Posted tagged ‘Salesforce’

TSW Top Attended Sessions: Day 2

October 23, 2013

I won’t lie, Day 2 at TSW was a long day. We started with Champion breakfast networking sessions at 7am, and went all day until the Expo closed at 7pm. There were many rounds of breakout sessions, with as many as 16 concurrent sessions in some time slots. With so many sessions to choose from, it is especially interesting to see which sessions had the most attendees–clearly indicating the top business issues companies are trying to solve. Here are the five sessions from Day 2 with the highest attendance:

  1. Analytics for Results: The Real Way from Customer Feedback to Customer Loyalty. This session was presented by TSIA Partner Michael Clarkin, Vice President Global Marketing and Product Services, Sykes Enterprises. Creating the right environment for analytics to flourish and contribute to the organization’s goals requires thoughtful design and intelligent data interpretation, built upon good science. Whether you want to identify what triggers customers to buy more or defect to your competition, or you need to understand why a product or service is failing to achieve expected results, analytics should always lead to the end result of actionable knowledge. This session, built upon years of analysis and studies across many sectors, examined what analytics really is, and why the investment is a strategic imperative. Michael and I recently did a webcast on this topic, so if you’d like to see an OnDemand version of the top attended session, here’s a link.
  2. Building a Customer-Centered Business, from the Support Organization Out. There was tremendous buzz about this session and I’m already getting emails asking when the videotaped version will be available. Online communities elevate the voice-of-customer across organizational silos, propelling companies to transition to more customer-centric business models. Support organizations are uniquely positioned to lead the charge by acting as the catalyst for community adoption, management, and reporting. Scott Hirsch from Get Satisfaction, and two Get Satisfaction customers, Kristin Gastaldo, community manager at Blackbaud, and Nathan Roth, senior manager of digital and social at Koodo Mobile, discussed how they’re tactically implementing community to achieve their strategic goals of differentiating from the competition by delivering truly excellent customer experiences.
  3. Innovative Online Support: Harness the Power of Information and Empower Customer Self-Help. In this session, presented by Julie Larsen, Vice President of eServices, EMC Corporation examined the importance of investing in innovative capabilities to meet multiple sources of demand and address diverse service channels. Julie discussed four key components of creating an innovative, proactive, and personalized online support strategy to evolve and transform your support organization.
  4. Driving Service Delivery Excellence through Voice-of-the-Customer Analytics. Another partner case study, this session was presented by Matt Wroblewski, Director, Market Research for VWR International, and Roger Woolley, VP, Solutions Marketing, Verint Systems. Many organizations are implementing voice-of-the-customer (VOC) programs to capture and assess customer comments and sentiments across multiple communications channels—but, it’s a complex job. So how do you get started? Verint Systems and VWR International shared how VWR implemented a VOC program to help deliver superior service and improve productivity for its customers and suppliers. Details included how VWR International built a best-practices model for managing quarterly customer relationship and Net Promoter Score® surveys, and leveraged feedback from customer service, technical support, and web touchpoints.
  5. Turbo-Charging Your Revenue Engine: Building Service Pricing Capabilities. As the role of services grows within tech companies, as products themselves are sold as services, pricing capabilities shift from “nice to have” to vital. So how do you develop those organizational capabilities? What capabilities should you develop first? Where should those capabilities reside? How do you know it is time for your organization to change? What kinds of pricing problems should you tackle first? In this discussion, Randy Wootton, VP, Premier Products for introduced participants to Salesforce’s Pricing Maturity Model as a framework for evaluating your current pricing practices and envisioning next steps in growth.

I started today with our Breakfast of Social Champions, and the conference closes with our awards luncheon. I’ll be back after the conference with updates on the award winners. For now, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting TSIA!


Adoption of Cloud CRM Forces Change to Mindset of Over-Customization

January 16, 2013

There is a story in my book, Lessons Unlearned, about a speech Larry Ellison gave at Oracle OpenWorld in New Orleans in 2001. Oracle was pushing big time into the enterprise applications space with their new CRM offering, and Larry was talking about ‘out of box’ verses customization. To the chagrin of the audience, he said something along the lines of, “Oracle matches your business processes 80% out of box, and you should consider changing your processes to fit ours for the other 20%.” Larry was right of course, though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time.

In fact, if I were to characterize the first “wave” of CRM, from around 1997 to 2007, I’d say it was “spend millions of dollars on complex software, and then customize the hell out of it because it wasn’t complex enough.” Large companies had CRM projects going on for years, customizing field names, screens, process flows, etc., until the product was practically unusable with dozens…if not hundreds…of required fields, pop up screens and non-intuitive flows.  This of course frustrated the heck out of CRM vendors, who built those vertical-specific screens and processes using ‘best of breed’ process flows from real companies.

