Several recent Forrester reports home in on what we call “The Age Of The Customer” in which firms must seek to become customer-obsessed to build differentiation and loyalty. Those firms that embrace this will ramp up investment in four priority areas: 1) real-time customer intelligence; 2) customer experience and customer service; 3) sales channels that deliver customer intelligence; and 4) useful content and interactive marketing. All these needs are technology-infused – wholly dependent on technology and in categories where technology is evolving rapidly. Underlying these investments is the need to master the flow of data about customers: capturing/collecting data about them, analyzing it, distributing to those points of engagement, and, finally, integrating the insights into the customer experience.
Companies can’t succeed at doing this without a close partnership between the business areas leading the charge and IT. The rate of change of your customers, markets, business opportunities, and technology is simply too fast. Forrester is exploring this theme in our first CIO/CMO joint forum.
The reality, though, is companies flounder at this marketing-IT partnership. They flounder because of:
More ideas than capacity. A plethora of desired initiatives are constantly being surfaced – beyond the limits of available budget and with no mechanism to sort them into an achievable plan that IT can deliver on.
A “bonus” blog today (and hence it is quickly constructed) and the subject area will need to be returned to at a later date. The reason for the bonus blog is that I am a little bit excited.
SysAid, a provider of IT help desk and customer service software solutions, has provided me with a subset of the service desk benchmarking information captured through its customers’ use of its software (on an opt-in basis, of course).
To me, this is the sort of stuff that the ITSM community (see my previous blog) is crying out for – information that helps them to understand where they are and what they should aspire to. More information about the SysAid benchmarking is available at http://www.ilient.com/it-performance-benchmark.htm (link is provided for more detail on the definitions for the benchmarks below).
Average Service Requests (SR) closed per Admin (Service Desk Agent)
Important note: If you follow the above link, the assumptions show that the SRs are “incidents.”
Quick comment – I am assuming that this is per day but I am seeking clarification. As with all the slides in this blog, please treat with care in the absence of sample sizes.
[Forrester Principal Analyst Phil Murphy and I collaborated on this research — and the consulting projects that prompted it.]
Business technology demands that application development and delivery pros help business leaders define IT capabilities to drive business strategies and either create or broker delivery of those capabilities. To respond, app development and delivery pros must adopt new delivery methods, organizational models, roles, and processes. Providing excellent IT project execution and predictable IT utilities is now table stakes. Welcome to the world of BT — where the walls between IT and the business have faded or disappeared almost entirely.
Three case studies illustrate the paths that app delivery organizations will follow as they make the transition from IT order-takers to business technology (BT) leaders. (The company names have been fictionalized.)
"Services Inc." struggles to keep the lights on while the business expands globally. The IT group initially thought it needed a new software development life cycle (SDLC) and stronger project management. In fact, it needs much more: a productive relationship with line-of-business leaders, an application platform flexible enough to keep up with demands, and a refocusing of its efforts on the work that would help it globalize and that would truly differentiate it from competitors.
As Matt Brown wrote earlier this month, video is quickly becoming a core technology component of the workplace experience. Henry Dewing predicted the resurgence of investment in video conferencing from the conference room to the desktop in 2007 based on affordable HD-quality video, more user-friendly interfaces, and better interoperability between systems. We're not yet at the tipping point of widespread adoption, but we're moving there rapidly. And when we do, the primary source — and destination — for video content will be the devices broadly provisioned to employees: the desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones from which employees will create, publish, and interact with video. Consider some of the trends we've seen accelerate over the past six months:
If you read my last research report and previous blog post, you’ll know that I’m working with Luca Paderni on a series of research reports examining the IT and marketing relationship. In particular, we’re examining what IT and marketing are doing to master the customer data flow (see Figure 1).
At the upcoming CIO and CMO forum, Luca and I will be presenting a keynote examining the readiness of IT and marketing teams in today’s organizations to master the customer data flow. The really cool thing is that you can help shape the outcome by participating in a very short survey we are conducting in conjunction with Forbes. The survey asks a number of questions around the interaction between IT and marketing and can be answered by either IT or marketing professionals.
We all know that companies are trying to leverage social channels for customer service. But how can they be deployed in a way that adds value to an organization? Here are my thoughts:
You can’t implement social technologies in a silo within your contact center because you have to be able to deliver a consistent experience across the communication channels you support: voice, the electronic ones, and the social ones. Read my blog post on how you can do this.
Once you get the basics right, you are ready to add social media capabilities. Best practices include:
Start by listening to customer conversations. These conversations can surface general issues with products, services, and company processes. Make sure you create workflows to route surfaced issues to the correct organization so they can be worked on.
Flag and address social inquiries. Understand the general sentiments expressed in these conversations, but also identify specific customer inquiries and route them to the right agent pool for resolution.
