Posts Tagged ‘social media monitoring’

Event Report: Microsoft Convergence 2014 Day 1 Demonstrates Solid Momentum and Mindshare ( #CONV14 )

Microsoft Convergence Kicks Off In Atlanta

The annual Microsoft Convergence customer event kicked off on March 4th, 2014.  Far from the days of the Stampede in Fargo, North Dakota, the event shows how far the Microsoft Dynamics customers, partners, and products have progressed.  Over 12,000 attendees including customers, partners, staff, and prospects gathered in Atlanta, GA for the largest Microsoft Enterprise Applications conference.  The sold out event featured a volunteer program on Day 0 and a good number of partner meetings the weekend before.  Analysis from four key announcements on Day 1 include:

  • Microsoft Dynamics gaining momentum on the large enterprise and divisions of large enterprises. Key customers presenting in the opening keynote include Chobani, City Harvest Inc, Delta Airlines, Lotus F1 Team, New Belgium Brewery, and Weight Watchers.  These presenting customers share a key theme of customer centricity and a Microsoft enterprise backbone.  Moreover, many showcase the devices and services theme set by former CEO Steve Ballmer.

    Point of View (POV):
    Constellation sees a growing trend where organizations and brands move to Dynamics for both CRM and ERP.  The ability to integrate back to other Microsoft technologies such as SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Services provides both a pull and a push.  As organizations think about consolidating vendors and moving to the cloud, the Microsoft Dynamics team provides some compelling options in manufacturing, retail, distribution, public sector, professional services, and travel and entertainment.  The launch of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise License at $200 per user per month show cases the move upmarket.
  • Dynamics CRM users gain key marketing and social capabilities. Microsoft announces the next release of Dynamics CRM in Q2 of 2014.  Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, which was formed from the Marketing Pilot acquisition , debuts to assist with campaign management.  The service and support offering gains new features such as Unified Service Desk along with closer integration to recently acquired Parature.  Newly launched Microsoft Social Listening launches at no additional charge for Dynamics CRM Online professional license holders.

    (POV):
    The rewrite of acquired entity Marketing Pilot provides some improvement to the original product.  Parity at the Exact Target and Hubspot level will take at least two to three more releases.  Release of unified service desk paired with Parature, provides a powerful combination in customer service and support.  Microsoft Social Listening finally provides customers with a social tool that has been sorely missing in the line up.  More importantly, in CRM and customer experience, the mobile access options have not forced customers onto Windows Phone and instead have provided native support of iOS and Android..
  • Dynamics ERP users prepare for new releases. Dynamics GP gets a release for Q1 2014 that includes identity management, workflow, and self service companion apps.  Dynamics NAV shoudl receive an update in Q4 2014.  More importantly, the team announced the availability of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 for May 1st 2014.  Key themes include mobile enablement, support for deployment on Windows Azure in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) layer, and an end to end apps and services framework.  .  The cross offering with the Windows Azure team is the Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services which improve implementation times and enable agile updates.

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News Analysis: HootSuite Acquires uberVU For Analytics And Enterprise Growth

HootSuite Prepares For Enterprise Growth

On January 22nd, 2014, Hootsuite announced its acquisition of analytics provider uberVU for an undisclosed sum. The Bucharest, Romania and Cambridge, MA based software company brings 42 employees and over 200 customers to HootSuite. Key insights for customers and prospects include:

  • uberVu provides Hootsuite with enterprise class analytics. uberVU’s technology aggregates, analyzes, and distributes real time social data. The solutions supports data sources such as blogs, forums, and social networks. HootsSuite intends to keep uberVU as a separate offering and integrate the products over time.

