We’ve heard a lot in the past year about the future role of marketing technologists as solvers of the “IT/marketing clash of the titans” (as one Forrester client put it to me recently). These technologists are more than just your basic webmasters. Instead, they are professionals with deep knowledge of how technology can deliver on marketing strategies in order to bring about better digital customer experiences. At Forrester, we’ve started to see an emerging trend of shared services groups whose goal is to bridge the marketing technology divide. Our latest research found that organizations have turned to this model — which we call the marketing technology group — to foster tighter integration between IT and marketing and between strategy/design professionals and technologists. Defining characteristics include:
Who? These groups tend to be made up of a diverse lot of professionals, but in general are staffed by a combination of marketing strategists, creative design professionals, and technologists with design and business savvy. We found some of the most sought-after technologists were mobile- and data-literate developers and higher-ranking IT leaders, like enterprise architects, who can coordinate an ever-growing number of digital experience technologies (e.g. CRM, Web content management, commerce platforms, analytics, etc.). The key is to give these groups direct tie-in to C-level executives. As a vice president of strategy at a digital agency told us, “The problem with shared services is that too often it’s staffed by only powerless workers.”
Shame on you if you share your password. The consequences can ruin your sterling reputation, violate legal terms of service, promote fraud and identity theft, and give ex-lovers weapons of mass digital destruction. We all do it, despite the risks. Share your Netflix password with your BFF so she can watch House Of Cards and season 4 of Arrested Development. Reveal your Amazon password to your teenage son so he can rent college textbooks using your account. The list of examples goes on.
My clients ask for help quantifying the financial impacts of implementing a CRM technology solution. CRM initiatives must not only be technically sound but must answer the question “What will we get for our money?”
The first step is to estimate how investing in a CRM solution will help grow revenues, cut operating costs, and boost IT efficiencies:
Power up the revenue engine. You need to define the objectives associated with increasing revenue. Can you capture more of our current customers' spending on your product category (capturing larger wallet share)? Can you improve your product mix value by encouraging more sales of higher-margin products? Can you improve price realization by better matching discounting policies to the appropriate customer groups? Will your CRM initiative help you increase the average length of our customer relationships by reducing irritants that cause attrition? Will you be able to attract profitable new customers?
Customers are becoming hyper-connected. Sensor-laden devices on our bodies, in our homes, in our cars, and virtually everywhere else are creating new opportunities firms large and small. Products such as Google Glass, the Nest home thermostat, and the Nike+ FuelBand are the latest cool kids on the block. Not many people have these yet, but remember that every smartphone and tablet is full of sensors such as accelerometer, GPS, microphone, cameras, temperature, and more.
Smart Body, Smart World
Forrester Senior Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says that sensors will power the next wave of innovation and disrupt many industries. We could not agree more. That's why we are thrilled to interview her on this episode of TechnoPolitics. Listen to hear Sarah discuss her Smart Body, Smart World research about how sensors, big data predictive analytics, and psychology will power the next wave of innovation.
Google sets amazing new standards when it comes to web, mobile, and cloud technologies. That's why we are here at Google I/O 2013 in San Fransciso to find out what new technologies and tools developers can expect on all technology fronts. See this special edition of Forrester TechnoPolitics to experience the energy of Google I/O.
Ever wonder how Las Vegas casinos catch card-counting teams at Blackjack tables, like the MIT team immortalized in the film “21” with Kevin Spacey? They use many techniques, some of which are confidential, but one we know about is their use of Entity Analytics on many intersecting streams of information about their patrons or potential employees. I recently had the chance to learn more about Entity Analytics and Big Data from one of the top industry thought leaders, Jeff Jonas of IBM.
Jeff Jonas Kevin Spacey in 21
This opportunity came when Marcel Jemio, Chair of the Fiscal Service Data Stewards at the US Treasury Dept. (and a Forrester client), invited me to a presentation Jeff gave at a special internal event at the Fiscal Service in Washington, D.C. So of course I leapt at the opportunity! Marcel opened the session with an overview of why Treasury is interested in data and analytics: Treasury is charged with helping the nation guard against the kind of national or global financial collapse that triggered the 2007-2009 recession. Therefore it’s crucial that the stewards of the nation’s financial data, like Marcel and his colleagues, continuously improve the insights we gain from this data.
