Dreamforce 2014 #D14: Benioff Announces Customer Success Platform

One of the many scoops at Dreamforce this year is the announcement of the Customer Success Platform. The idea behind what Salesforce is offering is that companies and brands need a way to connect with their customers in new ways. There are nearly trillions of devices, apps, cars, cameras, watches, etc… that could be connected. The thought being that– if everything was connected, brands could deliver better experiences that were more relevant. The result of that is to drive customer loyalty, advocacy and referrals and long-term customer lifetime value.

Salesforce has 6 core technologies: mobile, connected products, 1 to 1 capabilities for the marketing customer journey, social, data and apps. And they want brands to be able to manage it all on one platform- theirs. They showed several difference examples: GE for analytics, Coke for building mobile applications and Honeywell for sales, marketing, service, community and engagement.

Salesforce is also taking about the data divide and wants to put an end to it by making it easier to for the business people and the people who manage data to see it visualized. While that is empowering to the business users to be able to create applications, it could be an issue for IT to maintain it… and security, and… So we’ll see if things get better or worse. It will help IT get more relevant and perhaps end the cycle of departments like Customer Service suffering from the Rodney Dangerfield Affect… they just don’t get enough respect so their requests end up at the end of the IT list… Something’s gotta give… to make business run better and make customers return.

Wondering what to do once you have sold a SaaS product? Customer Success Platforms are there to help you make sure you maintain the relationship throughout the customer lifecycle so that renewals are easier. And what will be interesting is to see how the various players in the Customer Success Management field fair. If you are looking at this area there’s some of the companies you’ll want to consider: GainSight, ServiceSource and Totango… to mention a few.

What is confusing to many is what does the term “Customer Success Platform” mean? To some it means a platform to build your customer journey on and have all apps, data, devices, etc connect. To others it means managed services and/or a platform to manage a SaaS software sale after the sale – i.e., during its whole customer lifetime- way before renewal time…

It’s important for vendors to do the work to make sure the messaging is not confusing, to understand who they are selling to and very deliberately show their benefits. This means doing the persona selling buying exercise – i.e., for each persona you are selling to, know what keeps them up at night and how does your solution or platform solve that. The benefits are very different for various roles, CIOs, CEOs, CMOs, SVP of Customer Service, etc…

I’ve been writing about Customer Experience for nearly 20 years and while the technology has gotten much better, exactly what technology one needs and for what department has gotten more confusing each year. The idea of serving your customer has not changed. It’s needed and wanted more than ever. It’s important to distinguish what each vendor brings to the table for what roles and why they should be considered. It’s not an easy thing to sort out all the “very” similar marketing messaging.

I will be creating some Vendor Profiles to help our end users figure what the best choice is for their company.


VP and Principal Analyst Covering Marketing, Sales and Service to Deliver Better Customer Experiences.


ServiceSource Announces Customer Service Success Management Platform Powered by Salesforce1

The Dreamforce-related announcements are already starting to come in. Today ServiceSource announced a Customer Success solution powered by Salesforce1. Mike Rosenbaum, EVP, Salesforce Platform said, “The Salesforce1 Customer Platform is a game changer for developers and partners because it helps them build engaging, next generation apps to connect with customers in a whole new way. By opening the platform, we have made it possible for customers and partners to get their apps and data in one place, where everything is connected and in the context of their business.”

Are you a B2B business and want to make sure that your customer not only buys, but renews with you? The latest in this area is called Customer Success Management. These type of vendors not only manage the beginning of a relationship with a company but also have very smart analytics to help you see if the company is happy with your product or service way before renewal time. This is key in SaaS businesses because instead of selling the old way – on premise with maintenance upgrades, if a company is not happy with the SaaS solution, they can decide to not continue the contract. It’s much easier to switch than it used to be. And that’s what companies need to know if their clients are happy- not just at the time of sales, but throughout the life of the product / service, so when renewal time comes along, it’s a yes!…

What this means to you, if you are B2B business, is that you are enable to  provide customer success teams with a platform-oriented way to implement proven success plans and engage users with planned, high-value activities that drive customer lifetime value, reduce churn and ensure customer satisfaction.

ServiceSource is a  global leader in cloud-based recurring revenue management solutions. So if your company wants to provide better service for customers to drive growth and build long-standing relationships across the customer lifecycle, this may be a vendor to look at.  ServiceSource has a comprehensive data management, analytics, automation and services capabilities. They deliver higher subscription, maintenance, and support revenue, improved customer retention, and increased business predictability through their Renew OnDemand®, Scout® and proven services offers.

The new features include:

  • Inline Customer Health Monitoring: Embedded account status indicators and metrics within the Salesforce1 Platform visibly show how customers are using a product to consistently measure customer success at scale. 
  • Tailored Customer Plays: By combining subscription- and user-level predictive analytics with pre-planned plays, sales and customer success teams will engage each customer in exactly the right way, at the right time. 
  • High Volume Effectiveness: “Focus Categories” help customer success reps efficiently and effectively manage more accounts by pinpointing high-value customers that require immediate attention.
  • Structured Success Plans: Customer success plans provide clear visibility into the unique journey each customer takes with a company’s products and organization. Every plan incorporates a timeline view that shows where the customer is located in the lifecycle, prior activities as well as future actions required for a successful renewal.
  • Streamlined User Experience: Designed specifically for the customer success rep, the app delivers the right information from inside the Salesforce1 Platform to simplify day-to-day work and maximize effectiveness – all while maintaining seamless connectivity to the rest of the organization. Configurable “Action Tiles” quickly guide work activities and provide a closed-loop view of customer success.

