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Zoho's Noble Endeavor
March 25, 2020
Edge conditions and the change they drive are fascinating. Some people use the word "margin" because it's at the margin that things change. A situation exists more or less in equilibrium with the rest of its environment until in one way or another the stresses become so great that change happens. We have lots of metaphors, like "tipping point" and "the straw that broke the camel's back."
Podcasting Around the Virus - and Beyond
March 10, 2020
Several conferences I was scheduled to attend have been canceled in the past week. All of the sponsors cited an abundance of caution in the face of the unknown consequences of coronavirus transmission and outright COVID-19 pneumonia. That's all to the good, but we need to get business done even in the face of the virus, because business has to propel itself forward or individual companies wither.
Building the Salesforce Franchise
March 5, 2020
Franchising is a tried-and-true business model with numerous permutations that benefit all participating parties. For the vendor it's a great model for expanding without all of the downside risk associated with building a business, like finding all the financing and hiring people. The franchisor generally sells licenses to willing partners who agree to uphold the standards of the brand.
The New App Dev CRM Model
February 5, 2020
CRM is an industry that's been full of turning points, and I think it is at another. There have been many smaller turns, like the additions of analytics, social media and process flows. However, to get a sense of this point in time, I think you have to go all the way back to the turn of the century and the rise of cloud computing. The cloud was important as an economic marker in some unique ways.
The Million Dollar Hidden Opportunity for E-Commerce SMBs
January 18, 2020
Every successful, long-term business has a common denominator in training as it relates to online sales customer contacts. Notice I said "long-term." A great product or unique marketing effort can fall short when a customer contacts an employee who is ill-equipped to respond. Some 72 percent of online shoppers will return up to 10 percent of their purchases, according to the UPS Pulse study.
Should Oracle Split?
December 9, 2019
We're used to discussing M&As in the tech sector, but splitting a company into two parts is a rarity. Analysts always have to ask who benefits and how? Shareholders? Other stakeholders, including customers? Employees? Why does this not happen more often? Surely businesses outgrow their markets' demands, but more often than not a business will sell itself to a suitor rather than splitting.
Dreamforce Points to New Disruption
December 4, 2019
There were more than 170,000 people at Dreamforce a couple of weeks ago, and many more watching from afar. Also, there were well over 2,000 sessions. Numerous announcements sprang from the big Salesforce event. Some announcements and sessions, like the Tim Cook fireside chat, stand out. Of the top six, I reckon that five were more about integration and working across vendor boundaries than CRM.
Why a Single Source of Truth Often Isn't
November 21, 2019
This week, Salesforce used its annual Dreamforce mega-show to make a host of announcements, ranging from contact center partnership with Amazon to a smart speaker tool for sales. For the most part, the keynote featured practical applications of Salesforce technology. Some Dreamforces focus on the highly aspirational; others focus on the ways to attain those aspirations. This year is the latter.
Salesforce and Microsoft in Another Deal
November 14, 2019
With Dreamforce approaching, it's no surprise that Salesforce is making a flurry of announcements. What is surprising are two big ones involving partnering with other vendors, mostly on infrastructure -- announcements that I believe make the idea of an information utility more real with each passing day. I see evidence of an information utility forming.
The Information Utility, Continued
November 13, 2019
I've been sharing my theory on the formation of an information utility for some time now. Various big vendors have announced alliances with that kind of aim. For instance, Oracle and Microsoft announced an effort to make their cloud databases interoperate, and Microsoft and others have announced common data model projects. Now Salesforce, AWS and Genesys have teamed up with The Linux Foundation.
Previewing Dreamforce 2019
November 13, 2019
Dreamforce is next week. Once again, the sold-out show will be headquartered at San Francisco's Moscone Center and overflowing to neighboring hotels. Over the years Dreamforce has become the Las Vegas of trade shows in one important respect. Both are famous for being bastions of excess. Vegas has excesses of the sensual kind, while Dreamforce offers a business and technology equivalent.
DevOps for Salesforce Lightning
November 4, 2019
The tools you work with have a lot of impact on what you can accomplish, and the more sophisticated the tools the better -- especially in software. Beagle Research just completed a study into the use of a DevOps strategy with the Salesforce Lightning Platform. DevOps is a strategy for building, changing and deploying enterprise software that can be used with Scrum, Agile, and other methodologies.
Bob Stutz, CRM Nomad
October 24, 2019
Bob Stutz is a great guy. I have interacted with him occasionally over the years in his various senior postings throughout the CRM industry and always found him to be kind, generous and thoughtful. Last week he announced he was leaving his position as head of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which he's been at for four years, and taking a job as President of SAP's CX effort.
Zoho's Catalyst to Growth
October 21, 2019
Now would be a good time to put Zoho on your radar if for some reason it isn't there already. The Austin-based company just announced Catalyst, a developer environment that helps programmers and others to speed development of apps and microservices with capabilities inherited from Zoho's apps portfolio. Catalyst is based on the company's internal development tools.
A New Business Model With Help From CRM
October 17, 2019
I have been writing about Salesforce for 20 years. That's incredible for me because aside from marriage, there's nothing in my life I've done so consistently for so long. Perhaps like a marriage, the thing that's been attractive about Salesforce is its constantly changing nature. The company went through a typical adolescence for a startup but it always had a sense that it was changing the world.
