Salesforce Embraces The Social Customer — Deploying This Business Model Will Be Harder Than Deploying The Software

Kate Leggett

The statistics that salesforce.com broadcast at Dreamforce last week are impressive: a $2.2 billion annual run rate; 104,000 customers; and 35 billion transactions per quarter (see Benioff's keynote slides here). The conference was attended by 40,000 users, with a further 35,000 joining online. Salesforce.com’s cloud messaging is mature and no longer a focal point. However, what was most interesting from a customer service/CRM standpoint was the focus on the “social customer” and the way that CRM applications need to adapt to accommodate them.

Traditionally, CRM software has been anything but focused on the customer. It has been positioned as software aimed at the business user to increase their productivity and efficiency as they interact with customers, clients, and sales prospects.

Salesforce.com’s new CRM messaging spotlights the customer and the way that customers interact today using the new social channels and loose social processes to research and select products to purchase and get answers to their questions. Customers are also company employees and want to use these channels to collaborate with other employees at work in the same way they use these channels in their personal lives. This means that these social channels and processes need to also extend inside the enterprise. Check out salesforce.com’s interaction map for the social customer:

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The Great Platform Debate Is "Shipping Up To Boston" At #ADF11!!!!

Phil Murphy

Sorry folks but as a Murphy, I just can't resist the temptation - Irish rockers "The Dropkick Murphys" sing a song called "Shipping Up To Boston" - and that is exactly what I and my colleagues are doing September 22nd and 23rd to participate in Forrester's Application Development & Delivery Forum - a collection of the best and brightest folks in our industry. 

I am both a Murphy AND originally from the Boston area - Ahhhlington to be precise (that's Arlington for you non-native speakers), so I could not resist a reference to The Dropkick Murphys. Never heard of them you say? Boston Red Sox fans recall fondly how in 2007, Jonathan Papelbon danced a jig to "Shipping Up To Boston" when the Red Sox beat the Anaheim Angels to clinch the American League East title. Red Sox fans still treasure the moment, our friends in LA - not so much.

Why should you join us in "Shipping Up To Boston"? 

  • Because we've entered an age where customer experience is king, but our applications are troublesome pawns on the IT chessboard - processes and data trapped in silos that do not fit the "outside-in" perspectives of customer-experience driven change.
  • Because you're being pressured to keep pace with the business change driven by customer-experience, but you're falling behind a little bit more every day - you can't make any progress on tomorrow because you are consumed by today's issues.
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Goodbye Yellow Brick Road?

George Lawrie

Most Forrester readers certainly understand the importance of empowering their employees to contend with highly informed and increasingly demanding customers. But I’m often asked just how to overcome the process and data integrity challenges of apps or services that empower employees and/or drive continuity of experience for consumers across channels. With the rise of mobile as well as web and call center interactions and with a proliferation of new tools for managing distributed processes and data, most application development and delivery professionals as well as their business process and applications colleagues have to absorb all the arguments before they make decisions that could be critical to their firms’ futures – to say nothing of their own careers.

One pioneer whom I interviewed was immensely proud of his lightning rollout of a guerilla app to support his firm’s front office in advising clients on complex product choices. I asked him about future plans and sheepishly he admitted they would be starting again from scratch because the guerilla app was unable to leverage enterprise services exposing critical data about product offerings. He remarked ruefully that sometimes you do have to follow the IT standards “yellow brick road” rather than just head for the hills, but wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds, with both agile deployment and full advantage taken of enterprise assets and data?

If you need a deeper understanding of the issues and options, then I’d like to invite you to join us at Forrester's Application Development & Delivery Forum, where my colleague Clay Richardson and I will discuss in practical terms how to deliver integrated experiences across multiple touchpoints.

Plea For Sanity. Ban The *-As-A-Service Moniker

Mike Gualtieri

Guilty! You will find SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS terms in my past research documents and blogs posts. But I have decided to stop using the *-as-a-service moniker because it is a redundant pleonasm like horseless carriage, wireless phone, and absolutely necessary - meaningless because it is excruciatingly redundant.

 Does “as-a-service” merely mean that “it”:

  • Resides in the cloud?
  • Is pay-per-use?

Stop the insanity.

Join me in pledging to eliminate-as-a-service (EaaS) the *-as-a-service term. Darn. There I go again.

Your Apps Portfolio In 2020: How Do You Get There From Here?

Phil Murphy

In Champions Of Change: The App Dev & Delivery Role In 2020, we began to think about the business climate in the year 2020 and how it affects the application development and delivery role. Building on that theme, turn your attention for a moment to your existing application portfolio.

