Today, SAP announced a tiered support offering which reinstates Standard Support as an option, in addition to the Enterprise Support offering that SAP put in place in July 2008. This announcement should help to defuse a contentious battle that has played out over the past 18 months, where customers pressed for SAP to reconsider its phased-in migration to higher-priced Enterprise Support.
I've had the opportunity over the past year to work with a lot of banks and credit unions, insurance providers, and investment management firms. Marketers at financial services companies face a number of challenges other marketers don't -- most importantly, confusing and often ill-defined government regulations -- but yet I've been impressed with the social media efforts I've seen from many companies in this category.
I've decided to research and write a report on how financial services marketers can most effectively use social media. We'll be including lots of our data on how different types of financial customers engage with social media, of course -- but I'd also like to collect more insight from the marketers' perspective.
If you're a financial services marketer, and you're willing to walk us through examples of how you've used social media, talk to us about how you manage risk and work with your legal and compliance departments, and share with us some of the lessons you've learned in social media marketing, then we'd love to talk to you. You can contact me directly at: nelliott at forrester dot com. Thanks!
Along with its 2009 results, SAP today made another attempt to undo the damage of its clumsy attempt to hike its maintenance % up to Oracle-like levels, by announcing the reinstatement of Standard Support as an option for customers. “SAP’s new support model is a direct response to the many discussions we’ve had with our customer and user groups,” said Léo Apotheker, chief executive officer, SAP.
When we embarked on this project I wasn't sure if it would be a complete failure or a roaring success. Still, the optimist in me suggested it might work. The timing of launching the survey, just before the Christmas Holiday period was risky. However I'm pleased to say the results so far have been better than expected.
Next week I have the pleasure of speaking to several affiliate groups of the Direct Marketing Association about demand management. Please join me Wednesday, January 13, 2010, for a webinar-based panel discusison about: How to Track a Buyer’s Online Purchase Research Behavior: and then send appropriate messages to influence that buyer’s purchase.
A few months ago, I asked for your input on our Web Site Review methodology. Harley Manning, Rich Gans, and I incorporated your feedback, scoured the latest academic and human factors research, and reflected on the past 1300+ reviews we've completed. And the result? The latest and greatest version (version 8.0 to be exact), officially renamed Forrester's Web Site User Experience Review 8.0.
What is it? Forrester's Web Site User Experience Review uncovers flaws that prevent users from accomplishing key goals on Web sites. It's is an expert evaluation, a type of methodology - also known as a heuristic evaluation or scenario review - that was originally developed by Rolf Molich and Jakob Nielsen as a lower-cost alternative to lab-based usability techniques.
How does it work? The review process begins by identifying the target users and their goals on the particular site. Armed with this information, a trained reviewer emulates the user and tries to accomplish specific goals on the site. The experience is then graded against 25 criteria. Scores for each criterion range from -2 (severe failure) to +2 (best practice), so overall scores for completed Web Site User Experience Reviews range from -50 to +50, with +25 representing a passing score.
Zimbra has been the sleeper cloud-based email provider for the enterprise. I've known about the Bechtel deal -- roughly 50,000 seats globally -- for some time, but couldn't talk about it. Though it's been a while since I've spoken to Ramesh May, he did share some important facts with me:
1. Zimbra's code base is open source, with a 20,000 active members in the community. The Zimbra code base runs on Linux. It can be downloaded to run on-premises and it also is the foundation of Zimbra's cloud email service.
2. Yahoo! Zimbra was selling an email seat for $28/mailbox/year for 50+ seats. We'll be interested to see how the pricing changes.
3. The company was working with the community on adding instant messaging, expanding widgets, and building an offline email client. We also saw some interesting mashup and document viewing features.
4. Back in April, the company had 130 employees, 600+ .edu customers, 44M mailboxes, and 60,000 customers.
So why hasn't Zimbra been bigger on the national stage selling its hosted (80% of seats) and on-premises (20% of seats) email and calendaring solution? Two reasons.
First, Yahoo! did not build a direct sales force that way Google and every other enterprise email provider did.
Second, because a lot of these seats are sold through service providers. Comcast and NTT Communications have been selling Zimbra seats. You may be running Zimbra and not even know it.
So now it becomes clearer why VMWare bought this massively successful email provider.
Last week, Forrester published my research about how to deepen engagement engagement with programs focused on your best, most active customers. I think social software and activity will play a huge role here in 2010. Why? Because engaging business customers requires contact.