Monday, December 31, 2007

Lets close the 2007 deal, SR, campaign, order ... and welcome the business of 2008

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As they say, another good year behind us. Had to really resist the temptation of blogging about '08 predictions or '07 observations as my final post for the year.

Think '07 was a great year for CRM and one look at products from vendors like Oracle and SAP indicate that the next (2.0) generation is very much here and mainstream. So I would say buckle up as we are on for a ride in 2008.

Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top 20 Things Sales and Marketing folks should know

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Ran into a couple of great compilations by Rohit Bhargava on his Influential Marketing Blog. Through these two posts what he has done is classified terminology that todays marketing folks should avoid using going forward or focus on in 2008. Now while I agree with most of what he describes in his posts, I have a slightly different take on these.

I would say that what he has provided are the Top 20 things that sales and marketing folks should be aware of in somewhat descending order. But make sure you familiarize yourself with these as it'll be increasingly difficult to market in 2008 without understanding what inbound links, engagement or impressions means in todays world.

The Top 10 Most Underappreciated Metrics To Track in 2008

  1. Inbound Links (from influential sources)
  2. Direct URL Access
  3. RSS Subscribers
  4. Email Link Referrals
  5. Time Spent (engagement)
  6. Organic Keyword Referrals
  7. Email Longevity and Multiple Opens
  8. Abandonment
  9. Clickstream
  10. Microsharing

The Top 10 Most Overused Metrics of 2007

  1. Impressions
  2. Technorati Authority
  3. Comments
  4. Trackbacks
  5. Time Spent (searching)
  6. Keyword Conversion Rate
  7. Number of Pages
  8. Email Open Rate
  9. Popover Click Rate
  10. Page Views

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Biggest Business Challenges for 2008 - HBR

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Harvard Business is building a crystal ball around responses from readers on the Biggest Management Challenges in 2008. Among some of the early responses;

Social Networking. “Companies must learn to effectively utilize social
networking tools both inside and outside the companies to keep up with what the
younger workers grew up with — fast and furious communication tools like
texting, facebook, My Space, You Tube, etc. that spread the word now. Not in the
next quarter, next month, next week or even next day, but NOW.”

Absolutely agree !! and thats where customers should be going with their CRM 2.0 initiatives as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oracle's Social CRM

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What a whirlwind last 4-5 days these have been. So many happenings things moving rapidly into the Web2.0, Enterprise2.0, Social arena.

W2.0 and social aspects of enterprise applications were all over .. in Larry's keynote, in Ed Abbo's (Oracle Apps Unltd head honcho) keynote, Anthony Lye, George Jacob, Steve Miranda and the list goes on. Everyone had interactive, social apps to showcase, widgets/gadgets flashing on their desktops. Social Applications have arrived at Oracle and are here to stay. In fact one of the most interesting observations this week was how deep this social or W2.0 initiative is running at Oracle. Its not just the superficial addition of a blog or wiki to get the W2.0 tag. These are social capabilities being woven into the fabric of the application to enable superior customer relationships.

Here are some links that provide additional coverage;

Oracle offers a peek at social apps and Fusion ZDNet

Oracle Embraces Web 2.0 Technologies eWeek

Oracle says new “social CRM” apps a bonanza for salespersons ITBusiness.ca

Oracle openworld: Social CRM is coming...and so's Fusion! MyCustomer.com

Oracle previews Fusion, Web 2.0 apps SearchCRM.com

Amazing how a weekend project that I started earlier has now turned into a successful widget/gadget initiative there at Oracle. Who says large companies are not agile and open to ideas or changes !! By the way these widgets/gadgets were in everyones keynote as well ;-) .. saw them on AL, SM, EA and GJ desktops.

Here a

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Web 2.0 on the ropes .. or is it

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A post on Silicon Valley Watcher based on a conversation between Tom Foremski and Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins seems to indicate that KPCB has stopped all investments in Web 2.0.

Not sure what that means, however I'm pretty certain that its being quoted out of context a lot on the Web. When I first read it I thought to myself, how are they actually delivering on this message .. Web 2.0 technologies and products are so pervasive these days .. so do they look at a business plan and say "oops no cant fund it cause its using Web 2.0 technology". Or is it more of "oops sorry you're not doing anything new and just labelling it as Web2.0.

Well anyways I ran into the link again today and saw that Tim O-Reilly had posted a comment on that site;

"Either KP is getting sucked in by the hype end of Web 2.0, and failing to
understand what it's really about, or else, more likely, they are using
another term for the same thing.
At the end of the day, there is a deep, long term trend towards the network as platform, and to applications that leverage the true strength of that platform. That's what *I* call Web 2.0, and I know that KP is still investing in that trend.
(They are, however, also taken with many other important areas, such as energy and the environment, that are increasingly distant from the web.)
But I think the real way to interpret this comment is to say that if a company needs to identify itself as a "Web 2.0" company rather than describing the problem
they are solving, or the opportunity they are creating, then they are just
playing the buzzword game, and aren't worth investing in, regardless of the
buzzword!"

So sanity was finally restored to the Web 2.0 world ;-) ;-)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Follow up - Lunch 2.0 @ Oracle

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Wanted to post on this for a while .. wow what an event that was. 200+ Web 2.0 enthusiasts in a room ... electric

I think Lunch 2.0 is a wonderful concept and a very ingenious way of getting feedback, insights and generally getting the word out on your Web2.0 initiatives.

