Posts Tagged ‘customer relationship management (CRM)’

News Analysis: Vertical Solutions Extends Customer Experience And Field Service Footprint With Three Partnerships

Vertical Solutions Partnerships Showcase Why Complex Field Service Is A Critical Glue Between ERP and CRM In Improving Customer Experience


Announced March 4th, 2014 at the Microsoft Convergence event, Vertical Solutions, made three significant partnerships with Blue Horseshoe Solutions, Cincom, and Vidcie.  The Cincinnati, Ohio based customer experience software vendor provides cloud contact center and service management solutions that bridge the worlds of physical goods with customer experience.  The analysis of the three announcements show:

  • Where after market sales and service creates a strategic differentiator for Cincom. Cincom signed a reseller partnership with Vertical Solutions for integrated Field Service Management and Maintenance Repair Operations.  Cincom is a global Microsoft ISV for manufacturing. The partnership allows Cincom to resell VSI’s Service Lifecycle Management Solution with Cincom’s Business Suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

    Point of View (POV):
    In the current digital business transformation, manufacturers realize that product margins can no longer sustain growth.  While service revenues, warranty management, and installation can provide additional revenues, organizations must move from selling products to keeping brand promises.  Post sales service is a key component to ensuring that the brand promise is kept for manufacturers.
  • Why supply chain and post sales service should team up to improve customer experience in the Blue Horseshoe partnership. Blue Horseshoe provides a Supply Chain Suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX.  The partnership ties customer support, field service and mobile environments with logistics, supply chain, transportation management, advanced warehousing, and order completion.

    (POV):
    While the Blue Horseshoe solution provides a robust capability in supply chain, Vertical Solutions provides post sales and complex field service requirements.  These requirements enable customers to deliver on the complete order management cycle.  In speaking with several Blue Horseshoe and Microsoft Dynamics AX customers, they have a need to reduce warranty costs and improve customer satisfaction through improved first visit resolution programs.  Constellation believes that customers do not care what department resolves the issue, just that the issue is resolved across the continuum of customer engagement.
  • How video streaming can provide real-time access to experts through the Vidcie partnership. The partnership with Vidcie allows customers to integrate video streaming technology into the VSI enterprise Service Lifecycle Management solution VServiceManagement.  Vidcie is a Silicon Valley based hands free live streaming, mobile, and wearable technology provider.  Vidcie is More…

Trends: [VIDEO] The Digital Business Disruption Ahead Preview – NASSCOM India Leadership Forum (#NASSCOM_ILF)

A 10-Minute Preview Video Interview Of The Digital Business Disruption Ahead From The #NASSCOM_ILF Team

On January 17th, 2014, the NASSCOM team interviewed Constellation Research about the digital disruption ahead.  The short 10 minute video covers key topics including:

  • Convergence of the five pillars of digital business drive the current digital disruption. The end of social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and UC (i.e. SMAC) as you know it.
  • The new ecosystems of digital business bring new opportunities. From GE’s industrial internet to mass personalization at scale, to augmented humanity, Constellation sees a new future beyond the traditional software ecosystems.
  • Everyone vs Amazon is becoming a reality. Insights on why everyone is competing with Amazon not only in retail, but also in the cloud, physical distribution, and media.
  • Mergers and acquisitions in software signal a maturing industry category. Large enterprise software companies no longer innovate fast enough and have to purchase startups for IP and growth.
  • Mobile first and cloud first drive key success factors. Constellation sees the need to move to mobile first in order to innovate and move at the speed of digital business change.
  • Service providers must focus on a higher stack. IT services firms traditionally deliver operations, maintenance, and transfer.  However the value add and higher margins are in design and build.
  • Preview of the Constellation Futurist Framework. Using a PESTEL model, Constellation provides a sneak peak in some of the big 2014 futurist trends.

VIDEO: The Digital Business Disruption Previw

Source: NASSCOM

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The Bottom Line: The Shift To Digital Business Disruption Will Forever Transform The Service Provider Landscape

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Trends: Real World Lessons In Optimizing The Customer Service Experience From Kana Connect

Workshop On Optimizing Your Customer Service Experience Identifies Eight Strategies
At the 2013 Kana Connect event from September 15th to 17th, 2013 in New Orleans, I had the pleasure of co-leading a workshop with Scott Hays a Sr. Director, Product Marketing for KANA Software.  The goal of the session was to explore eight strategies to improve customer experience. 

