Hearty Welcome to Customer Champions & Master Minds
I believe "Successful CRM " is about competing in the relationship dimension. Not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price- but as a differentiator. If your competitors are doing the same thing you are (as they generally are), product and price won't give you a long-term, sustainable competitive advantage. But if you can get an edge based on how customers feel about your company, it's a much stickier--sustainable--relationship over the long haul.
Thank You for visiting my Blog , Hope you will find the articles useful.
Your Partner & Companion ( P&C)
Dinesh Chandrasekar - DC*
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Customer relationship management (CRM) was never meant to be an arcane discipline. However, in many cases, this has been the case. Many clients look at successful CRM practitioners, including the winners of CRM Excellence awards in variety of forums, and think they must have some secret to their success — a secret that's difficult to discover. This is not the case. What appear to be secrets are really best practices — things that enterprises have learned (in some cases, the hard way), and you can emulate and incorporate as well. The only thing secretive about them is that many successful enterprises don't want to trumpet them to their competitors. Let’s look at top 10 secrets
Secret No. 1: CRM is ongoing.
Enterprises that understand CRM well realize that it's not a "once and done" strategy. They never think in terms of a stand-alone CRM project. Instead, they see it as an ongoing re-examination of customer needs, processes and internal dynamics. Enterprises that want to be successful in CRM look at it as a journey that never really ends, and as one that will continue to yield valuable insights and customer benefits via iterative processes. You should realize that customer needs are dynamic, never static. What was satisfactory a year ago may be woefully inadequate today.
Action Item No. 1: View CRM as a process that rolls out over time, and embraces its iterative nature.
Secret No. 2: CRM yields competitive advantage, not parity.
Many enterprises believe that everyone has "done" CRM; therefore, the only value is in matching them. They admit that they may be at a competitive disadvantage if they ignore their customers, but they are not really looking to gain an edge. This is wrong on several counts: 1) Only about 50 percent of enterprises have undertaken CRM initiatives. In some industries, it's even lower. 2) This argument assumes that CRM is about automating functions. If that were the case, they'd be correct, but it's hard for enterprises to gain an edge when everyone has automated the same basic business functions (think of expense reimbursement or human resources). However, CRM is different because it's a strategy based on the needs of your customers. These needs are different for every enterprise and, probably, across different segments. So the key to success is understanding what your customers are saying and meeting those needs accordingly. Understanding this shows that real competitive advantage will come from creating a value-based relationship with your customers.
Action Item No. 2: Use CRM to gain an edge in the market. Don't just copy others — understand what's unique about your enterprise and your customers.
Secret No. 3: Think about processes, rather than functional automation.
Process automation is "the buzz" in CRM right now, but few enterprise really understand it or practice it accordingly. Successful CRM revolves around the analysis and redesign of customer-facing processes that provide real value to the customer. When enterprises talk about automating functions (for example, marketing, sales or service), they're emphasizing the wrong thing, unless they carry it to the next step and start to identify the processes within the function. Truly successful CRM emphasizes these processes, redesigns them and automates them, even when they cut across functions, and even when they cut across the back office.
Action Item No. 3: Don't just automate functions — concentrate on processes. Model, analyze and redesign them from the customer's perspective, even when they stretch across political divisions in the enterprise.
Secret No. 4: CRM is about the long term, not the transactional.
An interesting misconception, which is often perpetuated by vendors, equates CRM with transactional systems, whereas other areas (such as analytics, planning and process) are viewed as outside CRM and part of some other acronym. This causes many enterprises to think of CRM exclusively as a solution for Short-term interactions — that is, basic transactions. At successful enterprises, CRM is viewed as a long-term relationship, across the customer life cycle and across all channels. You need to begin to think in terms of your enterprise, rather than individual departments, having a relationship with the customer. Discussions of who "owns" the customer will disappear, because such a concept has no place in this way of thinking. Strategies should be designed to optimize segments across time, products, channels and multiple interactions.
Action Item No. 4: Although making interactions more efficient is important, don't forget long-term efficiency in sales, marketing and customer service when you're designing your CRM strategy.
Secret No. 5: There are real economic benefits to CRM.
Return on investment (ROI) in CRM has been elusive for many enterprises. It been frequently asked for simple ROI rules of thumb. The problem has been that many enterprises do not track, or they track badly, the sorts of returns they've attained with their CRM initiatives. And those that do it well often don't want to share this information, because they feel it's highly confidential and not something to share with competitors. But we see this as enterprises achieve real economic benefits from CRM. Payback periods of less than a year are not unusual, and, in many cases, ROIs are higher than any other IT-based initiatives enterprises are pursuing. In fact, several enterprises have indicated privately that their CRM initiatives were generating more benefit than their enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects and that, had they known that, they would have started CRM even sooner.
Action Item No. 5: Put good measurement and tracking in place to quantify the real value of CRM, and you'll see tangible numbers.
Secret No. 6: CRM failure rates are improving and are irrelevant anyway.
Several years ago, more than 50 percent of all CRM projects were viewed as failures. This has now become an excuse for enterprises to avoid meeting their customers' needs. Now that many practitioners understand why CRM fails and how to avoid it, failure rates are declining. The research on the subject should be used as insurance, not as an excuse to avoid CRM. Doing so is similar to saying you won't drive a car because some people have had accidents. Its better is to know how to drive safely and not worry about what other people do. Beyond that, in many cases, the failure rates should not be a factor anyway, because customers are demanding that the enterprises they deal with become more customer-centric, so CRM is a necessity, not a luxury. Failure rates will continue to decline as more enterprises
begin to listen to their customers and invest accordingly.
Action Item No. 6: Don't use failure rates as an excuse. Figure out what can be learned from them, and then "blaze your own trail."
Secret No. 7: CRM is far from mature or out of date.
Because CRM has been around for a while, many enterprises seem to think that it is mature, at best, and out of date, at worse. They often ask what the next hot acronym will be. However, CRM is still maturing, and it has a long way to go. Many enterprises are just embarking on their first, contained CRM projects, and customer processes have a long way to go to before they're fully optimized. Successful enterprises see CRM as "young and vibrant," with lots of opportunities for positive change, and wide open spaces for improvement and economic value. As the world's economy begins to rebound, CRM will present you with an opportunity to position yourself to reap the benefits of increased business and consumer spending. On Gartner's Hype Cycle, we see CRM moving up the Slope of Enlightenment, and achieving value in the pantheon of IT enabled strategies. In many ways, the best days of CRM are still
Action Item No. 7: Do not reduce CRM to a formula. Embrace it as an iterative process that will be unique to your enterprise and it will grow as you learn to listen to your customers more effectively.
Secret No. 8: Not doing CRM is more expensive than doing it.
Successful CRM practitioners are always surprised — and secretly pleased — when they hear rivals talking about how expensive CRM can be. However, CRM is less costly than the alternative: losing customers to poor service, overspending on lackluster segments, not having enough insight to make intelligent marketing decisions and running the business on only operational and financial data, rather than with customer data. Successful CRM-oriented enterprises view their implementations as wise investments that pay for themselves economically, as well as in customer satisfaction, better decision making and a more-balanced view of running the business. Many enterprises that initially resisted CRM have become some of the biggest supporters, once they realized how inefficient they'd been before.
Action Item No. 8: Allow CRM to become the third piece of a balanced view of your business. Enable the voice of the customer to enter into decision making with operational and financial concerns.
Secret No. 9: Even if you are doing fine right now, you need to do CRM.
The key business strategy of the 2010 to 2020 will be CRM. That means that many enterprises that did well in the past, based on product or brand, are not positioned to move forward as the world becomes customer-centric. Rather than resting on the laurels of past accomplishments, successful enterprises are
using CRM as a foundation from which to remake themselves into customer-oriented businesses. This is not to say that you should abandon what got you where you are today, but rather that you need to adapt it to the new world of the 21st century.