UGH! Yes, that dark, dank, ugly bucket into which you've been dumping applications, enhancements, and upgrades for decades - that place where even though it is overflowing, only a few intrepid souls have the courage to look. What do you see? Duplication? Yes. Waste? Yes. Needless heterogeneity? Yes. A tangled mess of point-to-point, siloed, marginally integrated apps and data seething and roiling with cost, complexity, and other innovation-crushing-demons?

If you are both truthful and like most of your peers, there is only one answer: Yes, to all of the above! OK, so let's stipulate that's at least partially true for all of us and that there is a chasm between that "place where demons be" and where your business leaders would like to be today. How will you begin to sort it out, state its health and future usefulness, then reshape it toward the future that awaits us in 2020? Do you even try? Here are a few schools of thought meant to spur debate:

Scenario 1 - You don't even try, because you know you'll rewrite all those apps before 2020

  • May I just point out that your predecessors said the same thing about those 35-year-old COBOL programs still in your portfolio today?
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Update Your Application Development Sourcing Strategy To Drive Innovation And Differentiation

Forrester Technographics Data Points To Increased Communication Channel Usage With Inconsistent Satisfaction Ratings

Kate Leggett

The most recent data cuts from Forrester’s North American Technographics® Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2010 of how more than 3,400 consumers interacted with customer service organizations in the last 12 months highlight some interesting trends:

  • For the first time, web self-service topped the phone channel as the communication channel most widely used by customers to interact with customer service organizations.
  • Consumers use the phone channel 50% of the time. However, other channels are more widely used than the voice channel: 58% of the time, consumers search for an answer on the Web; 61% of the time they send an email to customer service; and 66% of the time they search a company’s FAQ.
  • Social channels are used for customer service, but numbers are very low (1% of customers used Twitter, but 6% of customers used forums).
  • Live-assist communication channels (phone, chat, cobrowse) have much higher satisfaction ratings than asynchronous electronic channels (email, web self-service). Satisfaction ratings are:  phone (74%), chat (69%), cobrowse (78%), email (54%), and web self-service (47%).
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Optimizing Software Development Sourcing To Drive More Customer Value

Diego Lo Giudice

The past few years haven’t been kind to software developers. Having the equivalent of a US master’s in computer science and having spent the first 20+ years of my professional life developing mission-critical software products and applications, I have had a hard time adjusting to the idea that developing software applications is a cost to avoid or a waste of time for many CIOs and application development leaders. It seems to me that we have been giving more emphasis to contracts, legal issues, SLAs, and governance concerns but forgetting about how IT can really make a difference – through software development. 

Nevertheless, outsourcing kept increasing, and packaged apps exploded onto the scene, and software developers “outplaced” from enterprises. People started to believe they could get more value and good-quality software cheaper…but could they really?

With BT, digitalization, and customer centricity exploding, today is the perfect moment for application development leaders to review their application development sourcing strategy and align it to their BT strategy.

Why? Many reasons, including:

  1. Software is the most important enabling technology for business innovation.
  2. Clients use software every day. It’s become part of their life, and they enjoy the experience. Better software makes a better experience.
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May Force.com Not Be With You

Mike Gualtieri

Lack Of Infrastructure Portability Is A Showstopper For Me

Salesforce.com bills Force.com as "The leading cloud platform for business apps." It is definitely not for me, though. The showstopper: infrastructure portability. If I develop an application using the Apex programming language, I can only run in the Force.com "cloud" infrastructure.

Don't Lock Me In

Q: What is worse than being locked-in to a particular operating system?

A: Being locked-in to hardware!

In The Era Of Cloud Computing, Infrastructure Portability (IP) Is A Key Requirement For Application Developers

Unless there is a compelling reason to justify hardware lock-in, make sure you choose a cloud development platform that offers infrastructure portability; otherwise, your app will be like a one-cable-television-company town.

Bottom line: Your intellectual property (IP) should have infrastructure portability (IP).

Champions Of Change: The App Dev & Delivery Role In 2020

Phil Murphy

Can you remember what life was like 10 years ago? How were your personal life and professional life different than they are today? Here are a few reminders about life in 2001:

  1. Smartphones weren't nearly as smart or ubiquitous, and the iPad, iPod, iTunes, and App Store didn't exist yet.
  2. Social media wasn't very social — Twitter was a verb, not a social media outlet, and Facebook was an odd way to refer to a photo album.
  3. The World Trade Center twin towers still stood in Manhattan.
  4. The financial meltdown over subprime mortgages hadn't yet occurred.
  5. East Timor, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo were not yet independent nations.
  6. To even conceive that the Arab Spring revolutions could occur in one country, let alone several . . .
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