Guest Post: How Cloud-Based Predictive Analytics Gives Companies a Competitive Marketing Advantage

Monitoring and fine-tuning analytics are becoming essential to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Case in point: Business intelligence analytics software sales will reach $18.3 billion in 2017, a 7.3 percent increase from last year, Gartner projects.

By 2020, the market will be worth $22.8 billion and analytics will be mainstream, Gartner forecasts. This means your competitors will be using analytics. Here’s how getting on board with cloud-based predictive analytics now can help you gain a lead on the competition and increase your bottom line.

Optimize Your Marketing

A great advantage of analytics software is that it gives you the ability to objectively measure the effectiveness of your marketing by tracking key performance indicators, explains Silvon Software director Pat Hennel. Some KPIs you can easily track include:

  • Sales revenue
  • Cost per lead acquisition
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Online marketing ROI

Tracking KPIs enables you to see which of your marketing campaigns are generating the best return on investment so that you can reallocate resources to those efforts rather than non-performing ones.

Similarly, you can identify which marketing channels are yielding the best results so you can focus on those media. You can also see which demographics represent your best customers to emphasize those target markets and gear your sales themes toward benefits that will appeal to them.

Refocus Your Sales Efforts

Another benefit of cloud-based analytics tools is the ability to combine them with customer relationship software to better leverage your sales efforts. By analyzing your organization’s lead database, you can better identify which prospects are qualified leads in order to deploy your sales reps accordingly. From there, you can identify which prospects are furthest along in the sales cycle and more likely to convert into a sale.

You can also analyze customer sales history to identify which customers represent your biggest revenue sources and best repeat buyers. You can then prioritize these customers and develop sales strategies specifically geared toward them.

Personalize Your Sales Presentations

Combining cloud-based predictive analytics with CRM tools can also help you personalize your sales presentations to make them more persuasive to individual customers. In fact, you can review a customer’s history of past purchases to see what types of products and services they prefer.

For example, Amazon displays offers based on what the customer has previously browsed or purchased and what types of products have been purchased by other people who browsed or purchased the same items.

You can also study individual purchase patterns to identify their shopping style and what types of factors influenced their previous buying decisions. For instance, one customer might be more likely to respond to a certain type of added-value benefit, while another might be more likely to respond to a lower price. You can then supply this information to your sales representatives so they have a better idea how to appeal to that particular customer.

Increase Customer Satisfaction with Superior Service

Cloud-based analytics can also enhance your sales and marketing efforts by allowing you to track the performance of your customer service teams, which is key in achieving repeat business and referrals. Cloud-based contact center platforms, including Aspect Zipwire, let you track your customer service performance across multiple channels (e.g., phone, email, online chat and more), giving you a comprehensive perspective so you can make any necessary adjustments and improvements.

To track your customer service performance, you can then set up KPIs. Customer performance KPIs you can track include overall satisfaction, the number of resolved issues, average resolution time and complaint escalation rate.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

 

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Atlassian acquires Trello for $425M: Will It Remain Free?

As most acquisitions start out with the “ideal” that the product will remain pristine and nothing will change – it will be interesting to see if the acquisition of Trello by Atlassian will be the norm or the exception. From a business point of view Atlassian paid $425M, so they will want their investment to pay off.

What’s interesting in today’s world is that instead of putting a bunch of developers in a room to develop new software, companies like Atlassian, instead buy a company. This is truly an emerging strategy in product development and one that makes sense with respect to acquiring best of breed. We hope that Atlassian will keep its word and Trello will remain free. Proof is always in the pudding.

Often the story during the press release phase is that “The original folks are going to run it, not the new company!” “Things will stay the same.”

WhatsApp and Waze are both pretty good examples of high profile acquisitions. It’s generally unlikely that it will be the executive team from any start-up that ends up sticking around past whatever agreement they signed with buyer. There’s generally some “golden seatbelt” that requires the start-ups executives to stay for a particular period of time. And once that time is up, its not unpredictable that they leave that because they are “start-up” personalities – meaning they like the start-up phase and not so much the growth and maintenance or innovation phase of a company because their jobs will change and hence their interest.

It really takes four types of entrepreneurs/management to make a start-up successful. First the the start-up folks who like the beginning, ideas flowing, do a lot with a little, the adrenal of “can we do this?”