    Point of View (POV):
    Most big data and analytics solutions in the social and cloud space are misnomers. In fact, these solutions often provide simple, retroactive reporting and dashboards. The addition of uberVU will allow HootSuite users to gain real-time analysis and future industry specific benchmarking capabilities. Moreover, Hootsuite has invested in an increasing set of enterprise features over the past three years (see Figure 1). This analytics acquisition marks a commitment to enterprise class features.
  • HootSuite gains key clients. uberVU brings big brands and enterprise logos to HootSuite. Marquee names span across a variety of industries including Ariad, Dassault Systems, DDB, Fujitsu, Getty Images, Giant Eagle, Indiegogo, JDRF, L’Occitane, Method, NBC, Phillips, SC Johnson, Method, NBC, Phillips, and Wolverine Worldwide.

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Press Release: Gavin Heaton Joins Constellation Research to Provide Digital Marketing Research and Advisory Services

Digital Media Luminary to Launch Constellation’s Newest Research Theme, Digital Marketing Transformation

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Constellation Research, Inc., the award-winning research and advisory firm focused on helping clients navigate emerging and disruptive technologies announced today the addition of esteemed digital media pioneer, Gavin Heaton to the research team as Vice President and Principal Analyst. Heaton will lead Constellation’s latest business-focused research theme, Digital Marketing Transformation. Heaton’s research, which focuses on the changing role and expectations of CMOs, the fusion of marketing channels and change-driven marketing innovation, expands Constellation’s ability to provide digital marketing research and advisory services to its early adopter clients worldwide.

Heaton’sresearch and advisory will enable clients to take advantage of the convergence of media, technology, brands, and business. Specifically:

  • Understanding where social media fits within the business landscape
  • Aligning business and online engagement strategies
  • Channeling the passion of employees toward the achievement of business goals

Heaton commented: “We are seeing a dramatic shift in the role of marketing. Advertising is under pressure, social is changing our customer relationships and the Consumerization of IT is changing the way we do our work. There has never been so much change or opportunity. I’m excited to help chart the course between marketing, technology, customers and vendors.”

 

Heaton has been at the forefront of technology driven marketing innovation for the past 20 years. Recently Heaton served as Social Media Director for SAP’s Premier Customer Network. He is also the co-instigator of the ground-breaking crowdsourced marketing book series The Age of Conversation.

“The move to digital changes how quickly, effectively, and relevantly we listen, test, engage, and anticipate,” says Constellation CEO, R “Ray” Wang. “Gavin is among a handful of people who not only understands this shift to digital marketing, but also brings a converged experience from agency, enterprise, and client side. Our clients expect an experienced and trusted advisor who can speak their language and translate to the IT folks. In fact, our clients seek outcomes, not technologies. Consequently, Gavin’s experiences take them one step further towards this objective. As Constellation builds out our business themed research, expect us to serving more and more of the C-Suite.”

DIGITAL MARKETING TRANSFORMATION

Digital Marketing Transformation is the newest business-focused research theme at Constellation Research, Inc. The C-suite is realizing the futility of remaining analog in a digital world. CMOs can no longer live in the campaign to lead process – CMOs must also involve themselves in big data and analytics, social and community building, reputation, and loyalty. The future is real time convergence and its name is digital.

COORDINATES

Twitter: @servantofchaos

Website: www.servantofchaos.com

Linkedin: au.linkedin.com/in/servantofchaos

Geo: Sydney, Australia

ABOUT CONSTELLATION RESEARCH

Constellation Research is a research and advisory firm focused on disruptive and emerging technologies. This renowned group of experienced analysts, led by R “Ray” Wang, focuses on business themed research including the Future of Work; Next Generation Customer Experience; From Data to Decisions; Matrix Commerce; Technology Optimization and Innovation; and Consumerization of IT and the New C-Suite.

Constellation’s collection of prestigious analysts bring real world experience, independence, and objectivity to client solutions that span cross-role, cross-functional, and cross-industry points of view. Clients join Constellation Research for a fresh and business focused perspective.

Unlike the legacy analyst firms, Constellation Research is disrupting how research is accessed, what topics are covered, and how clients can partner with a research firm to achieve success. Over 100 clients have joined from an ecosystem of buyers, partners, solution providers, c-suite, board of directors and vendor clients.

