wraps Up Demandware Acquisition
July 11, 2016
Salesforce on Monday announced it had completed its $2.8 billion acquisition of e-commerce cloud software platform Demandware. The deal "gives Salesforce the e-commerce piece to compete against Oracle, which already has e-commerce capabilities, as well as SAP," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. "It also gives Salesforce a cloud transactional platform for B2C purchases."
Salesforce VP Lynne Zaledonis: Intelligence Is the Next Generation of CRM
June 28, 2016
Salesforce VP Lynne Zaledonis drives product marketing and sales enablement for Sales Cloud. In order to succeed in the age of the customer, companies need to understand that the new cloud, mobile and social world we find ourselves in "has produced trillions of pieces of customer data, and it's totally changed how we engage with our customers, and how they engage with us," Zaledonis said.
Rethinking the Customer Journey Map
June 22, 2016
If you talk to marketers for any amount of time about what they do, you are bound to hear the term "customer journey" at some point. The go-to exercise for marketers looking to up their lead generation games today is "journey mapping," the exercise by which you try to understand how a potential buyer navigates through content and other offers on the way to a closed deal.
The Microsoft-LinkedIn CRM Connection
June 14, 2016
With its $26 billion purchase of LinkedIn, Microsoft may be setting itself up to tackle Salesforce head-on for CRM dominance. The purchase also might help Microsoft compete more aggressively with other major CRM providers, such as SAP and Oracle. The LinkedIn purchase "is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes," CEO Satya Nadella told Microsoft employees.
The Traction Gap
May 26, 2016
My friend and a partner at Wildcat Venture Partners, Bruce Cleveland, along with his associates, has come up with an idea that helps explain why some early-stage companies thrive and thus raise more capital, while others die on the vine. As a venture capitalist, he is always trying to figure this out, trying to determine who gets another round of funding and who doesn't.
Deeper Connections
May 23, 2016
Salesforce held its Connections 2016 user event in Atlanta earlier this month. About 7,000 people attended, but in the Georgia World Congress Center and airplane hangar, attendance seemed smallish. Attendance might have been held down by Gov. Nathan Deal's slow response to vetoing a religious freedom law largely seen as discriminating against the LGBT community.
The Why of Customers
May 13, 2016
SAS Institute introduced SAS Customer Intelligence 360 at its recent Global Forum meeting. Intelligence 360 has some good ideas baked in, though some of the messaging I heard wasn't up to the level of the product or at least its intention. I suspect that will come, and it's an easy fix. The product set is divided into two major components, Discover and Engage.
Oracle Plunks Down $532M for Customer Engagement Firm Opower
May 3, 2016
Oracle on Monday announced that it has agreed to acquire Opower for $532 million in cash. More than 100 global utilities, including PG&E, Exelon and National Grid, use Opower's customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services, Oracle said. Opower's big data platform stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter reads from 60 million end customers of utilities.
Fake Loyalty
April 13, 2016
There's an interesting connection between customer relationships in subscription businesses and loyalty, Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo wrote recently. His article had particular resonance for me, since I just wrote a book about customer loyalty myself. My research is full of old-style approaches to customer loyalty that aren't really about loyalty so much as they are about, shall we say, customer coercion.
Salesforce's MetaMind Buy Fuels CRM's AI Arms Race
April 7, 2016
MetaMind, a startup focused on deep learning, this week announced that it has been acquired by Salesforce. The company's expertise is in natural language processing -- letting computers analyze relationships between words. "We'll be able to offer customers real AI solutions with breakthrough capabilities that further automate and personalize customer support," MetaMind CEO Richard Socher said.
Study: Enterprises Shift Analytics Focus to Back Office
March 30, 2016
Companies have shifted their analytics efforts from consumer-focused processes to operations, according to the results of a survey released last week by Capgemini. Seventy percent of 600 executives said they focused more on operational analysis, and more than 80 percent said analytics in operations plays a pivotal role in driving profits or creating competitive advantage, according to the survey.
A Future Without Work?
March 17, 2016
Periodically, a blatantly silly idea gains currency, spreading throughout society, and it has one of two effects: Either it scares the heck out of people, or they become enraptured with its seeming plausibility. Last week, The New York Times published a piece set as a dialog between two economics writers, titled, "A Future Without Jobs?" I thought it fell into the silly category.
Google Supercharges Enterprise Analytics
March 16, 2016
Google on Tuesday announced a suite of analytics products for marketers. The Google Analytics 360 Suite is a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products designed to give enterprise-class marketers the ability to reach consumers with the right message at the right moment, according to Paul Muret, Google's vice president of analytics, display and video products.
The Salesforce Health Cloud
March 2, 2016
Salesforce is opening a can of snakes with its new Health Cloud, which became generally available this week. Having worked in the healthcare software industry for many years in the last century, I have mixed feelings about the announcement. While I'm relieved that an innovative company is taking on healthcare software at last, part of me thinks it could be a long and expensive slog.
Salesforce Springs Some Q4 Surprises
February 26, 2016
Salesforce shares held strong on Friday, following Thursday's spike on the company's release of a fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report that beat Wall Street estimates and raised revenue guidance for 2017. The stock finished up 11 percent Thursday, at $69.42, and held the gains on Friday, closing at $69.11. Fourth-quarter revenue was $1.81 billion, an increase of 25 percent from a year ago.
