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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
'Nontraditional' Is the Name of the New CRM Game
February 10, 2014
Fueled by its recent infusion of $40 million by Goldman Sachs to invest in sales and marketing, SugarCRM plans to focus on "the nontraditional use of CRM," said VP of Marketing Jennifer Stagnaro. "That is, we plan to go beyond the traditional uses of sales force automation and customer service and marketing automation," she said, noting that nontraditional uses of CRM are on the rise.
The 3 Ages of CRM
February 05, 2014
I have written often about the connection between CRM and economics, almost as if one explains the other. While I still believe it in part, my thinking has evolved and become more nuanced over the last 15 years to the point that today I want to discuss my evolution. Social science is for me the obvious metaphor for CRM, but which social science? The first era of CRM can be explained by economics.
Betting Big Bucks on the Real Omnichannel Deal
February 04, 2014
CRM vendors for years have been acknowledging the need for omnichannel support while bending over backwards to explain how their particular applications or product suites excelled at providing that missing link. A funny thing began to happen at the end of the 20th century. Instead of talking about it, CRM vendors started doing something about it. One by one, they made some strategic acquisitions.
Oracle Calls Out Amazon, Salesforce
February 03, 2014
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said last week that IBM and SAP were no longer in his gun sights. Instead, Oracle is focusing on cloud infrastructure companies such as Amazon and SaaS providers such as Salesforce.com. However, Oracle is "kidding itself" if it thinks it can crack the IaaS/PaaS market any time soon, said Synergy Research Group's John Dinsdale.
Give Customers a Buying Experience They Can't Resist
January 31, 2014
When people talk about the customer experience, the thinking gets lofty quickly. The word "delight" is dropped a lot, people cite things like the American Girl Store or Nordstrom -- and soon over-the-top seems like what the norm should be. The experiences provided by the very best at creating experiences are great because they fit their product, their customers, and the objectives of both groups.
The Year of...
January 15, 2014
There are some good reasons to consider platform's primacy in our thinking. Platform makes sense from both vendor and customer perspectives. For vendors, platform rebuilds the walled gardens that were prevalent back when compilers and databases drove things. For customers, platforms and their ecosystem partners offer a reasonably robust environment for doing most of their business processing.
Salesforce1 Paves Way for Internet of Customers
January 10, 2014
Salesforce on Wednesday kicked off its Salesforce1 world tour in New York, touting the allure of the social, mobile and cloud customer platform to clients. Launched in November at Dreamforce 2013, Salesforce1 drove a 96 percent increase in mobile app active users and a 46 percent increase in active users of custom mobile apps, Salesforce maintained.
9 CRM Companies to Watch in 2014
January 08, 2014
I'd like to say it's going to be a good year in CRM, and I firmly believe it, though I can't offer a single, all-encompassing reason for my optimism. There are plenty of small things that begin to add up, however -- in an earlier time, the metaphor might have been "straws in the wind." So what are they? First, the economy is looking better -- but that's faint praise.
It Was a Very Good Marketing, Partners and Platform Year
December 11, 2013
We are nearing year-end, and that means it's time for my annual year in review -- my assessment of things that will matter in the long run. From my spot, it looks like marketing took a big step toward greater relevance in 2013, the importance of being a partner in an ecosystem increased -- as did the significance of software platforms -- and reports of CRM's demise were greatly exaggerated.
CRM's Frayed Ends
December 06, 2013
The buyer-seller relationship we most often think of is one in which all the responsibility is loaded on the seller. The seller convinces the customer to buy, then provides support and further marketing to keep the customer loyal. Not every selling relationship works this way, however. When both ends of the sale have a responsibility, things get a little cloudier and more complex.
Salesforce.com Drops $1M to Make Hackathon Results Fair
December 03, 2013
Salesforce.com has taken an interesting step in stemming the fallout from its recent hackathon by deciding to award a second prize of $1 million to another team of developers. At the Dreamforce software conference last month, Salesforce.com held a Salesforce1 Hackathon, in which more than 4,500 developers were encouraged to build apps using the company's customer relationship management platform.
The Class of '14
November 20, 2013
The story of this year's Dreamforce might best be told through the partner community and AppExchange, and that makes it a story about the platform. Appropriately enough, Salesforce teed up the platform topic in Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff's Tuesday keynote and the press conference immediately following it, where he announced Salesforce1.
Fall Roundup
October 24, 2013
There's a lot going on right now that bodes well for next year. It's amazing to even say this in October, but the evidence I've seen points to a busy new year. Companies are spending money on marketing and sales like they have not in several years. Venture capitalists are putting their capital to work, and some emerging companies are telling me they didn't actually need the cash they've taken.
A Last, Lingering Look at Oracle OpenWorld 2013
October 02, 2013
The ghost of Anthony Lye presided over Oracle OpenWorld's third-day customer experience keynote. For CRM and related things, it was the moment I'd been waiting for. Lye is in robust health as far as I know, but he has been gone from Oracle for about a year. He was the architect of Oracle's CRM strategy that resulted in the acquisitions of RightNow Technologies, ATG, Endeca, and other brands.
Oracle Revs Its Cloud Engines for a Better Customer Experience
September 26, 2013
Oracle has upgraded its Customer Experience cloud-based application with enhancements throughout the platform, including the sales, marketing and service modules, the company announced on Wednesday at its Oracle OpenWorld event. From a 30,000-foot view, the Oracle CX improvements can be summed up as offering deeper social integrations, more mobility and streamlined and more intuitive interfaces.
IT Solutions Navigator Cuts Through Choppy Procurement Waters
September 25, 2013
Vendors seeking to obtain federal information technology contracts are regularly challenged to deal with a variety of complex factors. These include negotiating special IT security requirements, tricky service level agreements, and a growing number of government contracting vehicles that have been developed over the past few years to facilitate IT contracting.
Commence CRM 5.5 Brings Chat Into the Fold
September 23, 2013
Commence earlier this month debuted version 5.5 of its CRM application with key enhancements including a new internal chat system, new Microsoft Word and calendar integrations, and a click-to-dial feature on mobile phones. Commence provides an array of CRM tools, including salesforce features and, for a unique twist, a project management component as well on its platform.
Bislr Brings a Bunch of New Tools for Easier Marketing Automation
September 16, 2013
Early this year Bislr launched with an impressive goal for a startup: It wanted to do for marketing automation what Steve Jobs and Apple did for mobile. That is, it wanted to take an arguably still clunky, expensive and difficult-to-use piece of enterprise software and transform it into something that people would actually want to use. It rolled out its version of that vision with the company's launch.
The Shift to a Subscription Economy, Part 2
September 13, 2013
Marine liability insurer The Shipowners' Club has signed up to get IT service management from Axios Systems on a Software as a Service basis. It is going with the subscription solution to remove the cost and complexity of security, backups, implementation and upgrades while retaining full ownership of its data. That, in a nutshell, is why companies are moving to a subscription-based economy.
Qualtrics Aims to Make Surveys Mobile-Friendlier
September 09, 2013
It's a fact of life in market research that the success of any survey will depend at least in part on its accessibility to the intended respondents. Toward that end, Qualtrics has released Qualtrics Mobile, a new app designed to help reach respondents on the go. Qualtrics Mobile works alongside the company's existing marketing survey Software as a Service application.
Investors Toss $50 Million Zuora's Way
September 06, 2013
Zuora, which offers a billing, commerce and finance PaaS for businesses using a subscription-service model, has raised $50 million in E series funding from some major players. Next World Capital, Vulcan Capital and Northgate Capital are the latest additions to the company's crowd of believers. Zuora will use the money to expand into new markets and geographies and invest in R&D.

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