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Infrastructure as an Anchor
January 18, 2018
Oracle's race to the cloud has offered multiple successes to its investors and some disappointment as well. No transition of this magnitude can be expected to run like clockwork, but the difference between revenues for Oracle's Software as a Service apps for last quarter, $1.1 billion, and those for its Infrastructure as a Service apps, at $396 million, should at least get you thinking.
Cloud Training to Boost Competitive Advantage Strategies
January 11, 2018
One of the biggest challenges facing organizations of all sizes trying to move to the cloud is finding and retaining the skilled workers necessary to implement today's rapidly expanding assortment of on-demand services. This skills gap cost companies more than $250 million in lost business opportunities in just one year, according to a recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics.
The Platform Wars of 2018
January 10, 2018
The new battleground in enterprise software is likely to be the software platform. This is not to say that analytics and security are not important, but they are being handled in different ways. Security is being handled in ways that address both hardware and software vulnerabilities, but these things aren't what customers or consumers spend their days thinking about.
CRM in 2018
January 3, 2018
Figuring out the year ahead in CRM is tricky and getting more so. Making predictions has been more challenging for the last several years. We've seen an array of new technologies take root and blossom, but managers have had trouble figuring out how to adopt them. Those innovations have fueled a lot of anxiety in the C-suite about digital disruption, but each company's disruption is different.
2017: CRM in Full Stride
December 23, 2017
There was a lot in customer relationship management to like in 2017. The industry racked up north of $35 billion and the cloud reigned supreme. However, future growth presents a challenge. We're going to need to look beyond selling generic seats to grow the CRM market from here. It's a whole new ball game now that Oracle has credible cloud CRM. Other vendors will need to bring their A-games.
Reading Between Oracle's Lines
December 19, 2017
Oracle's most recent financial report reveals some hints about its future. Oracle has posted some very impressive numbers as its cloud computing products and services have taken off, and the recent Q2 reporting is a fine reference point. From the company's Q2 announcement: Cloud SaaS revenues were up 55 percent; PaaS plus IaaS revenues were up 21 percent; total cloud revenues were up 44 percent.
Cool Effect
December 8, 2017
Dreamforce is a bit like a holiday feast in that there are usually leftovers to savor. One of the stories that didn't get enough attention was Salesforce's path to becoming a carbon-neutral company. Time to savor it. Salesforce has made a monumental effort to switch to green electricity generation and ensure that its buildings and business processes are as light on the planet as possible.
Revisiting Show Season
November 14, 2017
Show season changes the CRM market. One day you're in the vanilla application software space, and a week later you understand the need to incorporate social media or analytics or machine learning, or you see a need for enhanced integration and development through platform services. It goes on. Today, in the wake of many companies' trade shows, we're again taking a look at the available suites.
Driving Digital Transformation by Making Citizen Developers Heroes
November 10, 2017
Corporate executives know that if they don't transform their companies into digital enterprises they're going to be at a significant competitive disadvantage. Yet many corporate leaders have been unable to make significant progress transforming their organizations. Many executives have found that changing their corporate cultures is a lot harder than adopting cloud-based applications and services.
Dreamforce Pivot
November 9, 2017
Dreamforce 2017 is in full swing this week in San Francisco, which means that Salesforce is changing, shedding a skin to reveal a new and improved creature. This time, rather than announcing a new cloud or a mountain of technology, the company seems focused on improving what it has and delivering a tighter and more powerful solution set for a future that's just emerging.
Email Marketing Goes Hand-in-Glove With E-Commerce Shipping
October 20, 2017
ShippingEasy on Thursday launched Automated Email Marketing as an addition to its customer management module. This new tool has a powerful rules engine that helps users increase sales, the company said. Among other things, it can set up a trigger to send an email to first-time buyers immediately after an order is downloaded -- customized with a logo and specific coupon code if desired.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija: Not All Customers Will Help You Make Money
October 17, 2017
"As services are getting more and more mobile, service needs to get mobile as well," said Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija. "If you look at customer service over the last 10 to 15 years, first it was all about average handling time. If you grew quickly as a business, you needed to stack up a call center. The next five to six years were all about self-service, so technology started building up."
Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
Salesforce Gets Granular
October 11, 2017
If you need an example of digital disruption, you can't do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers. Even innovations like the ATM, which entered the scene several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers.
OpenWorld 2017
October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers.
Show Season
October 4, 2017
Autumn officially kicked off about a week ago -- not with some celestial convergence but with show season, with companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM holding conclaves of their faithful. This is traditionally the beginning of attempts at closing the calendar year on a high note, as CRM vendors work to garner customer dollars based on the promises of new technologies unveiled at conferences.
