In my recent BI Belt Tightening For Tough Economic Times document I explored a few low-cost alternatives to traditional, mainstream, and typically relatively expensive Business Intelligence (BI) tools. While some of these alternatives indeed were a fraction of a cost of a characteristic large enterprise BI software license, there were even fewer truly zero cost options. But there were some. For example, you can:
Leverage and use no-cost bundled BI software already in-house.Small departments and workgroups may be able to leverage BI software that comes bundled at no additional cost with BI appliances, database management systems (DBMSes), and application licenses. You can consider using these few free licenses from Actuate, IBM Cognos, Information Builders, Jaspersoft, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Panorama, Pentaho, and SAP Business Objects for additional functions such as testing, QA, and prototyping. While these few free licenses are just a drop in the bucket in a typical large enterprise BI license requirements, do look around and don’t waste money on BI products you may already have.
From my inquiries with customer service professionals, I wanted to get a generalized view of where companies are with respect to implementing the very best of customer service initiatives. It's become pretty clear that most are stuggling with outdated technology, systems that are not integrated together, outdated or no knowledge management technology systems, they haven't deployed proactive chat or ventured down the social media path and are unsure of how to document how much these factors are increasing operational costs, reducing customer lifetime value and lowering sales, revenue and profit margins-- or how to make the business case to show that if these types of things were changed-- that the return would be positive and in many cases, very large.
On the flip side, their organizations are expecting them to provide great customer experience despite these huge handicaps.
I confess I spent much of a recent illness on the couch watching movies and catching up on TV shows. I still claim it was time spent on your behalf, gentle reader, because in the process I put some of my video gadgets to the test, trying to see which one would earn the majority of my viewing. I post the results in greater detail on my OmniVideo blog, feel free to read that post to find out which box I like best and why. But what I found more interesting than which box occupied my time, was the realization that I am starting to develop specific habits for meeting my content needs.
Here's what I mean: Imagine you feel an urge to watch some video right now, this very instant. What are the first two or three ways you imagine satisfying that need? Okay, go ahead and imagine you're at home if you're not, so you'll have some options to consider. Here are some options that may come to mind:
Microsoft today announced the public beta of Exchange 2010. This product is a natural extension and improvement over Exchange 2007 (and anybody on Exchange 2003 should really be looking at it), but it also introduces at least one important new capability: email archiving.
But I'll let my colleagues explain that in more detail. I want to focus today on one aspect of Exchange 2010 that should matter to information and knowledge management professionals at large firms: saving money by moving occasional users to the cloud.
Microsoft's Software + Service strategy has rapidly matured and is native to Exchange 2010. This architecture of a single environment that spans on-premise and cloud-based gives large firms an opportunity to leave some mailboxes on-premise and host others in the cloud to save money without incurring admin hassles.
Exchange 2010 is the first product that Microsoft has engineered to run as well in the cloud as on-premise. That means it will be easier to split your domain and run a single managed environment (meaning one admin console, one archiving management tool set, one legal hold implementation, one message filtering solution) across an on-premise and cloud-based implementation.
Sigh. I guess it was to be expected, but the Apple opinionsphere has been overstating the case for iPhone. Based on the careful research that we did, we do think that iPhone is ready for the enterprise to consider. But that doesn't mean other mobile devices aren't more enterprise-worthy.
And if you you think iPhone case studies are falling out of the trees like acorns in autumn, trust me -- they'renot. It was hard to find three companies willing to talk opening about their iPhone experiences. In fact, it took me almost six months to find those brave souls.
So, let's be clear:
BlackBerry is the dominant mobile device for the enterprise in the US and will be for the foreseeable future. In fact, I wrote about BlackBerry's mobile collaboration platformlast fall. BlackBerry is a great platform for mobile collaboration because of its security, network, manageability, form factor choice, global carrier support, ISV experience, and superior messaging capabilities.
We hear from many Forrester clients that they would have to pry BlackBerrys out of the "cold dead fingers" of their employees. That says something about how important that device is to productivity.
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In covering Customer Service, I have divided the topic into three aspects:
“Get the Basics Right”
“Understand the Business of Customer Service"
“Plan for the Future of Customer Service.”
I just published a document, “How To Win Funding For Your Customer Service Project." Forrester suggests to standardize the process and template for a business case. We use the discipline Total Economic Impact™ to calculate the ROI for an initiative. I’m hearing from a lot of my clients that in order to get their project approved, they need to justify it.
Today I had an inquiry call from a vendor that wanted to know how best to standardize the business justification process. They are finding that they can’t even get a meeting, or if they do, then one of the first sales objections of their clients is, “What is the ROI of this solution?"
If you had asked me three years ago whether the mobile industry would become a free-for-all of innovation and opportunity, I would have been forced to sigh and say, "can't see how -- the carriers don't seem interested in unlocking that potential."
I would certainly have been wrong as Apple has so impressively shown with its iPhone strategy (with first AT&T's and now 100s of carrier's support).
After 21 months in market, it's quite clear that Apple is redefining its third industry: first the computer industry, next the music industry, and now the mobile industry. With 25,000 applications (yes, mostly consumer applications today) available on Apple's private store and a reported 800,000,000 downloads, the iPhone has become a new platform for innovation.
At least one major enterprise vendor -- Cisco -- now treats the iPhone ahead of BlackBerry devices as a tier one device, at least as demonstrated by its WebEx and Cisco Call Manager applications.
While this blog spent its first year as a place of general conversation, I am changing it to focus on CEOs. I am the CEO of a small public company but I often spend time with big company CEOs – the leaders of the organizations that Forrester advises. This blog will contain ideas, research, observations, and analysis pointed at increasing the success of CEOs. It will identify what CEOs must accomplish to improve the prospects for their organizations and increase their own personal effectiveness. It will help CEOs take unique approaches to their challenges – hence “The Counterintuitive CEO.” This is in keeping with Forrester’s role focus – the company goes to market helping 19 roles attain high performance.
To keep all of this from becoming too sterile and boring, I will also include some personal observations -- recommendations for books, articles, music, things I love and things I hate. My intention is to share information that may make you think counterintuitively…or simply take the edge off.
While I am targeting CEOs, all are welcome here…and I ask all to join in on the conversation. Ping me when I’m off-base and please add ideas and information to push the discussion to a more valuable plane. I’m honored to have you participate.