ServiceSource will be at Dreamforce if you want to see more. They are a Gold sponsor at Dreamforce® ’14,  October 13-16. If you want to know more about what they are doing there at Dreamforce, here’s a link: http://www.servicesource.com/dreamforce.

The Salesforce1 Platform, ServiceSource Customer Success for Salesforce1 will be available in late fall 2014. To learn more about the ServiceSource Customer Service App, here’s a link: http://www.servicesource.com/customer-success

And if you want to follow all the announcement and all things Dreamforce, you can become a fan of Dreamforce on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dreamforce and / or Follow @Dreamforce on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dreamforce


VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer Service, Sales and Marketing to Deliver Better Customer Experiences

Constellation Research


Oracle OpenWorld #OOW14 Customer Experience Wrap-Up

Why is CX or Customer Experience So Important Today?

Attending OpenWorld 2014 brought to mind the importance of making sure your customer-facing organizations are really focused on the customer.  While this may seem like a very obvious thing to say, most studies show a large gap between what customers think about the experiences they have with their customers and what the company thinks about the experiences they provide.

7  Tips for CX customers and Prospects

The craze of CX or Customer Experience is rampant, with many definitions and many different meanings to customers, companies and vendors. It’s time to get some things straight. You must first decide is CX means Marketing, Sales and Customer Service or does CX mean to your company, just Customer Service? In the new world of modern Customer Experiences, it means any customer-facing interaction. Here’s some things to think about:

1. The customer doesn’t think about interacting or engaging with a company per department or silo – i.e., Marketing, Sales, Customer Service….

2. The company must begin to understand what they have in each department – Marketing, Sales and Customer Service before then can even begin to dream of being “of service” to a customer.

3. Understanding what each department has means that each department needs to understand what software they have, what it does, does is experience when internal people use it create the experience their customers want and see and will those customers return because the experience is so good?

4. Each department needs to understand what processes, policies, people, skill sets, resources, etc… it has to  create the experience their customers want and which ones are most important to make sure they will return because the experience is so amazing.

5. Once a company has a good handle on what they have, they then need to understand where the gaps are — not only within each department, but how each department interacts with each other to make the overall customer-facing experience great.

6. Once those gaps are defined, they must be quickly closed before competitors do so, otherwise customers will walk away- either with their feet or their mouse.

7. The last piece of advice? Pivot, shift and change or get out of the way so your competitors can take care of your customers.

The take-a-ways from the CX part of OpenWorld were essentially to:

  • Discover how to deliver a seamless customer experience regardless of where or how customers connect with you
  • Learn how to differentiate your brand by creating a unified web, social, and contact-center experience
  • Gain insight into how to deliver proactive, highly personalized customer communications using closed-loop marketing and integrated analytics.

Oracle provided examples of companies that are currently in progress or have accomplished some of these goals from brands like General Motors to Insperity. (Those sessions were held in Moscone West otherwise known as CX Central)

A report by Global Insights on Succeeding in the Customer Experience Era, Oracle, 2013, showed that there is a 20% annual loss in revenue for business who don’t deliver great customer experiences. And that makes sense, because if the experience is not positive – customer will either return products or not even return to buy products and worse they will tell their friends and family. And not just in the small circles they can reach in person.

What social and digital media has basically done is to create a large megaphone for customers to share how good or bad their experiences are, in a nanosecond online and that content or those postings are permanent. As permanent as cave paintings that last thousands of years. And that’s why using a technology partner like Oracle is very important. What I learned at the conference is that they realize that it’s a lot to take in and to understand how to take existing systems and integrate all the new things. And they want to be the company you come to to get help with this. So hold them to this promise.

What has changed in CX for Oracle Customers and What Oracle has Done to invest in CX?
The acquisition of all the new technologies has helped Oracle become a more CX-focused vendor. In particular, their acquisitions in Marketing, Social / Digital and Service have been especially key. With Oracle’s Marketing Cloud and Services Cloud, customers now have a suite of Internet-hosted software along with some sales and customer service capabilities:
  • Eloqua (a marketing automation platform as the base for marketing automation)
  • BlueKai (cloud-based big data platform that enables companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns with richer and more actionable information about targeted audiences)
  • Responsys (e-mail marketing, web-hosted marketing technology for reaching consumers on mobile devices and social networks, display advertising and other online channels)
  • Compendium (content marketing)
  • ReadyTalk (audio and web conferencing as well as webcast hosting)
  • Vitrue (a cloud-based social marketing and engagement platform that enables marketers to centrally create, publish, moderate, manage, measure and report on their social marketing campaigns)
  • RightNow (Oracle Service Cloud including Web Customer Service, Cross Channel Contact Center, Knowledge Management, Policy Automation and Field Service) combine modern web self service, knowledge management, call center and field support software technology with social media collaboration for a consistent, superior customer experience)…

Here’s More Details on each of these acquisitions:

  • Eloqua: builds upon Oracle’s previous acquisitions of RightNow and Vitrue. The point of Eloqua is so that brands using Eloqua’s technology are better able to track, capture and analyze a potential buyer’s digital body language, including their preferences, behavior and decision-making processes, to more accurately score and qualify leads and identify high quality prospects.
  • BlueKai: includes its Data Management Platform, which centrally organizes a company’s customer and audience data in the cloud to help implement personalized marketing campaigns across all channels and deliver better results and higher marketing ROI. BlueKai also runs the world’s largest third party data marketplace to augment a company’s proprietary customer data with actionable information on more than 700 million profiles.

