I get a lot of inquiries which go something like this: “we implemented a CRM solution from Vendor X, and it doesn’t work. Nobody is using it, and when they are forced to use it, it is slowing them down instead of making their life easier. Are there solutions from Vendor Y or Z that would do a better job for us?”
My answer goes something like this: "CRM solutions are mature. Most vendor solutions are chock full of features and functions – probably more than you would ever need. Your CRM is not supporting your needs, perhaps, because:
You don't have crisp definitions of your processes, the stages within processes, and the exit criteria to move to the next stage (ex. what are your criteria to promote a lead to an opportunity? Are they the same for all business units?)
You have implemented your CRM without doing any customization or configuration. As a result, your organizational processes are not well supported in your CRM
You have not paid attention to your data quality. Users don't trust the data that they use.
You haven't spent the time to integrate other systems to your CRM, so you cannot empower your customer facing personnel with all the information they need from your CRM. It's not helping them get their job done easier or faster.
You don't have the right reports available to your end users to allow them to measure their performance.
You haven't focused on usability or the user experience. The UI is probably not role based, or tailored to what your users need, and you haven’t thought though the actual data elements that are important to your users at the various stages of your processes.
Wearables are opening up exciting new scenarios for consumers and enterprise users alike, but the wider conversation on wearables has taken a privacy-oriented turn. The New York Timesand WIRED, among others, have covered the emerging privacy concerns associated with wearable devices.
Particular ire has developed against Google Glass. An online activist group, Stop the Cyborgs, opposes Google Glass and related wearables, which the organization says will "normalize ubiquitous surveillance." Stop the Cyborgs offers downloads of anti-Glass graphics for posting in public places and online to spread the message that wearables are inherent privacy violators.
In a major new Forrester report, we present data and insights to help Infrastructure & Operations professionals who are piloting or planning to trial wearables navigate the privacy waters. As a teaser, here are some of our findings:
Companies understand the urgency of ramping up their business technology (BT) capabilities to help the business innovate and grow. Increasingly, they realize that they cannot do this alone and firms will require partners that can help deliver agile services that bring fast and predictable outcomes to the business. For instance, Bharat Light and Power (BLP), one of the largest clean energy generation companies in India, signed in late 2013, a 10-year engagement with IBM to build a new business capability that aims at nothing short of transforming the utility sector in India. In a few words (more details are available in this report), BLP and IBM are creating an open energy service platform that will help BLP understand how to optimize the utilization of its wind turbines. The really interesting part for me lies in the way the company intends to leverage the information generated by this platform as the basis of its competitive advantage. The energy service platform will indeed act as an expertise repository that BLP can leverage to:
Increase the value of its own assets. As the company operates, grows, and optimizes its own asset efficiency, it learns how the climate, power grid, and wind turbines influence a vital business metric for a utility company: the plant load factor (PLF). This will allow the company to generate more revenues from its existing assets.
Customers value tailored offerings. And consumers are increasingly aware of what Forrester calls the “privacy-personalization paradox” — that is, the paradox between their desire for personalization and their desire to keep their data private. A 2013 survey by Populus for Sky IQ of 3,097 UK adults found that 51% believe it is useful for brands to know some information about them, and 53% trust brands to act responsibly with their data. The same survey reveals that 79% respondents are careful about the type of information they pass to organizations, 63% worry about how much personal data they have revealed online, 48% say that data privacy is an issue they think about, and 46% do not trust social networks with their personal data.
I had a fascinating inquiry this morning with a government securities commission (not the SEC and not in the US). The client had a classic question about how to navigate the new data economy. The commission produces and consumes large volumes of data but continue to struggle to answer persistent business questions like how well they are doing or even who they are doing it for. Yes, securities commissions regulate securities markets; they monitor publically traded companies, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Howevver they continue to ask, “for whom?” Who are the investors that they are protecting with their regulation? As they expressed the question, “How do we know what Mrs. Smith is investing in?” They currently work with several large data providers who provide financial information on companies but that information wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Essentially, in this Age of the Customer, they want to know who their “customers” are. This was a question about how to best serve their customers, in this case the investors.
They wanted to know how to source additional third-party data that would give them a clearer picture of the investors that they are serving. Census data provides a wealth of information about households and individual finances. But the data teams at the commission are not experts in navigating census data. Data providers like Thompson-Reuters provide data on the financial services industry. Others such as Experian or Acxiom provide information on consumers. What kinds of other data providers can help them with their data strategy to answer that basic question of how to better serve their customers, and who they are?
Does something like this sound familiar? "We need to find, fix, finish, exploit, analyze, & disseminate this intrusion set along the kill chain via force multipliers so we can observe, orient, decide, and act according to tactical, operational, and strategic priority intelligence requirements." I bet that part of it does.