Action Item No. 9: Build on your past successes, using CRM as a base to build a customer-centric philosophy.
Secret No. 10: CRM is change management, not just technology.
Technology is important to CRM — it is one of what Gartner calls its "Eight Building Blocks" — however, the real benefit of CRM is in the positive change it brings to an enterprise. Internal silos break down, better and timelier information become available, customers are better served, and processes are
Streamlined, and effectiveness and efficiency increase. As the enterprise develops a common mission based on the customer, employees become more engaged, take ownership of business processes, and your customers begin to notice and start to feel better about dealing with you. The result is one of the rarest phenomena in business — the win/win situation. Your enterprise makes more money, and customers are happier to do business with you.
Action Item No. 10: Plan for change from the beginning, and embrace it when it happens.
The real secret to customer relationship management is that it is different for every enterprise, but that doesn't mean that you can't learn from the knowledge of others. Successful enterprises will aggressively apply these 10 secrets of CRM to transform their businesses and, in the process, set themselves up for greater success in the years ahead.
Your Partner and Companion
Friday, July 30, 2010
Over the last several decades, IT landscapes have grown into complex arrays of different systems, applications, and technologies. This fragmented environment has created significant data problems. These data problems are breaking business processes; impeding Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) initiatives; corrupting analytics; and costing corporations billions of dollars a year. MDM attacks the enterprise data quality problem at its source on the operational side of the business. This is done in a coordinated fashion with the data warehousing / analytical side of the business. This combined approach is proving itself to be very successful in leading companies around the world.
MDM has become hot due to the perfect storm of:
· The continued struggle organizations face in managing their master data,
· The need to master the data in the operational environment, and
· Momentum with service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based software designed to systemize the rough spots.
MDM primarily refers to the 15 percent volume of organizational data that supports the organization's transactional data. In data warehouse vernacular, it is what we've come to call dimensional data. Master data management is the organization, management and distribution of corporately adjudicated information with widespread use in the company. It is part of the IT response to modern business requirements, along with right-time data warehousing, data mining, metadata and a data quality program
The problem of the existing IT infrastructures is the half-baked solutions that lack the power to combine operational and analytical data into a single view of the master data entities. This paper will discuss what it means to ‘manage’ master data and outlines Oracle’s MDM solution.
The N² problem
It starts with the N² (n square) problem that occurs when data synchronization between transactional applications is accomplished with code. IT managers all over the globe experience this on a daily basis.
Enterprise Application Integration
Of course there is a more elegant solution established over the last decade which is usually described as an information bus or hub-and-spoke topology, supported by Enterprise Aplication Integration (EAI) technology.
Service Oriented Architecture
EAI has recently evolved into Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) where interfaces can be called from an application's service layer independently of the programming language or software platform. SOA is more than just synchronizing data; it also supports business process orchestration across separate systems. Data Quality
So when your IT infrastructure has evolved to SOA, you will find that the old saying "garbage in, garbage out" is more true than ever before, because data quality is crucial to successful business process integration. So the paper concludes that an MDM solution that really deserves this name must also embed data quality solutions.
Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Reporting
Most companies today have established data warehouses and ETL processing that pulls data from the transactional systems into the DW. And most of them have invested in Business Intelligence tools to analyze the billions of records that they store in the DW in order to drive business decisions. So far so good.
But the following should make us think twice:
Company A rolls out the new CRM system. A few years later, the analytical CRM project is started Shortly after the first pilots, the data quality project is launched. So the BI system suffers from the poor data quality of the transactional systems. “Garbage in, garbage out again”
Ideal information architecture
The paper boldly announces the ideal information architecture which brings the MDM system into play as a central instance which enables metadata and data cleansing and forms the base source system for ETL.
Master Data Management Process
Now that we have identified the nature of master data and its place in Information architecture, we need to identify the key processes that MDM solutions need to support.
These are the key processes for any MDM system.
• Profile the master data. Understand all possible sources and the current state of data quality in each source.
• Consolidate the master data into a central repository and link it to all participating applications.
• Govern the master data. Clean it up, deduplicate it, and enrich it with information from 3rd party systems. Manage it according to business rules.
• Share it. Synchronize the central master data with the connected applications. Insure that data stays in sync across the IT landscape.
• Leverage the fact that a single version of the truth exists for all master data objects.
MDM Foundation Pillars
The MDM Applications are organized around five key pillars.
Pillar 1 : Trusted Master Data is held in a central MDM schema.
Pillar 2: Consolidation services manage the movement of master data into the central store.
Pillar 3: Cleansing services include deduplication, standardize and augment the master data.
Pillar 4: Sharing services include integration, web services, event propagation, and global standards based synchronization.
Pillar 5: Governance services control access, retrieval, privacy, auditing and change management rules.
Oracle Prebuilt MDM Data Hubs
It has been said that data outlasts applications. This means that an organization’s business data survives the changing application landscape. Technology advancements drive periodic application re-engineering, but the business products, suppliers, assets and customers remain. Oracle’s Master Data Management (MDM) solution is a set of applications (MDM Data Hubs) designed to consolidate, cleanse, enrich, and synchronize these key business data objects across the enterprise and across time. It includes pre-defined extensible data models and access methods with powerful applications to centrally manage the quality and lifecycle of master business data. Oracle offers a variety of products to build a solution and also offers pre-built MDM applications like Oracle Customer Hub, Oracle Product Hub & Oracle Site Hub.
Customer Hub is represented by the Siebel Customer Hub (UCM) application and Oracle Customer Data Hub ( Built on Oracle EBS TCA )
Oracle Product Information Management Data Hub (PIM Data Hub) is the Product MDM Data Hub
Site Hub is represented by Oracle Site Hub
Financial Hub is represented by Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management
As the holder of trusted master data, Oracle Master Data Hubs are integrated with the enterprise analytical systems. Oracle optionally provides pre-built integration between Oracle MDM Hubs and OBIEE. Prebuilt ETL processes extract information from the Hubs and loads it into the OBI EE Data Warehouse. OBIEE provides a number of Information Dashboards for the Data Steward to monitor the quality of master information. These dashboards ensure the Data Steward has all the information necessary to optimize and improve data quality.
MDM Data Hubs deliver a single, well defined, accurate, relevant, complete, and consistent view of master data across channels, departments, and geographies. The results for companies who implement MDM solutions are dramatic. Over 5000 companies and organizations are managing billions of master data records with MDM Data Hub solutions. Companies such as Cisco, Telecom Italia, Home Depot, Supermarchés Match, Toyota, and 7/11 are realizing the promise of consolidated, clean, consistent master data feeding their operational and analytical systems. Companies are achieving that elusive goal: a single version of the truth about their business across the enterprise.
All the Best for your Golden Record Expedition
Your Partner and Companion
Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Gartner survey found that unnecessary purchases of CRM software tend to happen for one of three reasons:
· The vendor offered a larger discount if the business increased its initial purchase.
· The vendor, wanting to position new modules in the market, offered a reduced license fee to companies that agreed to take additional licenses that would include free or heavily discounted modules.
· The vendor enticed buyers with an economies-of-scale rationale, stating that it is less expensive to buy now than to add on later when the company might need more modules.
No Economic Support
None of these reasons, though, economically supports purchasing more software than is necessary. Consider the question of volume discounts. This is arguably the least favorable way for buyers to get a good deal from a software vendor.No one pays list price for software anymore. In fact, vendors routinely inflate list prices to gain negotiating room to strike a better deal while giving buyers the impression that they are getting a discount. Another unforeseen cost is maintenance, which the buyer must pay whether the software remains on the shelf or not.
But even if the discount is steep enough -- making it a true discount, not merely the standard markdown from the list price -- deliberately buying shelf ware rarely delivers quantifiable ROI, Businesses that carefully select the most appropriate CRM applications, match them to the benefits they are seeking and purchase the correct number of licenses will experience a faster payback on their CRM investments than businesses that blindly implement their CRM applications.
