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Analyst Firms Should Offshore Themselves

The irony is too strong to ignore. Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other analyst firms are all forecasting that outsourcing will continue growing rapidly. Yet not one is forecasting when industry analysis itself will move offshore ...

Earning Kwan in the CRM Software Game

I'll never forget playing on a losing football team growing up and having my friends --my friends! -- yell from the sideline, "You guys stink!" Thankfully, I discovered a passion for baseball, played for years, and even won a city championship ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

The Time Has Come for Hosted ERP

Making inroads into the next major market for software isn't going to happen from enterprise vendors trying to wedge expensive, large application footprints into a product strategy that appeals to medium-sized companies. Despite Oracle, Siebel and others proclaiming they can make this strategy work, the bottom line is that the financial pain of doing this is just too much for companies with their cost structures to bear...

Making Processes Pay

There's a major disconnect between the expectations and results companies are getting when they realign processes aimed at serving their customers, as I've discovered in conversations with several manufacturers ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Analyzing the Analysts

Research firms benchmark other companies, but they don't benchmark themselves. This is one of the biggest ironies of the research industry, and CRM analysts are right in the middle of it ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Coaxing Users to CRM Cotillions

Two major CRM events took place this week, with Gartner and Siebel coaxing CRM users out of their cubicles to warm West Coast locations ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Oracle Needs PeopleSoft To Survive

The debate over whether Oracle will prevail in its attempt to acquire PeopleSoft is over. Mario Monti, the European Union's competition commissioner, is expected to approve the merger before October 31. Mr. Monti has been approached by SAP and Emerson Electric, who both spoke in favor of the merger. With the European Union on board, Oracle has the legal momentum to make this merger happen...

Hiring an Analyst Firm Is Like Buying an SUV

There are many common threads that tie together shopping for an analyst firm and kicking the tires of a sports utility vehicle. The power promised by the marketing behind both is impressive ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

ERP Consolidation Is a Cop-Out

They will create for cash. For smaller companies, the deal pipeline could be made or destroyed with just a few simple but bad decisions. Successful smaller companies take longer to make product decisions but once done attack the project with intensity. Bottom line Claiming that all of enterprise software will consolidate into just the ERP vendors is a lazy view of the world. Best-of-breed companies constantly work customer bases for references, generate new product ideas and operate at a higher level of intensity. For these reasons, they will continue to survive and thrive. Louis Columbus, a CRM Buyer columnist, is a former senior analyst with AMR Research and is founder of LWC Research, a firm specializing in CRM, sell-side e-commerce, sales and product configuration and guided selling. ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Wanted: CEOs with Skin in the Game

It is often said what separates one company's ability to develop, execute and sustain a CRM strategy is the active involvement of the CEO ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Outsourcing Order Management – The Ins and Outs

Many people consider order management the heart of any enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It's heresy in many manufacturing companies even to talk of changing from a home-grown order-management system to an outside ERP system ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Quit Treating Industry Analysts as Quote ATMs

Too many companies take a very automated, ATM-like approach to the ROI they get from industry analyst organizations they work with. For all the cash these companies deposit, they expect only a quote from time to time from their industry analysts, hopefully generated with the same efficiency of a 24/7 ATM transaction ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Value-Based Pricing: Proceed at Your Own Risk

Think of this scenario: You're shopping for a new home and instead of guiding you into a single-digit fixed-rate mortgage, lenders try to persuade you that an adjustable mortgage indexed to your income makes more sense. Structuring mortgages like that makes no sense, and it's making less and less sense to purchase software that way ...

OPINION

Earning Respect from Your Customer Channels

Quoting systems must deliver. Too often quoting workflows are pushed to the back of the development timeline when, in fact, that's what the channel partners need the most. Don't stop at being able to create MS-Word and Adobe Acrobat files, really go after quotes that make a commitment you can deliver on. Don't be satisfied with quotes that are nearly accurate; push to make the quotes accurate every time -- a tough but good goal to go after. If you do that, your company's credibility with resellers will skyrocket. Earn Respect It's not the destination of your reseller conference, not the giveaways or the feel-good presentations from product marketing, sales, product management, or even the special guest speakers -- it's the execution and the ability of your company to make and keep commitments to the channel that really matters. Don't bribe your way into a channel strategy; earn your way into your reseller's respect. Without that, you can do all the events, all the Web seminars, all the conferences -- and your competitors will still win the channel with better day-to-day execution and a healthy reserve of fulfilled expectations and commitments, all based on a channel management strategy that serves rather than just sits there. It's time to get out and serve the channel, not with bribes, but with solid performance using the applications you invested in. Louis Columbus, aCRM Buyer columnist, is a former senior analyst with AMR Research and isfounder of LWCResearch, a firm specializing in CRM, sell-side e-commerce, salesand product configuration and guided selling. ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Lack of Service Sows Seeds of Outsourcing

Let's face it. For many companies, the level of service to customers is lacking across the entire spectrum of their customer base, and service to internal customers is even worse ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Why Outsourcing Is a Lot Like Golf

CEOs of hardware companies are giving themselves an extra drop. Any hardware company you track has an interesting story to tell about outsourcing right now. The most recent 10Ks filed with the SEC talk about the many costs and huge investment in outsourcing, yet the CEO talks about offshore manufacturing like it's effortless. Somewhere between these two extremes is the truth, and it leans more to going over engineering, quality, service and manufacturing processes over and over again like any golfer practices his or her swing. Outsourcing really is like golf. Like golf, companies struggle with performance and are anxious about little improvements. Like golfers, there is always a recasting of the toughest round in the best possible light. Experience Curve Across the board this earnings season, no one knows how many outsourcing mulligans CEOs of software, hardware and services companies took. But there is one certainty: Come next quarter after another round, the CEOs will all be back, and some might tell us about the experience curve they have been down and lessons learned. But for most, it will be a description of how they got their outsourcing strategy pin high. Nothing comes for free, and, especially for manufacturing companies, the lessons can be costly and enduring. Bottom line: Outsourcing's allure is the same as golf: freedom to hit away and play the game as you specifically want to. Ironically both outsourcing and golf make you earn that freedom, and for hardware manufacturers, it's better to own up to your handicap now, and don't mulligan away the future. For software companies, outsourcing is like the course you always wanted to play -- and in the case of CRM, the path is proven and worth a round. Louis Columbus, a CRM Buyer columnist, is a former senior analyst with AMR Research and is founder of LWC Research, a firm specializing in CRM, sell-side e-commerce, sales and product configuration and guided selling. ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Outside Consultants Are Not Always Better

Companies looking at new CRM, order capture and even distributed order-management systems tend to give too much credibility to the vendors outside their company first, dismissing their own internal resources. ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Legalizing Respect for the Consumer

Look long enough at any company's Web site, C-level presentations, earnings conference calls or marketing efforts, and you'll find the phrases like, "customer-centered," "The customer comes first always," and "The customer is the center of the business." ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Explaining CRM’s Credibility Gap

Let's face it: CRM continues to be the Rodney Dangerfield of enterprise applications. It doesn't get nearly the respect it deserves. ...

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Can You Trust Your CRM Data?

It's time to leave behind the hype of each new application release and get fundamental about what you are doing with your CRM strategies in the first place. Here's the bottom line: You will only be able to reach your goals if the processes that feed your CRM applications with verifiable, reliable, real data are functioning ...

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