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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."
Is Weak Data Integrity Killing Your CRM?
August 29, 2018
American companies spend an enormous amount of money on training. Spending reached more than $90 billion in 2017, an increase of over 32 percent from 2016. It's unlikely that even a small share of the billions spent on training last year were devoted to educating and motivating employees to regularly and accurately input data into a company's CRM. Maybe it should have been.
Software Providers Scramble to Satisfy World's Largest IT Customer
August 28, 2018
In the competitive IT world, vendors must be alert to major changes within the potential customer base. The U.S. government increasingly has been using its status as the world's single largest IT customer to acquire products and services at competitively favorable costs. U.S. government spending for a combination of legacy IT operations and new projects has reached some $90 billion annually.
Oracle Confronts Lawsuit on Its Path to the Cloud
August 18, 2018
The City of Sunrise Firefighters' Pension Fund has sued Oracle, alleging that its executives lied about the company's successes in the cloud and engaged in coercion and threats to sell its cloud products, "creating an unsustainable model that fell apart." The plaintiff apparently is seeking class-action status for the suit. Oracle has called the suit meritless and said it would defend against it.
Sugar's New Shot Clock
August 16, 2018
SugarCRM has agreed to acquisition by Accel-KKR, a leading technology-focused private equity firm. Although the announcement calls the deal "a significant investment," what typically happens when private equity moves in is that venture capital moves out. Private equity likes to own everything and thus have greater control. In basketball terms, Sugar just got a big rebound and a new shot clock.
New LibreOffice Version Offers Fresh Take
August 9, 2018
The Document Foundation has announced the availability of its second major release this year, LibreOffice Fresh 6.1, with enhanced editing on Desktop, Cloud and Mobile platforms. One of its most significant new features is Notebookbar, an experimental UI option that resembles the ribbon interface popular with Microsoft Office users. The Fresh release targets both early adopters and power users.
IBM, CLS Launch Blockchain Platform for Banks
July 31, 2018
IBM and currency trading utility CLS have announced a new platform that enables financial institutions to deploy, share and consume services on a hosted blockchain network. Nine financial institutions have agreed to participate in the initial launch of the platform, which is sort of an app store for solutions that use distributed ledger technology, also known as "blockchain."
Google Adds Kubernetes to Rebranded Cloud Marketplace
July 19, 2018
Google has announced the rebranding and expansion of its Cloud Launcher platform. Going forward, it will be known as the "Google Cloud Platform Marketplace," or "GCP Marketplace." It will offer production-ready commercial Kubernetes apps, promising simplified deployment, billing and third-party licensing. Google's goal is to make containers accessible to everyone, especially the enterprise.
Microsoft's New Skype Could Be Risky Gamble
July 18, 2018
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Skype messaging app, along with a warning that previous versions of the software will be disabled after Sept. 1. "As we roll out improvements, there comes a time when we must shut down older services and application versions," wrote the Skype Team in an online post. "This is done to ensure that all customers have the best possible Skype experience."
Could a Tech Collaboration Tool Fix Dysfunctional Governments?
July 16, 2018
Microsoft Inspire is taking place this week, and a huge number of my personal friends and I were prebriefed on what the big announcements would be. Strangely, the embargo on the news lifted last week, so I'm not going to get in trouble for sharing some of the revelations. There are a number of interesting elements, including Microsoft's suddenly aggressive move to use Azure as an IoT host.
TrueCommerce Integration With Shopify Promises Boatloads of Benefits
July 13, 2018
TrueCommerce has announced the integration of its unified commerce solutions with Shopify, a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform. Shopify powered more than 600,000 merchants across 175 countries as of last August. The new offering will give Shopify merchants a unified scheme for greater integration across all commerce channels within a business' systems and supply chain network.
Oracle's Nice Numbers
June 30, 2018
Significant Q4 wins and earnings numbers reflect the strength of Oracle's resurgence as a cloud company. At its earnings call earlier this week, CEO Mark Hurd mentioned some big names -- including Johnson & Johnson, the Cleveland Clinic, Baylor University and AT&T -- that made significant commitments to Oracle in the quarter. For FY2018, total revenues were up 6 percent compared with fiscal 2017.