By now, you are well aware that “experience counts.” Your customers’ loyalty and future purchases hang in the balance. In this session, we’ll explore the key things you can do to make sure their experiences are positive. Ray Wang from Constellation Research and Scott Hays from KANA guide an interactive workshop to invigorate your future initiatives.

Speaker(s): Scott Hays, Ray Wang, Constellation Research

The event began with a overview of  Constellation 9C’s of customer engagement  and then an overview of the eight ways to optimize your customer service experience.  Teams were broken up to documen current state and to rank future state.  Teams were told to identify the top three ways among these eight strategies:

  1. Effortless and personalized
  2. Channel convenience
  3. Channel consistency
  4. Social media
  5. Unified agent desktop
  6. Agent knowledge
  7. Process-driven
  8. Internationalization

Results Show Future Focus on Channel Consistency, Social Media, and Effortless and Personalized

Given the Kana customer base, current state priorities of agent knowledge, process driven, and channel convenience came as little surprise to the participants.  In fact, most workshop attendees have had More…

News Analysis: Clarabridge Raises $80M in Funding For Expansion

General Catalyst, Summit, and Yuchun Lee To Take Clarabridge To Next Phase Of Growth

Rapidly growing Reston, VA based Clarabridge, announced on September 10, 2013 a $80 million round of capital.  Founded in 2006, Clarabridge is a leading provider of customer experience solutions.  The funding announcement is significant as Clarabridge:

  • Invests into global expansion and product innovation. General Catalyst Partners, Summit Partners, and Yuchun Lee invests in the latest round .  Clarabridge intends to apply the investment towards global expansion, accelerate product innovation, and execute strategic transactions.  Key customers include B/E Aerospace, Best Buy, Charming Shoppes, Inc., Choice Hotels, Dell, Expedia, E.ON, Fidelity, Gaylord Hotels, Government of British Columbia, Intuit, J.D. Power, L’Oréal USA, Marriott International, PetSmart, QVC Inc., Sage North America, United Airlines, Walmart, Walgreens, and Wendy’s International.

    Point of View (POV):
    With over 150% of revenue growth over the past 3 years, Clarabridge plans to expand beyond it’s latest entry into San Francisco and London.  The CEM vendor  has the opportunity to build out new geographical markets while expanding industry reach in auto, cpg, finance, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, pharma, restaurants, retail, technology, telecommunications and travel.   Moreover, as the CEM space continues to evolve, Clarabridge now has a war chest to acquire new technologies or engineering talent as the market continues to expand and large legacy vendors acquire to consolidate.
  • Brings on experienced investors and board level expertise. Previous board members included David Blundin of Link Ventures, Don Raine of Grotech ventures, John Glushik of Intersouth Partners, Jonathan Perl of Boulder Ventures, and Sanju Bansal COO of MicroStrategy.   Larry Bohn of General Catalyst Partners and Tom Jennings of Summit Partners will join as part of the board.  Meanwhile, Yuchun Lee will serve as Chairman of the Board.

    Point of View (POV):
    While the previous board and investors provided the initial catalyst to Clarabridge’s success, in order to take it to the next level, the company needed new energy and direction.  David Blundin and Sanju remain on the board from the previous set of investors.  With Yuchun as chairman, expect innovative approaches to partnerships, OEM relationships, and positioning of Clarabridge in a broader customer experience context.