We got some very good feedback and a lot of insight on whats happening in this space and where we can make things better. We also got some flak as the WebCenter team showed some slides when it was all about products and demos and we also got some feedback about the lack of user or participant interactivity.

Though in all fairness I did get about 20-30 people stop by the demo pod after my demo to discuss the details of how we developed the widgets/gadgets and what the security and persistence models are etc. Many remarked that Widgets/MiniApps are one promising inroad to the enterprise for many Web2.0 technologies and models to manifest themselves.

But I guess that's only 10% of the audience and we want more. So if you have any lingering thoughts or comments fromt that day please post them here.

Ah well, feedback well taken this was the very first Lunch 2.0 at Oracle so I'm sure we'll gear it for much better interaction/participation in the future.

I think kudos to Justin Kestelyn and Marius and team for putting this together. Click here for Lunch 2.0coverage on the OTN blog.




Also saw Jeremiah Owyang out there and I guess he gets the credit for seeding the idea at Oracle for participating in the event.


That's a pic of yours truly presenting at the event and behind me you can see the beautiful widgets we've created for Oracle's Siebel CRM Applications.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lunch 2.0 @ Oracle

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I'll be doing Lunch 2.0 @ Oracle tomorrow. Will be the first presenter .. so stay tuned and will blog post event to provide more details.

For those who've never heard of Lunch2.0 ... its a community marketing event started by a 2-3 techno marketing savvy guys who are using the organic approach to getting Web 2.0 more mainstream.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Web 2.0 Design Pattern

1 comments

"Simple and intuitive yet effective and efficient"

The software industry has struggled with this design pattern for a long .. long time and yet these days when I use some Web 2.0 apps. That's all I keep saying to myself!

Darayush

Monday, October 15, 2007

Web 2.0 commercials and Enterprise Software

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It just gets more and more interesting as enterprise software companies use Web 2.0 to their commercial advantage.
Here's a Lawson S/W commercial that is currently doing the rounds. After TIBCO's Greg the Architect series on YT this one seems to be the next one.

http://theotherthomasotter.wordpress.com/2007/10/11/laughing-with-lawson/

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CRM morphs to Customer Care ... Naah

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I recently read this post about CRM 2.0 on Marshall Lager's blog and what we should call CRM in its next generation.

I'm not sure if "Customer Care" works for next generation CRM. To me a "customer" the term "customer care" conjures up images of CRM 1.0 Call Centers that were supposed to be customer care centers but were busy pissing me off with either poor service or upselling calls guised as regular customer health check calls.

What CRM 2.0 brings is more than technology change, just like how Web 2.0 brings more than tech change as well. To me its a behavioral change on how we interact and participate as a society, obviously it wont last forever and when the trend has cooled off we will be looking at getting it out of everywhere.

Plus in Web 2.0 times I'm not sure if customers really need an enterprise to provide it "caaaare". These days customers take care of themselves and their relationship with the enterprise. So Customer Care in Web 2.0 times just sounds too benevolent to me.

But hey its another candidate to add to the list. Hopefully we get CRM 2.0 defined before its done with :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Are Web 2.0 Mashups the next generation of Analytics dashboards

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The more I look at Mashups and its application in the enterprise space, the more I feel that we are looking at the next generation of Analytics applications for the enterprise.


So what is a mashup?

To me its a web application that is created by consuming services and content from multiple existing web applications to create a meaningful target web application.


Now as I understand mashups the one premise is that the API's used for creating mashups should be public API's. However not sure if its very applicable in an enterprise.


Here are the 3-4 popular mashup categories or genere's;

- Maps based mashups. The most popular ones being created between Google Maps and real estate websites or crime watch websites. (HousingMaps)
- News or RSS/Atom based mashups. Now I know I'm putting RSS/Atom which is a technology into these category. But if you really look at the News mashups they're mostly using RSS/Atom. (HeadlineMap) ... this ones more like a News + Maps mashup.
- Video, Photo, Music based mashups. This is where actual media content or media listings are then mashed up with other info sources. Like the iTunes and YouTube mashup where the top 10 from iTunes are taken and mashed up with related videos from YT. (YouTubeDigg)

Now most of the mashups in the consumer world or the WWW today rely either on some kind of web page clipping or scraping or leveraging RSS/Atom feeds to combine the content coming from the two source sites.

Companies like Oracle and IBM have now started providing product suites that ease the process of creating mashups within an enterprise. For an enterprise mashup there could be 3 posisble site combination scenarios; internal - internal, internal - external (most likely) or external - external.
If you have any samples of enterprise mashups that you might have created please share them here.

So now here comes my Analytics dashboard analogy. For the longest time Datawarehousing, BI and Analytics vendors had used the route of we capture the data provide it useful meaning and then release it to the rest of the organization. However the more recent and hugely successful category of Analytics/BI applications actually provided a very simple drag and drop kind of interface to end users so they could create their own dashboards, reports and drive their own analysis. This would be done at the individual level for highly trained or technical resources and at the team or departmental level for small to medium teams, where there would be one rep doing this.

Mashups for me are heading into that relam because there have always been times in the past where enterprise users had requests like .. I wish if only data from this site could be merged with data from that site - and IT would give them a 5 year integration and rollout plan. These mashup tools will now provide organizations with the tools and agility to quickly package and rollout these kinds of apps that would help increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness something those pre-mashup days content streams wouldnt have been able to do on their own.

