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Oracle Confronts Lawsuit on Its Path to the Cloud
August 18, 2018
The City of Sunrise Firefighters' Pension Fund has sued Oracle, alleging that its executives lied about the company's successes in the cloud and engaged in coercion and threats to sell its cloud products, "creating an unsustainable model that fell apart." The plaintiff apparently is seeking class-action status for the suit. Oracle has called the suit meritless and said it would defend against it.
Sugar's New Shot Clock
August 16, 2018
SugarCRM has agreed to acquisition by Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. Although the announcement calls the deal "a significant investment," what typically happens when private equity moves in is that venture capital moves out. Private equity likes to own everything and thus have greater control. In basketball terms, Sugar just got a big rebound and a new shot clock.
JEDI Mind Games
August 15, 2018
During the same week it was sued by irate investors over progress moving its customer base to the cloud, Oracle protested a procurement process for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure. The lawsuit will take a long time to resolve, and it's difficult to see how the plaintiffs can prove their case -- but in comparison, the Department of Defense's procurement will run at light speed.
5 Strategies for Collecting, Creating and Circulating Customer Testimonials
August 14, 2018
Most of us understand how overwhelming it can be moving to a new city. Surrounded by a host of options for dining, shopping, daycare, leisure time, auto mechanics and everything else under the sun, making an educated decision on where to go involves some groundwork. So what is there to do? Many of us will turn to a new coworker or neighbor for recommendations.
Oracle Releases Second Half of Autonomous DB
August 10, 2018
A lot of people might have thought Oracle's announcement of the autonomous database at last year's OpenWorld and its subsequent release earlier this year were the whole story, but there's a lot more. This week's webcast featuring Larry Ellison was proof. Ellison must find his CTO role -- since he handed the CEO reins to Safra Catz and Mark Hurd -- to be stimulating and liberating at the same time.
Block to Be Salesforce Co-CEO With Benioff
August 8, 2018
There are many interpretations of Salesforce's elevation of Keith Block to serve as co-CEO with Marc Benioff. Block has been the company's vice chairman and president for several years, and the elevation could be a recognition of the obvious -- he's been doing the job without the title for a while. However, Salesforce and Benioff are well known for getting added mileage from any move they make.
AI-Driven Marketing Offers High Hopes to B2B Firms
August 8, 2018
Versium has announced a partnership with LiveRamp to launch artificial intelligence-powered B2B audience segments,as part of a new business-to-business data management platform. The partnership will let companies perform online targeting of offline business professional data that often is housed within their own CRM systems. LiveRamp customers will get access to Versium's modeling engine.
Slide Over, Salesforce? Freshworks Scores $100M in Funding Round
August 1, 2018
Freshworks has secured $100 million in funding from Accel and Sequoia Capital India with the participation of CapitalG. That brings the total amount of capital raised since the firm's 2010 launch to $250 million. "The new funding will be used to invest in our platform and to continue scaling internationally," said Arvind Parthiban, Freshworks' director of marketing.
Cloud Transition State
July 24, 2018
A confusing dynamic has been emerging in the software industry, caused by the inexorable shift to the cloud. Even before you can get into the analysis, though, you need to identify which cloud or clouds you're thinking about -- e.g., infrastructure, apps, platform. Also, once you've done that, you need to decide if you're partial to technology or financial analysis.
Is Philanthropy Becoming Sexy?
July 20, 2018
The Internet has a long and storied history of democratizing information and influencing social change. It has flattened hierarchies and made information accessible to many more people -- though, ironically, it also has sometimes assaulted democracy in the process. Just think about how philanthropy has been changing at the instigation of Salesforce, one of the Internet's poster kids.
Marketing Partnership to Help Fine-Tune Targeting
July 18, 2018
Sonobi and LiveRamp have partnered to help marketers improve targeting. The partnership will let brands and agencies build media packages using the Sonobi JetStream multichannel ad platform and LiveRamp's identity resolution system. "Sonobi has a forecasting and planning engine that understands the visitation patterns of an individual user across the open Web," said CEO Michael Connolly.
Did Salesforce Need to Buy Datorama?
July 17, 2018
Salesforce has inked a deal to acquire marketing analytics company Datorama. The acquisition will give Marketing Cloud a power boost by expanding data integration and intelligence, according to Salesforce. The newly acquired tech will give marketers the ability to unlock insights across channels and data sources, providing a unified view that can help companies make smarter decisions, it added.
TrueCommerce Integration With Shopify Promises Boatloads of Benefits
July 13, 2018
TrueCommerce has announced the integration of its unified commerce solutions with Shopify, a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform. Shopify powered more than 600,000 merchants across 175 countries as of last August. The new offering will give Shopify merchants a unified scheme for greater integration across all commerce channels within a business' systems and supply chain network.
What I Learned at the Conferences
July 7, 2018
The close of Q2 ends the first wave of vendor customer events. Still to come this fall are Salesforce Dreamforce and Oracle OpenWorld -- and others -- but mercifully, we have the summer to digest all the information absorbed this spring and re-sync with our native time zones.For starters, CRM doesn't appear to be slowing down. As an industry, it's rated at about $35 billion in revenues.