The Bottom Line: Clarabridge Poised For Growth

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Event Report: CRM Evolution 2013 – Seven Trends In The Return To Digital Business And Customer Centricity

Market Leaders Refocus On Digital Business and Customer Centricity

The annual gathering of the industry’s top thought leaders, users, and vendors of CRM converged at the Marriott Marquis in New York this past August 19th to 21st.  As with any good conference, the speaker tracks and the corridor conversations provided a glimpse of where market leaders and fast followers planned to make their future investments and provided key insights for 2014.  After speaking with over 100 attendees, the following seven trends emerged from this year’s event:

  1. CRM is dead, well not really. While the term CRM is loosely used to define many things.  Leaders realize that CRM is the technology.  Customer experience is the business process and journey maps.  Customer centricity is a state of mind that’s required of management and leaders.  While customer experience is the new term du jour, all three elements (i.e. technology, business process, and people leadership) are required for success.  Front office is more descriptive than Tom Siebel’s legacy term of CRM.
  2. Customers seek outcomes not products or services. Customers no longer buy products.  Customers expect products to be bundled with services.  Services providers now seek to sell experiences.  Experience providers now sell access to outcomes.  This evolution of what customer’s want and what’s delivered continues to accelerate.  With hipsters and millennials short on cash, access, experiences, and outcomes have emerged as one market category to deliver for in this growing sharing economy.  However, not all customers seek just access. A movement to move too far, will result in a backlash from a majority of customers who seek ownership without the shackles of renting.
  3. Transformation projects now rally behind the shift from social back to digital business. The social business and social crm era focused on a key aspect of CRM – the relationship.  In the past, CRM excelled at management, poorly accomplished customer, and failed at relationship.  Looking back three years,  the rise of social ties back to the need to address relationships.  Now that social moves to the mainstream, market leaders refocus to digital transformation of customer centric initiatives.
  4. Funnels make no sense in an asynchronous world. Classic sales, marketing, and service funnels force fit customers into unrealistic models.  Entry points will ebb and flow as channels and context drive demand into a variety of use cases.  Design must account for this constant state of change.
  5. Big data provides relevancy and context. All the hype on big data continues to miss the point.  Customer centricity requires context.  Context creates relevancy based on a customer’s roles, relationships, products, services, location, time, sentiment, and intent.  Without relevancy, acquisition, targeting, and personalization will fail.
  6. Front office still needs back office integration. Integration with back office is required for customer experience.  A customer who makes an order for a product or service that’s out of stock and billed twice for something they did not receive will most likely be upset.  Customer centricity is both a front office and back office exercise.
  7. Identity plays a key role. Identity plays a multi-faceted role for each individual. The business implications of identity after authentication, authorization, access, and availability touch on commerce, work lives, personal lives, and engagement with each other.  Identity is a unifying factor in the current transformation to a digital world and required for customer centricity.

The Bottom Line: Business Leaders Must Embrace Customer Centricity In Order to Differentiate In A Digital World

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Research Summary And Speaker Notes: The Identity Manifesto – Why Identity Is At The Heart of Digital Business

Forward And Commentary

Constellation Research keynoted at Ping Identity’s Cloud Identity Summit 2013 in July.  Gathered in front of the Identerati,  an Identity Manifesto was presented.  The research behind that manifesto has been summarized here in this summary.  The final big idea research report will offer insight into four of Constellation’s primary research themes, the Next-Generation Customer Experience, The Future of Work,  Matrix Commerce, and the Consumerization of IT and the new C-Suite.

A. Introduction

Identity often means many things to many people for good reasons. Traditional definitions of identity for the identity and access management professional have revolved around standards for authentication, access, authorization, and management.

B. Research Findings – Identity Expands Beyond Enterprise Despite Stuck in Massive Standards Hell

While standards such as SAML, Open ID, OAuth 2.0 address the technical side, the rise of consumer and enterprise social networks has spawned a consumer identity that reflects a digital ubiquity of the individual. Facebook, Google, and Twitter now dominate most social logins. Users expect their identity to be transportable from personal to work environments.

However, a limitation exists between personal and work worlds. In fact, the facets of one’s identity remain isolated and separated by not only our digital and analog presence, but also by our inability to deliver context across our worlds. Why? The lack of context separates our personal life from our work life and creates artificial barriers by role, relationship, and a host of other factors.

The reality – identity plays a multi-faceted role for each individual. The business implications of identity after authentication, authorization, access, and availability touch on commerce, work lives, personal lives, and engagement with each other. Without a more comprehensive view of identity, organization and individuals will continue to undermine the strategic role of identity in the context of business. Identity is a unifying factor in the current transformation to a digital world.