Hard To Use
Of course, there are companies that buy CRM software fully intending to implement it right away -- only to have the software morph into a very expensive dust collector. This usually means that either the software was too buggy or hard for users to handle or the vendor was too aggressive in pitching its wares. These reasons are not so common as before, but the legacy still lives on. CRM vendors were their own worst enemy when it came to CRM shelf ware. First, they pushed users to 'all you can eat' huge software contracts that would take years to implement," she said. "Sure, you get a bigger discount, but the vendor walked away with all your money with no real incentive to help make it work. Worse, vendors kept adding features to the point of unusability.
But ultimately, the biggest problem was the way vendors originally convinced the market that CRM was a software problem, not a business problem. When companies spent millions on the first phase and couldn't find the benefits, they left the rest of the software on the shelf. Not that any of this is unique to CRM.It is just the latest 'must have' software where vendors and companies lose sight of the big picture in their haste to capitalize on the latest trend.
Sometimes it’s important to know who is your partner and companion in your crm journey, The thoughts expressed in this article are based on some findings and research done by stalwart research experts in this field and I am happy to share this with my readers .Clients are increasingly turning to technology services organizations with primary origins and Operations in Asia that deliver services on a global basis, including customer relationship management (CRM) specialty capabilities. For clients who are confident working within the global delivery model (GDM), the offshore/near-shore players are becoming an attractive choice for supporting CRM initiatives.
THE NUMBER OF CHOICES DRIVES THE NEED FOR BUYERS TO MAKE A CAREFUL SELECTION
CRM theories and technologies have moved from an era of over-hyped expectations, through
a period of exaggerated pessimism, to become a core pillar of competitive strategy for many enterprises. To succeed, companies continue to rely on PSPs to provide the necessary skills and experience to accelerate the capture of benefits from CRM investments.
· PSPs drive CRM strategy. Enterprises view their relationship with PSPs as very important and assign these firms significant roles in formulating strategies for, and implementing, customer facing improvement initiatives.
· PSP satisfaction is low. Although enterprises place a great deal of importance on selecting the right CRM PSP to meet their needs, a significant proportion of buyers would not recommend their PSP to others. They are wary about a perceived lack of skills and the high costs of these Services. Clearly, the CRM PSP selection decision is high risk in the minds of enterprise decision-makers.
· PSP selection is complex. Organizations have a broad range of services partners to choose from: management consulting firms, international multiservice systems integrators, regional CRM specialists, offshore/near-shore technology firms, and the professional services organizations of CRM software vendors. Offshore CRM PSPs serve a designed strategy in comparison with the other types of PSPs; for clients who are confident working within the GDM, the offshore/near-shore players are becoming an increasingly attractive choice for supporting CRM initiatives.
Many customers believe that their Indian technical services vendors can and will easily transition into providing technical and business process consulting services, and that they will provide these services at a fraction of the cost of domestic consulting services. With the exception of some technical consulting categories, consulting is a new skill set requiring domain expertise, an understanding of the client’s local culture and market, an onsite presence, and advanced training in business issues. Indian vendors typically lack these capabilities and have to make significant investments to provide them. However, in the CRM sector, these firms are building their practices rapidly, reflecting growing client confidence and acceptance.
CHALLENGE- OFFSHORE PSPS TO PROVE THEIR CRM STRATEGY CAPABILITIES
Enterprises correctly understand that their CRM PSP can make an important contribution to the success of their customer-facing improvement initiatives. For clients who are confident working within the GDM, the offshore/near-shore players are becoming an attractive choice for supporting
CRM initiatives. To take best advantage of their capabilities:
· Understand the role the PSP will play. CRM PSPs vary greatly in their ability to assume specific roles. You must define clearly the type of help you need. Do you need a customer or CRM strategy? Do you need help implementing packaged software? Do you need support in application upgrades and maintenance, or, are you looking for CRM outsourcing capabilities?
Demand references that attest to CRM strategy and business process improvement skills.
Offshore CRM PSPs are seeking to take greater responsibilities for CRM initiatives. Can the firm demonstrate that it has the ability to deliver engagements that require capabilities beyond technical skills alone? Has the firm helped clients diagnose and resolve CRM strategy questions? Does it have methodologies for defining and improving business processes? Can it provide references attesting to its ability to act in a lead program management capacity?
· Identify the unique strengths of the firm. There are important differences among offshore CRM PSPs. Do you need deep industry process knowledge? Does the firm bring a unique understanding of a specific customer-facing function that you are trying to improve? Has the firm solved the specific problems that you are facing with other similar enterprises?
· Make sure their CRM technology skills are rock solid. The most important capability required
of PSPs is competence in the technical nuances of the CRM solutions you seek to implement. Check that the firm uses recognized technology development quality control standards. Make sure the consultants assigned to your project have solid crm implementation and development Experience. Review the resumes and interview each consultant individually to ensure that they bring the skills you need. Don’t hesitate to ask for a replacement if an individual consultant is not up to the task.
· Seek a partner you can work with easily. CRM success does not depend on only technology. You need a consulting partner that can work effectively with your people. Look for consulting methodologies that build in skills transfer and emphasize strong communications structures between consultants and in-house staff. Insist on effective project management structures that make accountabilities for task completion clear.
· Require that your budget be respected. The discipline of CRM has matured to become very pragmatic. Clients and consultants now have deep experience with the costs and benefits that can be achieved in given circumstances. Insist on fixed-price contracts to ensure that the consultant bears its fair share of the risk for project delivery. Be wary of low bids that will be the basis for expanding the scope of the project at a later date. Clarify in advance how project change requests will be handled and accounted for with respect to the project budget. Insist on regular and transparent reporting of time and expenses compared to budget milestones.
· Demand value from your consulting partner. Find a CRM professional services partner that
can provide references attesting to business results it has achieved. Redefine project success metrics to include not only cost and schedule milestones but also include business outcome metrics such as faster first-call resolution, increased cross-selling, larger quantities of sales leads generated by marketing campaigns, or higher levels of measured customer satisfaction.
“When Going gets tough, tough gets going”.Enjoy your Journey
Your Partner and Companion
These products have a long heritage with Oracle BIEE being based on Siebel Business Analytics which was originally created by nQuire in 1997 and Hyperion Essbase was originally created by Arbor prior to being acquired by Hyperion in 1998. The following major releases of the software have occurred:
Recent Oracle BIEE release history is as follows:
Siebel Analytics 7.0 - 2002, Siebel Analytics 7.5 - 2003, Siebel Analytics 7.7 - 2004, Siebel Analytics 7.8.2 and 7.8.3 - 2005, Siebel Analytics / Oracle Business Intelligence 7.8.4 and 7.8.5 - 2006, OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.2 - Jan 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.2.1 - Apr 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.3.0 - Aug 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.3.1 - Oct 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.3.2 - Dec 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.3.3 - May 2007OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.4 - Aug 2008OBIEE 10gR3, 10.1.3.4.1 - Apr 2009
Recent Hyperion Essbase release history is as follows:
Version 9.0 - Sep 2005Version 9.0.1 - Dec 2005Version 9.2 - Jun 2006Version 9.3 - Jan 2007Version 9.3.1 - Nov 2007Version 18.104.22.168 - Sep 2008Version 22.214.171.124 - Mar 2009Version 126.96.36.199 - Aug 2009 (Essbase Crystal Ball integration, Smartview Metadata, HVE Maps)
Recent Oracle BI Apps release history is as follows:
Business Analytics Applications 7.0.x - Dec 2001Business Analytics Applications 7.5.x - Aug 2002Business Analytics Applications 7.7.x - Jun 2004Business Analytics Applications 7.8.x - Nov 2005BI Apps 7.9.0 - Jan 2007BI Apps 7.9.1 - Apr 2007 (added Siebel 8.0 certification)BI Apps 7.9.2 - May 2007 (added Profitability Analytics for OFSA 4.5)BI Apps 7.9.3 - Aug 2007 (certify for PeopleSoft Financials 8.4 / 8.8 and HR 8.8)BI Apps 7.9.4 - Dec 2007 (certify EBS R12)BI Apps 7.9.5 - May 2008 (certify Informatica PowerCenter 8.1.1 SP4 and PeopleSoft Financials 8.9 / 9.0 and HR 8.9 / 9.0)BI Apps 7.9.6 - Apr 2009 (added Project Analytics, Loyalty Analytics, JDE Fin Analytics)
The latest shipping versions are: ( I believe )
OBIEE: 10.1.3.4.1Essbase: 188.8.131.52BI Apps: 7.9.6
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This leads to the other point, which is if I am starting a SaaS company, what would be my strategy. Should I take a top down approach and build the applications to SaaS standards or should I take a bottoms-up approach and design my SaaS foundation/infrastructure first and then design my apps to run on this foundation. I would think the latter would be more beneficial since once you lay your foundation, it’s more difficult to change. The level of abstraction as one move up the stack to the applications makes it easier to change.
