Get Input From The Right Stakeholders When Creating A Business Case For CRM

Kate Leggett

This year, organizations across industries show strong interest in revamping the technologies that they use to engage with customers. Our recent data indicates that over half of enterprise organizations have already implemented a CRM solution — and a high percentage are investing more to upgrade and expand their tool sets in the next few years. But even in this improving economy, senior business leaders are closely scrutinizing the ROI they expect from overhauling customer-facing processes and supporting technologies.

You need to build a business case correctly or risk launching CRM initiatives with a low chance of delivering clear business results. Almost as bad, poor communication of anticipated payback can prevent you from gaining funding for projects that would provide strong benefits.

So, what does a solid business case do for you?

  • It speeds up the project approval process. Clear communication leads to fewer passes through the funding process as everyone understands the goals and benefits of the project.
  • It increases  project success. When everyone knows the reasons, goals, and bounds of an initiative, project success improves. The business case serves as the North Star that keeps the project focused on key business goals and outcomes which are measurable and quantifiable.
  • It takes (some) emotion out of decisions. Decisions that involve a choice among competing platforms of large and powerful technology vendors often turn into emotionally charged battles between opposing camps within the organization. Moving the discussion to one of metrics and numbers minimizes the emotion and returns some level of objectivity back into the process.
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Cloud Implementations: The Default Choice For CIOs In Healthcare

Skip Snow

Up to a couple of years ago, healthcare technology executives advocating the use of managed services, cloud, and other off-premises uses of data were mavericks. Management told us that cloud presented too much risk. One leading doctor in a prestigious institution said to me, “I would rather see my institution’s name on the front page of the New York Times because of a data breach on premise. Seeing adverse publicity because we released our data to the cloud and a bad thing happened will destroy our reputation.” Management insisted that we keep the data under the control of our institutions by keeping it in a data center. In the age of health information exchange and value-based medicine, the rising cost of that infrastructure paradigm is no longer feasible. Today we hear healthcare CIOs telling us that the preference for solutions is cloud first, and on-premises solutions must be justified: Cloud-based solutions are becoming the default choice.

This seismic shift is due to several factors: 

  • Building and operating data centers is complex, expensive, and resource-intensive.
  • The network is fast and strong.
  • The removal of capital costs of hardware and infrastructure from budgets releases a great deal of capital for other more pressing needs.
  • The enactment of the HIPAA Omnibus rule, finalized in January 2013 and effective as of September of the same year, forces the vendor community to accept the responsibility for PHI and thus changed the paradigm around the feeling of regulatory protection granted to healthcare organizations when contemplating a "loss of control" of their data that was feared as they anticipated moving functions and capabilities to the cloud (
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Intel Announces Xeon SOC – Seriously Raising the Bar for AMD and ARM Competition

Richard Fichera

Intel has made no secret of its development of the Xeon D, an SOC product designed to take Xeon processing close to power levels and product niches currently occupied by its lower-power and lower performance Atom line, and where emerging competition from ARM is more viable.

The new Xeon D-1500 is clear evidence that Intel “gets it” as far as platforms for hyperscale computing and other throughput per Watt and density-sensitive workloads, both in the enterprise and in the cloud are concerned. The D1500 breaks new ground in several areas:

It is the first Xeon SOC, combining 4 or 8 Xeon cores with embedded I/O including SATA, PCIe and multiple 10 nd 1 Gb Ethernet ports.

(Source: Intel)

It is the first of Intel’s 14 nm server chips expected to be introduced this year. This expected process shrink will also deliver a further performance and performance per Watt across the entire line of entry through mid-range server parts this year.

Why is this significant?

With the D-1500, Intel effectively draws a very deep line in the sand for emerging ARM technology as well as for AMD. The D1500, with 20W – 45W power, delivers the lower end of Xeon performance at power and density levels previously associated with Atom, and close enough to what is expected from the newer generation of higher performance ARM chips to once again call into question the viability of ARM on a pure performance and efficiency basis. While ARM implementations with embedded accelerators such as DSPs may still be attractive in selected workloads, the availability of a mainstream x86 option at these power levels may blunt the pace of ARM design wins both for general-purpose servers as well as embedded designs, notably for storage systems.