 And BlueKai will be /is integrated with both Responsys for B2C marketing automation and Eloqua for B2B marketing automation in order to deliver orchestrated and personalized customer interactions across all marketing activities and channels. BlueKai combined with Oracle’s Marketing and Social solutions provide customers with the ability to build the richest user profiles combining information from first party and third party sources including media, advertising, social, and mobile sources. The combination will also allow both B2B and B2C organizations to build unmatched personalized cross-channel campaigns and customer interactions across e-mail, web, social, mobile, advertising and syndicated content channels.

  • Responsys: The addition of Responsys extends Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, which includes Commerce, Sales, Service, Social and the Oracle Marketing Cloud. By bringing together Responsys and Oracle Eloqua in the Marketing Cloud, for the first time CMOs that support industries with B2C or B2B business models will be equipped to drive exceptional customer experiences across marketing interactions and throughout the customer lifecycle from a single platform.
  • Compendium: The addition of Compendium extends Oracle’s Customer Experience Cloud, with a cloud-based content marketing provider that helps companies plan, produce and deliver engaging content across multiple channels throughout their customers’ lifecycle. Compendium’s data-driven approach aligns relevant content with customer data and profiles to help companies more effectively attract prospects, engage buyers, accelerate conversion of prospects to opportunities, increase adoption, and drive revenue growth.

The combination of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud with Compendium is expected to enable modern marketers to align persona-based content to customers’ digital body language to increase “top-of-funnel” customer engagement, improve the quality of sales leads, realize the highest return on their marketing investment, and increase customer loyalty.

  • ReadyTalk: As organizations of all sizes look at new ways to collaborate and engage audiences, the audio and web conferencing market has become increasingly competitive. To stand out in a market dominated by larger providers and successfully execute sophisticated marketing programs that fit with its customer-centric culture, ReadyTalk, a provider of audio and web conferencing services, selected Oracle Eloqua, a component of the Oracle Marketing Cloud. With Oracle Eloqua, ReadyTalk has been able to deliver highly personalized, targeted messages to nurture leads and convert customers into brand advocates, improving marketing effectiveness and ROI.
  • Vitrue:  The proliferation of social media has changed the way that organizations and consumers interact. Vitrue’s social marketing platform helps organizations enhance their social marketing efforts to the next level of social engagement by giving brands the ability to scale across multiple social networks, target messages from global to local, create unique and consistent brand experiences, and publish content that engages fans and drives leads.

Together, Oracle and Vitrue plan to enable a unified social experience across customer interactions, resulting in meaningful customer engagements with consistent brand experiences across all channels and media; improved return on investment for social sales and marketing campaigns across paid, owned and social media; and enhanced customer service through real-time responsiveness and high touch engagement.

  • RightNow: Oracle Service Cloud including Web Customer Service, Cross-Channel Contact Center, Knowledge Management, Policy Automation and Field Service provides a rich online customer experience solution so consumers can research, purchase, or resolve issues from any device and channel. Set a standard for best-in-class service by allowing your customers to interact on their own terms while you increase conversions and lower service costs. // Social-self service and social contact center enables brands to manage social interactions as a fully integrated part of the customer experience.
  • The Oracle Service Cloud social experience is designed to extend the customer experience to the places where consumers are learning, sharing, and buying across the social web. // The Cross-Channel Contact Center delivers end-to-end management of the customer journey through unified records, interfaces, and knowledge. Even your junior agents are able to deliver exceptional experiences consistently across every channel for operational efficiency and service excellence.
  • Oracle Commerce: Sitting apart, but in concert with The Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud, is the e-commerce piece of the puzzle, Oracle Commerce. Built on a foundation of business user control, the platform delivers and omni-channel support for selling online, in the store, or wherever a customer is. It Increases agility and empower marketers and merchants with the tools to manage omni-channel experiences, personalization, search and navigation, promotions, content, and more Rapidly launch sites for new brands, markets, and single-purpose campaigns. It allows for international expansion and target new geographies and segments more effectively, and includes B2B and B2C modules to better support different business and selling models
What Oracle Can Do to Improve CX for Customers
While Oracle has invested very heavily in the Marketing area, they should still look to continue to develop their offerings in Sales and Customer Service.
Sales is currently a group of solutions like Lead and Opportunity Management – which provides access anytime, anywhere with Microsoft Outlook™, and mobile capabilities for Android™, iOS™ and BlackBerry.™ And a Territory and Quota Management solution along with a Partner Relationship Management solution and Social Collaboration.
Customer Service is a combination of solutions like Knowledge Management, Semantic Search, Guided Knowledge, Knowledge Analytics, Integrated Apps to Deliver knowledge at the point of need using modern Web Self Service, Contact Center and Field Service Apps and knowledge APIs used to leverage customer context and data from external systems for step by step guidance.
In addition Customer Service includes Cross-Channel Contact Center, with case management to manage timely resolution of incidents across all your channels. It also includes guided resolution, that dynamically captures critical information through guided dialogues, as well as Customer Engagement which personalizes proactive communications with your customers from deep service profiles. The solution also includes the Social Contact Center, where one can infuse social listening and engagement into the contact center along with agent mobility to enable agents to resolve issues even when away from their desktop, along with a Unified Agent Desktop that integrate other systems into one unified experience for your agents.
Other customers continue to have customer service agents on Siebel. Siebel is used by customers in need of tailored industry solutions. While Siebel might have been a good database interface, it was not always the favorite pick of customer service agents for ease of use and functionality. Some of that capability has been greatly improved with the new Simplified User Interface. But Oracle needs to keep their eyes on their competitors who are also very customer service agent focused, making their job easier means happier, more profitable customers.
While Oracle has invested very heavily into many aspects of what it takes to deliver great customer experiences across all customer-facing aspects of the company, the need to integrate all the systems so they work as a unified solution is always the tricky part.
As analysts, we will be watching to see how easy it is for customers to take the various solutions and implement them and the amount of time it takes to integrate them. Certainly the days of old, where systems integrators made large sums of money by creating connectors or connecting systems, has been replaced by simplified API’s, etc…. But as always, the more things change, the more they say the same. The devil is in the details. And we will be watching for case studies on how all the moving parts work together.
VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great Customer Experiences
Constellation Research