So, then the real debate about who is a true SaaS provider should not be about the level of multi-tenancy but more about which provider can give me the uptime, performance, security and application functionality . Not that the multi-tenancy debate is less interesting or compelling but all it does is make for a good discussion.
That brings us to the core of SaaS which is the foundation as I call it. The foundation constitutes not just the infrastructure but also the shared components that are built on top of the infrastructure which the applications can consume.
“CRM projects are all about culture, ownership, control and resistance, direction, management, vision, communications, structure, process and people… people… people.”
Today every organization understands the need of an efficient CRM system and processes in place to take them to the next level. They cannot just do it with CRM and what they need most is the organization change to adopt the new crm system and this article will guide to better organizational change management (OCM) program.
Natural reaction to change: Resist
“This is a waste of time.”
“Why change if it was working just fine before?”
“If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”
“They never tell us what’s going on!”
“How soon will this happen?”
“How will this impact me?”
“Will I receive new training?”
“I doubt they are really serious about this.”
Large organizational-change management programs are notoriously difficult to run: they involve changing the way people not only behave at work but also think about work. Sometimes, however, changing individual mind-sets is the sole way to improve a company’s performance. . First your employees must see the point of the change and agree with it, at least enough to give it a try. Then the surrounding structures—reward and recognition systems, for example—must be in tune with the new behavior. People must also see colleagues they admire modeling it and need to have the skills to do what is required of them.
What it takes to Change:
What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)?’ is continually asked, answered and effectively communicated to each system stakeholder and user – in a purposeful effort to guarantee the acceptance of, enthusiasm for and correct use of the final product at all appropriate levels of the organization.
The top management vision must ensure acceptance of CRM Application by its users by managing the organizational change the system will bring to organization. Specifically, the vision focuses on the following change management interventions:
The top-down support for the project with clearly defined and communicated messages and intentions. The goal is to create the need for change and to articulate the solution: the desired state. Sponsorship at the executive level needs to be established within COMPANY’s different departments (Sales, Marketing, Finance, IT, etc...).Sponsorship interventions focus on demonstrating the sponsors’ own commitment to the success of CRM Applications and building that commitment in others. Sponsorship will continuously communicate “Change Message” to their direct reports, who, in turn, cascade the sponsorship down the formal reporting structure of the organization.
The bottom-up process that builds commitment to the change amongst all stakeholders. Ownership interventions are a mixture of communication, involvement, and marketing. The objectives are to make people aware of new system and help surface resistance, so, resistance can be addressed. Ownership interventions focus on the entire user population (including managers) with the intent to show to the users “where the pain is” in the current situation, describe how CRM will affect their “day in a life of a user@ COMPANY”, as well as clarify “what’s in it for me”.
· Secure executive support in the effort
· Enable managers to coach their people
· Precondition users to accept changes
· Implement “hands on” change management discipline by utilizing OCM best practices as much as possible
· Focus on communications to carry the load of our change management effort
Ø Analyze current state (pre-CRM era), desired state (CRM era), as well as the transition state (the Delta) (people, process, technology)
Ø Define the communication messages that describe the future as well as the transition states
Ø Strategically plan communications by source, audience, vehicle, frequency, etc.
Ø Prepare communication materials and tools. Ensure we provide a closed-loop feedback mechanism to capture the concerns of the users
Organizational Change Management Approach
The Organizational change management approach consists of three major work-streams, detailed in the paragraphs below. They consist of the following:
1. An “MRI” Assessment;
2. Change Plan Construction;
3. Change Management Execution.
The Change Management resource will own the MRI Assessment and Change Plan deliverables. For the execution this individual will likely own a subset of the interventions/ actions and act as an expert resource/coordinator to COMPANY resources (e.g., communications, HR, intranet, etc.), who will own the execution of other interventions. This arrangement allows execution of the change interventions to be the most efficient, leveraging the skills and strengths of the various resources.
A useful change management approach is dependent upon several key organizational “situational” factors, which we call the “Change Management MRI Environment.” The MRI acronym derives from the following definitions:
1. M - Magnitude: The specifics and magnitude of the change required;
2. R - Readiness: The preparedness of the organization for change;
3. I - Impact: The tangible impact of the change on system stakeholders and users, across all organizational levels.
When an organization’s MRI environment is understood, an appropriate Change Plan (a documented set of change management “interventions”) can be constructed to support the business objectives of a new system. Therefore, the first logical step in executing a change management project is to perform an “MRI Assessment” (work-stream #1) – used to clearly understand the existing state of the three MRI variables listed above.During the MRI Assessment, close attention is paid to the second variable, “Change Readiness.” Change readiness is defined as an organization’s ability and willingness to implement change. To baseline change readiness, the following factors are assessed:
· Perceived change drivers (i.e., the “perceived need” for change across levels);
· Expected stakeholder reactions, expectations and resistance;
· Ownership & commitment across levels;
· Sponsorship & leadership concerns;
· Skills resident and required;
· Current organizational culture (i.e., current specific behaviors);
· Existing communication approach;
· Change history (i.e., experience with previous change);
· Infrastructure and support (i.e. available systems, personnel and other resources).
Each of these factors is evaluated as either a potential enabler of or barrier to change. Enablers are factors that can be leveraged to make change successful, while barriers inhibit change and must be overcome to achieve program goals.
“Change Impact,” the third MRI variable listed above, is defined as the difference between the way stakeholders and users work today and the way they will need to work post-implementation. Gaps between as-is and to-be states, as well as sheer “level of impact” implied by the difference, are measured in the following areas:
· Process (i.e., tasks, jobs and skills);
· Knowledge (i.e., awareness, understanding and intellectual capital requirements);
· Culture (i.e., behaviors and attitudes);
· Structure (i.e., roles, responsibilities and governance);
· Tools (i.e., applications and performance support);
· Metrics (i.e., rewards, incentives, motivational tools and measurements).
The Change Plan (work-stream #2) outlines the set of interventions that are most appropriate to the situation and achievable in the timeframe available. This will be documented in a “roadmap” format, i.e., a set of activities laid out on a timeline together with the first iteration of the task level plan for each intervention. Change Plans usually consist of a number of different types of interventions, depending on the scope of the implementation effort, including some or all of the following:
· Sponsorship sessions;
· Ownership sessions;
· Organizational/job/role design sessions;
· Learning, Training and Performance support;
· Culture/behavior design sessions;
· Performance management incentives and rewards realization;
· Communications (the most prevalent intervention type throughout the program, growing in number intensity with time).
Determining what interventions are appropriate will be based on the results of the MRI Assessment and significant practical experience of the Expert change management representative. The completed Change Plan identifies which interventions are the most appropriate, prioritizes them, determines when they should be executed, who should be involved (the “what, when, how and who” of each intervention).
