The Demand For Industry-Specific CRM Explodes

Kate Leggett

Horizontal CRM solutions — as mature as they are  (and they have been around for 20+ years) — don't always do a good job at supporting industry-specific business processes. Consider these examples: CRM users in manufacturing need capabilities to track projects, schedules, time sheets, labor efficiencies, and equipment inventory in addition to core CRM attributes. Alternatively, a real estate professional would like to use CRM to track not only client contact information but also additional data elements such as properties, lease/sales comps, and stacking plans, which illustrate how healthy a property is in terms of tenants and leases.

So, over the years, CRM vendors have built vertical market software applications from the ground up for specific industries. Historic, heavyweight on-premises applications — like Oracle Siebel, with 21 built-on industry verticals — are giving way to newer, more agile software-as-a-service vertical offerings that offer scripted best practices. And other vendors have taken a different tactic and developed lighter-weight systems of engagement to consolidate and visualize data from disparate systems to drive better decision-making. This leaves a CRM buyer with three options to choose from:

 

CRM Type

Description

Pros

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On-Premise Hadoop Just Got Easier With These 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems

Mike Gualtieri

Enterprises agree that speedy deployment of big data Hadoop platforms has been critical to their success, especially as use cases expand and proliferate. However, deploying Hadoop systems is often difficult, especially when supporting complex workloads and dealing with hundreds of terabytes or petabytes of data. Architects need a considerable amount of time and effort to install, tune, and optimize Hadoop. Hadoop-optimized systems (aka appliances) make on-premises deployments virtually instant and blazing fast to boot. Unlike generic hardware infrastructure, Hadoop-optimized systems are preconfigured and integrated hardware and software components to deliver optimal performance and support various big data workloads. They also support one or many of the major distros such as Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM BigInsights, and MapR.  As a result, organizations spend less time installing, tuning, troubleshooting, patching, upgrading, and dealing with integration- and scale-related issues.

Choose From Among 8 Hadoop-Optimized Systems Vendors

Noel Yuhanna and me published Forrester Wave: Big Data Hadoop-Optimized Systems, Q2 2016  where we evaluated 7 of the 8 options in the market. HP Enterprise's solution was not evaluated in this Wave, but Forrester also considers HPE a key player in the market for Hadoop-Optimized Systems along with the 7 vendors we did evaluate in the Wave. 

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Retailers Are Prioritizing The Wrong Digital Technologies In Brick And Mortar Stores

Lily Varon

Retailers are inundated with promising technologies to revolutionize the in-store shopping experience for consumers. The problem? Our research shows that most of these experiences today miss the mark and may actually make the customer experience more complex or confusing.  On the other hand, retailers are seeing significant, and measureable, value from technologies that directly improve store operations.

Forrester has published a two-part TechRadar™ defining the current state, business value, and long-term prospects for technologies in retail stores: one for those focusing specifically on customer experiences and the other on technologies focusing on operations. It’s still early days for both of these technology categories but we found that:

  • Operations technologies generally already offer significant business value to retailers. Of the 14 technologies we evaluated,nearly half are on track to provide significant business value for retailers. Retailers are finding that these technologies help their physical store teams and operations perform better and become more efficient by gleaning customer insights and spurring real-time action by store staff.
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How To Solve The Digital Dilemma

Nigel Fenwick

From the start of my research into the changes surrounding emerging digital technologies in 2013 (see "The Future Of Business Is Digital"), I've been struck by the differences between those companies that apply digital technology as a bolt-on (frequently adding an eCommerce site, social media, or customer mobile apps) and those that take a more holistic approach to transforming the way the company uses technology to deliver better customer outcomes and drive revenue. 

Transformers are more likely to succeed because they recognize their customers' expectations are evolving. The executives in these companies redesign their business to evolve alongside the expectations of their customers. These companies are obsessed with helping their customers achieve their desired outcomes, and they continuously explore new ways to do that profitably. This is why transformers are destined to become digital predators while bolt-on companies are more likely to become digital prey.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of many transformers that caught my attention back in 2013 remains a challenge for many companies in 2016: delivering digital operational excellence (DOX). DOX focuses on the ability to use emerging technologies to change operational aspects of the business (those not directly touching the customer) to create business agility in service of the customer. Why is this important? Because without the ability to evolve quickly, your company will fail. This is the digital dilemma.

I use this simple equation to illustrate my point:

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Mobile (Commerce) Executive Survey: Please take it!!! We'll Share The Results!

Julie Ask

Each year Forrester fields an Executive Survey to understand and benchmark enterprise mobile initiatives. This year, we are updating the survey to help business executives not only to benchmark and mature their approach to mobile but also to help them integrate mobile into their digital initiatives more  holistically. (A marketer’s version of this survey will be released later this year).

Creating a strategy and building an operation to use mobile to win, serve and retain your customers is a complex task. Integrating mobile into a broader corporate strategy is even more complex. The survey results will help firms understand what strategies, technologies and operational elements (e.g., organization, process, metrics, talent, etc.) should be in place given their goals for mobile. All answers will be treated anonymously and only used in aggregate.