For more information about Constellation Research, visit www.ConstellationRG.com

***

Constellation Research, Constellation SuperNova Awards and the Constellation Research logo are trademarks of Constellation Research, Org. All other products and services listed herein are trademarks of their respective companies.

Monday’s Musing: Avoiding Social Media Fatigue Through Engagement

Social Media Moves From Ubiquitous Usage To Relevant Rationalization

Have we hit a social media plateau?  In recent client conversations on usage of social media, the trendsetters appear to be “socialed out”.   Most early adopters seem to be overwhelmed with their personal (Facebook, Google+), corporate (Yammer, Jive, Chatter, SharePoint), and professional (LinkedIn) social networks.  In fact, respondents feel that adding any additional network for anything social is quite overwhelming.  While early adopters are moving from ubiquitous usage to relevant rationalization, the majority remains in ubiquitous usage (see Figure 1).  Recent data on number of users at the Big 4 of social media show that we are in the middle of ubiquitous usage:

  • Facebook (901M users as of Feb 2012)
  • Twitter (500M users as of March 2012)
  • LinkedIn (161M users as of March 2012)
  • Google+ (100M users as of Feb 2012)

Early Adopters Facing Social Media Fatigue

As early adopters start rationalizing their networks, some are even pulling out.  From loss of interest in Google+, Empire Avenue, to even FaceBook, people have started to selectively choose networks to combat overload and social media fatigue.  The common theme – relevant rationalization by self-interest.   These trends parallel those for mail, phone, email, web and other disruptive technologies.  Going forward, users will move towards desensitization when the advertisers and companies abuse the channel by spamming users with an unwanted deluge of irrelevant offers.

The Bottom Line: Engage Users To Combat Fatal Fatigue In The Disruptive Tech Adoption Life Cycle

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Event Report: Lithium Network Conference 2012 #LiNC

Lithium Technologies Shows Continued Customer Momentum And Success In Social Marketing And Support
To the tune of over 500 customers and prospects, Lithium kicked off LiNC on May 2nd, 2012, at the always stunning Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco.  Compared to previous years, the audience was not only bigger, but also more experienced and energized.  Rob Tarkoff (CEO) and Lyle Fong (Founder & Chief Strategist) kicked off the event with company updates, product road map highlights, and customer progress made over the past year.
Adding to the energy, four compelling case studies graced the morning and highlighted Lithium’s strengths in two distinct and advanced externally focused social CRM (SCRM) use cases: social customer support and marketing.  The wide range of proud customers and brands included Chris Blandy, SVP of Digital Media, Fox; Mark Nichols, Director of Customer Support, Skype; Andrew Leary, EVP & GM, Ipsos; and Steve Young, Sr. Director of Technical Services, Cisco.  During the event, several key announcements were made including:
  • Launch of a new product, Lithium Response. In a top secret OEM partnership, the team unveiled Lithium Response™ a product that enables brands to increase customer satisfaction while reducing costs and improving efficiency in the call center.  Key features include easier processes to turn community conversations from unstructured information to entries into the Lithium Tribal Knowledge Base (TKB), peer-to-peer support and gamification incentives to drive self-service customer resolution, cost effective social-web support, blended contact center capabilities, and mobile enablement.  The product is generally available (GA) in Q3.