The applications for these kinds of target mashups would be endless ... Sales cycle, Marketing, Project Mgmt, Systems Management and the list goes on. Well actually the value prop gets even more interesting if you start mashing up the existing enterprise Analytics dashboards with other websites.

Aggregate Blog post for Use Cases and Application of Enterprise 2.0

2 comments

If there are any interesting Enterprise 2.0 use cases or applications that you might have deployed, seen, heard of or even simply thought of, feel free to provide them in the comments here and I will keep aggregating them into the post.

To me this is one thing that sorely lacking in all the Enterprise, CRM, Sales, ABC 2.0 discussions and posts.

Recently ran into this site thats doing the exact same thing I was intending on doing here in a more primitive fashion. So wanted to update the post. Cases 2.0 is aiming to be the repository for Enterprise2.0 scenarios and use cases. Great idea.

Oracle highlights Enterprise 2.0 efforts

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This article posted on InfoWorld highlights the fact that large enterprise S/W vendors like Oracle and (IBM Previews Suite of Web 2.0 Mashup Technologies for Businesses) have started seeing the value of providing products/capabilities that allow the Web 2.0 paradigm to easily enter the enterprise arena. To me its a no brainer, Web 2.0 is all about agility, efficiency, power of human interaction and networking, end user gaining control and hence a prime candidate for enterprise adoption where these capabilities can ultimately provide organizations a competitive edge to out-do the rest and make more moolah either through the topline or the bottomline. (now now .. lets not be naive .. in the enterprise its always about doing more business)

What's been eluding a lot of folks is the application of Web 2.0 in the enterprise and their deployment challenges. I'm going to start a running post that aggregates these use cases, so if you have any to contribute post them here.

Oracle officials during a Web conference Tuesday cited collaborative benefits of Enterprise 2.0 and cast the company's WebCenter platform as its product offering in this space.
Enterprise 2.0 from Oracle's perspective brings the benefits of Web 2.0-style collaboration to the enterprise. Other elements include the ability to build mashup applications. While there has been confusion as to what exactly Web 2.0 really is, it has been equated to blogging, AJAX-style development, and even Google, said Sonny Singh, senior vice president of the Industries Business Unit at Oracle.
"The truth of the matter is there are probably as many definitions of Web 2.0 as there are technologies associated with it," Singh said.
"[Web 2.0 is] really about how users can connect and work with each other through the Internet," said Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president of Server Technologies Development. "It's fundamentally about users sharing information with each other, using Web-based social software technology to fundamentally transform how they get access to information and how they work with each other."
But Oracle is looking at Web 2.0's relevance and benefits in the enterprise world, which formed the basis for discussion on Enterprise 2.0 during the Web conference.
"Enterprise 2.0 is basically integrating these Web 2.0 technologies and capabilities with enterprise information systems and applications to transform how we work within the enterprise, as well as across enterprises and with people outside the enterprise," Kurian said.
"For me, Enterprise 2.0 is the use of freeform social software inside organizations," said Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and a featured presenter wired into the Oracle event. Rather than being concerned with how software is developed, Enterprise 2.0 is about how software gets used, he said.
Enterprise 2.0 brings new modes of collaboration, McAfee said.
Oracle's strategy for the new generation of Internet computing is to fuse Enterprise 2.0 capabilities into Oracle products, Kurian said. The Oracle WebCenter platform takes center stage in the company's Enterprise 2.0 strategy.
Part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware platform, WebCenter integrates enterprise services in providing a context-aware Web application. Featured capabilities include mashups, tagging, RSS, wiki, VoIP, and discussions; search and community components are offered as well.
One of the basic beliefs around WebCenter, Kurian said, is that the way to build an enterprise application, portal, and Web site is converging. The line between what is a Web site, an enterprise application, or a transaction system is gone, he said. WebCenter provides a standards-based framework and integrates into an application development framework.
Oracle also is bringing Enterprise 2.0 capabilities to its On Demand applications. Information such as what a customer has purchased can be shared with a network of salespersons and others, he said. Also, the next version of Oracle's collaboration suite will include Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 capabilities, Kurian said.
To drive home its point about Internet-based computing, Oracle showed a video of a company using a mashup to compare worldwide shipping costs of FOLED (flexible OLED) systems.
Oracle competitors also are latching onto concepts such as Web 2.0. BEA Systems, for example, offers a social computing suite for ad hoc collaboration and participation-based experiences.
Putting a damper on Oracle's festivities, however, was a questioner in the audience who said Oracle needs to update its existing "Web 1.0-based" licensing model. Oracle currently bases its licensing on the per-processor or named user methods.
"We have certainly had discussions on that," Kurian responded. The company is trying to gauge interest from the user community about this issue, he said.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Corporate Social Network Design Council and Inaugural Sales 2.0 Conference

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This is going to be interesting. What I'd like to see coming out of this is less talk and more information about specific applications and use cases where Web 2.0 can be directly applied to the Enterprise, CRM or Sales processes.

Visible Path, a leading provider of online business networking solutions, will lead a corporate social NETWORK design council on Monday, October 29th from 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m just prior to the kick-off of the Sales 2.0 Conference at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, CA. The design council discussion will enable participants to share goals and challenges and pose questions to Enterprise 2.0 industry experts as they look to bring social networks into their own corporate environments.