Note that while the COMPANY and Expert team believe that Communications almost certainly will constitute one of the interventions, it is impossible to say at this stage exactly what other interventions may be appropriate. Based on some of the “change history” COMPANY has shared with us, the Expert team has hypothesized that leveraging the existing commitment of the sponsors in an effective series of events, appearances and actions is a likely scenario, however the outcome of the MRI may indicate that one or more other interventions may be more appropriate. The communications program can begin prior to the completion of the Change Plan, as all stakeholders will need to go through an awareness building stage.
Change Management Execution (work-stream #3) is fairly self-explanatory. Once the completed MRI Assessment leads to a finished (or even partially-finished) Change Plan, execution on that plan can begin. As the plan is dealing with human reactions and emotions the specifics of the interventions need to remain flexible enough such that the team can react to actual outcomes and feedback and iterate on the task plan to ensure the key issues are being addressed and the desired outcomes achieved. The majority of the actual work done within a change management project resides in this work-stream, which stretches the length of the program and effectively manages the “change” of the organization from start to finish.
Be the Change You wanna be and Good Luck
Your Partner and Companion
Dinesh Chandrasekar - DC*
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Siebel users would have frequent travel to meet their customers, partners, dealers, etc on their day to day business. Now a day’s most of the people are using Google Maps or other service similar to that for their route map to customer location. This is a simple step towards integrating Siebel with Google Maps, so that user can get the route map with just one single click, avoiding manual activities.
In the case of sales, the marketing people get leads from various sources and they need to follow-up them to get them converted to opportunities. For this marketing people would need to travel to customer location. In the case of service, the executive may need to reach a customer for service or collecting RMAs.
In all the above case, usually people uses Google maps to find the route map. They opens the browser, Google maps portal and then enters destination address collecting from Siebel.
How about if, the Siebel is integrated with Google Maps and the user is able to get the directions with just one click of mouse?
This blog article describes how Siebel can be integrated with Google maps to get directions to reach customer place. Siebel takes logged in user address as source and selected customer/ dealer/ company address as destination.
- The solution is built on Siebel 8.0 or higher version.
- User should have the access to internet and Google maps site
The following section defines the required steps users must perform to use the custom feature as designed:
User should setup his address details correctly under contacts à Address screen
Query for logged in user’s contact record using Last Name, First Name, etc in top form applet
In the bottom form applet create/ update primary address with correct data.
User should enter complete address details for the selected entity (Accounts/ contacts/ Dealers, etc)
How it works
User selects the customer/ contact/ dealer/ partner record in respective screen
User clicks on icon in directions field(Or) User clicks on Google Map View tab
Siebel shows route map/ directions to selected customer/ contact, etc address from user’s address User can change the commutation choice to car/ Walk/ Public Transport to get the route map/ directions accordingly.
Siebel integration with Google Maps provides a simple and seamless connected interface to Google Maps server for getting the directions/ route maps to reach customer/ Dealers address. This interface refreshes the directions automatically, when the user navigates across the records
Try this in your Siebel Application, You will enjoy the ride
Your Partner and Companion
Dinesh Chandrasekar DC*
Monday, July 26, 2010
You're away from the office and minutes away from a meeting with a prospective customer. You need to review details about the opportunity and customer, but you can't access the CRM data you need because you don't have connection to the Internet. Do you panic?.
Not anymore if you have invested in Mobile CRM ? Whether it's quickly associating a phone call you've just made or an email you've just sent to a prospect with an opportunity record in CRM or just accessing basic sales information, Mobile CRMs works the way you do -- with or without network coverage. It's task-oriented, easy to use, and optimized for a Sales and Marketing professionals .Given that an ever increasing amount of a salesperson's time is spent on the go, it's critical that a mobile solution be part of one's CRM equation. The leading vendors like Oracle, SAP , Salesforce have their own mobile assistant tool kit for Mobile CRMs. Take for example Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant, which works seamlessly with Oracle CRM On Demand to provide sales users with a powerful yet easy to use task-based application for conducting the most common activities while on the road.
Check this link http://www.slideshare.net/tbOracleCRM/crmoracle-oracle-mobile-sales-assistant to know more about this mobile tool. And with Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant for Blackberry Version 2.0 released last month, you can fully leverage the touch screen capaiblities of the Blackberry Storm.Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant is compatible with both Oracle CRM On Demand and Siebel CRM.
So what you need to do next
- Plan, implement, and deploy a mobile CRM strategy
- Enable your sales force to achieve new levels of productivity and provide improved customer service
- Team up with solution providers that have the business and technical expertise to make your project successful
Live case for your reference
Scottish Widows is part of the Lloyds Banking Group with more than 6 million life, pension and investment customers. They implemented Oracle CRM On Demand to manage relationships with over 18,500 independent financial advisers and to improve their market penetration. After a head-to-head comparison with salesforce.com, Scottish Widows deployed Oracle CRM On Demand in two months and are taking advantage of CRM On Demand's powerful analytics. In addition, their mobile sales force is more productive with Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant.
Have a great mobile Day
Your Partner and Companion
Dinesh Chandrasekar DC*
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The year 2009 was not as easy as some. Gone are the heady days of CRM news, like in 2005 when all this took was throwing acquisitions, such as Oracle-Siebel deals on a list, on a list with innovations, like CDI and Microsoft CRM 3.0. Even the top CRM stories of 2008 were easier to define.
But while the year was light on major acquisitions and suddenly-hot technologies, it was not without its shake-ups and developments. With the dust slowly settling on the market leaders and the major suite vendors firmly in place, 2009 became a time for everyone, including users, to regroup and map out where they’re headed. We start with the vendors:
Microsoft grows up
The year saw Microsoft CRM add its one millionth user and take Microsoft Online international. With the recession looming over 2009, Microsoft also took the opportunity to target Salesforce.com and Oracle CRM On Demand users with a special price promotion. It wasn’t alone either. Obviously sensing that price was a competitive differentiator, Microsoft and SugarCRM both took steps to make CRM cheaper, simpler and cloudier.
SAP heads for the clouds
Meanwhile, SAP’s roadmap took a familiar turn. The applications heavyweight announced plans to not only roll out its full SaaS-based business suite Business By Design to full production, but to add multiple business applications on-demand including sales automation, travel and expense and services management. However, for all its commitment to on-demand, SAP had very little to say about its existing on-demand CRM product. Neither did anyone else.It may not matter. Some customers are obviously happy with SAP’s existing CRM applications. Coca-Cola is using SAP CRM to roll out the ordering system for its new beverage dispenser.
Oracle straightens out its CRM roadmap
Oracle, tied up for years bringing together the spoils of its acquisition spree under the Fusion Applications umbrella, made some headway in 2009, announcing that the first set of Fusion Applications will be released this year, including sales and marketing modules. Oracle’s CRM roadmap includes a heavy dose of social CRM as well as long-awaited features such as running Siebel in Outlook. Paul Greenberg shared his take on the CRM roadmap and Siemens seemed to be happy with Oracle’s CRM direction. Siemens dumped a number of SAP projects in hopes of standardizing its CRM systems on Oracle.
Salesforce makes a platform push
Cisco for a contact center in the cloud and pushing its Service Cloud, which features Twitter integration. CEO Marc Benioff spared no expense on marketing it, buying up a huge booth and staging a presentation at Oracle’s own conference.
But it wasn’t all just about the vendors.
“Cloud” gets a little cloudier
Confused about the difference between hosted, on-demand, SaaS and cloud applications? Direct your frustration to the man cited above (who is now calling Salesforce.com a “cloud company”). But it’s not just Benioff. Sage and Consona announced plans this year that will add a little more to the cloud CRM confusion. With the emergence of offerings from Amazon, Microsoft and others, it’s now possible to own the software but rent the infrastructure. It’s only getting more complicated.