Autonomous Linux and the IT Utility
October 12, 2019
Oracle came late to cloud computing, joining the fray only after competitors like Microsoft and Salesforce had established dominant positions, and newcomer Amazon Web Services leaped from a standing start to a position of dominance. Amazon is so strong in the cloud that it is on the cusp of extinguishing the last challenges to its win of the 10-year $10 billion Pentagon JEDI procurement.
OpenWorld Takeaway
September 24, 2019
I was speaking to an Oracle executive about some of the company's announcements at OpenWorld, and my impression that the company has changed so much that it is difficult to recognize it from the entity it was just a few years ago. On the macro side it's easy to see that Oracle has transitioned from a products company to a subscription company. It uses its own apps in a proof-of-concept mode.
Oracle's OpenWorld Happening
September 18, 2019
Q1 in any business is the toughest for generating revenue and Oracle is no exception. In its Q1 earnings call it admitted missing by about $70 million on a $9.2 billion nut: small but consequential. No need to run for the smelling salts though, Oracle has been here before and it's got this. It should be noted that in Q4 any self-respecting salesperson works tirelessly to drain the pipeline.
Zoho Is Starting to Look Like a Utility
September 12, 2019
It has been my belief for several years that our industry is trending toward the formation of an information utility. I draw this conclusion carefully based on my understanding of how markets develop and commoditize. I consider the beginning of the modern IT era as the early 1970s. You can graph a rising line of performance and a declining one for price -- essentially Moore's Law.
Salesforce Q2 Earnings: No Worries
August 24, 2019
Salesforce continues to grow, albeit a little slower than in prior quarters. At least that's my reading of a $4.0 billion quarter that's 22 percent better than the same quarter a year ago. I am used to seeing growth percentages in the high 20s but I am not concerned about a slowdown. I don't know if the spending spree on Tableau and ClickSoftware had anything to do with the numbers.
Platform Power
August 21, 2019
For decades a database application was what we called an "app" that collected and regurgitated data in preset formats on paper reports and screens. That's becoming passť, but it once was a major advance because it gave a worker the necessary information to take decisive action. Today that's rarely enough. Downward cost pressures have been replacing some of the rote human effort with algorithms.
G2's Revelations
August 17, 2019
In a world where information is expected to be free, G2 just made its research reports available to the public gratis. Sure, you have to be a registered user, but how hard is that? From what I know so far, these are interesting reports, but they may not be the last word because they're primarily high-level overviews and indices based on G2's crowdsourcing research approach.
ClickSoftware Buy Signals Important Directional Shift for Salesforce
August 13, 2019
What's the big deal, I thought? Last week Salesforce announced it was paying in the range of $1.35 billion for ClickSoftware, a private field service automation and workforce management company. At first, I attributed it to a slow summer news cycle that was driving attention to the deal at a time when many people in the industry are off trout fishing near the Continental Divide or elsewhere.
Salesforce's Road to China
July 25, 2019
It was bound to happen. Salesforce was going to China at some point, and it announced that action this week saying it was partnering with Alibaba. There are so many ways to read this, but I don't have the filters to resist comparing the announcement to what Robin Williams once said about cocaine: "Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money."
E-Commerce Startup Bolt Snags $68M to Grow Checkout Biz
July 11, 2019
E-commerce checkout platform vendor Bolt has raised $68 million to help it increase its engineering team, invest in additional enterprise functionality, partner with best-in-breed e-commerce platforms, and build and expand advanced features and functionality. Bolt's platform combines checkout, payments and fraud detection to provide a better buying experience and maximize conversions.
Signpost Secures $52M to Expand Its SMB Marketing Reach
July 10, 2019
Cloud marketing company Signpost has raised $52 million in new funding to "increase the scale of our business and invest in our technology," CEO Stuart Wall announced. The company's SaaS platform for SMBs consists of artificial intelligence-based customer relationship management and marketing automation technology powered by automated data collection and cross-channel marketing.
Oracle Advances Its Two-Pronged Cloud Strategy
June 26, 2019
Oracle has announced plans to combine its more than 18 related analytics products under a single banner, Oracle Analytics, making it easier for customers to figure out what they need. It's not unusual for a company to innovate a string of offerings before consolidating them into a single product line, and it's reasonable to assume that vendors that have not done so already will follow suit.
Oracle Does OK - Surprised?
June 22, 2019
To all the geniuses who advised selling Oracle shares ahead of this week's earnings call: You might want to recheck your calculations. On your slide rule. The headline on Oracle's statement is all you need to begin the self-recriminations: "Q4 FY19 GAAP EPS UP 36% TO $1.07 and NON-GAAP EPS UP 23% TO $1.16." What were the naysayers thinking? More importantly, what were they thinking with?
Thinking Different at Salesforce Connections
June 18, 2019
Salesforce has a genius way of putting people at ease and opening their minds before any of the company's representatives say a word about product. People who study neuropsychology point to the importance of ensuring that the audience's prefrontal cortexes are wide open and ready to transact ideas. Over the years Salesforce has opened minds by discussing philanthropy and it has worked brilliantly.
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
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2020 online shopping habits and retailer strategies
What do you consider most worrisome if the Internet should go down during the pandemic?
It would compromise the delivery of critical health information.
It would impair the operations of providers of needed services.
People would not be able to order goods online.
The damage to the global economy would be incalculable.
Many people would not be able to communicate with loved ones and friends.
It would make working from home impossible.
Loss of entertainment options could threaten mental health.
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