Customer Experience Just Keeps Getting Better: Plantronics Announcement

Create a Better Customer Experience By Treating Customer Service Agents Better

Plantronics today announced a new family of contact center headset solutions designed for the future and built on experience. Most people who have worked in call / contact centers know how difficult the job of a customer service agent can be. And that there is direct correlation between how the agents feels and the service they provide a company. Part of how they feel is determined by the culture a company creates. It is determined by what types of behaviors get rewarded. And remembering that what gets rewarded, gets repeated.

The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series is an all-new generation of headsets for customer service centers and offices that deliver greater comfort for all-day wearing, superior noise-canceling for clearer calls, and increased reliability to help manage costs. In addition, the company announced their next-generation DA Series USB digital audio processors for Plantronics headsets that deliver a more complete audio experience by providing context for every call. With these new Plantronics customer service solutions, organizations improve metrics, attract and retain Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and create a better customer experience.

Smart Phones and Self-service Have Shifted the Balance of Power in the Customer Service Center

When a customer reaches a CSR, they have likely attempted self-service and have much more information than the agent. In these situations, customers want to reach someone immediately and have the issue resolved quickly. They consider their call an escalation putting extraordinary pressure on the agent to perform, even while the customer is likely in a mobile environment with questionable audio quality. Furthermore, businesses are using over-the-phone routes for complex, high-value transactions. In these situations, center managers need to ensure that every call sounds high-quality and customers don’t overhear other callers’ confidential information.

The combination of the Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series, Plantronics digital audio adapters, and Plantronics Hub means that events and metrics occurring during the interaction with the customer are actionable; they are exposed in real-time through the API and made available through an SDK to call routing systems and third party applications.

This makes possible new efficiencies in a range of areas, such as automation of agent status updates, screen-locking for security when a headset is disconnected, dashboard management of headset inventory and warranty status, tracking of agent use of physical call controls and supervisor alerts to conversational conflict between agent and caller. Alliance partner integrations with vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence and additional third-party software application vendors are expected to enter market during 2015

Comprehensive Solutions for Customer Service Superheroes Make Better Experiences for Both the Agent and the Customer

With customer expectations rising, the CSR needs to effectively communicate with the customer to solve their problems. The Plantronics EncorePro 500 Series was built with the CSR in mind. It features a forward-looking, professional grade industrial design that uses new materials and technologies that yield an ergonomic fit that is extraordinarily durable, lightweight, and comfortable for all-day wearing. With fewer reasons to remove the headset throughout the day, CSRs are ready for each call, with the boom being in the right place for a better customer conversation. The noise-canceling technology ensures more focused and private calls, so conversations will be heard clearly with fewer misunderstood words and with reduced background noise from keyboards and close talkers.

The series includes the following models: EncorePro 510/520 (dedicated over-the-head), EncorePro 530 (over-the-ear) and EncorePro 540 (convertible), the latter is unique in its simple design and high-performance audio no matter what the preferred wearing style. All models support wideband audio.

The new Plantronics digital audio processors are designed to connect Plantronics quick disconnect headsets to computers through a USB port. Some incorporate user controls like the ability to answer a call, mute the call and adjust volume. All support Noise @ Work, based on Plantronics SoundGuard® digital technology. Not only are CSRs protected from sounds above 118 dBA, but anti-startle protection detects and eliminates sudden increase in sound and Time Weighted Average (TWA) measurement which manages average daily sound exposure for CSRs.

