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Managing in Mature Markets
March 20, 2018
Markets and companies change as industries grow and as a disruptive innovation commoditizes. Generally, prices come down because the innovation becomes commonplace and competitors fight for every scrap causing margin erosion. Eventually markets equilibrate, and a monopoly or small oligopoly sets in. We can see this playing out right now -- mature industries like databases have an oligopoly set up.
Fake News Has Become an Existential Threat
March 19, 2018
The scene in A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson going off on handling the truth has been coming to mind way too often of late. Sadly, this is the world we are living in right now, and social media is at the heart of it. I recently noticed a headline that implied a lot of people had taken exception to something Gal Gadot tweeted about Stephen Hawking.
Healthcare, CRM's New Vertical
March 14, 2018
Healthcare might offer the best example of the potential for vertical market CRM, but most people in CRM may not realize this. Healthcare is, after all, a bit of a stretch from what we do in the enterprise or SMB world, but perhaps it shouldn't be. In both spheres we see a relatively small number of highly paid and overworked people addressing the needs of a vast number of people.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Phones, Simple Phones, and Sparkling Water on Tap
March 13, 2018
Oh, look, it's a new flagship smartphone duo from Samsung. Shockingly enough, they're called the "Galaxy S9" and "Galaxy S9+." They have a similar appearance to the previous year's models, but there are also a few differences, such as a new camera and stereo speakers. There's a 960-frames-per-second slow motion mode, and there's the option to add music to clips or turn them into GIFs.
I Have Seen Technology's Future
March 12, 2018
One of the most interesting parts of Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, Inception, allows small focused startups to pitch their ideas in a Shark Tank-like atmosphere to compete for a significant cash prize. Two of the more compelling solutions were presented by companies run by women this year. However, the big news was a company that was well along the way to creating an electronic human/machine interface.
Facebook's Vulnerabilities Surface
March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool.
Most Companies Have No Idea Where They Are Going
March 5, 2018
Dell recently collaborated with the Institute for the Future -- an interesting think tank largely driven by futurists, which focuses on helping firms ride future waves rather than being killed by them -- on a survey that creates a frightening view of 2030. It could be far closer to Terminator than the utopia we once hoped for. I think more companies should go through a process like this.
Fileless Malware: Why You Should Care
March 2, 2018
It's a truism that just like organizations adapt, so too do criminals. Anyone who has ever seen a Wells Fargo commercial knows that there was a time when stagecoaches were a normative method for transporting cash and valuables. But what modern criminals in their right mind would attempt robbing a Brink's truck on horseback? That strategy might have worked well in the days of the Pony Express.
To Fix Healthcare, Fix IT First
March 1, 2018
We spend a great deal of time and effort trying to make healthcare more affordable and to ensure better outcomes. Too often, the upshot is to reduce all problems and challenges to a singularity in search of a silver bullet. It never works, but it seems like human nature to take that approach. Salesforce has taken a tactic that is bearing fruit, in part because it isn't really trying to fix healthcare.
When It's Time for a Linux Distro Change
February 27, 2018
It's common for Linux users to hop between distributions and survey the field, and I recently reached a point where I had to seriously rethink the one I was using most of the time. Between hardware compatibility issues with my old standby and some discouraging missteps with other go-to choices, I felt the time had come to reassess my pool of preferred distributions and repopulate it from scratch.
Real Danger and Dangerous Distraction - AI to the Rescue?
February 26, 2018
The shooting at the school in Florida was devastating, and it appears clear that Russia has been manipulating public opinion in the U.S. to stoke the flames of a divisive argument on guns. What is being missed is a brewing problem that potentially could have an even more devastating impact. Competing for our eyeballs is the news that the U.S. president kissed a woman without her permission.
'Different Strokes' Approach Can Damage a Brand
February 23, 2018
One fundamental element of building a brand relationship with customers is consistency. Widely franchised companies like Starbucks compromise consistency, however. They employ several different business models instead of sticking to one. This approach confuses customers and hurts the master brand, since customers never really know what to expect.
Keeping It Simple
February 22, 2018
Disruptive innovations expose longstanding needs and signal that there's a solution at hand -- one that usually is less expensive than the status quo. The lower-cost aspect makes adoption inevitable and disruptive. Document management is like that. Decades ago, many enterprises found that the cost of capturing documents as electronic images vastly improved on costly file cabinet systems.
Gadget Ogling: A Different Sort of Activity Tracker and a Smartwatch for Kids
February 21, 2018
More often than I'd care to admit, I feel the seconds, minutes, and hours of a day slip into the ether before I realize it's happening. When it's time for bed and I try to take stock of my day, it's difficult to recall exactly how I spent my time. As someone who would like to be more efficient and productive, I think Timeflip seems like a terrific way to keep track of where my time goes.
Are You Engineering the Customer Experience Out of Your Business?