Second, to have a company grow, it takes people who are really good at R&D and growth strategies, which different often greatly from start-up strategies and tactics.

And third, there are the maintenance executives who are really good a making a company run like a well oiled machine; again very different type of personality traits are required for this.

The fourth stage is now required (it had not been as much a part of management theory in the past. But with technology changing so rapidly, innovation to stay relevant and on top requires people to look outside their comfort zone and understand what’s coming next and how can they innovate and transform their company.) Otherwise the company becomes a dinosaur and dies. We’ve seen plenty of that happening to the likes of Tower Records, Circuit City, etc..

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We all have our beloved start-ups. And many of us have been part of start-ups. What’s true is that we all hope nothing will change. What is also true is that it takes a lot of effort to go beyond the start-up phase into the growth, maintenance and innovation phases. People get tired; they want their initial investment to pay off; and they truly like doing what they do best. And it may not be the other phases of what a company goes through. It’s not fair to ask people, however idealistic it is, to do things they don’t enjoy or are not good at.

Will Trello stay the same? Or will it change as many other acquisitions have, as they got bought or swolled up, and give into the reality of the phases of what it takes for an initial idea to grow into a company? Only time will tell.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, www.ConstellationResearch.com

Covering customer-facing applications and innovation

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Guest Post: 5 Tech Solutions That Will Help You Exceed Customer Expectations

In a time where the world is more connected through technology and social media, providing excellent customer service is crucial. The reputation of your business is built on its effectiveness, including the customer experience.

Exceeding customer expectations creates loyal customers and it differentiates you from the competition. In addition, word of mouth is now more powerful than ever, as customers can easily share both positive and negative opinions online.

Here are 5 powerful tech solutions that will help you exceed customer expectations and provide exceptional customer service:

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  1. Vision Helpdesk 

Serving businesses of all sizes and levels, Vision Helpdesk is a leading customer support software that comes in 3 different products. There’s the Helpdesk software, which enables customer support agents to receive, process, and respond to service requests. On the other hand, the Satellite Helpdesk software provides a multi-company customer support management solutions.

Additionally, all features from Helpdesk and Satellite Helpdesk combined are provided by the Service Desk software which follows the discipline of IT service management.

Unique features of these software include task management, ticket billing, asset management, and release management. Vision Helpdesk allows you to stay on track as you serve clients, creating a client portal that is convenient for both customer and company.

There are multiple pricing plans offered, varying by the specific software and the hosting plan. Pricing starts at $7 per month to host Helpdesk on your server with a recurring license, or a one-time license for $150.

  1. TeamSupport

This customer support program allows teams to collaborate better by eliminating miscommunications and quickly addressing customer issues. Improving customer communication helps teams handle the customer service process better.

The program has some key unique features that help with the delivery of cohesive customer support. There is ticket automation, which allows support staff to flag messages by word or type. For example, a staff could add a flag for any support request that contains the word “upset” or “frustrated.” This allows the team to prioritize the more urgent requests that need attention.

Another key feature is the Knowledge Base tool. This allows clients to try to solve their own minor issues, which enables support staff to handle bigger challenges that may arise. With TeamSupport, customers can have their needs prioritized and met with efficient responses. Pricing starts from $40 per month.

  1. Office 365 

Another top solution that will help you exceed customer expectations is Office 365. This cloud-based service features a number of different tools that can be beneficial. One of the newly debuted services is Bookings, which allows customers to schedule appointments with a company using online software. This makes a convenient process for customers as it eliminates the need for a phone call.

Dynamics is another Office 365 software tool. The CRM package brings a line of integrated business management solutions that allow your staff to make important business decisions with a greater sense of confidence. Key features of Dynamics include lead management, contact management, and territory management.

Pricing for Office 365 starts from $5/month per user, for the Business Essentials plan. Microsoft Dynamics pricing plans start at $4 per user/month.

  1. Samanage

If your company is seeking a more advanced, user-friendly help desk solution then Samanage is the option for you. Making life easier for both your team and the customer, Samanage has comprehensive functionality that allows you to quickly respond to service requests. This results in improved support for your customers.

The intuitive service desk ensures that your team will deliver exemplary support. Clients use their email or the powerful self-service portal to submit service tickets. Users can even search for a solution independently by using the system’s Knowledge Base.