Smart Headphones Make Smarter Customer Service Agents 

What’s more, these new devices are smart. All are support by Plantronics Hub, and each contains firmware that can generate notifications based on hardware state changes. Some models can also generate notifications based on acoustic events or other telemetry that is important to the service center, but has been previously unavailable. For example, the Plantronics DA-90 will offer acoustic event logging so that customers can be compliant with initiatives like Australia’s G.616 recommendation. These events are exposed through API’s within the Plantronics Spokes suite of software solutions.

We are building on the world’s most successful professional grade headset, the SupraPlus, and this is a challenge we did not take lightly. Our deep understanding of the new business needs and role of Customer Service, and the availability of new materials, design philosophies, manufacturing techniques and core technologies resulted in a new portfolio that is not only state-of-the-art by today’s standards, but also future-proofed to adapt as the landscape changes,” said Bill Loewenthal, vice president, Enterprise Communications Solutions, Plantronics. “It’s no longer just about a first-class audio experience. With our new portfolio, organizations will immediately see the value that we bring by providing equipment and intelligence which enable operations to be more effective, and create a positive experience for both the CSR and the customer.”

The all-new Plantronic’s Customer Service Solutions include:

Cutting-Edge Design

  • Brand new, stylish, and ergonomic design

 Custom Noise Canceling Microphones

  • Next-generation, noise-canceling microphone
  • Flexible boom with positioning guides 

Superb Audio

  • Wideband audio with SoundGuard® technology

 Comfort and Convenience

  • Adjustable fit with all-day comfort
  • Quick Disconnect™ feature provides walkaway convenience

Robust and Reliable

  • Proprietary material and construction for unparalleled robustness

Integration with Softphones

  • Plantronics technology that captures and reports on key call events

Call Control

  • Easy, at-your-fingertips access to call functions (Plantronics DA-80, DA-90 only)

Noise @ Work and antistartle, G616 Compliance

  • Help achieve compliance with legislated regulations to protect your CSRs 

Firmware Updates

  • Firmware updates that aid in inventory management through Plantronics Hub or in early 2015 through Plantronics Manager Pro

 Extraordinary Service

  • Industry-leading global service and support


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great Customer Experience

Constellation Research


Oracle Renews the Relationship Between the Analysts and Oracle

My experience at #OOW14 was very good. I found that Oracle is really more focused on analysts and what we know about their products and services and want to create a solid relationship with the analyst community. While there is a relationship between analysts and Oracle, it is clear that with new leadership at the helm of Analyst Relationships, new life has been brought into the mix. This is important for vendor’s to understand the relationship between a vendor an the analysts who cover that particular area.

Many analysts want to try to keep up with everything that is going on, but there are only so many hours in a day, a week and a year. We do our very best to be current. But it’s really a shared responsibility between vendors and analysts to help buyers and users of technology to discern what all these new announcements mean to them and how to apply them to the work they have to get done on a daily basis.

If you were not at OpenWorld 2014 here’s:

1. A couple of storify collections of the tweets from the Conference

Oracle Day 2 Tweets

Oracle Day 3 Tweets


2. Keynote presentations – Can be watched live here:

Oracle OpenWorldhttp://www.oracle.com/openworld/live/index.html


Twitter account – Follow the event – http://twitter.com/oracleopenworld   – and remember, mark your Tweets with #oow14

Event Photos – Are being uploaded to Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram are available here:


Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/oracleopenworld/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/oracle

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OracleOpenWorld


3. Many of the announcements that were made on product and services Oracle made at the #OOW14 conference:

Oracle Announces New User Interface Design System for a More Engaging Customer Experience

Oracle Applications Deliver on the Promise of Real-Time Enterprise by Leveraging Oracle Database In-Memory

Oracle Sales Cloud Enhancements Help Sales Teams Optimize Efficiency and Performance to Increase Sales

Oracle Updates Oracle ERP Cloud to Help Businesses Streamline Their Enterprise Business Processes

 Oracle Enhances Social Efficiency and Simplicity with Expanded Social Station Capabilities

Oracle Previews Mobile Application Accelerator for Oracle Mobile Cloud Service

Oracle Announces New User Interface Design System for a More Engaging Customer Experience

Enhanced Integration Between Oracle Mobile Application Framework and Oracle Mobile Security Suite Helps Customers Secure Mobile Applications

Oracle’s PeopleSoft HCM Enhancements Deliver a Simple and Modern User Experience

Oracle Applications Deliver on the Promise of Real-Time Enterprise by Leveraging Oracle Database In-Memory

ReadyTalk Turns Customers into Advocates with Oracle Marketing Cloud

Oracle Sales Cloud Enhancements Help Sales Teams Optimize Efficiency and Performance to Increase Sales

Oracle Updates Oracle ERP Cloud to Help Businesses Streamline Their Enterprise Business Processes

Oracle Extends Integrations Across Oracle Marketing Cloud

Oracle Enhances Social Efficiency and Simplicity with Expanded Social Station Capabilities

 New Oracle Social Commerce Capabilities Increase Brand Awareness and Sales Conversion Rates

Oracle Expands Oracle Customer 2 Cloud Program Amid Customer Success

Oracle Supports Government Customers with Expanded Government Cloud Solutions Portfolio