Users test out their social CRM strategies
Clearly, the term of the year goes to “Social CRM,” thanks largely to the vendor and analyst community (more below) that have helped push the term beyond the early, simpler days when it was called CRM and Web 2.0 or social networks. For all the hype and confusion, 2009 marked a year when businesses started listening and formulating a strategy around social CRM. For example, Xerox embarked on a social media monitoring program and JellyVision Labs has begun leveraging social networks to help it sales force. All CRM.com sites also managed to add a couple columnists to help readers sort through the noise. Allen Bonde has been writing about social CRM from the marketing perspective while Paul Greenberg is tackling real world examples of social CRM and the strategy behind them.
CRM software sellers get social medicine
If 2009 was a year in which businesses began experimenting with social CRM, it was also the year the vendors in the market jumped in with both feet. RightNow bought HiveLive to round out its social offering, NetSuite partnered with InsideView to get social with its CRM and ERP suite. Salesforce.com, not only added integration to social networks via the Service Cloud, it promised to deliver a collaboration platform with Chatter.
Finally the Message ....Saving money
Remember “doing more with less,” that trite little term that meant management still wanted you to work as hard, get as much accomplished, and bring in as much revenue, only with less resources? Well that had CRM practitioners focused on…
There was no shortage of advice on how to save. Gartner offered both five low cost contact center infrastructure projects and five low-cost CRM strategies. Forrester suggested ways to mine more value from existing CRM implementations while others started to see CRM outsourcing as more attractive. Marketing got in on the action as well. Forrester analyst Suresh Vittal suggested the recession could reshape MRM and marketing while Gartner suggested now might be a good time to buy MRM.
2010 is a little easier and a lot more profitable and Lets look forward to great finish this year
Your Partner and Companion
Dinesh Chandrasekar DC*
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The question is pertinent because consolidation—an old service story—is more relevant now than ever. In fact, a number of our clients are consolidating their service or contact centers. For example, An organization, which has undergone multiple mergers, to reduce its seven call centers to three. Meanwhile, major European consulting firms combine the group that serves businesspeople with the one that serves consumers. The overriding goal for both projects has been to increase operational efficiency.
Contrast this with five years ago, when our clients’ top contact and call center goals were to improve call resolution, customer satisfaction and cross-selling. Whereas today, thanks to the downturn, the mantra I most hear from call center managers is, “We need to reduce our cost per call.” Of course, organizations still want to keep their customers satisfied. But increased efficiency is more important than ever, as witnessed by so many contact center representatives’ primary responsibility: to resolve customers’ queries more quickly.
The Multi-Talented Contact Center Specialist
These efficiency concerns have rightly led to a sharp rise in the number of integrated contact centers, meaning they field not only phone calls, but also email and web queries. The goal here is to optimize call center resource utilization, because it’s hard to predict when calls will peak, and thus how many people you should have in the call center at any given time. By mixing phone and chat responsibilities—which must be handled immediately—with email and Web responses, to which consumers do not expect an instant response, organizations can better balance their use of call center personnel.
Web 2.0 Portals: Are We There Yet?
Another potent strategy for increasing operational efficiency is to invest in a Web 2.0 portal. Are you thinking, “Wait, aren’t self-service portals so five years ago?” As a breakthrough topic, perhaps. But I’m struck by how many companies discuss self-service portals, and in particular adding Web 2.0—browser-launched service chats, drag-and-drop document uploads, pop-up template previews, and so on—versus how few companies actually do it. From an efficiency standpoint, this means lost opportunities. From a customer experience standpoint, it means your website probably looks circa 2005.
Furthermore, Web 2.0 is becoming commonplace. We’re onto social media now. Companies are even using Twitter for customer service purposes. It’s chaos out there. What’s your plan?
Target Customers’ Portal Adoption
In the old days, you built a portal and encouraged customers—via emails, mass mailings and gentle exhortations while on hold—to use it. But just as we use techniques to get salespeople to adopt CRM, why not entice customers to use self-service portals?
In fact, the new self-service portal regime is all about targeted adoption. Here’s how it works: Say you’re a healthcare provider. If a member calls in with a concern—such as needing to submit further documentation to resolve a claim—that could have been completed by using the portal, the member service representative says, “I have an idea—are you online? Let’s resolve this on our portal,” and guides the customer all the way through to submitting their claim resolution. And voila: Who would that customer ever go back to phone queues? It’s customer service and efficiency, without one coming at the expense of the other.
CRM Isn’t a Zero-Sum Game
We say this a lot at SierraAtlantic, but when you’re looking at being more efficient, it can’t just be about efficiency. Because thankfully, CRM isn’t a zero-sum game. In fact, you want to be more efficient and raise customer satisfaction at the same time. For example, by giving customers a top-notch self-service portal, customers are happier because they don’t have to wait on hold or have a half-hour conversation with a customer representative. But portals also lower service costs for the provider, and—at least for health insurers—let them more quickly resolve claims, which by the way means having to keep less cash around to settle the balance sheets.
In other words, by all means consolidate service operations where appropriate, but don’t neglect customer satisfaction. If you address both, and do it well, then you not only reduce costs by becoming more efficient, but you also keep your customers too.
On the portal front, clients have an opportunity to create more advanced member-service portals that increase efficiency, capture more members and help maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Surprisingly, according to the recent survey respondents (Business Executives ) across globe valued transparency of business practices as well as company trustworthiness as the two most important factors influencing corporate reputation.
What is trust? It's the confidence in a company's ability to do what is right for all its stakeholders -- shareholders, customers, employees, and the broader society at large -- and not just shareholders.
Trust is an increasingly important component to maintaining your company's reputation and brand, and many countries have seen the consumers valuing trust more than any of other brand attributes. Whether this uptick represents the start of a new trend or a mere blip in the barometer remains to be seen. As people expect companies to return to "business as usual" after the economy rebounds. This warning underscores the need for companies to continue engaging in open and frequent communications and business practices with its stakeholders across multiple channels and view trust as a "new line of business" to cultivate.
Now...what the heck does any of this have to do with CRM?
CRM is all about maximizing the effectiveness of customer relationships. Yes, technology is important, but let's not overlook the importance of the PEOPLE dimension. So what's the mindset you'll take in approaching your sales, marketing and service interactions? The answer to this is transparency and What you will gain is Trust of your consumers. The social crm enables you to accept the criticism with open hands and act on it to improve your service.
Marketing Exaggeration is required sometimes but taking the right information to your consumer and be little responsible for the betterment of society will ena ble you to improve the trust factor. Your CRM team can help you in framing the right message to the consumer and improve the trust factor at every point of customer interactions. I believe "Your NewCRM" will have the Trust dimension .
Good Luck & Trust Begets Trust
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I wanna share with some vital knowns and unknowns about a CRM implementation project and before we get into know abouts of an implementation its important to know the unknowns. Here we go.....Regardless of your company's size and the requirements for your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution, the goal remains the same: learn more about your customers and leverage that knowledge into increased customer loyalty and improved sales.
However, too often companies jump into their CRM initiatives without the proper thought and planning. The result? A CRM system that does not meet critical organizational needs and fails to provide the proper insights into their customer base. Or perhaps worse--a CRM system that is not used at all. The key to success for your CRM implementation is not just the technology driving your solution, but in the strategy itself.
To achieve CRM success, there are 3 steps every company must follow before starting to consider CRM technology:
1. Establish a commitment to organizational change. If your company already understands why it is essential to improve customer loyalty and agrees that a CRM initiative is a high priority, congratulations! If not, you'll need to do the legwork necessary to achieve consensus with all teams. Don't be overwhelmed. Use this as an opportunity to put the pieces of your CRM puzzle together--discovering where customer touch points interact, what information is important to whom and why, and to identify what current business processes seem inefficient to those tasked with executing them. Once each team feels heard, and their grievances documented, they will likely agree that change is a good thing. Then you not only have much of the critical information you need for your next step, you also have the capital to return to these folks for their buy-off when your CRM strategy is completed. Your next step?
