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How SMBs Can Trade Stressful One-by-One Shipping for Streamlined Operations
April 18, 2019
E-commerce continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. Total retail sales, excluding the sale of items not normally bought online -- like fuel, automobiles, and food at restaurants -- hit $3.628 trillion last year, up 3.9 percent year over year from $3.490 trillion. E-commerce accounted for a 14.3 percent share of that total, and 51.9 percent of all retail growth. That is substantial.
Back to the Old School With Zoho
April 13, 2019
Customer relationship management keeps expanding, and some people might wonder why we never seem to get all the way to some mythical goal of perfection. One of the chief reasons is that the goal posts are moving away from us and always will be. This isn't some plot by the software companies to drive demand. From what I've seen, most companies simply try to keep up with demand with increasingly diverse products that meet real market needs.
Google Presents a Cornucopia of Cloud Goodies
April 11, 2019
Google announced a host of new services, features and partners at Google Cloud Next '19 Day 2 in San Francisco. The new unveilings followed its announcement of Anthos, an open source platform powered by Kubernetes, on Day 1. Anthos is "a single platform for developers and operations; it is for on-premise and multicloud installations," said Google SVP Urs Hölzle.
What Sellers Are Missing From CRM
April 11, 2019
As the B2B buyer continues to evolve, B2B sellers have more solutions than ever in their technology stacks. From CRM, sales content and asset management, to sales enablement, LMS and more, these technologies have been adopted in order to stay ahead of the changing behavior of prospects. The adopter of these solutions hopes to drive individual sales while increasing the team's productivity.
Using the Contact Center to Help Build Brand Loyalty
March 29, 2019
In 2018, 8.8 percent of all retail sales globally, totaling more than $2 trillion, were made online. As the total number of online purchases grows, a compelling case can be made that e-commerce customers expect to receive support that is as good as or even better than those who purchase the very same products in a store. In person, it is very easy to verify the proper set-up and operation.
Is Your Contact Center Ruining Your CX?
March 27, 2019
While CRM software is a vital tool, CRM itself is really a discipline: It's the cultivation of the customer relationship and the management of customer data to create better experiences for the customer and to generate better results for the business. The CRM application doesn't exist on its own in many organizations -- or in many vendors' suites of products, for that matter.
AI-Powered Inventory Management: A Make-or-Break Tool for Retailers
March 22, 2019
Retail is facing battles on all fronts. Up against Amazon's streamlined operations on one side, and a higher demand for flawless customer service and experience on the other, it's either think or sink for many. However, AI has thrown some early adopters a lifeline. As Amazon has proven with its stranglehold on the retail industry, online shopping is unquestionably the future.
Oracle MCX
March 21, 2019
Oracle held its Modern Customer Experience conference in Las Vegas this week, and it was eye-opening. This is the fourth MCX conference and an important milestone for a company that came to the cloud later than its competition. No doubt about it, Oracle has done much in a short time to develop and deploy its customer experience vision, so it is now possible and fair to critique the company's progress.
Learning Online: Getting Down to Business
March 4, 2019
Online learning platforms have made it easier than ever to offer workshops, courses and educational content of all kinds. In addition to the growth of online learning in traditional educational spheres, there's been growth in the business world. Companies increasingly have been using online learning platforms both to train employees and to educate customers.
Why You Should Source Foreign Talent for AI, IoT and ML
February 27, 2019
The artificial intelligence revolution has been going on for a while, but that does not mean all of software research and development is part of it. It is, nonetheless, an interesting example of what pushes the software industry forward. The ideas and techniques that brought machine learning into existence were developed over the span of several decades.
New AI, Mixed Reality, Customer Insight Tools Coming to Microsoft Dynamics 365
February 22, 2019
Microsoft announced a number of artificial intelligence, mixed reality and customer insights tools for Microsoft Dynamics 365 at its Microsoft Business Forward event in Paris. There is "a lot of hype around AI and MR, but these are real applications delivering value to customers today" noted Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.
Integrating MAP With CRM Can Fuel Your Pipeline
February 14, 2019
Sales teams are tasked with nurturing leads and driving them to a sale. In order to do this, they need to maintain a clear record of communication with each prospect. This is especially important as the customer journey requires several touchpoints. As customers get deeper into the journey, strategic face-to-face meetings must take place to generate real business outcomes.
4 Techniques for Validating Enterprise Blockchain
January 21, 2019
There's been a lot of hype about blockchain over the past few years. Nowadays though, there are signs that we may be on the cusp of moving from the "blockchain will solve all your problems" segment of the hype cycle into the "blockchain may be useful for a few targeted applications" segment. Utility-based Darwinism is at work -- we're starting to see the less likely applications fall away.
Microsoft Word in a Word: Frustration
January 10, 2019
Why have Microsoft and Apple been wasting the time of their users? My latest irritation concerns the disappearance of the Microsoft Word "Recent" folder from my MacBook. It was simply gone. Vanished. Poof. To make matters worse, this same thing has happened twice this month. From what I've heard, this problem has been occurring for many years. It just affects different users each time.
Oracle's Customer Transition Challenge
December 19, 2018
Oracle narrowly missed its number last quarter, so it was good to see the company come roaring back -- it made a lot of money. More importantly, many analysts have conceded that Oracle has reached a point in its infrastructure deployment where it can mount a serious challenge to other providers and supply the needed cloud services for its ERP and cloud database businesses.