    Point of View (POV):
    The OEM’d product comes from a little-known but powerful solution from a privately held, purpose-built social customer care platform.  The product maximizes agent efficiency via categorization, prioritization and queuing, and routing.  The system is smart enough to guide customers to self service by replying with relevant links to community content.  This platform has been battled test with complicated communication service provider (CSP) environments.  Adapted for the Lithium platform, customer can expect a rigorous enterprise class solution that lives up to Lithium’s standards.  Lithium Response™ also takes advantage of Lithium’s access to the Twitter fire hose.  The movement to address multi-channel customer support puts Lithium in unique league with vendors such as Genesys Labs, Kana, and Moxie Software, who can blend contact center and social support.
  • Delivers new release of social marketing. Building on customer feedback, the new Lithium Social Marketing Solution™ focuses on improving engagement.   New features include support for rich media interactions, ad hoc groups, streaming conversations, and a new ratings and reviews module.  A partnership with Shoutlet provides Facebook and Twitter campaign management.  Social engagement is updated to include photo sharing, inline-conversations, groups spaces, and adoption of commons social logins.  The new ratings and reviews module allows community driven content to be included via widgets.  New development tools on iOS improve customer experience in the mobile interface of choice.  The product is now generally available (GA).

    Point of View (POV):
    Customers showed significant interest in the new social marketing solution features.  The ability to improve ratings and reviews is much needed as this has become table steaks in communities and product catalogs.  What’s impressive is the new line of partnerships that align with Lithium’s core strategy.  Instead of building their own content publishing platform for campaigns, Lithium takes advantage of Shoutlet ability to place various types of content easily into the conversation. Partnerships with VMWare’s Socialcast unit allows Lithium’s Social Marketing Solution™ to integrate with internally focused collaboration tools to expedite the concept to product introduction process.
  • Begins concerted global expansion. Lithium announced new APAC headquarters in Singapore which add to its Sydney APAC presence.  Lithium also has a strong presence in EMEA with operations in Paris, Zurich, and London.

    Point of View (POV):
    As the market consolidates through attrition and acquisition, Lithium’s push to get more feet on the ground around the globe is much welcomed by customers.  Lithium needs to expand fast and put its $53M in funding to work to acquire long-term customers in expansion markets.
  • Ups the ante in partnerships and alliances. New partnerships with Ipsos and Geoffrey Moore provide access to market research.  Agency relationships include Sapient Nitro and Acquity group.  Lithium adds software partners such as Shoutlet and VM Ware.  Lithium’s approach is to find a small number but committed set of alliances and partnerships.

    Point of View (POV):
    Lithium’s partnership and alliance program traditionally was the weakest among the major SCRM players.  The addition of Ed Van Siclen, SVP of Global Alliances and BD, brings enterprise class partnerships to the Lithium’s arsenal.  As SCRM matures, key partnerships with major system integrators must be prioritized as well as carefully crafted agency relationships.  Software partnerships back to transactional systems such as ERP, CRM, and master data management will be key to long term success and enterprise adoption.  More importantly, continued alliances with other engagement applications will keep the innovation engine alive for existing customers as they focus on improving engagement.

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Quark Summary: What CFOs Need to Know About SaaS and Cloud Integration

Forward And Commentary

This document addresses many questions asked by CFO’s about cloud deployments and the top integration questions often asked by CFO’s responsible for key business initiatives that involve technology.

A. Executive Summary

Organizations have escalated their adoption of cloud computing and SaaS applications in the past 3 years. As part of the broader trend in consumerization of IT (CoIT), business leaders have slowly tipped the balance of power in determining technology acquisition. However, the proliferation of adoption has led to organizational chaos in data, process and meta data integration as users adopt and deploy the cloud in silos without considering the implications of organizational silos and services oriented architecture (SOA).  As cloud integration emerges as an enterprise-wide issue, CFOs must get acquainted with the cost-value equation of cloud and SaaS applications. Why? Cloud integration emerges as a key competency for successful organizations seeking to innovate while maximizing returns on investment. Consequently, CFOs should understand ten key points on why they must master cloud integration.