2. Define specific adjustments to operations. This seems like a tall order, but it is the logical next step towards building a solid strategy that your entire organization can get behind and evangelize. We suggest creating a matrix of all the problems identified in the first step and the solutions that were discussed. Use this matrix to compare the challenges across departments and identify potential operational changes that would solve these issues. Do not think about how technology can support these solutions, just concentrate on the operational changes necessary--who needs to know what and when, what workflow will share critical information between departments, and what critical customer-facing actions should occur at the completion of each task. TIP: The biggest factor to building a solid CRM strategy is developing a standardized sales process that is based on best practices, can be implemented across your sales organization, and integrates tightly with marketing and operations. Armed with this information, you are ready to rock.
3. Document your CRM Strategy. Your strategy should identify the specific business problems that need to be addressed (based on your information gathering and prioritization exercises from the first 2 steps), define objectives whose results can be measured (to demonstrate the ROI of your implementation), and outline solid insight into how CRM will impact the company, current operations, and your customers. To ensure organizational buy-off, boil down your CRM strategy into these critical points: How will CRM improve the lives of its users? How will it increase productivity? How will it impact sales? It is this strategy you then take back to the key stakeholders for final buy-off. It is this strategy that you will arm yourself with when researching and evaluating all possible CRM solutions available to you.
Understanding what business problems you need to solve and how they impact your operations--while demonstrating company support for this initiative--will ensure a successful implementation of your CRM solution. Not only will you better understand the trade-offs that you will need to make with the technology you choose, you will be able to better evaluate customization requirements and recommendations made by your CRM partner. The time you spend planning and documenting your strategy will be well worth the results!
God Bless You and Have a Nice Day Dear
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The year 2009 the world economy plunged into a severe recession from which it is now slowly recovering. However, the fundamental business needs that drive the requirement for effective and efficient customer interaction management have not changed: acquiring new customers, building tighter bonds of loyalty, and reducing the costs of marketing, selling, and servicing. Although many CRM technology projects were deferred or cancelled in 2009, as per Forrester wave 2010 organizations of all sizes are now investing again to improve the customer management capabilities they’ve neglected during the past 18 months. If you are a business process leader in a large organization, you’re challenged to pick the best CRM solutions to enable your company to capitalize on the upturn.
The B2B and B2C enterprises spotlight improved customer loyalty as their top goal. But B2B companies are also intent on capturing new customers, while B2C companies obsess about improving the customer experience
“To support achievement of these important priorities, CRM technology solutions are widely used by organizations of all sizes. Fifty-six percent of the 455 large organizations we recently surveyed in North America and Europe have already implemented a CRM solution — and many of these are investing more to upgrade their tool set. And an additional 17% have plans to adopt a CRM solution within the next 12 to 24 months”
To make savvy CRM solution investment decisions, you must understand and navigate a number of important trends:
CRM evolves into the extended CRM application ecosystem. Mature organizations understand that optimizing end-to-end customer-facing business processes means integrating solutions that extend beyond “traditional CRM”. In addition to marketing, sales, and service functionalities, you need to think about incorporating closely related capabilities like billing, order management, or contract management. Forrester calls this the “extended CRM application ecosystem,” supporting customer-facing cross-functional processes.
Customer service embraces real-time methods. We are seeing a rising number of inquiries from companies about how to improve their customer service capabilities. In 2010, contact center customer support needs to evolve to better serve customers who no longer rely on one venue for receiving information but instead engage multiple sources. In addition to checking a company’s Web site and its brochures, many customers research information on products and services from social networking sources such as blogs and online user ratings. With customers now requiring more real-time support, it’s essential to keep pace with their expectations and to respond to them in new ways.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) for CRM becomes the default choice. Forrester surveys show that
nearly half of apps professionals are actively engaged with SaaS assessments or deployment. And almost one-third of these those are using SaaS applications for CRM. Forrester observes that CRM technology buyers now look first at SaaS solutions to see if this approach can meet their needs before seriously considering an on-premises solution. And buyers with a large installed base of on-premises CRM solutions are re-evaluating where they should, and can, switch to a SaaS version.
CRM and business process management (BPM) solutions converge. Traditional enterprise applications tend to be monolithic in nature. Purchasers of these applications have become increasingly frustrated with the cost and complexity involved in customizing them to the needs of the organization. Moreover, they experience problems when upgrading, effectively setting the IT infrastructure in concrete as the business continues to evolve. Enter pure-play BPM vendors such as Pegasystems and Sword Ciboodle into the customer management space. These types of solutions have for some time offered integration capabilities to access enterprise apps at the component level, allowing the organization to model its processes and call relevant application elements at runtime. Forrester is now beginning to see expensive, complex, monolithic enterprise applications being broken into component pieces, with BPM suite engines sitting on top, orchestrating the appropriate elements needed to deliver highly customized solutions.
Interest in social CRM continues to build, but projects remain in pilot mode. Social technology adoption has increased tremendously during the past 12 months. Four in five US online adults now use social tools to connect with each other, compared with just 56% in 2007.As a consequence, technology vendors and some industry observers have jumped on to this bandwagon, offering an easy path to the promised land of more deeply engaged customers using Social Computing solutions. However, the proof-point use cases for leveraging social media are still emerging, and the business value of social media is still an unanswered question.10
Price/value trumps functionality in purchase decisions. Battered by two years of recession, buyers of customer management solutions have become extremely value-conscious. With major vendors like Oracle and SAP touting new releases of their CRM products, enterprises running older versions of CRM apps are mulling over whether to take the upgrade plunge.Business process professionals wonder if the benefits of upgrading their CRM solution will outweigh the costs. In addition, organizations looking at ways to escape hefty (and perceived low-value) vendor maintenance fees altogether will seriously consider not renewing their vendor maintenance agreement and moving to third parties. In a continuing difficult economy, first-time buyers are in a stronger position to push vendors to demonstrate value through pilot demonstrations and demand more flexible contract arrangements than in the past.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In Q2 of 2010 Forrester evaluated 18 leading customer relationship management (CRM) suite solutions against 516 criteria reflecting the requirements of large organizations. They found that heavyweight Leaders Oracle Siebel and SAP still offer the most complete solutions, with better usability and improved total cost of ownership (TCO) to persuade customers to upgrade. Other vendors in the Leader category, such as CDC Software, Microsoft, Oracle CRM On Demand, RightNow Technologies, and salesforce.com are gaining ground with flexible, quick-to-implement solutions. The Leaders are challenged by a pack of Strong Performers. Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) CRM and Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM remain good options for enterprise resource planning (ERP) customers. Chordiant Software, Pegasystems, and Sword Ciboodle offer business process management (BPM) strengths to orchestrate complex customerfacing processes. Maximizer Software, NetSuite, SageCRM, Sage SalesLogix, and SugarCRM offer sound solutions but are best suited for midsized organizations. FrontRange Solutions, a Contender vendor, offers a solution to meet basic needs.
It gives me immense pleasure to write about the wonderful experience about a vibrant economy in the golden sands specially the Saudi Arabia and Rome (Rest of Middle east).What is amusing is that despite the recessions and doubts about revival of the economy one part of the world stood firm and able to show to the rest of the world the power of middle east economy and their approach towards progress. There is steady growth in the ME economy and we will be surprised to see the adoption of new technologies.
There is huge growth potential beyond the traditional oil and gas segment. The growth is unanimously spread across all segments to say a few real estate, retail, hospitality, Automotives etc. It’s my privilege to have worked for some of the reputed clients in the region and quiet astonished by their knowledge on the subject and processes these gentlemen have on the new world technologies. Today CRM and MDM plays vital role in the technology footprint of any Middle East companies and they wholeheartedly putting their best to enhance the customer experience at every point of interaction. Our consultants feel at home and they have high regards for the customer’s counterpart. We are proud to be part of some big implementation and honestly we sharpen our skills by engaging in those projects. Trust begets Trust and Relationship is the foremost part of any project. We just not build solutions but are the partner and companion in our client’s growth.