If you are a technology, human resources or sales executive interested in the intersection between business and social networking and would like to attend please visit http://info.visiblepath.com/designcouncil or contact Kathleen Bruno at kbruno@visiblepath.com.

Those attending the design council will hear from industry leading panelists Jeremiah Owyang, Senior Analyst of Social Computing and Web 2.0, Forrester Research, ROSS Mayfield, CEO and Co-Founder of SocialText, and Anthony Lye, Senior Vice President, ORACLE CRM on Demand as they share valuable information in a panel on ?How to Apply Social Networks in the Enterprise.? Visible Path Co-founder Antony Brydon and Bruno will also participate in the event throughout the day.

Following the design council, Visible Path, in collaboration with Genius.com, Oracle, Cisco, WebEx, InsideView, Landslide Technologies and dozens of other industry leading companies is sponsoring the inaugural Sales 2.0 conference at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco October 29-30, 2007. The conference will demonstrate how combining next-generation Web technologies such as web conferencing, social networking, prospect databases and web site monitoring services with innovative sales processes can dramatically accelerate the sales cycle.
Bruno will take the stage at Sales 2.0 on Tuesday, October 30th at 1:30p.m. and participate in a panel on ?Lead Qualification and Cultivation.? ?I am really looking forward to participating in the inaugural Sales 2.0 Conference,? said Bruno. ?Sales executives are always looking for ways to increase visibility into new relationships and Visible Path lets them do this in a way that leverages the power of social networking.?

The Sales 2.0 event will address industry trends and key topics such as: The ?MySpace Generation? meets the Workplace, Volume Selling in an On-Demand World, Integrating On-line and Relationship Selling, and Making E-Mail Marketing Work for Your Sales Organization. The conference will feature thought leaders including Geoffrey Moore, best-selling author of ?Crossing the Chasm?; Michael Bosworth, Founder of Solution Selling and author of ?Customer Centric Selling?; Joe Galvin, vice president of SIRIUS Decisions; and David Berman, President of Worldwide Sales at WebEx Communications (now CISCO WebEx).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What does SaaS Really bring to market?

3 comments

To understand what role SaaS will really play in the Web2.0 generation I decided to try and deconstruct exactly what it brings to customers.

So zooming back in time a little bit I would say that the emergence of SaaS was closely tied to the failure of on premise (desktop, 3-tier, client server) software to control the cost of ownership. Now in some ways SaaS is a redux of the mainframe - green screen model. But we all agree that the current version of SaaS has much more to offer than that.

According to me the two main things that SaaS offers to its customers is agility and abstraction.

Now both of these perceived benefits that SaaS brings have boundaries and many customers have discovered that they are kind of brick walls at times as well.

Imagine if you were an army of one and wanted to address a business issue by deploying an application. SaaS provides the agility to do that. In the on premise world the work on this kind of an initiative would have been significant and to a large extent the same whether it was an army of one or a legion of consultants. But then again, I would like to reemphasize the boundaries. As many SaaS initiatives have discovered once you take SaaS deployments to a large scale you start hitting some of the same real world problems on premise products have hit in the past where the products are too generic and requirements too varied, so it leads down the road of custom solutions and all the TCO related items that ride a custom solution.

However its the second value that is of greater interest to me. "Abstraction", software vendors have grappled with this issue for a while now and miraculously SaaS seems to provide a solution for this to a great extent. Now I say "seems to" because folks can argue against it and in reality even the SaaS vendors are not there yet. But to me the ability for a SaaS initiative to abstract or layer the "data" from the "application metadata" from the "business logic" from the "UI" is sort of the leading edge. A number of vendors have claimed this and tried delivering S/W based on these designs but you just have to go through an exercise of upgrading that software to its next version or build complex business requirements into it to realize how intertwined things can get. This leads to management issues and application of more resources which ultimately leads to huge costs and the thread goes on.
To customers SaaS seems to offer that promise that they wouldn't have to worry about these inner wiring's so to speak and just deal with their business application from an application perspective. So if the SaaS vendors pushes out a new release or updates a particular component or feature the customer is insulated (or to a large extent they are).

So then to me the question would be why stop at that. Why not have the cake and eat it too. Would it be whacky to think of a SaaS evolutionary stage where the service delivers the software artifacts from the cloud but the data, business logic and all other components remain local. Now I can already hear the SaaS purists crying foul. But to me coming from the enterprise S/W world like most of the large customers and sitting in front of this paradigm change its a valid thought.

What if my data, application metadata, business logic and UI were abstracted completely from each other such that it wouldnt matter to me if the vendor used a SaaS service behind the scenes to manage, modify or replace it. Maybe that's nirvana, maybe its a bunch of BS.

However it already sowed the seed for my next post. How does SOA play into all this is it the super glue or modelling clay that holds this together.

Friday, September 28, 2007

CIOs face tough on-demand choices

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A recent silicon.com CIO Jury poll of IT directors found half of businesses are still cool on SaaS, which is either very low priority or not on their radar at all. But it is gaining ground in customer relationship management, where analyst Gartner predicts SaaS will account for 14 per cent of the total market this year.