The Identity Manifesto Relates Identity To Work, Life, And Society

Identity plays a central role in the future of business and is a unifying point. The seven points in the identity manifesto set the stage on the future of identity (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Seven Point in The Future of Identity – The Identity Manifesto


The Bottom Line: Herald The Reputation Economy – Identity All Comes Down To Trust and Transparency

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News Analysis: Kana Express 13 Addresses Omni-Channel Customer Service for Mid-Market

Just 14 months after announcing the acquisition of Trinicom, Kana has revealed the latest release of its cloud customer service suite for the mid-market, Kana Express.   Released on June 27, 2013, the new product reflects the company’s mission “To provide leading customer service solutions that empower our customers to create experiences that count, for their customers wherever they engage”.

Key features in the release include:

  • Advanced analytics and reporting. Kana Express features improved trend analysis, performance reporting, and forecasting.  Personalization has been improved and new reporting options include an easy to use custom dashboard designer.

    Point of View (POV):
    Analytics and reporting is often an after thought in design for mid-market solutions.  Key reports such as contact flux, cockpits, and customer monitors provide not only information, but insight into what the next best action could be.  The custom dashboard designer enables easy creation of visualizations and filtering of data by dimensions.
  • Anytime, anywhere, access. Improvements in access include mobile device usage, Section 508 disability compliance, and internationalization capabilities.  Support for 30 languages out of the box, user defined time zones, double-byte character sets, and international address validation add to a list of features supporting international business requirements .

    Point of View (POV):
    Prospects will most likely flock to the eye candy features of mobile support for device and screen readers.  However, the internationalization efforts close the gap between large expensive enterprise solutions and what mid-market solutions traditionally offered.  Constellation sees this as an immediate win for companies with an international footprint but not an international budget.
  • Improved browser based user experience. Kana Express supports Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari browsers.  Additional enhancements include support for live chat, contextual next best options, and real-time access to the knowledge base.

    Point of View (POV):
    Agents can tailor the new UI and personalize to their preferences, reducing click throughs and improving productivity.  One powerful feature is the ability to automatically present contextual knowledge such as a related topic, interaction history information, or external system data.

Figure 1. Kana Express Screenshots Show New User Experience and Improved Accessability

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Monday’s Musings: The Controversy Surrounding Gartner’s CRM Market Share Analysis

The Gartner Market Share Analysis:CRM Software Report Raises Questions On Accuracy of Market Sizing Reports

The recent Gartner report “Market Share Analysis: Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2012” has generated some controversy among the enterprise software set.  The report and other reports such as these, are often used for bragging rights by vendors and for buyers to gauge vendor viability.

This specific report attempts to rank CRM software spending by vendor using total software revenue worldwide.  The good news – the numbers are directionally correct with Salesforce.com claiming the top mantle from SAP this year with $2.525 billion in CRM revenue (see Figure 1). The bad news – many question the accuracy of the actual revenues numbers as listed in the press release, especially for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM business.

As Scott Bekker at Redmond Magazine reported, “Gartner put Microsoft’s CRM revenue at $1.1 billion, up from $900 million in calendar-year 2011.  That’s a sizable bump. As of May 2012, Microsoft was only claiming that all of Dynamics, which includes Microsoft’s established ERP products as well as CRM, amounted to $1 billion in annual revenues.”

Mssr. Bekker makes a polite but astute point.  The 26% bump in CRM revenue is significant.  However, the total revenues are questionable.  In any modest observation, that kind of overall growth in the Microsoft Dynamics unit would have Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, shouting from the tops of Mount Ranier and probably have Kirill Tatarinov next in line to be Microsoft’s CEO.

Figure 1. Gartner’s Recent CRM Software Spending by Vendor, Total Software Revenue Worldwide, 2012 (Millions of Dollars)

Not to violate any copyright laws, despite fair use laws, here’s a link to the full table found in their press release. A recreated table below shows the rankings.

Bottom line it shows Microsoft in 4th place for CRM with over 1.1B in revenue.

