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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.
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."
Customer Service Takes a Turn
January 4, 2017
It's widely understood that new customer service channels such as social, email, knowledge bases and the like have left the service agent with harder problems to solve. Those channels are here to stay, because when they work well, they solve problems for pennies. It can cost many dollars to resolve an issue through the efforts of conventional agents. So there's a decided bias for self-service.
Engagio CEO Jon Miller: How to Land a Whale
January 3, 2017
"Traditional demand-based, lead-based marketing is like fishing with a net," said Engagio CEO Jon Miller. "You run campaigns and marketing programs, and stuff comes out the other end. What the account-based world is all about is that you have a list of names, but you don't wait around to see if those big fish swim into your net. Instead, you go fishing with spears."
Salesforce Releases Texting Customer Service Chatbot
December 14, 2016
Salesforce has released LiveMessage, a chatbot that lets enterprises users engage customers through messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, SMS or MMS directly within its Service Cloud. Service agents can respond to customers on Facebook Messenger after accessing their records, for example, and the conversation automatically is appended and can be resumed later if necessary.
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.
Aptean SVP Matt Keenan: CRM Needs to Be Intuitive
December 5, 2016
There are three significant trends in CRM right now, according to Matt Keenan, SVP of Aptean's product group. "The first is the rapid evolution of human-system interaction. Gone are the days of sitting in front of a laptop and interacting with CRM. Customers are looking for multiple channels. The way people are interacting with applications and data is evolving radically."
Qualitative Data - the Other Stuff
December 2, 2016
We've become obsessed with big data and analyzing it, though sometimes I think we get in our own way. The issue is that we preferentially collect quantitative data as if it were the only thing worth the time. In fact, quantitative data is but one kind of data, and the information it provides gives a one-dimensional view of the world. It's not wrong information -- just incomplete.
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.
New Subscription Economy Index Is an Eye Opener
November 23, 2016
Since its founding in 2007, Zuora has been the champion of the subscription economy, as a differentiator for companies that sell products as services and have to bill and collect monthly rather than engaging in a single one-time transaction. Few people realize how complex it is to run a business that requires customers to pay little up front but more over time. The billing, finance and commerce implications can be profound.
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.
Engagement and Loyalty
November 9, 2016
I've been writing about customer loyalty a lot -- and not just to sell my book, though you can buy it any time you want. Seriously, though, markets everywhere are cooling. They once were ripe with new categories and products, but everybody now seems to have the new stuff, and growth is falling back to the baseline of organic growth. That's why loyalty is so important today.
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.
AvePoint CEO TJ Jiang: Innovation Through Collaboration
November 3, 2016
The latest CRM trends "are part of the whole movement toward digitization of the workforce," said AvePoint CEO TJ Jiang. "We see much more integration and automation in the CRM space. We've been working, for instance, to digitize a social welfare organization, where caseworkers will go in the field to service underprivileged children. ... Historically, it's all been paper-based."
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.
Should Salesforce Buy NetSuite?
October 29, 2016
The recently released spreadsheet hacked from Salesforce board member Colin Powell's email names multiple companies that Salesforce was at least considering acquiring. In the aftermath of the initial reports, it's worth noticing that there were at least two enterprise resource planning/back office companies on the list: Workday and NetSuite. There are plenty of reasons to dismiss acquisition talk.
The End of Marketing
October 27, 2016
This is going to be political but you won't be able to tell which side I'm on. You might ask, why on Earth would I get involved even tangentially in politics right now? The simple answer is that it impacts CRM and I have a viewpoint -- but as I say, I'm not picking or revealing a side. I've been doing research in business agility lately -- a fascinating area that soon will impact CRM.
AI and Customer Loyalty
October 19, 2016
AI and machine learning have taken the industry by storm. Some say they will usher in a new age of better business processes and customer orientation, while others fret that automation will kill jobs. There definitely will be jobs that no longer make sense for humans to do, thanks to automation. However, there are some neglected business processes where AI and ML could make real contributions.
Microsoft Adds Muscle to Dynamics 365
October 18, 2016
Microsoft last week shared new information about its upcoming Dynamics 365 cloud service: the addition of 100 new apps; the inclusion of Solution Integrator partners in Appsource; the division of apps and features into Enterprise and Business Editions, the latter for SMBs; and a new subscription model. Many of the new capabilities will be available in both editions on Nov. 1.
Aviso CEO K.V. Rao: Humans, Machines and Magic
October 14, 2016
"CRM is a mature industry, but it's fundamentally not moving the needle for the user, for the subscriber -- the sales rep or manager. It's fundamentally recording your activities, but it doesn't really let you commit with confidence to drive the right outcomes," said Aviso CEO K.V. Rao. Predictive analytics "can help you find the right content faster. That's what the state-of-the art is for sales.
Dreamforce Redux
October 12, 2016
Dreamforce for many years has been too big for a single person to cover. While I participate in covering events like this, inevitably I am reduced to the story of the three blind people and the elephant. You can't experience enough of the elephant to describe it unless you can see it. Using your hands leaves you frustrated. In the case of Dreamforce, you can't go to all of the sessions.
Bring Back the CIO
October 10, 2016
The cloud revolution has made an enormous contribution to the evolution of sales and marketing software, as well as to business software of all types. There's a long list of benefits it's conferred on users -- from the ability to outsource security and maintenance tasks to the avoidance of manual upgrade processes, to the switch in payment modes, to a model more affordable for more businesses.
AI's Moment
October 7, 2016
There recently has been an increase in the talk -- pro and con -- about bots, AI and intelligent assistants. A lot of this talk has been percolating around the industry for decades. Silicon Collar, a book by Vinnie Mirchandani, a friend and truly gifted analyst, accepts that automation might be eliminating jobs, but it optimistically holds out for the silver lining.
Dreamforce's Einstein: First Shot in New Sales Tech Arms Race?
October 6, 2016
A technology conference staple is the over-the-horizon announcement: a proclamation that something that isn't quite here yet is the next big thing, often accompanied by simulated screen shots, hypothetical use cases and fantastic demonstrations. This year's Dreamforce announcement of a machine learning-enabled technology called "Einstein" easily could be dismissed as futureware.
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