“Mobile CRM” is a hot topic with my clients. The emergence of ubiquitous high-speed broadband connectivity, smartphones, and tablet devices with enormous computing power and longer battery life, along with increased employee adoption of touchscreen devices in every sphere of life, are all trends that serve to liberate IT from the desktop.
However, the state of mobile CRM solution support is fragmented. While there are platforms and solutions that cater to specific industries, no mobile CRM vendor currently offers out-of-the-box cross-industry functionality. The gap between the functionality available via desktop and mobile CRM applications is far from being bridged. And vendors sometimes adopt a single-device or single operating system (OS) strategy, limiting the range of devices and OSes available to companies.
To help define a path for navigating this complex landscape, I interviewed 25 CRM solution vendors, systems integrators, mobile solutions developers, and user compananies. My findings are summarized in a new report: Best Practices: The Right Way to Implement Mobile CRM.
A guiding principle for getting value out of “mobile” is to look for situations where you can integrate an mobile application into the normal execution of the day-to-day business processes of managers and frontline workers. Here are some additional tips:
Understand the opportunity to improve CRM and drive adoption. For example, will enabling workers to update the CRM system and tasks in real time throughout the day when they’re in the field — rather than doing it once they get back to their desks at the end of the day — make them more productive?
Everyone heard the news last week of HP making a decision that it wants to emulate IBM rather than Apple by shedding its PC and cell phone businesses. But for Application Development Professionals, what does this announcement mean for HP QC and its newly defined ALM platform?
The bad news
The investment in WebOS and Palm meant that HP was in the mobile platform business, a business that is heavily connected to developers, open source communities, and applications. That connection would have required HP R&D to gain strong relationships to the developer community and be active in making it easier for developers to build on top of its platform. Of course, there were many questions regarding whether HP would be able to connect to developers; after all, it is a hardware company, and hardware engineers traditionally ignore software, considering it an afterthought — but at least the need was there, which is always a good place to start. Now that objective has gone. Mobile developers, who increasingly are becoming the mainstay of the next generation of applications, are not a core community for HP to court. And if IBM is to be copied, then mobile will be dropped from HP’s corporate vocabulary.
The good news
Without the distraction of WebOS, HP will now increase its investment in its applications business, in particular the integrated strategy of IT Performance Suite and its supporting software solutions for IT strategy, ALM, and IT operations. This solution is aimed squarely at IT departments and the enterprise. The potential acquisition of Autonomy will only extend HP’s reach into enterprise IT, and if applied to IT performance management could provide valuable insights into the application environment.
Boston is a great city of revolutionary ideas and rich history. This is the inspiration for the conference we have put together for you. Our goal is simple: Provide a fantastic two-day event for application development pros to:
Hear from leaders who have successfully transformed app development to deliver more customer value more quickly.
Learn from expert analysts about the latest best practices and technologies to speed transformation.
Share new ideas with peers.
Become more valuable to their organization.
Help their organization become world class at application development and delivery.
There has been a great deal of talk over the past few years about what acronym will replace WCM (web content management). Web experience management? Web site management? Web engagement management? Web experience optimization? The list goes on and on.
Certainly, the evolution of the WCM term makes sense on paper, since traditional content management functionality now only makes up a portion of the products that WCM vendors now offer. WCM vendors are also in the content delivery/engagement business, and are even dipping their toes into web intelligence. However, Forrester clients still overwhelmingly ask about “WCM” and that term isn’t going away any time soon.
But even without changing the acronym, it is time to start thinking about WCM beyond just managing content or siloed websites or experiences. Instead, we need to think of how WCM will interact and integrate with other solutions – like search, recommendations, eCommerce, and analytics – in the customer experience management (CXM) ecosystem in order to enable businesses to manage experiences across customer touchpoints.
How are we handling this convergence at Forrester? Several of us who cover various CXM products – like Brian Walker (commerce), Bill Band (CRM), Joe Stanhope (web analytics), and myself (WCM) – teamed up to outline what our vision of CXM looks like, including process-based tools, delivery platforms, and customer intelligence. We've created two versions of the report: one written for Content & Collaboration professionals and one for eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.
[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.
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.
I need your help. I am conducting research into business intelligence (BI) software prices: averages, differences between license and subscription deals, differences between small and large vendor offerings, etc. In order to help our clients look beyond just the software pricese and consider the fully loaded total cost of ownership, I also want to throw in service and hardware costs (I already have data on annual maintenance and initial training costs). I’ve been in this market long enough to understand that the only correct answer is “It depends” — on the levels of data complexity, data cleanliness, use cases, and many other factors. But, if I could pin you down to a ballpark formula for budgeting and estimation purposes, what would that be? Here are my initial thoughts — based on experience, other relevant research, etc.
Initial hardware as a percentage of software cost = 33% to 50%
Ongoing hardware maintenance = 20% of the initial hardware cost
Initial design, build, implementation of services. Our rule of thumb has always been 300% to 700%, but that obviously varies by deal sizes. So here’s what I came up with:
Less than $100,000 in software = 100% in services
$100,000 to $500,000 in software = 300% in services
$500,000 to $2 million in software = 200% in services
$2 million to $10 million in software = 50% in services
More than $10 million in software = 25% in services
Then 20% of the initial software cost for ongoing maintenance, enhancements, and support
Thoughts? Again, I am not looking for “it depends” answers, but rather for some numbers and ranges based on your experience.
Fiction writers I've met have said that the hardest section of a novel to write is not the beginning or ending but everything that happens in between. The middle chapters trace the course of the protagonist's struggle in way that must be both engaging and credible. The story of how people adopt Agile successfully also has a beginning, middle, and end. The middle part here, too, poses some of the most difficult challenges. The first chapter is a grabber, with teams energetically and fervently doing daily stand-ups, blazing through sprints, christening a product owner, prioritizing their backlogs, and living through all the other exciting events that happen at the very beginning.
And then the plot takes a different turn. Success at the small team level is fantastic, but how do you fit into a development organization? What if you need to work with an offshore team? How do you maintain velocity when builds take several hours or maybe even a full day? Is it possible to deal with compliance requirements without a significant amount of automation? How do you work better with the ops team so that the speed of deployment matches the speed of development?
Since Agile went mainstream, the number of teams reaching the difficult middle chapters of Agile adoption has increased markedly. Both I and my colleague Dave West answer questions about the middle phases every day. Many of these questions also arise during the yearly conference that the Agile Alliance holds in the US. (This year, it's in Salt Lake City to mark the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Agile Manifesto in nearby Snowbird.)
Josh Bernoff, one of Forrester’s leading analysts, spotlights in a new report that we have now entered the age of the customer. Empowered customers are disrupting every industry; competitive barriers like manufacturing strength, distribution power, and information mastery can’t save you. In this age of the customer, the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers. The successful companies will be customer-obsessed, like Best Buy, IBM, and Amazon.com. Executives in customer-obsessed companies must pull budget dollars from areas that traditionally created dominance — brand advertising, distribution lockup, mergers for scale, and supplier relationships — and invest 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. Those that master the customer data flow and improve frontline customer staff will have the edge.