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Adobe Tops The Technology Partner Podium

Anjali Yakkundi

Service providers are vital to the success and failure of digital experience delivery initiatives. In fact, one enterprise told me their services partner was “the saving grace” of their initiative. But only if they implement the right technology products.

My colleagues Ted Schadler, Peter Sheldon, and I asked about the technology vendor partner programs of 46 digital experience service providers from a variety of DNAs including technology services, consultancies, global digital agencies, and specialist firms. We asked for their top three technology partners in six different digital experience technology categories, including WCM, eCommerce, digital asset management, analytics, and campaign management. What did we discover? The results surprised us so we wanted to share them with you:

  • Adobe was a runaway winner across a broader digital experience delivery portfolio. Adobe had more than twice as many partnerships as any other technology vendor across the six product categories. Adobe earned this distinction with partnerships in four categories: WCM, digital asset management, campaign management, and customer analytics.
  • In WCM, Sitecore and Adobe reigned, while in eCommerce hybris, IBM, and Oracle lead. Adobe, Sitecore, Drupal, Microsoft, and Acquia lead in WCM partnerships: many serviceevangelize and support these solutions. When it comes to eCommerce, however, a different set of solutions topped the list: SAP hybris, IBM, Oracle, and Demandware. Interestingly, many services firms make a living out of integrating these best-of-breed WCM solutions with these best-of-breed commerce solutions for web and mobile redesigns.
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Rack-Scale Architectures get Real with Intel RSA Introduction

Richard Fichera

What Is It?

We have been watching many variants on efficient packaging of servers for highly scalable workloads for years, including blades, modular servers, and dense HPC rack offerings from multiple vendors, most of the highly effective, and all highly proprietary. With the advent of Facebook’s Open Compute Project, the table was set for a wave of standardized rack servers and the prospect of very cost-effective rack-scale deployments of very standardized servers. But the IP for intelligently shared and managed power and cooling at a rack level needed a serious R&D effort that the OCP community, by and large, was unwilling to make. Into this opportunity stepped Intel, which has been quietly working on its internal Rack Scale Architecture (RSA) program for the last couple of years, and whose first product wave was officially outed recently as part of an announcement by Intel and Ericsson.

While not officially announcing Intel’s product nomenclature, Ericsson announced their “HDS 8000” based on Intel’s RSA, and Intel representatives then went on to explain the fundamental of RSA, including a view of the enhancements coming this year.

RSA is a combination of very standardized x86 servers, a specialized rack enclosure with shared Ethernet switching and power/cooling, and layers of firmware to accomplish a set of tasks common to managing a rack of servers, including:

·         Asset discovery

·         Switch setup and management

·         Power and cooling management across the servers with the rack

·         Server node management

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Observations From Mobile World Congress 2015 From A CIO's Perspective

Dan Bieler

Mobile World Congress (MWC) was a real marathon: According to my wearable gadget, I walked 70,278 steps, or 53.7 km, in four days. So was it worth it apart from the workout?

MWC was certainly busy; it attracted more than 90,000 attendees, including about 50,000 C-level executives (of whom 4,500 were CEOs) — making it the largest MWC event to date. While MWC does not attempt to cater to CIOs’ requirements — only about one-third of the attendees come from outside the technology sector, mostly from government, financial institutions, and media and advertising firms — the event deals with all the critical topics that CIOs will have to address in the years ahead.

This year’s MWC focused on innovation, which is arguably the single most important business priority to ensure business survival in a rapidly changing marketplace. As a business enabler, every CIO must meet the expectation of today’s business customer that he can get what he wants in his immediate context and moment of need. MWC highlighted that:

  • Mobile is critical to provide a great user experience. Therefore, mobile is becoming a critical factor for CIOs in driving product, service, and process innovation and enhancing customer and employee engagement.
  • Consumerization is redefining enterprise mobility. At MWC we saw more and more vendors targeting the mobile mind shift taking place in the business segment. This is reflected in the shift of most mobile business solutions away from traditional sales and field force automation toward delivering mobile moments.
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Ice Dams And Identities: Remove Dams Before They Remove You

Merritt Maxim

This winter in Boston has been a record breaker. Bostonians are tired of the weather, while non-Bostonians are tired of hearing Bostonians complain about the weather. However, this never-ending winter provides a useful analogy for assessing your organization’s identity and access management (IAM) processes.