February 20, 2018
Automation. Robots. Technology taking our jobs. I defy you to pick up a business magazine and avoid this topic -- it will be in there somewhere. Here's another theme you won't be able to avoid: the need to focus on the customer experience. These two trends are in tension much of the time. They don't have to be, but most businesses seem determined to focus on themselves instead of the customer.
Silicon Valley's Corrupt Underbelly: It's Far Worse Than We Thought
February 19, 2018
After addressing the topic of sexual harassment and misconduct in Silicon Valley last month, I finally got my hands on a copy of Brotopia, an eye-opening new book, and a lot of executives should be happy I did not pursue my career in law enforcement. Otherwise I would be working my butt off to get them off the streets behind bars. Everyone connected to tech should read this book.
Advanced Selling Strategies
February 17, 2018
One of CRM's overlooked benefits, accrued over many years, is its influence on business processes. Twenty or so years ago, front-office business processes were simplistic, due in part to the lack of technology support. For example, business leaders might have wanted to peer into a sales process to better incentivize sales reps, but rarely did so because it required a lot of data.
Trending in CRM
February 14, 2018
It's uncertain how the CRM market will look in six months, given the stock market, the economy and the tax bill. Initial indications are that more money will be available for various corporate activities, like hiring and rewarding employees and investments in products and business processes. If so, a decent amount of cash might find its way into various CRM company coffers.
To Win in the New Delivery Economy, Go to the Cloud
February 12, 2018
As Amazon sets consumer expectations for rapid delivery to the home, companies in nearly every industry have been recognizing that they must move to the cloud to keep pace. This means revamping their transportation and logistics systems to meet their customers' escalating delivery expectations. These rising demands have been fueling the growth of a new generation of cloud-based, SaaS solutions.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
The 3 Faces of Customer Care
February 8, 2018
Companies are run by people. Some do a great job of putting the customer first and growing, which ultimately rewards investors. Others don't. Some first focus on investors and numbers, simply not caring about or taking care of the customer. That approach can have a serious and long-term negative impact on the company. Following are several examples of what some companies are doing right and wrong.
Open Up the Source Code to Lock Down Your Data
February 8, 2018
Meaningful security is more than an app or an OS. It's a mindset. Linux security tools by themselves will not make you or anyone more secure. Security requires trade-offs in convenience, so the tools I'll highlight here are not recommended as "daily drivers." Only you can determine your ideal balance point. Perhaps the single greatest strength of Linux is that it is open source.
Document Management Revisited
February 5, 2018
The IT industry has been playing whack-a-mole since its inception. We've been applying sophisticated technology to our biggest business problems not once but repeatedly, as each new generation of technology offers and delivers order-of-magnitude improvements to our business processes. In some cases, we're on our fourth or fifth iteration of solutions.
Amazon's Soaring Healthcare Ambition: The Promise and the Problem
February 5, 2018
Healthcare is a mess in the United States. Consumers pay more and get less than in most other developed countries. Strong comprehensive healthcare is unaffordable for most without substantial help, which is why putting the burden on the government really does not work. If people cannot afford something, individually aggregating it under what amounts to a tax is not really any better.
Open Source Software Turns 20-Something
February 3, 2018
Saturday marks the 20th Anniversary of open source, sort of. Open source led to a new software development and distribution model that offered an alternative to proprietary software. No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates. On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the "open source" term.
Resist: Don't Sign That AT&T Contract
February 1, 2018
This is a call for resistance that has nothing to do with politics. It's coming from someone who unwittingly walked into a virtual jail cell that was disguised as a DirecTV contract. I'll be behind bars for another 23 months, and I'm counting the days. Please don't take this as a rant or as an attempt to pressure AT&T, DirecTV's parent company, into appeasing me. That ship has sailed.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 2
January 31, 2018
Where does the discipline of CRM begin? We have a good idea where the software fits, but where does its impact end? With a sale? With a customer saying good things about your company to other customers? With a repeat purchase? And does CRM contribute to these events alone, or is there a web of other activities that help drive these relationships -- and do we ever consider these things to be CRM?
Don't Pay the Hackers
January 30, 2018
If you follow security news, you may have noticed a disturbing trend. Last year, we learned that Uber paid attackers $100,000 to keep under wraps their stealth of the personal information of 50 million Uber riders. More recently, we learned that Hancock Health paid approximately $55,000 in bitcoin to bring hospital systems back online. The payment of ransoms could be more common than it appears.
Salesforce's Triangulation Strategy
January 24, 2018
Partnerships may be playing the role usually reserved for M&A activity in the CRM world right now. Generally a company makes a purchase when it wants to capture the benefits of another business' R&D or established market base. However, at the moment it appears that the desirable targets are too big to swallow, and the result is more partnering between the big guys and the really big guys.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2017: Countdown, Part 1
January 22, 2018
Something very interesting is happening in the world of CRM blogs: CRM is becoming less and less of a subject. Oh, it's in there -- it's just being elbowed to the back of the stage by a whole host of other related disciplines and technologies. Customer experience, customer engagement and content marketing are vying with artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and bots to elbow ahead of CRM.
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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.