Extend your customer service ecosystem with communities. This allows your customers to share information, best practices, and how-to tips with each other, as well as get advice without needing to interact with your agents. But don’t implement them in a technology silo; they should be well-integrated with current contact center processes.
We have been repeatedly reminded that the requirements of hyper-scale cloud properties are different from those of the mainstream enterprise, but I am now beginning to suspect that the top strata of the traditional enterprise may be leaning in the same direction. This suspicion has been triggered by the combination of a recent day in NY visiting I&O groups in a handful of very large companies and a number of unrelated client interactions.
The pattern that I see developing is one of “haves” versus “have nots” in terms of their ability to execute on their technology vision with internal resources. The “haves” are the traditional large sophisticated corporations, with a high concentration in financial services. They have sophisticated IT groups, are capable fo writing extremely complex systems management and operations software, and typically own and manage 10,000 servers or more. The have nots are the ones with more modest skills and abilities, who may own 1000s of servers, but tend to be less advanced than the core FSI companies in terms of their ability to integrate and optimize their infrastructure.
The divergence in requirements comes from what they expect and want from their primary system vendors. The have nots are companies who understand their limitations and are looking for help form their vendors in the form of converged infrastructures, new virtualization management tools, and deeper integration of management software to automate operational tasks, These are people who buy HP c-Class, Cisco UCS, for example, and then add vendor-supplied and ISV management and automation tools on top of them in an attempt to control complexity and costs. They are willing to accept deeper vendor lock-in in exchange for the benefits of the advanced capabilities.
Customer experience is becoming the new currency of business success. If you make quality of experience the centerpiece of your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, you will be creating a sustainable business asset of substantial value.
Customer experience has qualitative and quantitative returns, as I will discuss next month at Forrester’s Business Process (BP) Forum. For a detailed discussion of customer experience optimization, also take a look at this recent Forrester report that I authored. You can measure the qualitative business return on customer experience in, dare I say it, love. Hopefully, your customers love the multichannel experience you provide, and, as a consequence, seek to deepen and extend the relationship. The concomitant of that is the quantitative return, summed up by a single word: money. If you’re making customers happy, hopefully that translates into sales, profits, renewals, referrals, and other bottom-line boosts.
That’s all well and good, but how can you directly translate love — i.e., quality of experience — into money, measure the impact, and calculate the return on your investment in experience-boosting technologies?
CRM next best action platforms are the key to realizing this promise. CRM next best action environments shape experience through embedded analytics that guide all interactions and offers across all customer-facing channels, processes, and roles. In addition to predictive analytics and business rules management systems, enterprises often incorporate into their next best action initiatives such experience-boosting investments in decision automation, sentiment analysis, conversation management, dynamic case management, knowledge management, and social networking.
Google sent shock waves through the mobile world this morning as it announced a planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash. The initial commentary has largely focused around Motorola’s patent portfolio, how this will affect the other Android manufacturers, and what Google will do with the rest of Moto’s hardware business which my colleague John McCarthy summed up nicely in his blog post.
So what kind of an impact does this have on infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals? For the most part, not much of one. I&O professionals are working to make their organizations platform-agnostic by deploying mobile device management (MDM) solutions. For them, Android is only one in an increasingly crowded space of platforms including iOS, Blackberry, and Windows 7 Mobile.
Still, there is one interesting implication in this deal that I&O pros should take note of — Google gets 3LM. Back in February Motorola Mobility acquired 3LM, a startup including former Google employees who worked on Android, which specializes in enterprise security and management software. Rumors had already been flying that some of the 3LM functionality like storage encryption and anti-malware would be included in the next version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich). With 3LM now a part of Google, firms might finally management and security capabilities I&O and security pros have been asking for in Android.
Google today announced its intent to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. While Google assures its other Android licensees that the platform will remain open and license-free, product strategists at Samsung, LG, and HTC are certain to revisit their Windows Phone hedge strategy. We see two key reasons for Google to take the risk of alienating its other hardware partners:
Intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. Google brings little to the table in the form of patents relevant to handsets and tablets, forcing Android licensees to beef up their own portfolios in the legal derring-do that, for example, has Samsung Galaxy tablets locked out of the European market by Apple lawsuits. Motorola’s rich collection of patents greatly strengthens Google’s position at the IPR table.
It’s a multidevice, multiconnection world. Consumers are no longer reliant on one dominant device like the PC for their connection to the content, commerce, communications, and comfort that the Net provides. Instead, they have multiple choices sitting in front of them at any moment and are often connected to more than one — today it’s the PC, tablet, phone, and TV, but connections are beginning to pervade the car and myriad devices in the home. Android is present in most of these devices today and aims, with GoogleTV and Android@home, to be in all of them. Excepting the PC, Motorola has products in these market segments today and is the only large original equipment manufacturer (OEM) exclusively reliant on Android for its mobile devices.