My analogy is based on two words that strike fear into many Boston-area homeowners: ice dams. Ice dams are ice structures that form on roofs, following heavy snowfall, that can cause leaks.[1]

Ice dams often dissipate naturally, but record snowfalls and persistent cold temps have exacerbated ice dams this winter.

Just as ice dams can cause leaks, “identity dams” can cause data leaks and other internal problems. Identity dams may result from reorganizations or may just be existing business processes, but they should be removed.  

The challenge is overcoming complacency. Just as many homeowners hope ice dams will dissipate naturally, organizations delude themselves with “This is how we’ve always done it,” and conclude that therefore removing identity dams is not necessary. For complacent organizations, the worst case is having users become accustomed to complicated manual processes for requesting access to new applications, waiting weeks to get access to new applications, and having multiple passwords.

Organizations and homeowners should follow these three steps to minimize the potential damage caused by ice dams and identity dams:

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The CIO And Digital Business

Nigel Fenwick

Digital footprintOver the past year, there has certainly been plenty of press coverage surrounding the emergence of the new “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO). And the research we published in 2013 on the CDO role does identify how some firms can potentially benefit from a CDO role working alongside the CMO and CIO. But I’m beginning to see more business-savvy CIOs follow Starbucks' ex-CIO Stephen Gillett’s example and step up to lead digital strategy and digital initiatives.

In fact, CIOs with experience in marketing and/or business-unit leadership — especially eBusiness — are well equipped to lead the future digital transformation journey in many companies. They understand business strategy; they can relate to the outside-in customer view; and they already have an enterprise perspective.

OK, so there are not many CIOs out there today with this kind of experience (my estimate is around 20%) — but this is exactly the kind of CIO that CEOs need to hire in the future.

So let’s not get too hung up on titles — what really matters is the ability to combine a deep understanding of the customer with an understanding of how digital technology will drive new sources of customer value.

That’s the focus of a new series of reports we’ve just published (see below). The reports help digital-savvy CIOs work with business leaders to create a clear vision for what it means to be a digital business and start down the path toward digital business transformation.

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Infosec On The Go: What Do Your Road Warriors Know About Cybersecurity?

Heidi Shey

Did I pack socks? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Business cards, phone charger, passport? Check, check, and check. Do I know what I need to do and what not to do to protect myself, my devices and the company’s data while I’m on the road and traveling for work? [awkward silence, crickets chirping]

S&R pros, how would employees and executives at your firm answer that last question? It’s an increasingly important one. Items like socks and toothbrushes can be replaced if lost or forgotten; the same can’t be said for your company’s intellectual property and sensitive information. As employees travel around the world for business and traverse through hostile countries (this includes the USA!), they present an additional point of vulnerability for your organization. Devices can be lost, stolen, or physically compromised. Employees can unwittingly connect to hostile networks, be subject to eavesdropping or wandering eyes in public areas. Employees can be targeted because they are an employee of your organization, or simply because they are a foreign business traveler.

So what to do? Rick Holland and I are conducting research now to produce a guide to security while traveling abroad. It’s going to provide guidance for S&R pros to better prepare your executives and employees for travel, including actions to take before, during, and after a trip. We’ll be looking at considerations for things like:

  • OPSEC. How to determine if employees are being targeted, the pros/cons of using burner equipment, the use of privacy screens on laptops, etc.
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Consumer Expectations For Customer Service Don't Match What Companies Deliver

Kate Leggett

Customers want an accurate, relevant, and complete answer to their question upon first contact, so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose. Forrester data shows that 55% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question; 77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.

It's no surprise that our recent survey data shows that customers of all ages are increasingly using self-service channels (web, mobile, IVR)  for a first point of contact for customer service. In fact, for the first time in the history of our survey, respondents reported using the FAQ pages on a company's website more often than speaking with an agent over the phone. Self-service gives you that "pain-free" experience that consumers want. Customers escalate the harder questions to a live agent - whether its chat, email or a phone agent - and these calls become opportunities to help build stronger relationships with your customers to garner their long-term loyalty.

What is comforting is that the 2015 survey results from Dimension Data is saying the same thing too. This report is based on responses from over 900 global contact center decision makers covering 12 industry verticals. Some of their key findings say that "Customers want a frictionless, easy, and immediate journey on channels of their choice. They want a connected omnichannel journey across channels. Complexity levels are intensifying as contact centers evolve into channel resolution hubs."

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