Organization 2012 revenues 2012 marketshare (%) 2011 revenues 2011-2012% growth
salesforce.com 2,525.6 14.0 2,004.6 26.0
SAP 2,327.1 12.9 2,325.1 0.1
Oracle 2,015.2 11.1 1,870.0 7.8
Microsoft 1,135.3 6.3 900.9 26.0

The Market Sizing Game For Vendors And Legacy Analyst Firms Flawed With Faulty Methodology

In reality, the market sizing game for enterprise software is both an art with some science.  Having played this role as a vendor in an Analyst Relations capacity in a past life, one knows that executives can not disclose such financial information directly to a research or market sizing firm.  The research analysts must play a guessing game with the software executive and ask 100 questions to zero in on a number.  Unlike hardware, where individual counts are more obvious, software revenue sizing requires analysts to dig deep into financial statements and any conversation where growth rates have been discussed.  Revenues are hidden in bundling, suite sales,  discounting schemes, channel revenue deals, OEM arrangements, and inter-company transfers.  To complicate matters, SaaS revenue calculations can differ from how on-premises revenues are calculated.  Analysts must also determine the truthfulness of vendors who are trying to indirectly guide analysts to the “right” numbers.  In short, this is hard work.

As assumptions are built on previous numbers, one false guess in a previous year, cascades and geometrically inflates or deflates a set of future numbers.  In the case of these CRM numbers, one may speculate that past executives may have provided a higher number than actually generated, resulting in the current alleged inaccuracies.  Another speculation may come from previous and current analysts who may only focus on one area of the business and not have the total picture on the Microsoft Dynamics overall business.  There are many points of inaccuracy that can occur with software revenue market sizing and every legacy analyst and market sizing firm works hard to avoid these situations.  For market analysts, dissecting revenue from vendors such as SAP and Oracle is often difficult as these numbers and break outs are masked with multiple acquisitions and product lines.

To be clear, the SAP and Oracle numbers also seem inflated.   These numbers have been inflated over decades.  Given that these vendors also have many other lines of revenue aside from CRM, it’s hard to gauge the accuracy of their numbers without some digging.  Now one would assume a market sizing firm should be doing this right?

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Revenues Do Not Meet The General Sniff Test

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Event Report: Microsoft Dynamics Convegence 2013 (#conv13)

Customer Success, Acquisition, And New Features Drive Day 1 Headlines

Almost 12,000 Microsoft faithful converged in New Orleans for the flagship Dynamics event.  Wayne Morris (@WayneMorrisOz), CVP kicked off the event reiterating the theme of “A World Ahead”. Meanwhile, Kirill Tatarinov (@KirillTatarinov), President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division, led the session with a series of impressive brands and compelling customer success stories.  Highlights from the day include:

  • Impressive Global 2000 customer wins. Kirill hinted at wins at SpaceX and followed with live customer presentations from ShockDoctor, Chobani, Weightwatchers, and Revlon.  Dennis Goetz (CFO) of Shock Doctor shared how they grew their business moving away from spreadsheets to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Maureen Hurley (VP of IT) and James McConeghy (CFO) explained how Chobani installed Microsoft Dynamics AX in their main New York plant in less than a year and then implemented Dynamics AX at a new plant in less than 27 days. Christine Butler (VP of CRM and Business Development, and Loic Vienne (VP of Systems) at WeightWatchers discussed how they put in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage with 500 million customer touch points a year.  David Giambruno (SVP and CIO) and Steven Berns (Executive VP and CFO) of Revlon, made the impressive move to consolidate 21 ERP systems into one on Microsoft Dynamics AX.

    Point of View (POV):
    The Microsoft Dynamics team has successfully moved up market from a previously SMB centric message.  The rise of global 2000 customers in the $500M to $5B revenue range shows the growing presence, success, and scalability of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM.  Though the business is estimated to bring $1.4B in revenue, Microsoft Dynamics still represents a small fraction of Microsoft’s overall revenue ($73.72B 2012).  However, success in the Microsoft Dynamics business improves attach rates and cross-sells into Sharepoint, Office, SQL Server, and Azure.  Microsoft’s small investment in Dynamics reduces customer fragmentation and plays a key role in long-term growth.
  • Acquisition of Netbreeze for social analytics. The Netbreeze acquisition brings data mining, natural language processing (NLP), and text analysis to social signals such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, 6,000 online news websites, 500,000 message boards, and 18M blogs.   The system supports 28 different languages including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. Direct language translation beats translation back to one language.

