It's been eight years since the last presidential transition. Since then, we've seen real progress on the federal customer experience (CX) front, including the creation of the "customer service" cross-agency priority goal; the launch of 18F, the US Digital Service, and similar digital services shops; and the appointment of chief customer officers at four agencies.
Unfortunately, the next presidential transition could derail it all. The new administration might have different management priorities, misunderstand CX and its value, or simply want to undercut the current administration’s achievements. Improving federal CX may be good politics for nearly every conceivable incoming president, but that may not be enough. Some presidential transition experts bemoan times when neither good politics nor effectiveness were enough to save existing initiatives from a new administration's desire to appear different. As one expert put it, "Never underestimate the power of crazy."
Formally, the transition won't begin until the next president is chosen. In reality, work on the transition has already begun. The current administration has already refocused from rolling out new initiatives to securing its legacy; many senior executives are already planning their retirements or looking for work in the private sector.
Microsoft officially launched Cortana Suites — a key part of Windows Azure Intelligent Cloud — in China last week, together with MySQL Database on Azure. Windows Azure Intelligent Cloud provides real-time analytics and open source database services to Chinese customers in nationwide data centers operated by 21Vianet.
To give Chinese customers a better idea of how to use cloud-based analytics, Windows Azure demonstrated customer usage scenarios involving big data analytics on cloud. The China Meteorological Administration partnered with AccuWeather, using Windows Azure to monitor and analyze air quality data from meteorological satellites and local air monitoring stations in real time.
Chinese manufacturers face challenges from digital service providers that better understand customers and shorten the distance from product design to the end user. After implementing real-time analytics on sensor data and customer behavior, manufacturers can improve their business models via:
Product innovation. Chinese manufacturers have started tracking operational data from sensors embedded in their products to manage and predict product upgrade and maintenance cycles. Customers prefer to pay for the time they actually use the equipment — so mechanical manufacturers use cloud analytics to support this sales model. The recent rash of elevator accidents in China primarily involved elevators whose manufacturers had limited labor resources for post-sales services — a common complaint of Chinese elevator manufacturers.
In late March, Amazon cracked up the Twittosphere with an announcement that it would release a Dash button (not to be confused with the Amazon Dash device which is a wand for your kitchen). It is a button that you put in your home (like your laundry room) and program to order a single packaged good (say a specific SKU of Tide detergent). You press the button and that item gets ordered through your Amazon Prime account. On September 2, Amazon made the buttons available to the general public (Amazon Prime members specifically) for $5 each.
My esteemed colleague James McQuivey just published a piece calling the Dash Buttons the Best Bad Idea of 2015 in which he outlines the reasons why this device, while widely mocked, is actually a super interesting idea whose most fascinating applications won’t even be with Amazon.
I spent the last couple of months interviewing marketers and vendors to understand how brands integrate push notifications and in-app messages in their marketing strategy.
Even though my research was primarily focused on mobile apps, I was convinced that there was much more at play. In fact, brands that can harness the power of contextual data to consistently deliver customer value will deliver compelling brand experiences that will build brand preference and, ultimately, loyalty.
Even with the emergence of connected objects that send notifications, smartphones will remain the primary interface in which consumers will personalize their digital experiences. Smartphones will become the hub for most interactions between a brand and its customers. In the next five to 10 years, consumers will use smartphone apps to define and control the communication environment in which brands can interact with them. In particular, we see that:
Mobile will become the primary touchpoint for brands to engage consumers. Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic in five major countries: Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Poland.No doubt this will happen across the globe in the next couple of years. B2C marketers will become smarter in engaging customers via mobile, maturing their approach and moving progressively to the holy grail of one-to-one marketing.
Ever wonder how you compare to the top brands in your use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks?
Forrester recently reviewed how the top 50 global brands market on social networks. We evaluated 11.8 million user interactions on 2,489 posts made by 249 branded profiles, and collected tons of great data -- including how many top brands use each social network, how many fans they've collected, how often they post, and how often users interact with their posts. We published our complete findings in our research brief "How Top Brands Are Using Facebook, Twitter, And Instagram" -- but I also wanted to highlight some key findings here.
First, follower counts for the big global brands have skyrocketed in the past year. Top brands now average 18.1 million Facebook fans each -- more than double their average in 2014. Their average number of Instagram followers is now over 1 million -- almost five times higher than last year. Follower counts have nearly doubled on Twitter and Google+ as well.
Second, marketers are posting more often than in pervious years. Top brands now post 18.3 times per week on Twitter and 6.5 times per week on Facebook -- both slight increases over 2014. They post 4.9 times per week on Instagram, an increase of more than 50% over last year.
This is the first post in a series on strategies and tactics for negotiating your licensing agreements with software companies including SAP, Salesforce, and Workday.
I recently had a call from an unhappy SAP customer moaning about the high costs of SAP’s annual maintenance and questioning whether they are getting good value for the money. I’m afraid that this is not a one-off conversation but something that is popping up regularly these days. The factors leading to the dissatisfaction include:
Join us tomorrow as we host a webinar on the state of global online retailing in 2015. Learn how to better target increasingly sophisticated buyers through an understanding of consumer behaviors and market trends. We will talk about the present status of shoppers and its implications for the future. The webinar will draw on forecast data insights from our Online Retail, Web-Influence, and Luxury Retail forecasts.
We plan to discuss:
1) What you can learn from young mobile shoppers in mobile-first economies.
2) How product purchases differ across markets and why that matters.
3) How the changing eCommerce landscape is impacting consumer purchase behaviors.
If you’re trying to use e-commerce in a B2B context, it is no longer safe to ignore the procurement role within your customers’ organization. At the moment you may be able to market and sell successfully direct to end-user customers, but not for long. The growing imperative for chief procurement officers (CPOs) to guarantee compliance with various external laws and internal policies is driving a much tougher stance on so-called rogue buying.
I’ve been studying the customer’s side of B2B e-commerce for a number of years. The clients I speak with work in procurement, finance, and the part of I.T. that supports those two functions. One of their most common questions is: “how can I prevent employees buying stuff directly from sell-side websites?” This used to be purely due to concerns about cost—they assumed that their e-procurement application would direct employees to approved suppliers who would, they believed, be the cheapest. Now, however, the bigger issue is supplier risk. Issues such as corporate social responsibility, conflict minerals, corrupt practices, data security, and so on, are forcing CPOs to be much tougher in preventing purchases from unapproved suppliers.
CIOs already face significant pressure to understand and respond to digitally empowered customers. And as their firms’ customer experience (CX) focus intensifies, CIOs must bring digital into the heart of customer engagements — leveraging technology to assure high value end to end across the customer life cycle.
The next wave of tech trends to watch — 2016 to 2018 — support tech management’s move to the heart of digital CX implementation. Today’s mainstream CX investment path has individual organizations making point investments in the latest technology inventions — like social, mobile, big data, cloud, and analytics. But today’s leading firms are delivering solutions that reach end to end across customers’ journeys and across systems that connect the employees who service the customer life cycle. And these trends will accelerate over the next three years.
We see the top tech trends making this shift in three phases from 2016 through 2018:
■ Visionaries will dominate dawning phase trends as they drive point inventions to address specific business organizations’ opportunities.
■ Fast followers will discover the limits of point solutions in the awareness phase and begin to work through the challenges of end-to-end innovation.