For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the topline survey results.

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Announcing Our Annual Benchmark On The State Of US Consumers And Technology In 2016

Gina Fleming

In 2016, consumers of all ages are extremely connected — the average US online adult uses more than four connected devices, three-quarters use a smartphone and more than half use a tablet. Forrester’s annual report on the State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2016, US reveals the most important consumer technology trends that marketers need to know. This data-rich report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for US consumers’ level of technology adoption, usage, and attitudes. Our annual benchmark report is based on Forrester's Technographics® online benchmark survey that we've been fielding since 1998. We analyze our findings through a generational lens, including Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X, Younger Boomers, Older Boomers, and the Golden Generation.

What did we find this year? All generations use more devices this year than a year ago, but which devices they use depends heavily on age. For example, 84% of Gen Zers (ages 18-27) use a smartphone and laptop, but only 44% use a desktop computer and 49% use a tablet. Their older Millennial counterparts, Gen Yers (ages 28 -36), have higher incomes and in addition to using smartphones and tablets, two-thirds use a tablet. In contrast, three-quarters of the Golden Generation (ages 72+) uses a desktop computer, and only a third use a smartphone. 

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Big Data, Big Growth, Big Promises

Jennifer Adams

In the age of the customer, insights-driven businesses use big data solutions to gain business insights, create differentiated customer experiences, and drive competitive advantage. In our recently published Big Data Management Solutions Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (Global ), we take a more in-depth look at the software solutions to manage big data.

Big data management solutions address data sets that are so large and complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Nonrelational databases are one of the key tools to manage and search the increasingly large and diverse types of data. Scaling is built into nonrelational databases, allowing them to support millions of users and hundreds of terabytes of data. The cost of a nonrelational database is typically only 10% of the cost of a comparable traditional relational database.

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Don’t Let That Social Post Pass You By

Jessica Liu

Social marketing often feels like running a race against an unlikely competitor: your own customers. In the social media world, consumer behaviors and technical functionality evolve so quickly that the minute you feel good about your social presence and perhaps have even pulled neck-and-neck with your customers’ social media behaviors, they surge ahead and leave you in the dust. What’s your technique to keep up with this superior runner in this course-shifting race? Do you have a methodical training approach before the big race or do you improvise after you push off from the starting block? Most runners will tell you that it’s preferable to be in the former camp and not the latter.

The pace of social technology change and the volume of short shelf-life content make social networks a real-time media channel. Yet, marketers have trouble managing social content at the speed that it demands. Unlike traditional media channels (TV, print, and even digital banner ads), “social media” and “we’ve got months to do this” are rarely uttered in the same breath. As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Processes chapter gives marketers a structure for managing social content in real-time and striking a balance between inbound inquiries and outbound messaging. Marketers ultimately need:

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An Existential Threat

A message for CEOs:  You are slowly going out of business, and many of you don't know it yet.

Your customers demand reliable and compelling experience, enabled by your business technology (BT). If that technology fails, or if you fail to provide that technology, you will lose customers and market share. Your company will be acquired, broken up, or stagger into oblivion as an irrelevant zombie.

Early evidence? Store closings at Wal-Mart and Macy's are exhibit A, but stress fractures are appearing in financial services (Bank of America), telecommunications (Comcast), and the travel industry (United). Now none of these companies are going to disappear in the near term. But the pressure and time of "Customer geology" spell long-term trouble.

The threat is not understood at the top of most companies. In my years attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, I never once encountered a session on how technology should be deployed in large companies.  CEOs aren't engaged, board members don't care, and most investors and analysts can't see beyond the quarter. 

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Banks and Fintechs: Better together

Aurelie L'Hostis

Old met new in the world of retail banking on July 28, as BPCE, France’s second largest banking group, announced the acquisition of the German digital bank and fintech pioneer Fidor Bank.

Founded in 2009, Fidor Bank has built a community of 350,000 users across Germany and the UK, who are rewarded for offering peer-to-peer financial advice and invited to participate in the social co-creation of products and services. The startup has also developed a proprietary technology platform – the Fidor Operating System (fOS) – which enables open and fast API banking, offering its 120,000 customers access to a wide selection of services provided by other fintech partners.

The news about BPCE inking a deal with Fidor came as no surprise. As I discuss in a recent report, the digital banks which have proliferated over the past few years – competing to win customers by offering more compelling digital customer experiences than those offered by established banks – are struggling to acquire large numbers of customers and reach profitable scale. Why? They operate on narrow margins, can’t sustain large marketing campaigns, and create limited perceived added-value for customers.

Fidor has done well since its launch, hitting profitability for the first time in 2012. The startup however made the decision to shift its business model away from just direct-to-consumer offerings, and now white-label its technology to financial institutions. The telecom operator Telefónica in Germany recently partnered with the fintech to launch a mobile banking service for its customers.

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