    Point of View (POV):
    Netbreeze and Marketing Pilot address a growing need among the customer base for marketing automation and management.  Netbreeze is key to merging both the structured CRM information and the unstructured social signals.   As the CMO role continues to reclaim its technology destiny, we are moving away from transaction integrity and moving towards surfacing insights.  Netbreeze provides insight into marketing spend effectivity.
  • Announcement of Marketing Pilot 15.  MarketingPilot 15 adds improved user experience and analytics.  In addition, the long awaited connector to Microsoft Dynamics CRM arrives on March 2013.  International general availability is planned for later 2013.

    (POV):
    Marketing Pilot provides core marketing capabilities that were missing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.   Customers seeking an integrated marketing solution should consider Marketing Pilot.  However, the technology platform is dated.  For those customers seeking a cloud based approach, Silverpop, InfusionSoft, Aprimo, and Marketo may serve as better alternative today.  Compared to CMS marketing products like SiteCore or Adobe CQ, Marketing Pilot remains a distant second in features, but a top contender when cost is considered.
  • Windows Azure partner hosted offerings for ERP. Partner hosting for Dynamics GP 2013 and NAV 2013 will be available in June 2013.  Dynamics AX will see an Azure hosted version in 2014.

    (POV):
    Among the Dynamics ERP customers, partner hosting remains a popular option for dipping their toes into cloud ERP.  A key barrier to Azure hosting has been the performance issues with SQL Server for Azure.  Resolution of those issues will free Dynamics to deploy more of its capabilities in Azure.  The go forward architectural model for Dynamics AX resembles Dynamics CRM where a VM is assigned per tenant but all management is done by Microsoft.
  • New mobile applications for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.  New mobile apps will address key horizontal functions such as expense management, time tracking, and approvals.  The expense management offering will capture and reconcile expenses, time allows the completion of time sheets, and approvals allows managers to complete business requests.  Microsoft intends to support Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets, Windows Phone 8, Android phones, and iOS phone devices

    (POV):
    Customers are increasingly asking for a mobile experience.  The move to address mobility focuses on “in-between time” tasks that improve productivity for employees and bolsters offerings for services based industries and public sector.

 

Figure 1. Ongoing #Conv13 Flickr Stream

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The Bottom Line:  Progression In The Dynamics Product Line Results In A Competitive Alternative For Customers

On December 21, 2000, Microsoft announced the intention to acquire Great Plains.  In July 2002, Microsoft bought Navision A/S, the foundation of Dynamics NAV and AX.  Until 2007, Microsoft Business Solutions had struggled to find and grow beyond its SMB niche. Over the past seven years, the team has focused on deepening vertical capabilities, improved integration with Microsoft components, expanding partner programs, and making strategic acquisitions for product and technology features.  The process has been slow but steady but increased investment in Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM has paid off.

Fast forward to 2013, Microsoft now has a strong portfolio of solutions that Global 2000 organizations can deploy with confidence.  The MBS team is not afraid of tuck in acquisitions nor purchasing common IP from trusted partners.  The rearchitecture efforts and gradual hosted capabilities have helped move the product forward.  Consequently, customers and prospects seeking a newer architecture, Microsoft footprint, and deeper micro-vertical capabilities now consider the core Dynamics products for both ERP and CRM in short lists.  Key use cases include the consolidation of ERP, move to Two-Tier ERP, and primary CRM system of record.   However, customers should be cautioned that success will require selection of the right Microsoft Partner.  Selection of the right partner is never an easy process as many partners exist and validation of capabilities still remains a challenge for prospects and existing customers.