New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution
September 30, 2017
Bpm'online has introduced software update 7.11 for its intelligent CRM and BPM platform, with more than 200 improvements designed to accelerate strategy execution. Among other features, it provides new machine learning capabilities and predictive algorithms that offer users relevant information and automation within a specific context based on analysis of historical data.
Digital Hub Returns
September 28, 2017
Digital Hub is not a new idea. It's been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it's made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.
Finally Oracle
September 20, 2017
Oracle showed some very good numbers in its latest earnings report. As it begins its second year of aggressive cloud promotion, the company overall is showing significant year-over-year improvements, thanks to its turn to cloud infrastructure, applications and platforms. Yet when read right, the numbers announce the end of the beginning of the end as much as they announce the end of the beginning.
The Vision Thing
September 15, 2017
Salesforce earlier this year introduced its Einstein Vision capability, an idea with a lot of promise but not a great deal of precedent. Who had applications that could see, and how would this be used? For decades, we've been content with scanning documents and analyzing them with OCR tools, or we've used bar codes and QR codes -- but it all came down to recognizing simple symbols.
Oracle's Numbers
September 11, 2017
Oracle will announce its Q1 revenue and profit numbers after market close on Wednesday. There's more than a little excitement about what might be revealed, specifically if the company can continue its rise, thanks to its cloud products. The anticipated answer is yes, but there's potential for a surprise. The company so far has been posting great numbers for its cloud products.
Ten Billion
August 29, 2017
Salesforce announced the partial attainment of one of its long-range goals in its Q2 earnings announcement last week: It eclipsed its goal of a $10 billion run rate. This will be followed by similar announcements over the next year -- first $10 billion year, etc. -- and why not? The company should celebrate. Second quarter revenue hit $2.56 billion, a 26 percent increase year over year.
CRM Health Check
August 18, 2017
As an industry, CRM continues to grow and shower benefits on its users. It's hard to imagine that some businesses still don't use some form of CRM, but recent data suggests there are still businesses buying their first CRM solutions or changing vendors. It's a compilation of data from all over, with some credible inputs from a number of sources, so it's worth taking a look.
New Service Promises Help Winning Government Contracts
August 1, 2017
Onvia on Tuesday launched a new service for companies selling to the public sector. The service provides access to detailed materials associated with a given solicitation, including all submitted proposals, the awarded bid, the final contract, and the agency's scoring criteria. Onvia "helps clients succeed in pursuing government contracts," said Ben Vaught, director of Onvia for Government.
InsideView Launches Expert Consulting Service for B2B Marketers
July 31, 2017
InsideView has announced a consulting service to help B2B marketers implement account-based marketing. Expert Service, the first in the firm's planned series of InsideView Expert Services, delivers target market analytics and helps customers build a view of their total addressable market using a data visualization console. InsideView's TAM service is a blend of consulting, technology and data.
Zoho Launches All-in-One Business Suite for SMBs
July 25, 2017
Zoho has launched Zoho One, an all-in-one business suite comprised of more than 35 integrated Web applications and an equal number of mobile apps. The suite offers single sign-on with centralized administration and provisioning. Each user has one secure account and access to the entire suite. An admin panel enables and controls access, which simplifies provisioning, access and audit.
Trailhead Matrix
July 11, 2017
Salesforce had a strong showing at its TrailheaDX developer conference, roughly quadrupling last year's attendance and flooding its developers with new technology. Over the last few years, the company has built out a multidimensional matrix of product offerings that include CRM components like SFA and customer service, but it has been careful to introduce back-end technology products as well.
Naming the Ephemeral
June 30, 2017
So much is happening as we approach the end of Q2 -- our industry's busiest quarter, at least by some measures. I'm flying around seeing things but not always able to comment from a middle seat on a red-eye. So this piece is an attempt to catch up and set some markers for the traditionally slower summer. I've been searching for a word to describe a new category I see: Service as a Service.
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Of the following CES 2018 crowd pleasers, which do you consider the most important or desirable new tech?
Google Assistant -- voice-activated AI on displays everywhere
Helite's Hip'Air - a hip-protecting airbag belt for seniors
HTC Vive Pro - a VR headset with way better resolution and sound
Samsung's 'The Wall' - a modular TV with MicroLED for consumers
Sony's Aibo -- a lovable AI-powered robotic pet dog
Toyota's e-Palette -- a self-driving van for deliveries and more
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