Oracle's Nice Numbers
June 30, 2018
Significant Q4 wins and earnings numbers reflect the strength of Oracle's resurgence as a cloud company. At its earnings call earlier this week, CEO Mark Hurd mentioned some big names -- including Johnson & Johnson, the Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University and AT&T -- that made significant commitments to Oracle in the quarter. For FY2018, total revenues were up 6 percent compared with fiscal 2017.
Oracle's Creative Destruction
June 26, 2018
Although Oracle was one of the last major enterprise software vendors to move to the cloud, it has embraced the idea of creative destruction in breathtaking ways. With BYOL -- Bring Your Own License -- the company has inspired a movement of its traditional software customers to its infrastructure cloud. It continued the translation exercise with Oracle LaunchPad, a new online learning platform.
Salesforce Connects With Marketing
June 21, 2018
A good way to understand what Salesforce articulated at Connections 2018 is to recall the direction it set a few years ago, when CEO Marc Benioff said the company would develop most apps for the small screen first. Translated, that was a concession that handheld devices -- phones and tablets -- would become the primary devices we'd all use in business. So far that's been a good bet.
Zuora at a Crossroads
June 18, 2018
Zuora's recent Subscribed user conference was a good first outing since the company's IPO, coming off some impressive first-quarter results. Year-over-year subscription revenues grew 39 percent and total revenue grew an amazing 60 percent, for example. As good as its present situation is, now that Zuora is a public company, it has to push down the gas pedal to feed the insatiable stock market.
Salesforce Adds Google Analytics Capabilities to Marketing Cloud
June 14, 2018
Salesforce has announced integrations between its Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 that equip marketers with a broad range of new capabilities. Marketers now can view consumer insights from both Marketing Cloud and Analytics 360 in a single journey analytics dashboard. If they see a high rate of browse abandons, they can create a tailored journey to re-engage them, for example.
How B2B Sellers Can Keep Buyers Engaged
June 12, 2018
The gap between B2B buyers and sellers has been growing. More than 70 percent of B2B buyers preferred to wait to engage a seller until the latter demonstrated a clear understanding of its needs, a CSO Insights survey found. Nearly 58 percent of buyers saw little difference among sellers, and more than 10 percent saw no difference at all among sellers.
CRMDialer President Dimitri Akhrin: Raw Data Is No. 1 Thing
June 12, 2018
One of the top current trends in the CRM space is that AI offers "the ability to gain insight, and the most important example is visitor tracking," said Dimitri Ahkrin, president of CRMDialer. "That's a big component -- knowing how in real time to react to something a prospect is doing on a site. It's going to allow prescriptive recommendations about what to do in a particular moment."
Reshaping the Software and Services Marketplace
June 11, 2018
In the old IT world, systems integration and consulting companies flourished, helping enterprises of all sizes across nearly every industry pull together a plethora of proprietary systems from a wide array of software and technology vendors. Despite the promises of the cloud, not much has changed. Yet, there are several important differences in today's IT services requirements that set them apart.
SAP Discovers CRM
June 6, 2018
SAP has unveiled a new attempt to consolidate a group of about a dozen front office apps into a fully integrated CRM suite -- next year. How do you say "lipstick on a pig" in a non-derogatory way? Look, CRM is over 20 years old now. For most of the early days, the vendors scrambled to integrate their apps into a coherent whole, supporting multiple customer-facing processes.
Oracle's Security Jag
June 2, 2018
Oracle has been on a security campaign ever since Larry Ellison openly began discussing the new "autonomous database" -- so called because it can manage itself, including self-patching and upgrading, without human effort. The hands-off database can eliminate human labor to keep it tuned and running, according to Oracle, greatly reducing the time between availability and implementation.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Middle Office or No-Man's Land?
May 20, 2018
It was once common knowledge that Apttus was the next big acquisition target on Salesforce's radar, until Salesforce decided to acquire another CPQ vendor to augment its Sales Cloud. In the two-ish years since, Apttus has nicely pivoted, diversifying its partner base and justifying its existence with a new strategy and nomenclature around what it calls the "middle office."
Oracle's Drive to Automate
May 13, 2018
Oracle -- or could we say "Autoracle"? -- has introduced more autonomous products, generally in keeping with what I see as a build-out of an information utility. The products include Autonomous Analytics, Autonomous Integrations, Autonomous Builder code generation and free premium service. The autonomous products broadly leverage a variety of analytics and machine learning tools.
Platform Logic
May 1, 2018
For some time, it has been my impression that in the CRM market, all -- or at least most -- of the good ideas have been taken. It's been a long time since we've seen a new systemic approach to front-office business. It's even been a long time since we've seen a major innovation at the department level. CRM itself was a systemic innovation in the last decade of the last century.
The Scaling Challenge
April 26, 2018
There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I've heard it twice in the last week. It's easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can't say it's a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don't grow to the moon on average.
Honesty Proves Best Policy for Closing B2B Deals: Study
April 23, 2018
Vendors have a better shot at closing deals for large-scale B2B software purchases when they are upfront and honest about the quality of their products, a new study suggests. There is a bit of a trust gap between what is promised in negotiations for these deals and what actually is provided, indicates the poll of more than 650 technology vendors and buyers.
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