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Blockchain: CRM's Next Frontier
March 22, 2017
We've seen a parade of technologies coming into the front office since 2000, including browser-based cloud computing, social media, mobile technology, workflow, journey mapping, and big data and analytics. It's typical that at first there's only a tenuous relationship between the technology and CRM's original mission, but over a short time innovators adopt and commercialize the innovation.
OpenMethods, Next Caller Join to Streamline Call Routing
March 14, 2017
OpenMethods has announced an integration with Next Caller's Advanced Caller ID database that will let contact centers on the Oracle Service Cloud use real-time contextual data for more than 500 million landline, mobile and VoIP numbers to personalize and simplify their agent and customer interactions. OpenMethods integrates IVR and telephony data into the CRM package call center agents use.
Salesforce FY18 Kickoff
March 9, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff invited a select group of press, analysts and customers to a fiscal year kickoff presentation overlooking San Francisco and environs. It was held on the 23rd floor of one building that the company monopolizes, just across Mission Street from another that it is building and the bay beyond. It's a nice view. Salesforce starts its year in March.
Salesforce, IBM Kick Off New Artificial Intelligence Era
March 8, 2017
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on Monday announced a global strategic partnership to deliver joint solutions leveraging artificial intelligence. Einstein, the AI that powers Salesforce applications, will be connected seamlessly with IBM's Watson AI platform. The integration is scheduled for availability in the second half, and pricing will be announced at that time.
Oracle's DB Dilemma
February 17, 2017
Seeking Alpha is an online outfit that offers investors good research and analysis on tech vendors, and it is especially well versed in Oracle. Its writers' expertise involves matching technologies to investment attractiveness. I am sure you are familiar with the type. XYZ company's product does this, it should result in sales of this much, and that will drive profits so that the stock is worth so much. You get the idea.
Quip Adds Serious Muscle
February 9, 2017
Salesforce has announced new integrations for Quip, the collaboration startup it acquired last summer for $582 million. Quip, which operates independently, also added new capabilities to its product's existing feature set, which includes smart notifications, chat built into every document and spreadsheet, and a smart inbox. Quip lets users direct-message group members.
Is Salesforce Getting Serious About the Back Office?
February 8, 2017
Even as Salesforce aggressively seeks to consolidate its position as the leader of cloud-based front-office applications via a series of acquisitions, it is possible that 2017 could be the year the company uses some of the same purchases to make a strategic move. Salesforce soon may become a major player in the back-office financial management and ERP market as well.
Does Avaya Have a Post-Chapter 11 Prayer?
February 6, 2017
Is Avaya on the road to financial recovery? What will happen to business partners and customers if it is not? The company last month filed for Chapter 11 protection for itself and some of its United States subsidiaries -- a move that makes it "the first major established technology company that's dying as a direct result of the cloud," according to Ian Campbell, CEO of Nucleus Research.
Tech Industry Gets Political
January 31, 2017
In the last decade or so, the tech industry has become increasingly political, which is different from being politicized. If I had to guess, I'd say that for the most part everyone is on the same page. However, many of the largest technology concerns have come to the realization that to protect their outlook, they need representation in Washington in the form of lobbyists.
Banking Customer Satisfaction Barometer Inches Up
January 26, 2017
Customer satisfaction with banking institutions improved last year, based on the annual Bank Satisfaction Barometer CFI Group released Thursday. Customers were more likely to remain loyal to their bank and even recommend it to others, according to the annual survey of bank customers across the United States. Banks improved their standing with customers and maintained stronger relationships.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 2
January 24, 2017
There's something to be said for consistency. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Tony Gwynn hit over .300 19 years in a row. The swallows have returned to Mission San Juan Capistrano every year since 1812. Richard Belzer played Detective John Munch in nine different television series over 23 years. Doing things well for a long time should earn you some attention for your efforts.
Oracle's Important Little Acquisition
January 23, 2017
Oracle last week announced the acquisition of Apiary, a small company that tucks into its product line and will not make much of a splash in the financial pages or possibly even in tech circles. Nonetheless, it's important strategic news. The value of the deal wasn't publicized -- but given the parameters, the dollars will get lost in the rounding of Oracle's overall revenue and profit numbers.
Pipedrive Attracts Funds for Global Expansion
January 20, 2017
Pipedrive, a CRM manager that targets the end-user salesperson, has raised $17 million in a round of Series B funding from an investor group led by Atomico. Two of the company's original investors, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rembrandt Ventures, participated in the new round as well. Atomico partner Teddie Wardi will join Pipedrive's board to offer advice and support to the firm.
Adaptive Intelligent Applications
January 18, 2017
At OpenWorld, Oracle jumped into the AI and machine learning space for its CX products, aka CRM, and other applications, like HCM, with an interesting difference -- a huge data store to help educate the algorithms that work for you. Machine learning depends on data about prior situations that the learning algorithms can use to get smart about a situation. Ten examples are good, 100 are better.
Clarabridge Delivers Retail Banking Package
January 17, 2017
Clarabridge, which offers SaaS and on-premises software products designed to help companies improve their customer experience management, on Tuesday announced a full-service solution for retail banking. Clarabridge's solutions use sentiment and text analytics to enable automatic collection, categorization and reporting on structured and unstructured data.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 1
January 13, 2017
In a year when it seemed that CRM continued to blur into other technologies -- AI, the IoT, analytics, predictive tools -- there was no shortage of things to blog about. However, only a few bloggers really captured what was going on in CRM in 2016 and reflected the evolution of the technology in their own unique ways. Doing that is a great way to land on our list of the 20 Best CRM Blogs.