Oracle Announces Oracle Software in Silicon Cloud

Oracle Financial Services Celebrates Landmark Year for Adoption of Oracle FLEXCUBE, with More Than 65 Deployments in 12 Months

Updates to Oracle FLEXCUBE Help Banks Deliver a Superior Customer Experience, Modernize Processing, and Stay Compliant

Personalized Plans and New LTE Video and Voice Services Drive LTE Diameter Signaling Growth

Universities Select Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions to Enhance the Student Experience

New releases of Oracle Communications Diameter Signaling Router and Oracle Communications Performance Intelligence Center help optimize network resource utilization and new service deployment

Oracle Announces New Innovations in Oracle Fusion Middleware, the Leading Cloud Platform for Today’s Digital Business

4. Oracle OpenWorld 2014 Media Kit – All the announcements made so far are listed here.


VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Better Customer Experiences


Teradata Announces A Query Grid Software For Seamless Orchestration of Analytics Processing

Teradata, the big data analytics and marketing applications company, today announced thatTeradata® QueryGrid.™  Now seamlessly orchestrates analytic processing of data between Teradata and Oracle databases, enabling Teradata data warehouse users to leverage data sitting in Oracle databases to enhance their analytics.

Teradata QueryGrid software orchestrates the use of multiple analytic engines and file systems, freeing the user to concentrate on their business analysis. Unique in its design, Teradata QueryGrid enables bi-directional data movement and pushdown processing on data where it resides, while minimizing overall data movement and duplication.

As organizations successfully build out their analytical ecosystems, they realize the need to leverage more data. Additional sources of data enable users to ask new questions. However, to be productive users need technology that frees them from spending time moving data from system-to-system, or knowing the mechanics of data movement.

Teradata QueryGrid allows organizations to focus on getting answers to their business questions, not on moving data or splitting analyses into discrete processes,” said Scott Gnau, president, Teradata Labs. “Teradata QueryGrid can instantly reach into Oracle databases with bi-directional data movement or pushdown processing.”

Teradata QueryGrid, available with Teradata Database 15, supports The Teradata® Unified Data Architecture™. The Teradata Unified Data Architecture helps customers to design architect, implement, and orchestrate multiple best-of-breed engines, tools, and emerging technologies into a cohesive analytical ecosystem. It connects the Teradata Database, Teradata Aster Discovery PlatformHadoop technology and now Oracle databases to deliver a robust analytical ecosystem.

The Teradata QueryGrid software connection to Oracle databases is now available.

My POV: It’s necessary for all the various software need to work together. And there are so many choices. What I hope is that Marketers, Sales and Customer Service professionals are able to sort though all the various options. What I mean by that is that they are clear about what they have. They are clear about how to optimize what they have. And they are clear what is missing and clear how to fill that gap. Without that kind of analysis, continuous announcements of products is good, but may confuse the marketplace. Vendors MUST differentiate themselves so that buyers and users of technology get the return on the investment.


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great, Next Generation Customer Experiences



OpenWorld – A New World of Business Opens Up #OOW14

Shift Has Happened

As I listened to the keynotes, the executives – both Oracle and its customers told the stories of how they now realize that IT and the “business” must collaborate, I am refreshed. Oracle is the database backbone of many companies, no doubt. But for Oracle to stay in the current game, it itself has to transform.

Being current is the natural state of being interested in transformation. Most large companies are not “interested in transformation.” I believe it’s not so much because they are stubborn or uninterested in the result. I believe that the resistance is the practical knowledge of what it takes to make meaningful transformation stick. And it takes real guts, commitment from executives and the ability to see it through to the end. And that’s what I am hearing in these stories.

Organization Change Management or “Shift” Requires Reflection

What I found most interesting in the keynote stories today was the genuine reflection of not only Oracle executives but also of their customers. They spoke of looking at what customers were saying on social networks / online and not just looking at it, but using it to inform them of what customers think about their products and services.  And then using that information to make new choices and business decisions. The stories, whether they were B2B or B2C type companies, shared this trend.

They were listening to customers and taking that feedback to make change. And to create real change means that they have to have the courage to be honest with “where things are at” and be able to look into the future to see what “could be” and to work to fill in the gaps. That type of “work” is only for the courageous.  I know, coming from a systems integrator background. It takes a lot of people, going in the same direction to make things happen and happen in a reasonable amount of time to be meaningful.

The Witness Factor™ or Observer Affect

It’s true in science (yes, I used to be a scientist), that something that’s called the Observer Affect refers to changes that “the act of observation” will make on something. What I witnessed over the years is, as the number of #fail ‘s from unmet customer needs were interrupting millions and billions of dollars spent on advertising and marketing campaigns, that social / digital / and what customer were saying online was starting to create permanent and long lasting change. Not sure but, perhaps it’s partially because as these digital remarks will last as or longer than cave paintings…

And The Heisenberg Principle ascribes to the uncertainty in the measurable quantities to the jolt-like disturbance triggered by the act of observation. It seems what has happened in the case of the software world, brands, companies and their relationship with their customer–  is that — the digital disruption has created a jolt-like shift.  The ability of social / digital networks and the conversations that are carried on offline, are triggering new behaviors and new actions.