B. Research Findings

The rapid adoption of cloud computing by business leaders unfortunately creates a bespoke environment technically known as “best of breed cloud hell.” With so many disparate systems in a loosely federated model, data rapidly becomes siloed, business processes easily become fragmented, and coordination across functional fiefdoms quickly becomes difficult.  Consequently, cloud integration emerges as a key enabler in reducing the costs and improving the benefits of cloud computing. Recent conversations with 22 CFOs addressed these ten key questions:

  1. What is cloud integration?
  2. Why is cloud integration a growing competency for the CFO?
  3. Is cloud integration more or less expensive?
  4. Which integration approach is best in the long run?
  5. How does cloud integration mitigate project risk?
  6. What’s the business value for cloud integration?
  7. Will bring your own device (BYOD) policies require cloud integration?
  8. How can I support social media?
  9. Do big data and cloud integration go hand in hand?
  10. What kind of projects make sense for cloud integration?

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Event Report: Clarabridge Customer Connections 2012 #cbc312

Clarabridge “Turns Up The Heat” On Delivering Context For Customer Experience

CEO, Sid Banderjee, opened up Clarabridge‘s 4th annual user conference to 350 customers at the Doral Golf & Spa in Miami, FL on March 5th, 2012.  Clarabridge, a sentiment and text analytics software provider helps companies discern insight from their text based customer feedback and the growing plethora of social and mobile data points.  The goal – aggregation of insights from qualitative analytics that transform key organizational processes in customer experience, new product development, and employee satisfaction.

Clarabridge has shown success with a Global 1000 customer list that spans key verticals in technology/telco, retail/CPG, manufacturing, travel/hospitality, financial services/insurance.  Major clients include Bank of America, Best Buy, Cisco, Dell, Disney, Fidelity, General Mills, Hilton, IHG Hotels, Kaiser Permanente, Marriott, Siemens Sony, T-Mobile, United Airlines, Verizon, Visa, Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Zynga.

Some highlights from the event include:

  • Keynote from customer experience transformist Bruce Temkin. Bruce’s keynote discussed how organizations apply Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs to augment customer experience.  Temkin highlighted his VoC Maturity assessment methodology that drills in on six key areas – detection, dissemination, diagnosis, discussion, designing, and deploying.  The key quote from Bruce was “Customer feedback is cheap, actionable insight may be valuable, but taking action on insight is precious. VoC programs are useless unless you act on what you find”
  • Best practices discussions from Global 1000 companies.Leading brands such as Acer, Best Buy, B/E Aerospace, Charming Shoppes, Choice Hotels International, Inc., Dell Inc, Expedia, Estée Lauder, Fidelity Investments, GE Appliances, United Airlines, Sage, Verizon, Vodaphone, Wendy’s, Walmart, and Zynga shared best practices.   Experiences from Wynn Parrish, VP Product Support of B/E Aerospace showd how customer management and warranty liability could be minimized.  Michael Silverman at Silverman research highlighted how Unilver uses VOC for internal employee programs.  One of the highlights was Jared Anderson (Best Buy) and Jonathan Sunberg’s (Confirmit) panel on voice of the customer at the leading edge/
  • Official details on the Clarabridge 5.0 launch. The launch of Clarabridge 5.0 provides the foundation for a customer insight data analytics hub (See Figure 1).  As part of the launch, Clarabridge Collaborate adds integrated notifications and alerts.  A new satisfaction scoring and sentiment transparency capability brings customer satisfaction scores into the equation to determine customer loyalty and retention programs.  Many attendees expressed interest in the new theme and event detection capabilities which provide custom categorization models to quickly surface new trends.  Last but not least, the natural language processing engine now supports Italian, Dutch, and Japanese.

Figure 1. Transforming Feedback Into Insight


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Research Summary: Best Practices – Three Simple Software Maintenance Strategies That Can Save You Millions

Forward And Commentary

Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues. Some vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers. This best practices report examines three strategies to free up unnecessary costs to fund innovation and new projects.

A. Introduction

On average, IT budgets are down from 1-5 percent year-over-year, yet software support and maintenance costs continue to escalate ahead of inflation. Hence, continued pressure on IT budgets and a growing need for innovation projects have top business and technology leaders reexamining their software support and maintenance contracts for cost efficiencies.

