Forrester's Top Trends For CRM In 2014

I'm moving into covering the greater CRM space, yet still retaining a deep focus on customer service technologies. Now-retired analyst extraordinaire, William Band and I put together our top trends for CRM in 2014. These trends are all about leveraging strategies and technologies for better understanding, connecting with, serving, and delighting customers. You can access the full CRM Trends Report for 2014 here.

Trend 1: Companies Strive To Be Experience Driven. In 2014, we predict that an increasing number of  organizations will adopt a more-disciplined approach to customer experience transformation. You can advance your organization's customer experience maturity by following a four-phased path: repair, elevate, optimize, and differentiate. To help enterprises excel at CX, leverage Forrester's framework that outlines 40 essential practices across six disciplines: customer understanding, measurement, governance, strategy, design, and culture.

Trend 2: Enterprises Will Embrace Tools That Create An Outside-In Perspective. To make meaningful improvements, organizations must align their customer experience ecosystems. That requires understanding customers' deep needs, viewing interactions from the customer's perspective, and socializing customer insights - and organizations will embark on this journey in 2014.

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Potholes In My Digital Experience! Is The Solution A New Mobile App?

Driving home from the Boston Logan airport in the winter can be an adventure. Fortunately, local governments have set up a means for reporting one of the perils — potholes. I know this because an overhead digital sign told me the number to call if I saw one. I appreciate the opportunity to help out, but the inefficiencies in this system make me cringe! If I see a pothole, I have to remember where it was until I have a chance to write it down. I also have to remember the nearest cross-street or landmark to help crews identify the proper location. And if I come across a second pothole before writing down all the first information? No chance I remember either. Does anyone remember playing the telephone game as kids? This is the modern version.

Many of our clients call with a similar challenge — how do we modernize manual processes for a digital/mobile world? With that in mind, how are many solving this today?

Create a mobile app. Mobile first! Everything is mobile these days, so let's jump on that train! While this is a good start, it’s important to understand the context of the user. There’s a good chance they’re using the GPS app on their phone to find the optimal way home. To use a new app, I have to go to the app list, find the new “Report Pothole” app, wait for it to initialize, and then report the incident. By then I’m no longer at the physical location and thus haven’t solved much of the manual problem. Solving this requires a better first step…

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Mobile App Developers: Stop Capturing Unnecessary Data Before Regulators Stop You

The findings presented in an article by German magazine Computerwoche published on Feb 11, 2014, are a forceful reminder that messages about excessive data capture via mobile apps seem to have gone unheeded so far.  As reported, tests by TÜV Trust IT established that “almost one in two mobile apps suck up data unnecessarily”.

What’s “unnecessary” of course depends on your viewpoint: it may seem unnecessary to me if my mobile email app captures my location; the provider of the app, on the other hand, could be capturing the information to provide me with a better service and/or to make money from selling such data to a third party. The trouble is that I don’t know, and I don’t have a choice if I want to use the app. From a consumer perspective, this is not a satisfactory situation; I’d even go as far as calling it unacceptable. Not that it matters what I feel; but privacy advocates and regulators are increasingly taking notice. Unless app providers take voluntary measures, they may see their data capture habits curtailed by regulation to a greater degree than would otherwise be the case.

Let’s step back a moment and consider why so many mobile apps capture more data than is strictly speaking necessary for the functioning of the app:

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First Details Of Forrester’s 2013 Global Banking Platform Deals Survey

Forrester began surveying global banking platform deals in 2005. For 2013, we evaluated about 1,600 banking platform deals submitted by 29 vendors and located in about 130 countries. Shortly, we will publish the final results of this evaluation. Today, I want to offer some initial trends:

  • Counted deal numbers are the second highest ever. The number of counted new named deals is the second level we have yet recorded. The number of new-named deals shrunk; extended business deals increased and the banking platform market grew. 
     
  • The banking platform market shifted gears again. Top 10 vendors still represented the vast majority of new named deals that we counted, but fewer vendors than in 2012 enjoyed more than ten percent of all counted deals.
     
  • Banks' total assets indicate three vendor categories. One group of vendors won very small banks only and another group’s projects reached up to medium sized-banks. Only six vendors’ clients touch the total assets range of tier 1 banks (and go beyond it).

All the details will be available with a series of forthcoming reports focusing on the success of the participating vendors, the regional success perspective, as well as delivered functionality. If you do not want to wait: I will share some of the results during a Forrester Teleconference on February 27 As always, let me know your thoughts: jhoppermann (at) forrester.com.

Digital Experience Delivery Sourcing: How Many Vendors Do You Buy From?

Today, we ran a short poll: "How many different vendors do you source digital experience solutions from?"  After seeing the results -- which matched our expectations -- the only word that comes to mind is 'fragmentation.'  

My colleague David Aponovich and I ran this poll during a webinar today for Forrester clients on the rise of digital experience platforms. Initially, you might think "doesn't this prove David and Mark wrong?"  But when you view this fragmentation against the need to deliver coherent digital experiences across touchpoints, we believe the journey many organizations face demands greater integration across these solutions.  As integration improves -- whether it comes prepackaged from the same vendor or not -- customer experiences should benefit from improved contextualization, and internal benefits will include unified interfaces, streamlined workflows, role-relevant data views, coherent commercial relationships, and much more.

We want to know: What are your organization's digital experience platform initiatives? Please take 15 minutes to let us know via our survey.

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The Digital Customer Experience Consulting Gold Rush Takes Off

Want more evidence that companies are realizing that digital customer experience is essential to survive and thrive in the Age of the Customer? 

Look no further than last week’s IBM Connect conference in Orlando. Bridget van Kralingen, the senior VP in charge of the IBM’s $20 billion Global Business Services group, used her main stage keynote to unveil new services to help enterprises create “irresistible user experiences.”

IBM’s new global IBM Interactive Experience consulting practice “anticipates the emerging client demand for irresistible user experiences as the point of entry to high-value relationships with their customers, employees, prospects and partners,” according to the company.

The new offerings will integrate design and user experience capabilities from IBM Interactive, its digital agency, plus innovations and data expertise from researchers in its IBM’s Customer Experience Lab.

You could call it the next step in the digital customer experience gold rush. Software vendors have spent years building and selling clients software to run digital infrastructure, such as web content management, eCommerce,  digital asset management and analytics.

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DAM Vendors Must Step Up To The Plate

Historically, digital asset management (DAM) has been a niche technology compared with other components of enterprise content management (ECM) and digital experience technology. This has changed dramatically over the last few years as many organizations are using DAM solutions to support digital experience and marketing-focused content and processes. 
 
In the wake of this change, most DAM vendors have fallen behind. Our latest 2014 DAM Market Overview found a few key areas in which vendors have particularly lagged behind: 
 
  • Most vendors are selling software technology, not solutions. Most vendors are in a race to support address functionality, scalability, and infrastructure needs. These are the core components of DAM technology, but they don't make it usable to the new marketing and line of business buyers. Usability must improve with features like drag and drop and HTML5 interfaces. Too many vendors have neglected investment in this area or mistake lightweight solutions with little functionality as an "easy to use" option. 
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