Your POV

Are you Microsoft Dynamics customer? Do you plan to invest more or less with them in 2013?  What do you think about their strategy?   Are you ready to consolidate on Microsoft? Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org or R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com

Please let us know if you need help with your apps strategy.  Sign up for a Constellation Academy Workshop or let us assist with:

  • Assessing readiness
  • Designing your strategy
  • Assessing integration capability
  • Vendor selection
  • Connecting with other pioneers

Resources and Related Research

Event Report: The Sentiment At Microsoft Convergence 2011

Friday’s Feature: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010

Research Report: Microsoft Partners – Before Adopting Azure, Understand the 12 Benefits And Risks

Monday’s Musings: The Hidden Value In SaaS Deployments

Trends: 2011 Cloud Computing Predictions For CIO’s And Business Technology Leaders

Research Summary: Best Practices – The Case For Two-Tier ERP

Tuesday’s Tip: When To Go With A Two-Tier ERP Strategy

Strategy: 5 Lessons Learned From A Decade Of Naught

Tuesday’s Tip: 10 Cloud And SaaS Apps Strategies For 2010

Tuesday’s Tip: 2010 Apps Strategies Should Start With Business Value

Best Practices: Lessons Learned In What SMB’s Want From Their ERP Provider

Reprints

Reprints can be purchased through Constellation Research, Inc. To request official reprints in PDF format, please contact Sales .

Disclosure

Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us. For the full disclosure policy, stay tuned for the full client list on the Constellation Research website.

* Not responsible for any factual errors or omissions.  However, happy to correct any errors upon email receipt.

Copyright © 2001 – 2013 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.
Contact the Sales team to purchase this report on a a la carte basis or join the Constellation Customer Experience!

Trends: Seven Priorities In The Shift From CMO to Chief Digital Officer

Shift From CMO to CDO Is In Progress

Today’s marketing strategies increasingly depend more on digital and on data than in the past.  With more data, marketers can measure against a new set of metrics that matter including:

  • calculating return on promotional investment (ROPI),
  • performing multivariable testing (beyond A/b)
  • driving conversion rates and optimizing efforts,
  • fine tuning customer segmentation, and
  • managing omni-channel diversity

Unfortunately the shift to digital requires a greater reliance on technology.  Historically, CMOs relied on IT for help on the database or CRM system or even the website.   However consumerization of technology and the cloud have now given marketers more control on their technology destiny.  In fact, a recent post by fellow analyst Gavin Heaton on “CMO to CIO, It’s time we talked” highlights many of these new challenges.

Expect Seven Strategies To Emerge In The Shift To CDO

Consequently, many marketing leaders are making the shift from CMO type roles to Chief Digital Officers as marketing leaders align technology closer with strategy. This shift from analog marketer to a Chief Digital Officer role will result in seven trends for 2013 (see Figure 1.)

Figure 1.  2013 Trends Signal Shift From Classical CMO to Digital CMOs or Chief Digital Officers

  1. Drive relevancy with context not content. Context trumps content as relevancy required to break channel fatigue.  Relevancy will improves engagement metrics.
  2. More…

Event Report: #InforSummit Reveals More Than A Redesigned Infor

Changes at Infor More Than Cosmetic

Analysts and tech watchers gathered on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2013, for Infor Summit, a progress check on Infor, the third largest independent applications vendor in the market.  While many customers may not have heard of Infor, most have heard of the brands it has acquired over the last 20 years.  These venerable brands include Baan, BPCS, Epiphany, Hansen, Intentia, Lawson, MAPICS, NXTrend, SoftBrands, and Syteline.   Since industry veteran Charles ‘Chuck’ Phillips took over Infor, the software vendor has grown revenue from $2.2B to $2.8B.  More impressive, for the past 5 quarters, Infor demonstrated double digit license revenue growth.  Infor is now the third largest private firm in Business Insider’s Digital List witha $16B valuation.  The management team emphasized three key tenets of the Infor strategy:

  • Focus on microverticals. With over 2151 possible market micro verticals, Infor intends to go deeper than the 21 sectors often classified as verticals.  For example, in the wholesale distribution sector, Infor supports micro verticals such as electrical, building materials (BMAT), industrial supply, heating ventilation air conditioning (HVAC), and auto.  For the auto sector, micro verticals include interiors, fixing elements, and  plastics and moldings.