This would'nt surprise me as SaaS or OnDemand vendors have still not covered much ground on the main pain points that large organizations have around;

Risk management: As a large organization where my exposure to risk is higher what are the options I have available that mitigate these risks. Since the SaaS world often uses the "power grid" analogy I would ask where are their diesel generators. Have you ever been to a large telco or hospital that completely relies on the power grid but also has its own backup generators that can run for really long cycles in the case of an outage? These organizations test these generators on a weekly basis to ensure they can kick in right away. What if a "Melissa" hits SaaS vendors does that mean that I'm hosed because I'm now joined to their infrastructure at the hip. To win over large organizations that want to make SaaS as part of their mainline strategy these kinds of diesel generators are required.

What happens when I terminate my SaaS contract and decide to move on either to an On Premise or another OnDemand vendor? Thats another risk thats not significantly addressed by the SaaS vendors.

Security: This has been a perenial issue for the SaaS world and unfortunately I dont see the same progress being made on that front.

Integration: A sore point for many CIO's who've been there done that or inherited a 250+ system landscape where 50 of their systems need to integrate with their OnDemand system and there are all kinds of replication and federation issues. Again this is an area that needs a lot more investment than what we are currently seeing.

Supressing rather than flushing out these issues is leading CIO's to be hesitant to jump on the SaaS bandwagon.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

CRM 2.0 Employment Trends

2 comments

On the lines of MyCRMCareer, its a known issue that good CRM talent is always difficult to come by and these days with more CRM initiatives taking off there surely seems to be a talent crunch of sorts.

However a few weeks back I came across this recruitment search site called SimplyHired (trends). Very impressed with their approach .. make job search as easy as web search (Google). Now I mention Google and them in the same breath is because they've really ripped off the Google model and skin and put it to good much needed use in the job search space. So their one box search and list of organic jobs, sponsored jobs and Paid Advt's etc make me feel like I'm actually browsing a Google property. Might be a good thing, you never know Google just might snap them up like Yahoo did HotJobs.

Anyways the reason I decided to blog about them is not cause of their approach or interface but because I found this really interesting thing on their site where one can graphically track employment trends (pretty cool I would say). Since they claim to have more than 5 million jobs indexed it seemed like a good enough sample to see what the CRM and CRM 2.0 employment trends looked like. Not that there is a big movement around CRM 2.0 employment (yet!!).

So check these job trends out. Pretty cool huh?

CRM trends

CRM trendsCRM jobs




CRM 2.0 trends
CRM 2.0 trendsCRM 2.0 jobs

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Design for People, Build for Change

0 comments

Since I did not attend the event, read the coverage (The Intelligent Enterprise Blog) of the opening keynote, entitled "Design for People, Build for Change: Transforming the Nature of Work," offered by analyst Connie Moore at this week's Forrester Technology Leadership Forum.
It seems that there were some very interesting Enterprise/CRM/Web 2.0 themes that emerged from this keynote.

"The new generation of workers, dubbed "millenials" by Moore, have grown up with
completely different experiences and therefore have completely different
expectations about what systems will look like as they enter the workforce,
particularly around social networking. Added to all this is the evolution of
process management as a discipline, and the dissolution of monolithic business
applications into composite applications that use BPM, SOA, business rules,
collaboration and other technologies, either on-premise or as SaaS."

Very much inline with what I believe enterprise applications are evolving into. We've been talking about composite applications for years now, but I think that maturing Web 2.0 technologies and the ability to enable (design and automate) a cross enterprise process oriented approach will be the focus in enterprises.

"She lays out four key principles for designing for people, and gave a detailed
example of each (including a really interesting Second Life example for the 4th
point):
1. Business processes adapt to changing business conditions. 2.
Applications evolve continuously while preserving process integrity. 3.
Processes, tasks and the associated information always maintain context. 4.
Systems are unitary, information-rich and reflect the social needs of the
business.
The first two of these are about build for change, and the last two
are about design for people."


The first two principles lead me to the loosely coupled but effective integration of business processes and applications. The next two principles to me among other things speak about the evolution and adoption of more intelligent BPM tools and the adoption of Web 2.0 in the enterprise.

Monday, September 24, 2007

SOA Funny .. I really liked this one

0 comments

SOA this. SOA that.
Find out what happens when Greg tries to swallow three different SOA pitches in one day. Will he save the day, or will Greg have to chuck the project?


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

MyCRMCareer launched today

0 comments

MyCRMCareer was launched today and is a new "online career center". I've visited it and registered .. or should I say tried to register .. cause it errored out on me with some SQL error after Step2 of the registration :-(. Its a great initiative to bring focus on the CRM practice, area, domain whatever you might want to call it. So I'll go give it a shot again later.

Here's what DestinationCRM had to say about them;
MyCRMcareer's Web 2.0-related technologies will enable CRM professionals to leverage user-generated content to create social networks, access expert CRM content and training materials, and search for employment opportunities. The founders decided to rely on Web 2.0 tools not only to provide an interactive forum where users can generate their own content, but to expose older generations of CRM workers to this emerging wave of technology, says Paul Greenberg, chief customer officer at BPT Partners and author of the book CRM at the Speed of Light. "For younger generations, Web 2.0 is something they take for granted, but that's not necessarily the case with older business professionals," he says. "This way, they're being exposed to the technology that is going to drive CRM and the way companies interact with customers for years to come."For the complete story click here

Though the Career part of it makes it too vanilla for me. Maybe something like MyCRMSpace or MyCRMFacebook might have been more for me ;-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

How does an on premise software initiative evolve to CRM 2.0?