Based on experience from over 1500 software contract negotiations, Constellation suggests three approaches to reduce the cost of software support and maintenance. Key strategies include third-party maintenance, shelfware reductions and unbundling maintenance contracts as part of every organization’s tech optimization strategy. Successful implementation can lead to savings from 10-25 percent of the IT budget, freeing up cash to fund innovation initiatives.

B. Research FindingsWhy Every Organization Should Consider Third-Party Maintenance, Shelfware Reductions and Unbundling Maintenance Contracts

Most organizations suffocate from the high and hidden cost of support and maintenance. On average, Constellation’s surveys reveal global IT budgets trending down from 1-5 percent year-over-year since 2008. Consumerization of IT, rapidly changing business models, and aging infrastructure have exposed the high cost of software support and maintenance. Because most organizations allocate from 60-85 percent of their budget to keeping the lights on, very little of the budget is left to spend on new projects (see Figure 1).

Organizations can unlock millions by considering third-party maintenance (3PM), reducing shelfware, and keeping support and maintenance contracts unbundled. Each strategy on its own creates opportunities to drive cost savings. All three strategies combined, provide a roadmap for funding innovation.

  1. Third-party maintenance (3PM) delivers the most immediate cost savings and opportunity for innovation. Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  The report shows a survey of 268 respondents and why organizations choose 3PM and who the key vendors are.
  2. Reduction of shelfware remains a key pillar in legacy optimization strategies.  Shelfware (i.e. purchased software, not deployed, but incurring annual maintenance fees) is one of the biggest drains on operational expenses for enterprises. The simple definition of shelfware is software you buy and don’t use. For example, an organization that buys 1000 licenses of Vendor X’s latest ERP software and uses 905 licenses, becomes the proud owner of 95 licenses not being utilized. That’s 95 licenses of shelfware because the user will pay support and maintenance on the license whether or not they use the software or not.  The report details 4 successful and proven approaches.
  3. Unbundling maintenance contracts prevents future vendor mischief. About a decade back, vendors would offer support and maintenance as two separate line items on their contracts. Support would run about 5-10 percent of the license fee and so would maintenance. Keep in mind, average support and maintenance fees were under 15 percent back then. Unfortunately, many users have expressed a growing and concerning trend with support and maintenance contracts. Vendors concerns about support and maintenance contract retentions have led to new initiatives to consolidate contracts. At first glance, this may appear to be proactive and beneficial to customers, but the report details three rationales vendors provide and three strategies how to avoid bundling.

Figure 1. Visualizing the High Costs of Support And Maintenance

(Right-click to see full image)

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Quark Summary: What Every CMO Needs To Know About The Six C’s Of Customer Engagement

Forward And Commentary

CMO’s seeking to avoid the desensitization that comes with the adoption of new media will want to quickly deploy the Six C’s of Customer Engagement.

A. Introduction

Social media effectiveness for brands and enterprises will rapidly mirror the trends that email and web sites experienced during the late 1990′s to early 2000′s.  In fact, social media adoption has passed ubiquitous usage and has mostly begun the process of relevant deployment.  Avoidance of  Phase 4 Desensitization can be avoided by applying the Six C’s of Engagement (Figure 1.)

B. Research Findings

Recent early adopter surveys identify five key phases of social media adoption:

  • Phase 1: Eager early adopters. Users eagerly experimented in the newness of the medium.   Early adopters attempt to apply the medium to everything.
  • Phase 2: Ubiquitous usage. Rapid adoption put the medium in the hands of the masses.  Adoption exceeds 50 million users.
  • Phase 3: Relevant deployment. Brands and enterprises apply the medium to the right business use cases and processes.
  • Phase 4: Desensitization and fatigue. Inundated with marketing, bombarded with irrelevant content, and tired of the newness of the medium, customers begin tuning out.
  • Phase 5: Rejuvenation. Maturation of the medium ushers an improved era of engagement apply the Six C’s of Engagement.