I think that it is important to keep in mind that we aren't the military and don't have the resources of the military. While military concepts can be useful, buzzwords won't secure your environment; you could become distracted and utilize your limited resources in the wrong manner. As I was sorting out my Black Hat calendar tonight, I fortuitously saw a talk that is very applicable to this topic: "The Library of Sparta," with David Raymond, Greg Conti, and Tom Cross. Here is part of their abstract:
At my wedding reception (I will NOT be saying how many years ago), another couple and my husband and I took the dance floor when the cotton eyed joe began to play. I’ve actually seen it danced a few different ways but the way we danced it then involved a lot of going forwards and backwards, kicking and hopping to and fro in a circle as couples rather than traditional line dancing. How did we manage this dance in a very small circle with all the dress clothes including my poofy wedding dress (THAT probably dated me) to boot and still manage to laugh our way through it? Our partners made all the difference.
You are probably thinking – she just released the ITSM Implementation Service Providers Wave for North America a few weeks ago with a blog, why didn’t she bring up the partnership story then? Because picking the right partner for ITSM SaaS is just as important as picking an implementation service provider for success. Everyone knows that when you pick a SaaS provider, they are responsible for the delivery operations of that service. But I find clients who know very little about what the delivery capabilities are for the ITSM SaaS vendors and in the past we did not have a method of highlighting the differences between delivery capabilites. In the newly released Forrester Wave: ITSM SaaS Delivery Capabilities report, I take the 10 vendors we have classified as having an “established” client base in the Market Overview: IT Service Management SaaS Tools Update, 2014 report and applied 30 evaluation criteria to detail these differences.
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article on Hilton’s plans to invest $550 million in technology solutions that will empower guests to use “smartphones to choose rooms, check in and even unlock doors.” From the customer’s perspective, such a system – if implemented properly – solves a number of problems: Ensuring the best available room choice (as with airline seat choosing apps); no more waiting in line just to check-in; no more lost (or demagnetized) hotel room key cards.
From Hilton’s perspective, the business benefits could be substantial: Driving loyalty and active preference for Hilton hotels; better customer satisfaction and customer experience scores; and up-sell to more services. For example, at check-in, promotions for room upgrades can be presented right on the user’s smartphone, potentially increasing the chance of acceptance.
Disney's MagicBand: A $1 Billion Technology Investment In Customer Experience
Yet it’s not just Hilton – nor just smartphones – at play here. Starwood is rolling out similar functionality in its apps for W Hotels and aloft. Other mobile solutions employ wearable technologies in “B2B2C” scenarios – i.e. instances in which the company provides the wearable tech to customers:
The following is an excerpt from The Mobile Mind Shift, Groundswell Press, 2014, pages 153-4. Click here for more on Forrester's mobile mind shift market imperative.
Steve Singh knows about the challenges of building technology platforms for great mobile moments. He learned them honestly by moving his entire company and its customers to a cloud technology platform.
Steve is CEO and co-founder of Concur Technologies. Concur helps businesses and government agencies manage their corporate travel bookings and expenses.
Concur’s technology platform, which Steve calls the Concur Travel and Expense Cloud, is designed for the demands of mobile moments: It supports applications that make it easy for travelers to focus on a few tasks and complete them quickly. Travel and expense (T&E) software is by its nature complex, but at Concur, the complexity remains behind the scenes in the servers, not in the user interface because busy travelers and business expense managers have no time to puzzle out complexity. To make this work, Concur invests 40% of its research and development budget in the applications and 60% in the cloud technology platform that provides the services.
The success of the strategy and technology platform is reflected in the rapid growth of his company, from a startup in 1993 to more than $540 million in revenues in 2013.
Concur’s cloud technology platform delivers four benefits.
First, because the Concur software running in the cloud is the same for every customer, developers working on it can fix problems continuously and roll out new services daily.
CRM technologies are over two decades old. Companies first used them to provide “inside-out” efficiencies;operational efficiencies for sales, marketing and customer service organizations when interacting with customers. They aggregated customer data, analyzed that data, and automated workflows to optimize customer engagement processes. Companies could easily argue business benefits by measuring operational metrics like reducing marketing costs, increasing revenues from sales people, decreasing sale cycle times, better pipeline visibility, decreasing service resolution times and more.
Because of this quantifiable ROI, CRM became a must-have in large organizations. This strong demand prompted CRM vendors to tackle huge swaths of business problems, and fueled ongoing innovation and consolidation in the marketplace. Today, much of CRM technology is commoditized, and leading vendors offer competitive solutions, choke-full of features and functions, including deeply verticalized solutions.
Being successful at CRM today builds upon yesterday’s internal operational efficiencies and extends the power of these solutions to better support customers through their end-to-end engagement journey to garner their satisfaction and long term loyalty – an “outside-in” perspective. Modern CRM strategies enable good customer experiences. They support customer interactions with one another over a range of social, digital and mobile channels. How? By leveraging the vast amounts of interaction and transaction data to deliver contextual experiences that add value to the customer, and preserve the value of the company brand.