0 comments

You can prepare by having an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism .. ;-)

One of the comments I often hear, CRM 2.0 is great and I would like to take advantage of it, but how do we get to CRM 2.0 given that we've already invested millions of dollars in my existing CRM systems which surely seem very much like 1.0.

Another question, can we as an on premise customer evolve to CRM 2.0 or do we have to use SaaS to get it.

So the answer to the first question is yes you can move to CRM 2.0 by leveraging your existing CRM investments (with changes though) and for the second one its a no brainer that on premise customers can evolve to CRM 2.0 just like on demand customers can. I dont see CRM 2.0 as a rip and replace strategy, rather a leverage, integrate and layer strategy.

Often times during the transition, change, redefinition, resurgence of spaces like CRM the pack leaders are blind sighted by the fact that organizations have already made significant investments in their existing applications, systems, infrastructure etc. So these organizations have to figure out a roadmap of getting from point A -> B that also balances the ROI equation both for existing and future investments.


Going back to the basics, the CRM 2.0 investment question should be something like ;

Will moving to CRM 2.0 make us a market leader or "plug your pet business goal here".

.... It should definitely not be can On demand (or plug your favorite new technology here) make us a market leader.

The objectives to achieving these goals would be something like transtion organization to CRM 2.0 processes, practices and tools. Does not sound very measureable, but will go with it for now.

Then the strategies to achieving these objectives kick in where you can put things like leverage social networking tools for CRM, Service enable the IT infrastructure, further reduce TCO etc


Here are 5 steps on how I feel organizations with existing on-premise CRM systems can evolve or prepare to evolve to CRM 2.0.


1) Understand your customer in the Web 2.0 economy
2) Recognize your business goals given the new/changing customer interaction/behavior model
3) Re-evaluate your customer business processes for achieving these goals.
4) Identify technology enablers to support these business processes.
5) Perform a gap analysis of where you are and where you need to be on these enablers


Lets pick on step 5 and look at what some of these CRM 2.0 technology enablers can be to ensure a high value two way interaction between the customer and the enterprise. Now I'll leave the Platform part (on premise vs on demand) out of here as its a whole discussion by itself and focus more on the Web 2.0 part.

There's what I'd call more generic Web 2.0 technology/products like:
Wikis
Blogs
RSS
Widgets/Gadgets
Social Networking Tools
Rich Internet Applications
Offline Web Applications
Mobile Apps (again, but with a difference)
Convergence products for CRM and other applications (again, but with a difference)
Convergence products for voice and data (again, but with a difference)

.. and the more productized and branded Web 2.0 services available like:
Google
Facebook
MySpace
LinkedIn
Youtube
Flickr
Digg
Wikipedia
BitTorrent
Twitter
Jott

In some ways I feel that using these Web 2.0 products/technologies the world of CRM is being flipped on its head.

The customer is managing their relationship rather than the other way round. Dont get me wrong the other way round is still valid and very much needed, but its a two way street now, participative and collaborative where the customer has control and technology is enabling it.

Here are 5 things you can do to enable Web 2.0 as part of your CRM 2.0 evolution:

1) Identify a current business process or application that can be enhanced using Web 2.0 technology
2) Integrate it as a point project (maybe enterprise rollout maybe not)
3) Make sure its IT friendly, but not driven by IT. The beauty of social networking and Web 2.0 platforms is that it can be installed, used and driven by its users/adopters. IT pretty much plays a binary role of allowing or disallowing it.
4) Be patient (because Enabling a social networking platform, either internally or externally to do better CRM is still pretty much on the early learning curve) and watch them grow. Once the viral adoption of Web 2.0 kicks it your initiative zooms off.
5) Dont compromise on security

I guess an unofficial 6th would be, ensure you are addicted to your Web2.0 service and maybe one of the execs is too .. it helps ;-)

Wanted to cover it in this one but I think will defer it to part II, where we take on say an on premise CRM - SFA initiative and see how it can be evolved into a CRM 2.0 initiative. Or atleast my take on it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What is Web 2.0?

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The more I browse the more obvious it becomes that everyone either knows everything about Web 2.0 or we all know sqat about it. However here's one article that is recommend read for Web 2.0 .. O'Reilly's - What is Web 2.0

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On Premise or On Demand

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Recently saw two posts that were debating each side of the on premise vs on demand CRM coin. That reminds me of late 90's when ERP and CRM vendors where busy with similar press and postings trying to differentiate their solutions from CRM extensions that came out of ERP vendors vs best of breed CRM and so on.

Both models have relevance in the CRM 2.0 world and have pros and cons. On premise has to still figure out how to further lower the TCO equation, make the applications (development & deployment) more agile and shed unwanted functionality that was piled on over the last few years in the feature function war. On demand still has to figure out the security, integration, performance and verticalization (depth) issues. But make no mistake, ondemand is not a fad. Its here to stay obviously nothing is perpetual) and a valid deployment model that meets customer requirements.

If you were to take away the .. we built it multi-tenant from ground up argument .. most on premise applications today are in fact on demand. Imagine a large complex organization on a single instance of an on premise CRM product that supports multiple sister companies or global departments, so its multi-tenant (I know the purists will start crying foul here) and its usually hosted in somebody else's data center serviced by yet another outsourced IT staffing company. So for all practical purposes it is on demand for an enterprise. But for all legal purposes its still on premise.

In fact one thing that I feel will be further explored in CRM 2.0 is the on demand deployment model to further satisfy requirements in the security and integration space. More on this later ...