The Six C’s Of Customer Engagement provide strategies to overcome desensitization and fatigue

  1. Community. Location for engagement.
  2. Content. Topics that drive engagement.
  3. Context. Relevance that create engagement.
  4. Catalysts. Events or actions that facilitate engagement.
  5. Currencies. Monetary and non-monetary exchange of value behind engagement.
  6. Cadence. The frequency of interaction

Figure 1. The Six C’s of Customer Engagement Overcomes Desensitization And Fatigue

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Best Practices: From First To Worst – Continental In A Post United World, Lessons In Next Gen Customer Experience

Multiple Respected Research Survey Results Confirm Frequent Flyer Observations

It’s official. In multiple respected customer experience research reports that cover the airline industry, the results are in.  Despite the numerous attempts by CEO Jeff Smisek to gloss over the issue with increasingly slicked up, feel good, on board welcome ads, Continental’s customer satisfaction numbers have reached the abyss of United’s.  While United Holdings may tout their most admired status in the airline industry by Fortune, the award is measured by corporate executives, airline executives, boards of directors and industry analysts – basically not the customers and passengers who fly United Holdings.  On multiple flights this year, I’ve personally heard Continental flyers groan and boo out loud every time they see the welcome aboard video where Jeff Smisek touts how he’s out to help customers, tells them why they are going to like this merger, and brags about how many planes he’s painted in the new livery.  Flight attendants and pilots roll their eyes as well.

What was pure emotional speculation and conjecture can now be quantified.   A quick glance at the latest Temkin Group: Temkin Experience Ratings shows Continental scores as bad as United – basically smack in the poor category (see Figure 1.)Travel Industry benchmark, Atmosphere Research’s US Airline sentiment shows United at the bottom with US Airways.  Even legacy analyst firm, Forrester’s 2012 Customer Experience Index shows a 5% drop for United and a 11% drop for Continental (you’ll need to pay for a subscription to read the results.)  Asked about Continental and United’s customer experience performance, CX Transformist & Managing Partner, Bruce Temkin (@btemkin) pointed out that, “The overall industry actually had a modest improvement between 2011 and 2012 and only two carriers had significant drops: American and Continental. As these economically challenged big airlines focus on wringing out costs, they also squeeze the soul out of their brand, their employees, and the experiences they provide to customers.

Figure 1.Temkin Experience Ratings Shows Continental Falling to United Levels of Poor Customer Experience

Source: Temkin Group

Many Continental employees agree. In a conversation with a Houston senior Flight Attendant who chose to withhold her name for fear of retribution, she stated, “It’s all ‘Jeff’ed’ up! All the goodness of Continental is going away.  Since Jeff took over, they no longer care what we think and sadly, we think they no longer care what customers think.”  A conversation with a few Newark Red Coats in January revealed similar sentiment as they mustered up, “It’s the worst since Lorenzo. The management team is disconnected with the staff. We’re reverting back to pre-Gordon as Jeff destroys our morale.”  One of then pulled me aside and said, “We’re still Continental at heart and I’ll do the best I can while we can. Please stay with us!”

Figure 2. Atmosphere Research’s U.S. Airline Sentiment Scores From August-December 2011 Show United Near Bottom

Source: Atmosphere Research

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Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Randy Guard, SAS Institute

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Randy Guard – Vice President of Sales Development and Product Management, SAS Institute

Biography

As Vice President of Sales Development and Product Management, Randy Guard leads the product strategy and business development efforts across SAS. Randy and his Product Management teams work closely with SAS’ Research and Development organization to define and manage product road maps based on market needs and customer input. Randy’s Global Practice teams drive revenue growth by delivering market-driven offerings and supporting strategic customer engagements. These teams of product and industry domain experts help customers and partners apply SAS software to solve their critical business problems.

Before joining SAS in 2000, Randy served as Manager of e-Business Solutions for BuildNet, a provider of builder management solutions to the residential and commercial building industry. He also served as Regional Director for Spectrum Technology Group, specializing in building e-business and data warehousing solutions. Randy began his career with Andersen Consulting (Accenture), where he led systems development and implementation efforts for clients across financial services, retail and consumer packaged goods, utilities and public sector industries.