Today every application vendor like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft etc pays great attention to these countries. You will be surprised to see even the government departments in these countries have end to end ERP and CRM footprint. They really care about citizen welfare at the same time respect and give due credits to expats. What more you can ask for being an IT Professional to work in these countries. They understand the bottleneck of implementing a new solution and moreover they help us to do the job better by participating in every solution design and development discussion. Beyond projects and solution we could see the robustness of the processes and every company takes great attention to remain profitable and try to have a unique value propositions. The Best of breed business intelligence implementations are happening in this part of the part and you wonder to see your data speak about the critical improvement areas. I look forward to explore new possibilities in these golden Sands and You are welcome
Monday, July 19, 2010
If you're like many companies that have invested in a customer relationship management (CRM) initiative, you have integrated information, applications and services to drive customer-focused behaviors across the enterprise.However, if you're among the 65 to 80 percent of companies who feel your CRM investment hasn't delivered on its promised potential, you're likely missing a critical piece of the solution: a business intelligence process that drives behavioral change.Each day, business decisions increase in number and complexity. Customers demand higher levels of service while interacting with companies through multiple channels, posing technical and business challenges throughout the enterprise. As a result, analytics and business intelligence (BI) play a pivotal role in a comprehensive CRM strategy. What more we need is the simple BI solution on top of your customer data and unified Master Data Management to show you the single golden record of your customer and related entities like products, activities and suppliers.
In my past and current interaction with our customer what we understand is that they want to CRM deliver their business promises.CRM has the capability to deliver provided you see CRM as your strategic partner to success and not just another system. On top of every information we require intelligence and when the information is dispersed across system how we say our information is correct that’s where we need MDM solution.
Technology doesn’t always mean a packaged solution its always people, process and technical solution. When get our processes and people right we are almost 50% near to the solution and technical solution will enable us to implement the processes and get people acceptance to drive Organizational goals.
CRM ,BI and MDM are your three angels and when you have all three in the organization what more we can ask for. Good Luck and Happy to help in you in the progressive journey toward wealth creation.
Your Partner & Companion
Sunday, July 18, 2010
At the Gartner Customer 360 conference, Ed Thompson, Gartner's VP and distinguished analyst, provided a compelling presentation entitled How to Boost Customer Experience. This is one of the hot topics that has the CRM community all abuzz. But what exactly does Ed mean by "customer experience"? If you were to ask five different people in your organization to define "customer experience", you would in all likelihood get five different interpretations.
Luckily, Ed and a team of Gartner analyst spent 4+ months of their highly billable time deriving Gartner's official definitions of "customer experience" and "customer experience management" (CEM). And better yet, they encourage those who don't have definitions to leverage theirs as a starting point. Very generous! Thank you Gartner.
So without further adieu, here are their crisp, clean, and concise definitions:
Gartner defines customer experience as:
- "The customer's perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier's employees, channels, systems or products."
- "The practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions in order to meet or exceed customer expectations and so increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy."
Saturday, July 17, 2010
What is Customer Loyalty?
Customer loyalty can be defined as a customer’s sustained commitment to a company as demonstrated by repeat purchases, increased wallet share, and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Research indicates that when a company can command such loyalty, the benefits include, but go considerably beyond, incremental revenue. Loyal customers purchase more, they will pay higher prices, they are easier to service (thus reducing operating costs), and they help expand the customer base by giving positive referrals.
Three Critical Relationships
The key to customer loyalty is customer satisfaction. That much is obvious, but the means of achieving customer satisfaction are not so obvious. Customer satisfaction begins with providing customers with superior service, but cannot stop there. Customer loyalty comes from satisfying not just customers themselves, but also from satisfying the employees and partners who interact with them. It is only by effectively managing these three critical relationships that the benefits of customer loyalty can be achieved.
The logic of this observation is clear: employees and partners provide the touch points at which customers everywhere interact with companies. If at those touch points customers meet individuals who are in any way dissatisfied with the company, that dissatisfaction will become evident in the interaction—and the opportunity for increasing customer loyalty will be lost. On the other hand, satisfied employees and partners will be likely to increase customer loyalty, because they will be more ready and willing to provide the superior service that is a fundamental contributor to customer satisfaction.
Virtuous Circles of Satisfaction
The satisfaction level of employee constituents is directly related to their ability—as they perceive it—to provide the superior service that customers demand of them.
Companies that invest in employee & partners service capability will see a typical virtuous circle.
• Employees who are given the appropriate information, resources, and tools to serve customers better will be more likely to succeed at their jobs, and thus remain there.
• Through increased customer contact and ongoing training, these longer-tenured employees will further improve their ability to serve customers.
• That improved ability will increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, and will increase customer appreciation for the employees themselves.
• By tracking these results, loyalty-driven companies will continue to invest in training, reward their most effective customer-facing employees, and further strengthen the virtuous circle of employee-customer satisfaction.
For partners, a similar virtuous circle ensues. When partners are given the tools and resources they need to deliver superior customer service, their satisfaction level rises, and they are better equipped to improve the satisfaction level of customers. Moreover, companies that support their partners in this way typically realize additional important benefits.
• Satisfied partners demonstrate allegiance to the partnering company and are more likely to report their satisfaction to other business associates.
• Satisfied partners are more willing to commit matching resources to joint projects than are partners who feel they have been shortchanged in the business relationship.
• Satisfied partners are far less likely to form alliances with competing firms.
In an economy in which employee productivity and global alliances are essential to success, a customer loyalty strategy must embrace all three constituents: customers, partners, and employees. Only by measuring the satisfaction and performance of all three can companies understand which business attributes really drive customer loyalty. And only by interactively managing all three relationships can they ensure the appropriate allocation of resources for the greatest customer retention. In operational terms, this is accomplished by adopting a loyalty-based satisfaction measurement system. Such a system is built on four sequential steps:
1. Identify loyalty drivers—those key service or other business attributes that have a substantial impact on customer loyalty, employee retention, and partner allegiance.
2. Allocate the necessary people and other resources to ensure superior performance against these loyalty drivers.
3. Measure and track performance results against these key attributes.
4. Periodically readjust allocations as performance measures indicate, and as customers’ perceptions of delivered value change.
Managers who implement such a system must begin by recognizing the three interlocking constituents and by understanding that an attribute that is indispensable to one constituent might not be critically important for another. Each has its own loyalty drivers.
For example, customer loyalty can be driven by such standard service dimensions as reliability, responsiveness, and empathy. It can also be affected by a company’s performance on “tangibles” such as physical facilities, equipment, and the professional appearance of customer-facing personnel. Employee loyalty is likely to be affected by financial benefits, on-site working conditions, training, management style, and performance appraisals. For partners, loyalty is more likely to be driven by how easily and productively the partners can engage the company’s sales, service, marketing, and alliance personnel.
A good customer loyalty program must manage all of these disparate value perceptions simultaneously.
Dinesh Chandrasekar DC*Practice Director CRM & MDM CoE
Sierra Atlantic Software Services Ltd, India
“Dinesh Chandrasekar is the global Practice head for CRM & MDM CoE, at Sierra Atlantic Inc. He has over decade of experience in multiple CRM & MDM Packages Implementations, Consulting & Industry Solutions Domain expertise and published various whitepapers and articles in various Oracle and non Oracle Forums. Before joining Sierra Atlantic, he worked with GE Capital Software and Citibank Technologies. Dinesh comes with a rich experience and expertise in solution orchestration of CRM, MDM and Analytics solutions.”
Email: dinwin@ hotmail.com