Oracle and the JEDI Contract
December 13, 2018
Oracle has filed a suit in federal court over the $10 billion Pentagon JEDI contract to be awarded to a single vendor. Oracle claims that the single-vendor award is unfair and illegal, a claim it first filed with the GAO, or Government Accountability Office. The suit followed the GAO's denial of Oracle's claim. My first instinct was to call this legislative entrepreneurship.
Salesforce IoT Insights Could Turbocharge Field Service
December 6, 2018
Salesforce has announced the addition of IoT Insights to Field Service Lightning. The new tool permits signals from IoT devices to show up directly on Salesforce Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning mobile app consoles, alongside CRM data. Service organizations can draw on those IoT signals to anticipate and diagnose issues remotely, determine the source of the problem.
One-of-a-Kind CRM
December 5, 2018
The hoopla over vertical market or industry CRM might be eclipsing a similar move that does the same kind of thing but with less fanfare. In the end, we might be discussing two iterations and just a difference of degree. The proliferation of CRM development platforms by companies like Microsoft, Oracle, and especially Salesforce, is changing how we regard core functionality.
Amazon Is Just the Tip of the AI Bias Iceberg
November 16, 2018
Amazon recently disclosed its 2015 decision to scrap a recruitment tool used to hire talent, after finding that it had a bias against women. While this story has been covered sufficiently, there is a much greater story still to tell: A substantial amount of the AI technology that currently is used for recruitment and human resources purposes has been acting independently for some time.
$34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
October 31, 2018
The cloud computing landscape may look much different to enterprise users following the announcement earlier this week of IBM's agreement to acquire Red Hat. IBM plans to purchase Red Hat, a major provider of open source cloud software, for $34 billion. IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190 per share in cash, under terms of the deal.
Resellers, It's Not Too Late - Here's How to Get a New Marketplace Up and Running for the Holidays
October 26, 2018
With the holidays approaching, many resellers may think it's too late to set up or expand their marketplaces to take advantage of the holiday rush. That is not the case. If you leverage the right technology, you can accelerate the process of setting up your marketplace from weeks to hours, and never have to hold any inventory. For social influencers, e-commerce success can have an amplified effect.
Oracle OpenWorld: Margin Lab
October 24, 2018
Markets grow at the margins. This bit of sage advice was given to me at the start of my analyst career, and it has kept me in good nick for nearly two decades. Of course the focus has drifted over time but that's the point: The CRM market has evolved, and the job of an analyst is to make sense of the evolution. Oracle OpenWorld 2018 held in San Francisco this week is a laboratory for the margin.
Turning a Corner in CRM
October 19, 2018
For the last 20 years, CRM has occupied a preeminent niche in enterprise software. It has been the hip, up-and-coming solution in the front office, brimming with innovation and new approaches to some difficult problems. CRM applied basic database technology to a business' chaotic collection of customer data, streamlining business practices and boosting productivity in sales and service.
The CRM Oligopoly
October 4, 2018
As markets mature, they trend toward oligopoly or even outright monopoly. There isn't much difference, because an oligopoly has several members instead of just one. Examples include electric power generation, an oligopoly made up of vertically integrated monopolies in most areas, and the airline industry -- an oligopoly made up of many airlines that may have monopolies in regional hubs.
Dreamforce 2018
October 1, 2018
Salesforce has been very good at skating to where the puck will be, to paraphrase the great Wayne Gretzky. As a result, the company has a long line of firsts, beginning with its initial disruption and continuing through its early adoption of social media and analytics. So it's no surprise that it is pursuing some very different issues now than it did almost 20 years ago -- or even five.
The Crypto-Criminal Bar Brawl
September 25, 2018
As if e-commerce companies didn't have enough problems with transacting securely and defending against things like fraud, another avalanche of security problems -- like cryptojacking, the act of illegally mining cryptocurrency on your end servers -- has begun. We've also seen a rise in digital credit card skimming attacks against popular e-commerce software such as Magento.
Silo Buster: Salesforce Attacks the Data Sprawl Problem
September 25, 2018
I have never been a big fan of the term "360-degree view of the customer," mostly because you never can have a complete view of your customers. It's simply impossible. Things happen that you don't capture in the data, as CRM guru Paul Greenberg has pointed out. They get divorced, their dog dies, they get a really nice birthday gift. Those things can affect customers' buying behavior.
Oracle's Earnings Angst
September 22, 2018
OK, this is looking somewhat predictable. Oracle reported $9.20 billion in Q1 revenue, or $0.03 per share, against consensus estimates in the $9.24 to $9.29 range. In other words, it missed its number. How concerning is this? Excuse me while I yawn. It's important all right, but no reason to get crazy. Still, some representatives of the widows and orphans who own the stock went into a tizzy.
A Good Storm
September 20, 2018
Dreamforce continues to bear down on the world like a hurricane slowly approaching from across the ocean -- in a good way, if that makes any sense. Salesforce has pumped new products into the market that will serve as the focus of at least part of the discussion. The company recently introduced improvements or whole new products for the SMB market, philanthropy and financial services.
Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara: The Beauty of the CRM Beast
September 6, 2018
"The reality of relationships is that people buy from people they like, know and trust," said Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara. "In the old days, before we ever engaged in selling, we made a connection by looking at books, things on the shelves, that kind of thing. Today, we're doing that more and more electronically. Social is the perfect way to know more about somebody, and that's actually your job."
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