CRM and GDP
February 17, 2016
I was gobsmacked when I read this in Robert Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War: "Electric light, the first reliable internal combustion engine, and wireless transmission ... were all invented within the same three-month period at the end of 1879." It's a book full of surprises emanating from an analysis of major inflection points.
Pegasystems Takes Customer Service Far Afield
February 12, 2016
Pegasystems has launched Pega Field Service, an application designed expressly to streamline and automate critical components of field service operations. The software's key components are a customer service dashboard and a mobile application that enables organizations to centralize distributed field service work. Pega Field Service keeps track of all aspects of the field service process.
Marketers Make Customer Experience More Personal
February 11, 2016
Marketers this year will ramp up their efforts at personalization, getting a 360-degree view of customers and improving the customer experience, and they will leverage multiple strategies, tools and solutions to do so, a study released Tuesday by the CMO Council found. Deploying digital analytics and life cycle management tools will take the lead, followed by personalization platforms.
Marketing Quantification
February 10, 2016
It has been fun watching the rapid improvement of the marketing function over the last decade. The advance was in no small part due to the advances in marketing automation, and the marketing revolution is not over by a long shot. However, I think we're bumping up against a ceiling, and the improvements we can expect that make marketing faster will plateau.
Vendor of the Future
January 13, 2016
I spent part of last week listening to presentations about the customer of the future, and of course it made me think. As usual, I didn't think in a straight line. As you've heard from me before, customers are still the human beings that walked out of the ice age 10,000 years ago or even the Cro-Magnons of 35,000 years ago. It takes geologic time to observe changes in a species.
Taxpayer Advocate Blasts IRS' Planned Customer Service Revamp
January 8, 2016
The Taxpayer Advocate Service has released its annual report to Congress. Among other things, it warns that a five-year plan to revamp IRS operations may result in a substantial reduction in telephone and face-to-face interactions with taxpayers. "TAS has been left with the distinct impression that the IRS's ultimate goal is to get out of the business of talking with taxpayers," the report states.
CRM Predictions: Spotting the Critical Connections
December 22, 2015
At this time of the year, there's a clamoring among the business publishing class for predictions. That is partly because prediction stories are considered easy to write, and once they're done the staff can go celebrate the holidays while their publication continues to deliver content. However, having written a lot of prediction stories in the past, I can tell you that they are not easy to write.
Surprise Success: What to Do When Sales Go Through the Roof
December 22, 2015
Success is a good thing. Sometimes, however, surges in orders and sales cause headaches for e-commerce companies. The key is to expect the unexpected. Planning ahead can help ensure that sales spikes are handled as smoothly as possible. "It's never too early to start planning for growth," said Marg Hyland, founder of Pegeen. "You need to be prepared."
Year-End Intelligence
December 16, 2015
There's always an aphorism about Santa, stockings and year-end funding news, but I am tired of them so I'll let you imagine one. However, the funding news is so good from so many sources that I thought it worthwhile to mention a few items -- there are patterns emerging. First, Salesforce bought MinHash. That's not a funding event proper, but it does provide some modicum of cash to the founders.
2015: The Year of Intelligence
December 9, 2015
This year we traded in terminologies going from big data and analytics to digital disruption as the market-moving meme. I am not sure either one hits the spot, but they give me something to write about. Other things happened in 2015 too, but I'm just going to focus here. It seems to me we focus on the symptoms and not the root causes too often in this business.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Focuses on Intelligence
December 3, 2015
Microsoft this week released Dynamics CRM 2016 in CRM Online and on-premises versions. Built-in intelligence is a key feature of the package, which is available in 130 markets and 144 languages. It leverages the Cortana Analytics Suite's advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. Intelligence "is important because it's an idea that's current," observed analyst Denis Pombriant.
Sales and Marketing Sentiment: Feeling Is Perception Is Reality
November 16, 2015
About a year ago, I conducted a survey that led to my company's first-ever Sales & Marketing Sentiment Study. The idea was to get inside the heads of people in sales and marketing and reveal their feelings about the way they worked, the technology they used, and about each other. We split the results into sales and marketing responses and compared them.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ventures Into Machine Learning
November 10, 2015
Microsoft last week revealed some new details about Dynamics CRM 2016, emphasizing functionality designed to empower customer service agents. It will be released in both cloud and on-premises versions in Q4. It will be available as a standalone application or as an add-on to Office 365. "This is a big release for Microsoft," said Nucleus Research's Rebecca Wettemann.
Oracle Banks on CX Cloud Verticals
November 2, 2015
Oracle last week announced a variety of industry-specific solutions and enhancements to several existing products at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. The company unveiled industry-specific vertical solutions for the financial services, communications, consumer goods, high-tech, industrial manufacturing and automotive fields as part of its Customer Experience Cloud.
Processing Customer Loyalty
October 12, 2015
I've had to do a lot of thinking about customer loyalty lately, both for my book and more recently for client engagements. What's interesting is how chaotic this market is and how many people are writing about it with very little data. There isn't even strong agreement on the similarities and differences between rewards programs and loyalty. Are they the same? How?
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