Randy holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Duke University.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers.

Randy Guard (RG): From our standpoint, social computing and social media present a completely new set of interactions. These interactions range from direct to indirect and include customers, prospects, and even competitors. Social computing is more than just a set of new data or just another channel. Our early customers and prospects are truly dealing with an exposure dilemma and figuring out how to best engage in this new social world, and integrate social computing in many aspects of their business.

Valued customers/prospects are talking online about the companies and products they like or dislike. In many cases, the company is not present in the dialog and definitely not leading the conversation. Consequently, a brand’s reputation is out there in the open and vulnerable. Everything that they have spent years and years building now has a different level of exposure. More importantly, a company has less control over the brand reputation now. They have to develop a good listening habit and build an environment where they can influence and support. Companies need to be able to answer new questions like … How do they understand what’s going on in the social world? Whats’ the volume of activity? And who are the influencers? At SAS there is heavy emphasis on the analytics component to understanding social media – more than just volume, we like to understand influence and the dynamics of the social network itself.

So, organizations now have to figure out how to more effectively engage their customers immediately given the accelerated maturity cycle that exists in a social computing world. Engagement must account for a diverse set of sources such as social media blogs, forums , and company hosted environments … and all of this across the broad spectrum of computing devices.

The social view is not 2 to 3 or 4 years out. These fundamental shifts are underway now. Organizations can expect very rapid change amidst a new set of interactions and increased level of exposure. As we talk to customers about social computing and social media analysis they can all rapidly comprehend the impact, and the value of being present and engaged in this new set of interactions.

2. What makes social computing disruptive?

(RG): Ray, as you know, the content in social is all about you or your product or service, and it is not owned by the company. It truly comes from the marketplace. Everyone wants feedback, and in some cases companies can’t deal with the deluge. Two things drive the disruptive nature. One is the speed in which you get feedback. This is achieved when people talk about your product or service, and quickly build momentum (both positive and negative). The other dimension is the pervasiveness of the information and how it travels through the network. Pre-social computing, you might have a bad experience at a retail store. You might have told your friends and family. Now that same feedback and negative experience not only can be commented on to thousands, but it can also be shared in audio and video. Suddenly, a whole new form of influence emerges and propagates very quickly. Now, an individual store issue with a single customer can quickly evolve into a corporate or a brand issue. Again, it works on the positive side too. The potential customer can see how an average person is passionate about a company’s product, and that can make a huge impact in sales. Customer testimonials are often more genuine and impactful than those from a corporate spokesperson or ad.

3. What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

(RG): Integrating social content with enterprise data is critical to go to the next level. Right now many of the initial gains are isolated successes to “listening” and some are focused 2-way engagement. We’ll continue to evolve with integrated social content and analysis that ties back to even more enterprise systems. Our first level of this integration has already driven value to our customers plus added new features to coming releases. Listening in the social world is obviously important, but then you need the right engagement plan to address the situation. For example, we have seen issues in a company’s supply chain (e.g. an increase in backorders) drive a rapid spike in negative sentiment in the social world. The product was positive in the eyes of the customer, but the availability issue was getting massive negative attention. They quickly needed to put out a message to the customers plus added some promotions on shipping, and alternative products, etc. They also needed to fix the backorder issue asap.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?

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Monday’s Musings: Seven Basic Privacy Rights Users Should Demand For Social Business

Public Outrage Grows Over Lax Privacy Polices At Popular Social Networking Sites

Recent actions by social networking leaders in the market place have brought new attention to a user’s privacy rights.  Despite the fact that these sites provide a freemium service to users, abuse and arrogance of a user’s privacy rights combined with user ignorance has led to not only a public outrage, but also increasing action from privacy advocacy groups to petition government agencies.  Three public examples include:

Figure 1. US Social Networking Sites Market Share By Page Views

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