    Point of View (POV):
    Infor’s strategy to go deep on micro verticals comes at a time when SAP and Oracle are no longer substantially investing R&D in deep vertical functionality.  By going deeper and more specialized in micro vertical industries, Infor can differentiate on features and functionality desired by customers.  Infor’s hired over 800 developers since Charles Phillips joined.  The delivery and support of micro verticals is accomplished as Infor’s support folks are co-located with the developers and many key folks are still in their original on-shore development centers.  With 4000 developers just focused on apps, Infor has the economies of scale to focus on micro verticals.
  • Investment in internet architecture. Infor’s design principles begin with architecting software for the internet and embracing a world of heterogeneous apps.  Support for the Open Applications Group Integration Specification (OAGIS) standards allows Infor to standardize on a canonical business language for information integration.  Infor requires its legacy applications to communicate with each other via XML as the common alphabet for identifying business processes and for defining business messages.   Infor has made significant technology investments including updates to the core technology framework Infor ION, the mobility framework Infor Motion, social software platform with Mingle, and analytics via Infor BI.  Infor currently generates $100M in cloud revenues.

    (POV):
    The overall support for OAGIS standards allows Infor’s legacy apps to communicate with newer applications and avoid duplicate creation of common components.  This standardization marks the culmination of the original work initiated by Soma Somasundaram, EVP Global Product Development in 2010.  With Infor ION in place, Infor now has an integrative fabric using loosely coupled architecture.  Customers can run legacy apps and also take advantage of new products and solutions.  Moreover, this enables Infor a platform for rapid integration of future acquisitions.  Customers should pay close attention to see what acquired product families have been enabled to take advantage of Infor Ion and what upgrade paths should be made to take advantage of future innovation.  Expect Infor to nudge customers to the cloud as the margins are higher and the pace of innovation is faster.
  • Creation of a consumer design experience. Infor took advantage of their New York City location to hire designers focused on user experience.  As part of this transformation, they created their own internal agency called Hook & Loop.  Marc Scibelli, VP of Hook & Loop is in charge of the 40 person team behind the design thinking transformation.  From mobile apps to branding, Hook & Loop provides the creative services for Infor (see Figure 1).

    Point of View (POV):
    Duncan Angove, President at Infor’s talk about Beauty as a Competence reflected the deep transformation throughout the organization.  Infor’s new user experience was first revealed to customers at the 2012 Inforum customer conference.   Users will notice a stark difference between the new apps and the old apps.  When apps begin with user design instead of engineering, the end users benefit.  Customers can expect to see the difference in the new apps but will have to wait for the old apps to catch up.

Figure 1. Flickr Feed Scenes From The Infor Summit

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Photos: R Wang & Insider Associates, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Market Momentum Shows A Shift In Customer Preferences For Outcomes Not Technology

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News Analysis: Aptean Six Months After The CDC Software And Consona Merger

Mergers Continue In The Enterprise Software Space

On August 7th, 2012, CDC Software and Consona Corporation merged to form Aptean.  Over the past six months, Monte Ford, the president of Aptean has made key executive hires, committed to new product investments, and rationalized overhead.  Key points in the acquisition include:

  • Merger creates economies of scale. The merger brings 1500 employees and over 9,000 customers together from CDC Software and Consona Corporation.  Both CDC and Consona have grown through acquisition over the years.  Headquarters will center in Atlanta, GA.

    Point of View (POV):
    The acquisition provides greater scale required to compete with Epicor, Infor,  Microsoft Dynamics, and Syspro in product development, distribution reach, and overhead savings.  Greater scale provides Aptean the means to service both SMB and Global 2000 companies.  Aptean must also find means to move its intellectual property assets into the cloud in order to drive cost reduction and increase innovation delivery.
  • Acquired products provide a large functionality footprint. The acquisition brings together 32 product lines in ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, eCommerce, supply chain, and public sector.  Key product lines include 4-Gov Fund Accounting, Catalyst WMS, Compiere, Ecompix, IMI Supply Chain, Intuitive ERP, Knova KM, Made2Manage, MarketFirst Market Automation,  Onyx CRM, Pivotal, Ross, Saratoga, and Trade Beam GTM.

    (POV):
    Aptean’s broad product portfolio has a strong CRM/Front Office portfolio with Pivotal, Onyx, and MarketFirst.  ERP solutions go deep into micro verticals and broad into both discrete and process manufacturing.  Key solutions include Compiere, Intuitive ERP, Made2Manage, and Ross.

  • Focus on micro-verticals will create a differentiator. Aptean targets key vertical markets such as  financial services, manufacturing, distribution, medical, high tech, and professional services.

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