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What's the Future of Selling?
June 04, 2014
I think about the future -- perhaps too much. I recently read Jeremy Rifkin's new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, and it made me think about the future of work. Rifkin's thesis is that automation is taking on more and more jobs that once were thought to be the province of skilled labor.
Salesforce, MS Deal Could Put Mobile CRM on Steroids
May 30, 2014
Now "anyone can run their business from their phone," Salesforce.com recently promised when it announced its Salesforce1 Mobile App. Many company announcements tend to overpromise, and Salesforce has a tendency to be particularly exuberant, so I took it with the customary grain of salt. My skepticism vanished on Thursday, when Salesforce and Microsoft announced a global strategic partnership.
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.
Report: CRM Is Going Strong
May 09, 2014
CRM software had a good year in 2013 with the category totaling $20.4 billion, a 13.7 percent increase from $18 billion the previous year, according to a report released this week by Gartner. Furthermore, the next few years are likely to be just as positive, if not more, the firm predicted. "CRM will be at the heart of digital initiatives in coming years," said Gartner Research VP Joanne Correia.
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."
OnSip Invites Customers to Push Its Buttons
May 05, 2014
Amazon's Mayday button has intrigued CRM industry users as well as consumers. Introduced about a year ago, Mayday is a button customers can press on their mobile devices to get service or tech help. Salesforce.com last month debuted its version of Mayday. Now other tech providers are introducing variations on the theme. One such company is OnSIP, which has just debuted InstaCall.
Heartbleed: SaaS' Forbidden Experiment?
May 02, 2014
Have you ever heard the term "The Forbidden Experiment"? If you're not familiar with it, it's a concept originating in the behavioral sciences relating to challenges in understanding human language development. Specifically, the "experiment" in question refers to actually testing empirically what would happen if a child were raised without language.
Don't Overlook the Mobile Searcher
April 15, 2014
The mobile browser is not dead, exactly, but if it were an animal it might be on the endangered species list. Mobile users are spending more time using mobile apps and less and less time surfing the Web from their mobile devices, based on recent statistics from Flurry. Apps took up 86 percent of the average U.S. mobile consumer's time online, or 2 hours and 19 minutes per day, the firm reported.
Mobile, Local Ad Spend Zooms Down Runway
April 11, 2014
After years of surprising the industry with its middling adoption, it appears that location-based mobile advertising is poised to come into its own. U.S. mobile local advertising revenues will reach $4.5 billion in 2014, up from $2.9 billion in 2013, according to BIA/Kelsey. Mobile local ad revenues will have more than tripled by 2018, reaching $15.7 billion, it projected.
The Pace of Federal IT Innovation Requires Vendor Patience
April 11, 2014
Federal information technology managers are as intrigued as any other IT community by the potential benefits from IT innovations. However, many federal managers continue to face challenges in adopting innovative technologies. Lack of funding, employee skill gaps, and lack of organizational buy-in are the top three constraints that inhibit the use of new technologies.
Service-Based IT Switches Up Feds' Vendor Relationships
March 28, 2014
Cloud computing has ushered in an emphasis on service-oriented, on-demand information technology in the federal market. The shift from acquiring hard assets, such as computers, servers and even mobile devices, as well as software packages installed on those assets, has been gradual. However, the process has reached a point that it requires more attention from the vendor community.
4 Sharp Tools for Honing Reseller Loyalty
March 17, 2014
As tricky as CRM seems, it's nothing compared to managing relationships with indirect channel partners. I often joke that it's CRM to the second power: You must not only manage the CRM tasks you always needed to do to create a relationship with end customers, but also enable partners to sell, service and support on your behalf. When it comes to selling, reseller partners are motivated.
With Colin Powell, Salesforce Board Goes to 11
March 14, 2014
Gen. Colin Powell on Thursday joined Salesforce.com's board of directors, bringing the number seated at the table to 11. The general, who has been friends with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff for several years, has been associated with the company's philanthropic activities. The news represents a major public and investment relations score for Salesforce.
Microsoft Beats the Customer-Centricity Drum at Convergence
March 04, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday kicked off its Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 conference with a keynote address by Executive Vice President Kirill Tatarinov, whose running theme was the need for the companies to be customer-centric to stay competitive. "Technology has changed the social fabric, transforming how we engage, connect and interact with one another," Tatarinov said.
Big Data and the Process Revolution
February 26, 2014
A wave of change is now making its way through the front office with uneven results. CRM is moving from a data capture and retrieval solution to something that supports end-to-end processes -- and as with ERP, data analysis is helping to improve what once were purely manual processes. The trick is in producing knowledge from data. Alone, data is useless.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Comcast-TWC Customers: Be Afraid, Very Afraid
February 19, 2014
While federal regulators mull the possible antitrust ramifications of the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the companies' customers also are considering the fallout from this deal. Both companies have a reputation for poor customer service, and the fear is that a combination of the conglomerates may result in the achievement of a new low.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
Customers' Comings and Goings Not Always Linked to Satisfaction
February 14, 2014
Which comes first -- a sector in which consumers have a lot of choices and can easily switch providers, or companies that are rigorous in their customer service policies and attitudes? A recent survey on customer service attitudes raises that question but doesn't exactly answer it. However, it does suggest there is a strong link between customer choice and customer service policies.
'Nontraditional' Is the Name of the New CRM Game
February 10, 2014
Fueled by its recent infusion of $40 million by Goldman Sachs to invest in sales and marketing, SugarCRM plans to focus on "the nontraditional use of CRM," said VP of Marketing Jennifer Stagnaro. "That is, we plan to go beyond the traditional uses of sales force automation and customer service and marketing automation," she said, noting that nontraditional uses of CRM are on the rise.
The 3 Ages of CRM
February 05, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.

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