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Reading Between Oracle's Lines
December 19, 2017
Oracle's most recent financial report reveals some hints about its future. Oracle has posted some very impressive numbers as its cloud computing products and services have taken off, and the recent Q2 reporting is a fine reference point. From the company's Q2 announcement: Cloud SaaS revenues were up 55 percent; PaaS plus IaaS revenues were up 21 percent; total cloud revenues were up 44 percent.
B2B Digital Ad Spending to Jump Next Year
December 18, 2017
B2B ad spending will increase 13 percent in 2018 to hit $4.6 billion from this year's estimated $4.07 billion, eMarketer has predicted. However, its proportion of all U.S. digital ad spending will remain unchanged at 4.9 percent, which implies growth in other digital ad spend areas as well. Desktops and laptops will continue to attract the bulk of B2B digital ad spend, according to eMarketer.
Most Marketers Struggle to Reach Targeted Customers
December 16, 2017
Sixty percent of the digital marketing professionals who responded to a recent survey reported difficulty in reaching their target audiences with messaging and content. Only 19 percent of those surveyed were "very familiar" with how automation could help drive marketing campaigns, according to Ytel. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said they liked to use phones for marketing.
Creeping Decentralization and CRM
December 13, 2017
One of the big stories of next year might be decentralization. Decentralization is what it sounds like: pushing centralized processes and decision-making to the periphery, where it is believed people can be more effective at dealing with whatever is on tap. Western democratic capitalism runs circles around Soviet style centralized command-and-control economics.
Cool Effect
December 8, 2017
Dreamforce is a bit like a holiday feast in that there are usually leftovers to savor. One of the stories that didn't get enough attention was Salesforce's path to becoming a carbon-neutral company. Time to savor it. Salesforce has made a monumental effort to switch to green electricity generation and ensure that its buildings and business processes are as light on the planet as possible.
Machines Could Become Driving Force Behind CX
December 6, 2017
Customer experience improvements have become an important part of companies' digital transformations, according to survey results Mitel released Tuesday. More than 2,500 senior IT decision makers across North America, the UK, France, Germany and Australia responded to the survey. The participants represented businesses ranging from 250 to 10,000-plus employees in a wide range of industries.
B2B Tech Marketers Have Work Cut Out for Them
December 4, 2017
Product reliability and ease of use are key for B2B technology marketers, suggests a recent survey of technology product and service decision makers in the U.S. Four hundred B2B tech buyers participated in the survey, conducted for Lavidge by WestGroup Research. Overall, 68 percent cited reliability as the most critical criterion in their purchase decisions; 64 percent said ease of use was key.
Everybody Talks About CX, but Nobody Does Anything About It
November 21, 2017
Customer experience quality didn't improve in the retail industry this year, despite keen competition among online retailers, according to Forrester's U.S. 2017 Customer Experience Index. The three top-ranked etailers came within fractions of a point of each other. Among the industries Forrester examined, online retail was the only one in which no brands kept the same position as last year.
E-Commerce Provides Fertile Ground for B2B Growth
November 19, 2017
Business-to-business firms view increased online activity as an effective way to boost their growth, according to a new report from CloudCraze. Eighty-nine percent of the 400-plus B2B decision makers CloudCraze surveyed in the United States and Europe expected digital commerce would help their businesses grow. E-commerce has altered the role of sales teams, the CloudCraze survey also suggests.
Revisiting Show Season
November 14, 2017
Show season changes the CRM market. One day you're in the vanilla application software space, and a week later you understand the need to incorporate social media or analytics or machine learning, or you see a need for enhanced integration and development through platform services. It goes on. Today, in the wake of many companies' trade shows, we're again taking a look at the available suites.
Real Human Interactions Beat Automation, Survey Says
November 13, 2017
Customers prefer human interactions to IVR systems or other automated customer service offerings, according to a new report from B2B ratings firm Clutch. Businesses need to move carefully when outsourcing customer service operations, the research also suggested, because there are big differences depending on a number of factors, including how familiar reps are with the local language.
Driving Digital Transformation by Making Citizen Developers Heroes
November 10, 2017
Corporate executives know that if they don't transform their companies into digital enterprises they're going to be at a significant competitive disadvantage. Yet many corporate leaders have been unable to make significant progress transforming their organizations. Many executives have found that changing their corporate cultures is a lot harder than adopting cloud-based applications and services.
Dreamforce Pivot
November 9, 2017
Dreamforce 2017 is in full swing this week in San Francisco, which means that Salesforce is changing, shedding a skin to reveal a new and improved creature. This time, rather than announcing a new cloud or a mountain of technology, the company seems focused on improving what it has and delivering a tighter and more powerful solution set for a future that's just emerging.
With Gamification, CRM Is a Brand New Ball Game
October 27, 2017
Advances in technology -- including speech analytics, metrics, a wider array of scrabble data, and perhaps even big data -- are making gamification a must-have tool in customer relationship management, call centers, collections, sales and other business areas. Technological advances have enabled the design of games that offer employees incentives to make customers happy.