Is It For Real?

The questions remain are things like, “Are companies really measuring the affect of how they are changing business? What’s the value of those changes? Do they know how to set-up a measurement system to capture the results? Or are they just knee-jerking? Are technology companies really understanding the need to not only change their products, but their own culture, way of doing business and relationship to their employees and their customers?

And only time will tell. Time will tell if this is a fad, a tagline or a key message. It seems though that Oracle has made interesting changes – from the acquisitions which have changed their own technology stack, but also how seriously they take the digital disruption.

I was at the event last May, where Oracle introduced the idea of shifting from an IT focus to a focus on the CMO’s as a buyer. It is interesting to see how the acquisitions Oracle has made have also changed their culture and their seriousness towards using databases in a new way. And their desire to be the company brands trust to– be the one you come to –to make all the changes you need to make -i.e., to integrate the old with the new and drive the newest trends in technology. Changes like this are not easily made. And brands need and want someone to trust.

My take?

Clearly the leadership at Oracle is committed to a change and courageous enough to put the resources behind it to make it happen. Business as usual, is no longer usual. The business has shifted… the future looks bright. Time will tell, but I believe the commitment, the desire and the conviction is there to go the distance.


VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales, Customer Service and Creating Great Customer Experiences



Sales Navigator – LinkedIn’s New Way to Operationalize Social Selling

I was just at Sales Connect Conference, LinkedIn’s Social Selling Conference. I was there to meet and great many of the top minds in social selling and to do research for an upcoming report. What I found was that one of the best things about being at the conference (besides the technology) was to be in a room full of people who are all thinking the same thing. It’s time to change how company’s operate. It’s time to change how people get treated at work. It’s time to change how sales people are perceived. It’s just plain time to change.

I liked the idea of a Social Selling Index (SSI) and that through that one could tell where they stand with respect to using new tools like Sales Navigator and to know what we need to change. The biggest take-a-way I got from the conference was that sales is less about the product or service you are offering, and more about the relationship you are building with the customer or person you are selling to. That seems so simple that it is feels kinda silly writing it. But having been in sales positions before and knowing that the sales was more about getting the quota for that quarter than it was about how I was going to build a relationship with someone over the long haul and be able to look them in the eye 20 years from now. After thinking about it like that it doesn’t seem silly writing it.

Sales and the profession of sales has changed. It is about the relationship. And this is not new. It used to be that way when we were oriented toward mom and pop shops, where everyone in the village knew each other and did have to look each other in the eye over 20 or 30 years. With industrialization and expansion, we lost that sense of personal responsibility to those we sell to and now it’s back. And I’m glad because I feel better about the way the world is starting to go. I feel better about the level of integrity that digital / social and SaaS is bringing to sales. I’m glad that people are accountable and that we now can see a future where we are honest with ourselves and our customers.

How are you feeling about sale these days? Do you think social / digital / SaaS has changed anything?

If you missed the conference, here’s my storify report… that has all the tweets from the hashtag #SalesConnect https://storify.com/drnatalie/how-linkedin-is-changing-sales


VP and Principle Analyst covering Marketing, Sales, Customer Service to bring about Amazing Customer Experiences and Long Lasting Relationships in Business


Who Should Be the Digital Disruptors? Marketing, Sales, Customer Service or CEOs?

In thinking about the value of the information companies can obtain about their customers, their products and services, etc… from structured and unstructured data, who do you think should lead this effort in an organization? Each department – Marketing, Sales, Customer Service / Contact Center professionals can all do their part, but often are not high enough in the organization to drive widespread change that is required to get the results from digital disruption. I had a really great conversation with some of the best thinkers in the world at IBM who are working on Watson and it got me to thinking more about the issue of getting companies started down this path and who really should lead it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think CEO’s or CFO’s or COO’s really understand the value that can be obtained by this data? Do they see the opportunity to use it to become a company that lives in an ecosystem where their are no other competitors, i.e., the competition is irrelevant?

Some of the best ways to take advantage of the digital disruption is to:

1. Change your business model to include using the structured and unstructured data to make better products and services and deliver better customer experiences and make a better workplace

2. Change how your functional departments work together using the structured and unstructured data so that the customer experience is not disconnected and actually becomes enjoyable and drives advocacy, loyalty and referrals — and long-term customer lifetime value

3. And in the end the data will change your business model and how your functional departments collaborate and your products and services will be get better from all this structured and unstructured data if it is turned into actionable insights so that you can create a blue ocean strategy where your company is in an uncontested marketplace where the competition is irrelevant.

But for that to happen, it has to be driven by folks who are not too low in the totem pole, but rather by those who have the positional power to really drive this digital disruption change.  And I believe, unless and until the CEO, CFO and COO change the metrics the functional departments get measured on, people will keep doing what they are doing.

Yes, there are some companies where marketing, sales and service work together; but those are the innovators and early adopters. The majority of the marketplace is the early majority and they are thinking about things the way they have always been thinking about things…

Who is going to be the instigators in this new digital disruption? Come join us at our Connected Enterprise Conference to hear how other leaders are dealing with the questions.

VP and Principle Analyst, Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Drive Brilliant and Lastly Customer Experiences.