The Crystallization of Salesforce's IoT Strategy
January 12, 2017
While the general public's fascination with technology largely has been focused on the latest connected products unveiled at the recent CES conference in Las Vegas, many companies are trying to figure out where the real business opportunities lie in the long-awaited rise of the Internet of Things. One of the early proponents of IoT's unprecedented potential was Salesforce.com.
Oracle's Cloud Strategy: A Fine Balance
January 11, 2017
Oracle recently held a call for analysts to discuss its results for the last quarter, and there were multiple bright spots. It was much like a similar call 90 days previous, and together the calls drove home the conclusion that Oracle is turning into a cloud company. A casual observer might not be convinced, since the macro numbers show a company barely growing.
Eagle Creek CRM Director Sandeep Kadam: What Today's Customers Want
January 10, 2017
Twenty years ago, CRM "was more of an inside-out technology," recalled Sandeep Kadam, director of CRM at Eagle Creek Software Services. "It was about making sales calls more efficient, and giving salespeople all the tools they needed so they could achieve their numbers. From there it has become more of an outside-in technology, where the customer is impacting how CRM is going to evolve."
New CEO to Guide FinancialForce's Ambitious Growth Plans
January 9, 2017
Cloud-based ERP firm FinancialForce has named a new CEO, Tod Nielsen, who previously served as EVP of platform at Salesforce. Nielsen takes the helm from FinancialForce founder Jeremy Roche, who remains a major shareholder in the company. He will stay on as special advisor to the management team and work with FinancialForce investor Unit4 in an executive position. Roche's home base is in the UK.
Sales, Marketing Poised for AI Revolution
December 16, 2016
Artificial intelligence will revolutionize marketing in the next five years, according to a Demandbase survey conducted last month. Eighty percent of the 500 B2B marketers who participated in the online poll, conducted last month by Wakefield Research, said they expected an AI-fueled marketing revolution. However, only 26 percent were very confident they understood how AI was used in marketing.
Looking Forward
December 13, 2016
Traditionally in this year-end piece, I peer into my cloudy crystal ball and forecast the year ahead in CRM. Sometimes I'm close, other times not, but either way, my predictions quickly are forgotten. This year, I've decided just to say what I want rather than what realistically might happen. Since my vote has all of the authority of yesterday's news, it will follow past prognostications.
Stock Shortages May Deplete Brand Loyalty Fast
December 9, 2016
Many consumers fear a shortfall of highly desired items this holiday season, and disappointed shoppers may switch to other brands, suggests a survey Elementum released Thursday. The firm polled 2,001 adults in the U.S. this fall. About 48 percent of the participants who were parents of kids under 18 expressed concern about product shortages.
2016: The Year in Review
December 6, 2016
This year will go down as an important turning point in CRM. For the last decade and a half, we've been simultaneously building and destroying CRM -- first by linking all of the disparate databases to get that 360-degree view, and then by adding important accessories like social and analytics. At the same time, we've been busy tearing down conventional architectures and spinning up the cloud.
Service in the IoT Era
November 29, 2016
Oracle recently announced a new connection between its Service and IoT clouds. That makes total sense to me. I bet a lot of folks think of the Internet of Things as those machines that do things directed by algorithms -- and if so, they might wonder why they need to be connected to customer service, such an obviously human channel. It's not off base, however.
Microsoft Trolls Small Biz With Outlook CRM Tool
November 18, 2016
Microsoft this week introduced Outlook Customer Manager, a new cloud-based tool that aims to help its small businesses clients stay on top of their customer relationships. The new service organizes everything from emails to meeting invitations, call logs, notes, tasks, files and other essential items. It comes just four months after the launch the company's Bookings tool.
Signs and Symptoms
November 16, 2016
It's been a rough couple of months, and we should talk about something fun and not political, but CRM-centric. I know! Let's ask how the election influenced CRM. Seriously, there's a nugget in there to get us thinking about business instead of that other stuff. Come on, it'll be fun. I am not the only one who saw this, but isn't it amazing how the pollsters got the election outcome exactly wrong?
Salesforce Sets Up Lightning Community to Zap Competition
November 8, 2016
Salesforce last week launched the Lightning Partner Community, which lets business customers extend sales features to channel partners. Lightning Partner Community gives channel partners a single place to identify opportunities, track progress and close deals. It includes the Lightning Partner Experience, Integrated CRM for Partners and Salesforce Einstein for Partner Community.
Microsoft Rebrands
November 2, 2016
Microsoft recently rebranded its business software offerings and the effect largely has been positive. Still, it must be emphasized that the cumulative effect of the deck chairs moved in performing the exercise remains to be seen. One of the effects is surely that all of the ERP and CRM solutions now are offered online, as the "Dynamics 365" moniker implies.
Many Customers Aren't on Board With Self-Service Trend
November 1, 2016
Enterprises have been warming to digital transformation, but it's crucial that they maintain a human element in their customer interactions, according to a study Verint published last week. Researchers surveyed more than 24,000 consumers and 1,000 businesses across 12 countries for the study. Organizations have to balance digital and human customer engagement to thrive and survive.
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What's your reaction to the Turkish Crime Family's claim that it can access hundreds of millions of iCloud accounts?
I'm very worried -- I take all cyberthreats seriously.
I'm feeling secure -- I changed my password and set up 2FA.
I'm angry -- companies need to be more responsible.
I'm not at all concerned -- I trust Apple.
I'm resigned -- I expect to be breached at some point.
I don't care much -- the world has bigger problems.