IBM's Watson Enlisted for B2B Sentiment Analysis
June 27, 2018
B2B customer support firm TeamSupport has added sentiment analysis technology, powered by IBM's Watson, to its customer relationship platform. The new tech provides automatic text analysis of email or chat responses to assess how a customer feels, so customer support teams can prioritize and personalize their outreach efforts. It includes predefined categories such as "satisfied" and "frustrated."
Oracle's Creative Destruction
June 26, 2018
Although Oracle was one of the last major enterprise software vendors to move to the cloud, it has embraced the idea of creative destruction in breathtaking ways. With BYOL -- Bring Your Own License -- the company has inspired a movement of its traditional software customers to its infrastructure cloud. It continued the translation exercise with Oracle LaunchPad, a new online learning platform.
Suse Linux Enterprise 15 Bridges Traditional, Software-Defined Systems
June 26, 2018
Suse has launched Suse Linux Enterprise 15, its latest flagship operating platform. SLE 15 bridges traditional infrastructure technologies with next-generation software-defined infrastructure, the company said. Suse Manager helps users meet management challenges created by technology advancements such as software-defined infrastructure, cloud computing and containers.
Tech Heavyweights Launch AI Global Marketplace
June 13, 2018
A group of data, technology, digital services and other organizations have launched the AI Global Marketplace, an app store that will host more than 2,000 high-value AI assets focused on customer engagement and process intelligence problems for the banking, insurance, healthcare and digital commerce markets. Software assets will be based on the Cognitive Agent Modeling and Execution Language.
Reshaping the Software and Services Marketplace
June 11, 2018
In the old IT world, systems integration and consulting companies flourished, helping enterprises of all sizes across nearly every industry pull together a plethora of proprietary systems from a wide array of software and technology vendors. Despite the promises of the cloud, not much has changed. Yet, there are several important differences in today's IT services requirements that set them apart.
SAP Discovers CRM
June 6, 2018
SAP has unveiled a new attempt to consolidate a group of about a dozen front office apps into a fully integrated CRM suite -- next year. How do you say "lipstick on a pig" in a non-derogatory way? Look, CRM is over 20 years old now. For most of the early days, the vendors scrambled to integrate their apps into a coherent whole, supporting multiple customer-facing processes.
Red Hat Launches Fuse 7, Fuse Online for Better Cloud Integration
June 5, 2018
Red Hat has launched its Fuse 7 cloud-native integration solution and introduced Fuse Online, an alternative iPaaS. Red Hat Fuse is a lightweight modular and flexible integration platform with a new-style enterprise service bus to unlock information. It provides a single, unified platform across hybrid cloud environments for collaboration between integration experts, application developers and business users.
There's a New AI-Based Data Service on the CRM Block
May 30, 2018
Cien this week released its AI-based Data Enhancement Services to help companies manage CRM records in Salesforce Sales Cloud implementations. Data Enhancement Services "is an optional standalone Cien offering for companies that aren't ready to start tackling their sales productivity traps and feel a more urgent need to augment their CRM data," noted Cien CEO Rob Käll.
Cloud Health Services, Part 2: Privacy and Security
May 23, 2018
Health services vendors have been partnering with various organizations to gain a foothold in the cloud and to test out their solutions. One of the cloud's major selling points is security -- but it is not as safe as it's made out to be. Google Cloud "recently announced a significant expansion in HIPAA compliance across our portfolio of cloud products," noted Google Cloud's Joe Corkery.
Cloud Health Services, Part 1: Benefits and Complications
May 22, 2018
The cloud offers a host of potential uses, according to the healthcare industry and academic medical center representatives who participated in a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey. Application hosting was the top use, identified by 90 percent of the respondents. Disaster recovery and backup, and hosting application data were among other uses cited.
NICE Bot Wants to Take Over Employees' Most Tedious Tasks
May 16, 2018
NICE has debuted its NICE Employee Virtual Attendant, or NEVA, a process automation bot powered by the company's desktop automation technology. With chatbot capabilities, NEVA "is designed for both front- and back-office employees," said NICE VP Oded Karev, head of advanced process automation. Employees can use NEVA either to execute a complex business process or inquire about a process.
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.