How A Start-up Grows and Becomes so Big They Need CRM To Increase Sales and Reduce Costs

Trek Bicycle began was founded in 1976 by Richard Burke, president of flooring and appliance distributor Roth, and Bevill Hogg, owner of a chain of bike stores. With $25,000 in seed money from Roth’s parent company, Intrepid, Trek started to build bikes by hand in a Waterloo, Wisconsin barnTrek Bicycle began was founded in 1976 by Richard Burke, president of flooring and appliance distributor Roth, and Bevill Hogg, owner of a chain of bike stores. With $25,000 in seed money from Roth’s parent company, Intrepid, Trek started to build bikes by hand in a Waterloo, Wisconsin barn.

Today, Trek designs and develops its bikes at its worldwide headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin or at its design facility in the Netherlands. The manufacturing of its bikes takes place in the U.S. and Asia (under Trek oversight), with select town bikes assembled in Hartmansdorff, Germany. Trek Bicycle sells its bikes around the world through about 1,700 retailers in North America, subsidiaries in Asia and Europe, and distributors in 90 countries. Trek’s 2011 sales totaled more than $800 million. The company sold 1.5 million bikes worldwide that year. Richard Burke’s son, John, runs the company as president.

From its beginning, Trek targeted the prestige bike market. The firm introduced its first mountain bike line in 1983 and the first bonded-aluminum road bike — the Trek 2000 — in 1985. The lightweight Trek 2000 was greeted enthusiastically by serious riders. This was followed by a carbon fiber road bike in 1986. Hogg departed from the company in 1986. And Burke, who had held an advisory role, took over day-to-day operations and presided over the company’s return to profitability.

Amid a U.S. bike industry slump in the early 1990’s, Trek focused on overseas sales and overcame European snobbery toward American bikes. It also moved into accessories and began manufacturing helmets in 1993. That year, the company bought Gary Fisher Mountain Bike, founded by the inventor of the mountain bike. Trek bought two more mountain biking competitors, Bontrager and Klein, in 1995.

“We wanted to spend less time managing servers and infrastructure and more time developing features which provide value to our customers.”Adam Salvo, Development Operations Manager, Trek Bicycle Corp.

Intrepid, Trek’s parent company, changed its name to Trek in the latter half of the 1990s as the company divested itself of its non-biking businesses. In 1997, Burke’s son, John, became president of the bike company. In around 1989 also Trek expanded into foreign markets, opening subsidiary offices in the UK and in Germany. To increase production efficiency, Trek stopped bonding its aluminum bikes in 1998, adopting the more common practice of welding .

In June 2002, the company’s president was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Seeking to further boost its European presence, the company purchased the bike division of Villiger, a diversified Swiss company, later that year. The purchase included bicycle factories in Switzerland and Germany.

Although it’s a global leader in bicycles, Trek maintains the spirit of a small company. This includes its close-knit, collaborative staff and independent bike shops that sell Trek bikes and gear. These trusted partnerships are the backbone of Trek’s business model. When sales reps leave or retire, it can take years to rebuild the depth of knowledge and the rapport that the reps had established with the bike shops in their territory.

“In my job, there are always a couple of things I am trying to kill: bad process and hardware. Microsoft has helped us to do that. The less stuff I have to manage, the more time I have to focus on the important things in life.” David Peterson, Enterprise Collaboration Manager, Trek Bicycle Corp.

Ultimately, Trek’s success depends on close, supportive relationships between its sales reps and the owners of the stores it sells through. Trek is committed to its 5,000 independent bicycle retailers around the world. To support them, Trek offers an Ascend retail management system that manages inventory, places orders for parts, tracks work orders and processes customer’s purchases.

Trek worked with a data center provider to operate and support these services. As the company grew, supporting these services got more expensive and complicated, requiring more servers and IT staff at both Trek and the data center. This began increasing operating costs. And it could take from two to six weeks to install a new server at the data center, which was not fast enough to easily scale with demand for bikes.

But with so much information coming in, the bicycle maker realized it needed a more efficient and effective way to capture and manage the wealth of information its sales reps accumulated as well as to facilitate employee collaboration that would result in better customer experiences, loyalty, advocacy and referrals.

So Trek decided to make some changes to how they did business so they could have a more complete picture of customers and their data and as a result, they could provide better customer experiences and service.

Integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and other enterprise data sources, including Trek’s JDE ERP system, has helped develop a more complete picture of Trek’s retailers and customers, while the introduction of Yammer has enabled people to collaborate within Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online—replacing email and instant messaging for certain workgroups. And Microsoft Dynamics Integrated CRM Solution helped Trek to support sales reps in bringing all of their customer information into one place, standardizing workflows, and making it quicker and easier for its employees to find vital information.

Trek was also able to improve web sales and customer service by connecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to its public website, where the system captures customer inquiries from a Web form and routes them to the appropriate technical representative. The automated workflow attached to these forms has reduced response times from two weeks to only a few hours, increasing customer satisfaction.

There’s lot’s more that David Peterson’s team did… so make sure to get the full report!


VP and Principle Analyst, Constellation Research, Connecting Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Through Great Customer Experiences

Join us for the Connected Enterprise Conference at Half Moon Bay – Oct 29-31st!