SaaS: More Fundamental Change Than We Realized?

[More in a series of posts inspired by the "PM in an on-demand world" research that I've been doing. Here's the link to yesterday's thought du jour.]

During the research interviews about PM and SaaS, I was struck by how philosophical the conversations got. To the interviewees, SaaS was not merely a delivery vehicle, but a fundamental decision about their business. Bringing technology producers and consumers closer together forced many vendors to admit that they had a vague, incomplete idea of who adopts their products and services, why they do it, and how they do it. The subscription model led to many hard questions about how the company makes money. Marketers had to deal with a significantly modified value proposition, while simultaneously knocking down some new potential objections (most notably, security). 

But those are just the most obvious consequences. The deeper we got into the research, the more I felt that we were talking about other ripple effects of SaaS, PaaS, and the other aaSes. At least a couple of Big Industry Trends – the kind that Very Serious People spend a great deal of time talking about – owe a great deal to SaaS. Without the success of SaaS, many organizations would not have been as open to embracing other changes. I'll mention just two of them, Agile and social media, among several that we'll discuss in the final report.

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“What BI Is Not” Forrester TweetJam Recap And Takeaways

On May 13th, Forrester analysts Boris Evelson, Jim Kobielus, Gene Leganza, Holger Kisker and Noel Yuhanna joined me in hosting a data management TweetJam on the topic “What BI is Not!” using the hashtag #dmjam. (You can still see the results and ongoing conversation if you search the hashtag.)

During this one-hour TweetJam, we asked the following questions, leaving 10 minutes of Tweet-time between each question:

  • Do you prefer the broad or the narrow definition of BI? Should ETL, DQ, DW, MDM be considered part of BI?
  • How should we differentiate BI and analytics?
  • What’s the difference between business intelligence and other forms of “intelligence” like competitive intelligence, market intelligence?
  • Is convergence of structured and unstructured information hype or reality?
  • Is BI looking only through the rear-view mirror, or should historical and predictive BI be one and the same?
  • How will social media impact traditional BI?

The response to this event was extraordinary, and we have a large community of data management and BI thought leaders who joined the conversation to thank. During that single hour there were over 360 Tweets with 65 unique Tweeters actively joining the conversation (not including those who only listened). If you include Tweets leading up to the event and the continued conversation after the event, we’ve seen over 480 Tweets and over 100 Tweeters … and growing.  

But what did we accomplish (aside from providing an entertaining distraction for a number of people)? Below, I’ve summarized a sampling of the takeaways that were shared by some of our participants on each question:

1. Do you prefer the broad or the narrow definition of BI? Should ETL, DQ, DW, MDM be considered part of BI?

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The Data Digest: Uptake Of Facebook In Asia

In the past few weeks, there have been many conversations about Facebook's privacy changes (and breaches); for example, see this post by my colleague Augie Ray earlier this week. However, what I'm missing in these discussions is how Facebook compares with other social media players worldwide. Although Facebook is the largest social media platform in the Western world, different players lead in other regions. For example, Facebook is struggling to gain ground in Asia Pacific:

With 58% of online adults accessing it, Orkut is the leading social platform in metropolitan India, while 27% of Japanese online adults use mixi; and in South Korea, Cyworld is most popular, attracting 63% of South Korean Internet users. What I'd like to know: how do these networks handle their users’ privacy?

Do Latin Americans Want To Interact With Companies Online?

Hola! Or as they say in Brazil — Olá! I am a new face on this blog, so let me introduce myself. My name is Roxana Strohmenger and I am on the Technographics Operations and Analytics Team, where I work with our clients, analysts, and vendors to make sure that our surveys — both syndicated and custom — utilize sound research methodologies and analytic tools. One of my newer responsibilities, though, is driving the content for our Latin American Technographics® research to help companies understand how technology and the Internet are changing the way Latin Americans go about their daily lives.

I am currently preparing for an exciting opportunity to give a presentation at ESOMAR’s Latin American 2010 conference next week, and I wanted to share with you some interesting findings regarding how Latin Americans want to connect with “others” on the Internet. I emphasize “others” because it is not friends and family that I am referring to but, in fact, companies. Yes, Latin Americans are extremely community-oriented and want to feel connected to their friends and families. And the Internet has become an exciting vehicle for them to stay connected. But, does this desire to be connected also extend to companies?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. In fact our research shows that more than 75% of metropolitan online Brazilians and Mexicans expect companies to have a presence using social media tools like blogs, discussion forums, and social networking sites. To put this in perspective, we see that only 47% of US online adults have the same attitude. We’ve also found that among online Latin Americans who have this expectation:

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Facebook, Privacy, And How It’s Affecting Facebook's (and Marketers’) Future

LONDON - FEBRUARY 03: (FILE PHOTO)  In this ph...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

It’s no secret that Facebook is facing a privacy backlash. . . again.  Headlines ask if Facebook is at a tipping point, and many people give Facebook low grades for the way it has handled user privacy.

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Lithium Buys Scout Labs, Puts The Spotlight On Social Media Data

After a weekend of speculation, today Lithium announced its acquisition of the social media monitoring tool, Scout Labs. Lithium is known for its community platform software, powering popular user communities like Best Buy's support forum and Barnes & Noble's Book Club and by integrating Scout Labs into its offerings, plans to track customers and brands on site through communities, and off site through social media. This deal strengthens Lithium's commitment to its message of "Social CRM", giving it a broader set of customer data to integrate.

This acquisition comes just weeks after Attensity announced its purchase of Biz360 and a few months after Jive bought Filtrbox. The growing number of acquisitions in the social media technology space is common for a young industry, but also indicates two distinct trends:

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Creating A Social Customer Service Strategy

Social CRM is a popular topic and social customer service is a subset that I’m commonly asked about.

Social customer service is new and adoption is relatively small compared to other channels:  7% of US online consumers have used a company sponsored online forum for customer service support and 6% have used a third party forum. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)

But nascent interest shouldn’t automatically relegate social customer service to your backburner. Customer satisfaction with social customer service is high. At 66%, satisfaction with third party customer service forums is the second most appealing channel behind the telephone. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)

And in addition to customer satisfaction, there are several compelling business benefits to social customer service such as reputation management, building your knowledge base, deflecting calls to your call center, and shortening resolution times.

Social customer service comes in many forms, including:

  • Offering customer Ask and Answer or forums;
  • Participating in third party forums;
  • Using social channels such as Twitter or Facebook for customer service;
  • Developing a wiki.

 

Questions about if you should be using social customer service and what it should look like are complex. To help answer that question, my report called “How To Create A Social Customer Service Strategy” has just been published. In this report, I recommend using Forrester’s systematic approach to social strategy that we summarize by the acronym POST –people, objectives, strategy, and technology.

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Trends And Challenges In Social Market Research

Has an inflammatory tweet about your brand ever caused a panic in your company’s executive ranks? Has your market research department ever attempted to put into context how representative that one tweet might (or might not) be of your total market? For many companies we work with, the answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is more likely to be “I don’t know.” Well, the time has come for market researchers to understand the implications of social technologies for their role.

After many months of talking up my social market research report on this blog, via Twitter, and with many vendors and clients, my report is now Web live! It’s aptly entitled “How Can Market Researchers Get Social?”, as this was the core question I began asking myself at the very end of last year when I kicked off this project.

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