I was involved in many CRM implementations during my vendor days, and I have audited many CRM implementations during my analyst days, and usually what I find is consistent: companies were so convinced they were unique that they took packaged applications and rewrote them until they were unusable  Then they started shopping for another CRM platform, and started the process all over again.

Let me be clear: when it comes to CRM, the more customizations, the less successful the implementation. I have seen this over and over and over again, and unfortunately, I still see it happening today. But luckily, a new dynamic is emerging.

Over the last year I’ve seen some of the largest companies in the world decide to implement OnDemand CRM. They recognize that the new cloud platform is far less sophisticated than their existing system and processes, but these companies are on a mission from god to simplify their operations and try to use–or whatever cloud solution–as ‘out of box’ as possible. This is an unbelievable shift, and definitely a shift for the better. I like to think TSIA has a hand in this shift, because through our benchmarking programs, we show companies that their peers are struggling with the identical challenges, and best practices identified by one company are wholly repeatable within another company. In other words, tech companies are more alike than they are different.

With tightening budgets, shrinking margins, and unstable revenue streams, companies no longer have the luxury of repeating or prolonging mistakes with technology projects. They need to streamline and automate, and they need to do it fast. If that means swallowing your hubris and accepting the Salesforce approach to a process instead of your own, so be it. Those changes are HARD to make, especially for large firms, but I’m seeing it happen.

This is great new for CRM, and for the rest of enterprise applications as well.  I predict that CRM success will become more common, and the usual failure statistics for CRM (50% or higher of CRM projects don’t meet expectations) will begin to fade.

Bottom line: if your CRM implementation takes more than 6 months, you are doing it wrong. Once you remove ego from the equation, you will find those out of box processes are well designed. If you identify an internal process that is radically different from the packaged application, don’t assume your way is better–I’m almost positive it isn’t. If in doubt, talk to the vendor’s product management team about why the process is designed the way it is, and go back to the drawing board and do a real assessment on your approach vs. the industry best practice. And be ready to change.

We are all in this together. Let’s learn from each other, leverage our successes industry wide, and do our best to stamp out over-customization. And thanks as always for reading!

Leveraging Social Media Tools to Drive Collaboration and Tribal Knowledge in Field Service

June 21, 2011

I”m getting ready for Thursday’s webcast with ServiceMax, What’s all the Chatter about? Leveraging Social Media Tools to Drive Collaboration and Tribal Knowledge in Field Service, and I’m very excited about seeing field service get more involved in social media.

According to my 2011 Member Technology Survey, I’m seeing strong planned spending by field service organizations for all types of field service automation.

This chart shows the percent of members with approved budget for new or additional technology in 2010 and 2011, and spending on workforce optimization, parts logistics and FS mobile tools are all strong, up from last year.

But a bigger surprise for me was how quickly field service teams have been adoption social media tools. According to my survey, support services are up to 82% adoption of online communities, and field service is not far behind with 69%.  40% of field service members say they are using some sort of social media like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for communicating with customers or internally.

We’ve seen some great early examples of field service being creative with communities, primarily to share information with global field service resources on how to fix equipment or how to troubleshoot products that may be out of date or just uncommon. But what I’m learning from ServiceMax is that Salesforce Chatter, a CRM-centric version of Twitter or Facebook updates, is an easy way to send quick updates on customer issues within a team, keeping everyone up to speed and offering an easy way to ask for help if needed.

Please take a moment to register for this webcast; even if you are unable to attend the live event on Thursday at 10am PT, you’ll receive a link to view the OnDemand version afterwards. We’ll talk more about spending dollars and how field service is using social media, and we’ll see a live demo of Salesforce Chatter and ServiceMax in action.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you on the webcast Thursday!

Has CRM embraced eService…finally?

September 18, 2008

I, along with every other analyst, started predicting that CRM vendors would acquire all of the eService (knowledgebase, multi-channel service) vendors years ago. And we were wrong. As a Siebel executive once told me, “We have never lost a CRM deal because we didn’t have eService.” For a while there were a lot of partnerships and integrations, but even those have lost steam as CRM vendors started focusing solely on infrastructure (Fusion, NetWeaver) and ecosystems (AppExchange) instead of functionality.

Maybe, after all these years, CRM vendors are finally hearing that handling more than phone calls is important. Check out these two recent announcements: (more…)