So in the CRM 2.0 world on premise will have to work harder on making their apps more Web 2.0, RIA, Agile and lightweight (in all aspects). Similarly on demand will have to work on more traditional IT areas of security and integration. Saying we have web services and support SOAP will just not cut it for large enterprises with 100+ apps/systems in house all having some direct or indirect hook from their CRM system.

When it comes down to CRM business processes both on demand and on premise are still struggling on some basic issues. Take adoption of an SFA system for example 10 years ago this was an issue for for all CRM vendors, its still an issue today for on demand SFA as well. Ultimately your Forecasting will be only as valuable and accurate as the info the sales guys put into it. I feel the Web 2.0 component of CRM 2.0 might help further address core CRM issues like this.

Intel® Web 2.0 Technology Development Kit (TDK)

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I would guess that things start becoming a pretty permanent fixture once it starts getting embedded into HW or firmware. Well here's a very interesting article I read about the Intel Web 2.0 TDK, which provides royalty-free Javascript API, binary and source codes to allow you to create web applications by taking advantage of the mobile features on notebooks and UMPCs.
Create Web 2.0 application with the platform and the environment in mind.

Isnt that cool, now you have supercharged platform support for Web2.0 application development and deployment. I guess that's another arrow in the Web2.0 quiver

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Discovered an exciting new CRM 2.0 wiki site

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Yesterday I discovered this really amazing site/wiki that claims that it will be focused on defining CRM 2.0 (http://crm20.pbwiki.com/). It has some interesting content and well known names from the CRM arena contributing and linking their blogs with. Conceptually it seems to be a think tank that is attempting to define CRM 2.0.

"The Way This Works
First, each invited member of this wiki is expected to contribute something to the discussion. The idea is to come out with a definition of CRM 2.0 that will be pretty much universally accepted by the CRM community ...
"

However I'm very skeptical and highly disappointed with how they are going about this. It all seems very counter (2.0) intuitive. For me one of the biggest things of Web 2.0 and CRM 2.0 is to harness the power of social participation and collaboration.

But this website seems to be an invite only Wiki :-(

Imagine Wikipedia allowing only a limited set of invitees to define the encyclopedia. Again I love the idea behind the initiative though and would strongly urge the (http://crm20.pbwiki.com/)Wiki Admins to open it up for general participation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gartner says CRM is back with a Vengeance

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We've seen a resurgence in CRM initiatives for a while now, but its always good to have an industry analyst like Gartner lay it out.

CRM Is Back With a Vengeance: Is Your Organization Ready for the Next Generation of CRM?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs Salesforce

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Recently Microsoft announced a hosted version of its Dynamics CRM product at around $44.

The Salesforce guys must be watching this move closely, eventhough they are publicly pooh-poohing the move as no impact. Unless Salesforce goes specialty and vertical and really starts leveraging ApEx as the core to its strategy, its facing the daunting task of protecting its commodity CRM offerring. Commodities battles are fought through price wars and that's what MSFT seems to be dragging them into. While this is not over by any means, its an interesting start from MSFT.

Maybe SFDC goes really cozy with Google and lets users access its commodity CRM offerring through Google Apps. That might not be a bad route considering the fact that Google is beefing up on that side. Would Google buy SFDC, cant rule it out.

I'm also keeping an eye out on the post-IPO NetSuite moves. If you get the potential of ApEx out of the way, NetSuite actually has a more valuable SMB offerring in the OnDemand space. However its strategy and impact on SFDC would be totally lost if it gets acquired by a large company like Oracle.

Friday, July 20, 2007

How to CRM with Twitter and Jott

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I recently got introduced to two new and exciting web services Twitter and Jott, thanks to my techno discoverer wife. She is always exploring the bleeding edge of web technology (but I'll reserve that for another time).

Twitter to me is the latest version of social networking that is a marriage (or should I be politically correct and say mashup, nah mashup these days evokes a completely different category of web apps so I'll stick with marriage) of IM that's published to a BB that can be public or private with members subscribed to it. So one can have sporadic conversations or updates with other Twitterites. Coming from the enterprise SW space to me services like these are a glimpse of the bright horizon where something like this could be easily repurposed for lets say CRM. Like a service team Twittering its status updates for critical services to its customers, your customers Twittering each other in the community. With an array of plugins being developed all over to make it easy to Twit with IM, email, etc its picking up fast.

Jott is an interesting twist to something thats been done before, both in the consumer and enterprise space. In a nutshell its a web based service that allows you to leave/jot voice messages to yourself (or any mailbox) and then sends it to your email as a voice recording and written transcript. Very good for folks like us on the move. Imagine your salesperson leaving a critical sales call and Jotting himself some "Notes" or "Activities" by speaking into his phone on the way back in the cab. However I was amazed at the transcript engine, it picked up my accented voice and did pretty well with sometimes phonetically challenging asian names.

Well by the time I learnt about and used these services and finally got around to writting about them, I stumbled upon another interesting twist to Twitter called Pownce With a private beta for Pownce currently in progress it was a little diff to get an invite. So will write about it once I have used it. Also more on how these can be easily applied to your existing CRM initiatives.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Should CRM just be CM?

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Customer Relationship, Experience, Insight, Intelligence ... and the list goes on. For this next generation should be just elevate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to Customer Management (CM)?