Email Marketing Goes Hand-in-Glove With E-Commerce Shipping
October 20, 2017
ShippingEasy on Thursday launched Automated Email Marketing as an addition to its customer management module. This new tool has a powerful rules engine that helps users increase sales, the company said. Among other things, it can set up a trigger to send an email to first-time buyers immediately after an order is downloaded -- customized with a logo and specific coupon code if desired.
Counting Down to ASC 606
October 19, 2017
There will be little New Year's Eve celebrating but perhaps a lot of morning-after hangovers for U.S. businesses that haven't begun preparing for ASC 606, the Financial Accounting Standards Board's new rules about revenue recognition. They are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The news is much the same for Europe, though there the rule's name is "IFRS 15." The change is hard to do.
Accenture, SAP Plot One CX Platform for All
October 18, 2017
Accenture Interactive and SAP Hybris have partnered to create a new platform that will let users build and curate end-to-end contextual, personalized customer experiences -- from marketing, e-commerce and offline shopping to customer service and loyalty management. The joint platform will target B2C and B2B firms in retail, telecommunications and resources.
Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija: Not All Customers Will Help You Make Money
October 17, 2017
"As services are getting more and more mobile, service needs to get mobile as well," said Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija. "If you look at customer service over the last 10 to 15 years, first it was all about average handling time. If you grew quickly as a business, you needed to stack up a call center. The next five to six years were all about self-service, so technology started building up."
Salesforce's IoT Strategy
October 16, 2017
Salesforce is a large and well-disciplined development company. It's pretty good at marketing too. It continues to innovate in all product areas, from core platform to applications, and the one criticism I'd make is that it's information overload at times. Lately Salesforce has made a big deal of adding its AI product, Einstein, to every application area to provide insights and stack rank options.
Retailers Slowly Embracing In-Store Tech Tools
October 16, 2017
Most retailers don't have the in-store technology to view customer information across various touchpoints, suggests a new study from Kibo. Fifty-eight percent of retailers who participated in the study, released last Thursday, acknowledged they did not have that capability. The study was based on questions posed to 115 retail executives during the Future Stores 2017 conference.
Study: Music Improves Customer Experience, Even in Serious Settings
October 14, 2017
Music can enhance the customer experience even in nontraditional retail environments, suggests a study released Thursday by Mood Media and the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers. The study was conducted in France. Customers had a more favorable experience in five business locations -- including gas station, optical, banking, sports apparel and pharmacy locations, the study found.
Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
Salesforce Gets Granular
October 11, 2017
If you need an example of digital disruption, you can't do better than the retail banking industry. A byzantine collection of rules and regulations plus the overhang of many legacy systems have conspired to prevent banks from becoming more involved with their customers. Even innovations like the ATM, which entered the scene several decades ago, only serve to distance banks from their customers.
OpenWorld 2017
October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers.
Show Season
October 4, 2017
Autumn officially kicked off about a week ago -- not with some celestial convergence but with show season, with companies like HubSpot and SugarCRM holding conclaves of their faithful. This is traditionally the beginning of attempts at closing the calendar year on a high note, as CRM vendors work to garner customer dollars based on the promises of new technologies unveiled at conferences.
New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution
September 30, 2017
Bpm'online has introduced software update 7.11 for its intelligent CRM and BPM platform, with more than 200 improvements designed to accelerate strategy execution. Among other features, it provides new machine learning capabilities and predictive algorithms that offer users relevant information and automation within a specific context based on analysis of historical data.
Digital Hub Returns
September 28, 2017
Digital Hub is not a new idea. It's been percolating for a few years, and its roots can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, where in a cluster of eight buildings, there exists what might be the original hub. In Dublin, it's made up of 97 companies employing 725 people, and it was given a jumpstart by the government in 2003. Elsewhere, we might be more attuned to the idea of a tech incubator.
Cloud Partner Program Aims to Replace ERP
September 22, 2017
Brightpearl, which offers a cloud-based retail management system for mid-sized retailers and wholesalers, on Wednesday launched a new Enterprise Partner Program. The company aims to build out its partner ecosystem to deploy an end-to-end management service for omnichannel retailers as an alternative to traditional enterprise resource planning systems.
Finally Oracle
September 20, 2017
Oracle showed some very good numbers in its latest earnings report. As it begins its second year of aggressive cloud promotion, the company overall is showing significant year-over-year improvements, thanks to its turn to cloud infrastructure, applications and platforms. Yet when read right, the numbers announce the end of the beginning of the end as much as they announce the end of the beginning.
Account-Based Marketing Inspires New Software, Strategies
September 18, 2017
InsideView has released a new tool for business-to-business companies that have implemented account-based marketing. It is a fully redesigned version of InsideView Target, with the addition of ABM workflows and other enhancements. "Companies who want to [succeed] with ABM need to start with the right set of target accounts and people," said Joe Andrews, VP of product and solution marketing.
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