I recently hosted an Executive Roundtable in Singapore along with my colleagues Dane Anderson and Tim Sheedy. The theme of the session was “From Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement - Understanding the New Mobile Imperative for IT Leaders".
The discussion centered on the fact that mobility doesn’t simply mean another device for IT to support. Instead, mobility is driving a clear and permanent link between virtual services and physical activities. In other words, mobility is part of a broader set of technologies – including social, cloud, and advanced analytics – that are creating ubiquitous and information-rich Systems of Engagement.
The above broad themes made for great discussion. And there was general agreement among the CIOs present that mobility would drive significant business transformation. But there was also a common set of concerns that emerged among the group:
· Deploying new technology (including mobile apps) with limited budget or relevant skills. And more broadly, how to prioritize mobile strategies relative to other IT (and business) initiatives. Ultimately the challenge for CIOs is how to align business requirements with budget realities, particularly as user expectations continue to rise and change management becomes a critical issue due to condensed release cycles. A critical first step is to better define your mobile strategy using a simple framework for prioritizing mobile applications and features.
A question I hear frequently from Forrester clients: “Which WCM is the best for our organization?” My nearly universal response: “Tell me your priorities.”
Rarely is there one “best WCM” that meets all of a firm’s objectives for web content management and digital experience, so let’s dispel that myth right now. Instead, it’s a trade-off where your specific requirements should influence your investigation, direct you to a shortlist, and help you make an informed choice.
The WCM Wave Report (and the accompanying Excel with detailed product capabilities) is a powerful tool to help enterprise buyers compare solutions. It’s helpful only if you have some idea of the problems you’re trying to solve and the strategic opportunities you need to focus on.
Priorities matter. Or, more accurately, your priorities matter. Your priorities are different than those of the company across the street. It’s a big and confusing market, too. Although we cover 10 WCM solutions in the Wave, there are many additional viable solutions.
Agents turn over in contact centers, and managing your turnover rate is a fact of life. Low agent turnover rates are those that are below 20% a year, and some contact centers have turnover rates as low as 5%. Turnover rates higher than 50% are considered high, and some contact centers have attrition rates of more than 100% a year. Turnover impacts organizations because of recruiting and training costs, and ongoing agent morale issues which can impact customer satisfaction. As turnover costs must be built into overall contact center plans, its important to have an attrition benchmark and manage your operations to that number.
Not all turnover is the same. It is useful to quantify each turnover event as voluntary or involuntary, and understand the causes of turnover so that you can address them, especially if your metric far exceeds the benchmark that you have set for the organization. Common causes of turnover are:
Involuntary turnover: This is attributable to a mismatch between the contact center agent and the expectations of the position for which the agent is hired. Examples include poor hiring and training practices; poor job descriptions; effort required for the job that were miscommunicated during interviewing; poor toolset that causes overly-long training times.
Voluntary turnover: This is attributable to the contact center organization not meeting long term job expectations of the contact center agent. Examples include job monotony; better pay elsewhere; lack of career advancement; poor management; over- supervision; lack of empowerment to solve customer issues; lack of control of personal schedules; frustration with the toolset; stress of dealing with irate customers.
There is a scene in the Broadway hit Spamalot in which a peasant jumps up from a cart of corpses and vigorously complains that he's "not dead yet". It's a humorous side-story to the main theme of the search for the Holy Grail. One might be accused of thinking of COBOL in the same way, as a side-story to the current major themes of mobile and web development, or perhaps as a historical footnote to the current narrative. IBM's recent announcement of major upgrades to its COBOL compiler technology provides a good reason to pause in our headlong pursuit of the latest technology to reflect on the value of COBOL applications in enterprise software portfolios.
While mobile and web technologies often garner everyone’s attention, the reality is that most organizations that have been around for more than 30 years still run their core business processes using systems that were written in COBOL. Anything that makes these apps easier to evolve and extend is a very good thing. The reality is that evolution and extension of these apps is critical to business success. In order for the flashy-new-social-networking-enabled mobile and web Systems of Engagement to succeed, the workhorse Systems of Record and Systems of Operation are going to have to evolve apace. This means that they must take advantage of the latest architectures as well as being refactored and modularized to align with a service delivery model.