Or is the CRM acronym a very flashy ringer that cannot be done away with in 2.0? Maybe the CM acronym is already taken and gets confused with Content Management or something.

But if we go the generic CM route then we get out of the front office vs back office business which anyways was strong positioning put forth by the ERP and CRM vendors to differentiate their solutions rather than how customers really wanted it. I've been on umpteen customer business process integration initiatives where the processes were spanning multiple systems and folks would try to draw these artificial lines of demarcation saying this is what CRM will do and this is what ERP will do etc.

Ultimately CRM 2.0 or even Enterprise 2.0 for me is all about defining processes and loosely coupled components that enable these processes in an organization. So maybe Customer Management 2.0 is the space that is all about the customer and cuts across the traditional CRM, ERP and SCM domains of the past.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ive been in CRM for 22 years

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Recently I saw someone (quite visible in the CRM, IT, SW space) mention that they've been in the CRM space for over 22 years. CRM companies like Siebel and even before it Contact Management companies like Goldmine and others have not been around that long.

So what was this person talking about. What this person was saying was true and we've all known it, but it often gets overridden in todays CRM deployments for the technology bells and whistles. Also in the epiphany lies the revelation that has made some recent CRM SW deployments highly successful.

CRM is not Siebel, Salesforce, SAP, Goldmine or anything else. CRM is a business process .. a way for an enterprise to increase shareholder value by managing customer relationships well .. in all stages of the relationship. This is what the person was highlighting in their statement that he has been involved in the customer relationship business processes for 22years. Maybe they were not fully automated processes etc but it was still CRM .. maybe CRM by using paper and pencil .. or the good ol Rolodex .. but CRM none the less.

Now in all honesty most customers fully comprehend this. However they get so caught up in the automation part during the CRM deployment that they end up with a highly automated version of their existing business process (in most cases degraded versions) and provides no new business value add.

So in effect their CRM initiative turns into a bitter pill that's hard to swallow (read as, another notch on the failed CRM list).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS) .... Really!!

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Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS) 3C = Content, Commerce, Community 4th C = Context P = Personalization VS = Vertical Search
Tim Berners-Lee, O'Reilly and Sramana Mitra -> WWW, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0

Not sure if Sramana would really qualify for that. Also the Web 3.0 formula proposed above while intersting and slickly packaged does not add anything new. Adding the Context, Personalization and vertical slant to it all does not qualify for 3.0. My contention is that we need to have this in 2.0 anyways.

I guess people are looking for their marketing fix by trying to be the first out there to define 3.0 when we're still trying to get going with 2.0.

So in a similar though lighter vein I propose that

Web 3.0 = Web 2.0 + ∆
where ∆ = increases in service quality, access, continuity and context;
∆ tends to ∞.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What is CRM 2.0?

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When I started posting on this blog some folks whom I shared this with started asking me .. "so what is your take on CRM 2.0?" Are you just going the "i" and "e" way of early 2000 and appending "2.0" to your blog name as the latest fad to get more visibility and ultimately more visitors.

So today I've decided to write this post on what CRM 2.0 means to me.

CRM to me is a set of business process that organizations can apply to ultimately increase shareholder value. I use the term shareholder in the broadest possible way because CRM is applicable to all organizations like one person proprietorship's to non-Profits to SMB's to large mega-corporations. Now its 2.0 time in the CRM world because there is a sustained resurgence of CRM initiatives over the last 2-3 years and its semi-woven into Web 2.0 technologies and concepts like social media, networking through the web, community participation, experience management, captive attention, Wiki's and YouTubes of the world. In CRM 2.0 the most critical concept that changed atleast from my perspective is not the technology, but the realization that there is a "C" in CRM and it stands for the customer, who should be the center of the CRM universe.

Somehow that simple message got lost and it was so CRM 1.0 for organizations to equip themselves with all the CRM technologies and solutions horizontal, vertical, on-premise, hosted, hybrid what not and then try to engage the customer as a drive by target.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Hello World!!

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Hello World!!

This is Darayush Mistry and I'm finally "officially" joining the amazing world of blogs. After ghost writing for a couple of years now and posting every now and then on my other website (http://www.parsiworld.com/) I've decided to start blogging regularly on things that interest me in general. Hopefully some of it will be of interest to you as well. Things that interest me are software products, applied technology, machines, architecture, WWW, AI, human brain, humour, enterprise software applications, digital identity, extreme transactions, digital media, film making, space, stars, social networks and constructs, religion, Zoroastrianism.

A little bit about myself, I'm currently located in the SF Bay Area, CA USA working as a Director of Product Management at Oracle. Over the last decade I've worked mainly in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space and related technology, however my current team focuses on Oracle Server Technology (aka Fusion Middleware) working on some exciting products in the desktop productivity, disconnected mobile, search, audit and application Life Cycle Management space.

When I'm not being paid for work, I'm spending time with my family, two wonderful kids and our darling dog Tito, that is if I'm not tinkering with some personal projects on social networking, digital media or film making. Got hooked on films as a little kid and it got really heightended while working as a Management Trainee at Leo Burnett in India right after my MBA. Was recruited at LB as a Mgmt Trainee for Client Services and went through their remarkable "Polishing the Apple" program. As part of the program we had to learn and work through all the areas of the agency from services to creative. That's where I ended up making my first full length advertising film (for a 30sec spot). Anyways the professional work I do today is very far from films and media in general.

So lets get the blog juices flowing.