In addition to submitting a new service ticket, your customers can easily track the status of a pending issue.

Samanage allows for a desk data integration and can be used on the go from any smartphone or tablet with web browsing capabilities. You can experience the convenience and up-to-date reliability of Samanage for an affordable annual subscription based on your software needs.

  1. AmoCRM

AmoCRM allows you to manage your pipeline and sales team. The sales management service is a web-based platform enables businesses to manage customer relationships more effectively. You can directly link platforms such as Facebook, Dropbox, Xero, and Zendesk to AmoCRM.

Valuable features include sales analytics, lead scoring, and email integration. The software supports custom field creation and provides a user-friendly approach to managing your company’ interactions with current and potential customers.

AmoCrm allows you to upload existing customers from contact databases such as Gmail and Outlook. There are also follow-up tasks to keep you up-to-date on meetings and calls, and these are attached to the contact or lead cards.

AmoCRM is free to try and plans start from $15/month.

There are many excellent technological solutions available that help businesses thrive in managing their customer service by maximizing efficiency and enhancing communication. However, technology can only take you so far. In order to provide a stellar customer service, your entire business should be customer-service oriented. Strive to exceed customer expectations whenever you can and this will definitely take your business a long way in terms of longevity and reputation.

 

About the Author:

heather

Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer, coffee snob and a tech enthusiast from Aurora, Illinois. When she is not working, Heather enjoys swimming and hanging out with her friends. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

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Congratulations to the Constellation Super Nova Award Winners in Customer Experience!

The reason we at Constellation Research created the SuperNova Awards is because we know advancing the adoption of disruptive technology is not easy. Technology adoption faces resistance from budget constraints, hurdles to adoption, and myopia. All the finalists here today have successfully implemented technologies that will lead their organizations into the future. These people have vision. These people are leaders. These people understand the value of disruptive technology. All of the SuperNova Award applications are on the Constellation website.

Today’s customer demands a personalized experience during every stage of the buying process. Customers demand to be treated like royalty before, during, and after purchase. Customers want this same level of service across social, mobile, and analog channelsFinalists in the Next Generation Customer Experience category understand today’s demanding customers. They have implemented technologies and programs to boost brand loyalty and customer engagement. The finalists for Next Generation Customer Experience:

  • Amihai Zeltzer from Stanley Healthcare
  • Martin Marcinczyk from Comcast
  • Murray Swartzberg from the ATP World Tour
  • Roshan Koonja from Constance Hotels and Resorts
  • Scott Strickland and Jim Flatt from Denon + Marantz Electronics.

And the winner of the SuperNova Award for Next Generation Customer Experience is…. Murray Swartzberg from the ATP World Tour! Murray and his team won the SuperNova Award for enhancing the tennis experience for fans and players.  The ATP partnered with Infosys to produce Game-Stats that are based on the real-time in-memory paradigm aligned with IIP Tooling & Apache Spark. The project revolutionized how tennis analysts and fans receive statistics about professional tennis players

Make sure to apply next year!

Congratulations to all the executives and their teams who are truly making a difference in creating great customer experiences.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering customer-facing applications that deliver excellent customer service and customer experience!

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Constellation ShortList™ for Field Service Management

Constellation has announced the Constellation ShortList vendors in Field Service Management which provides the best capabilities to help employees serve customers. Field customer service occurs when resources or services are deployed onsite at a client. Field service management software enables companies to be flexible and nimble when providing service. These offerings are great at detecting problems before having to send someone to repair or fix a customer’s issue. In the event they must send someone, they can communicate in real-time with customers, provide on-site information about products and repair issues while offering relevant and timely service.

These offerings help companies improve their operational efficiencies by optimizing work-order routing and technician scheduling, which results in quicker resolution of issues. Analytics used in field services often optimize when services are deployed and how assets are tied to deployment of resources. They have advanced scheduling systems that let the customer know when the technician or field-service employee will arrive within a reasonable window of time. Helping provide an excellent customer experience is the most important aspect of field service management solutions.

The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research.  This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Good diagnostics prior to rolling out the truck
  • Resource management
  • Case management
  • Communication with the customer on the status of the technician’s arrival
  • Scheduling
  • Resource allocation
  • Inventory optimization
  • Mobile enablement.

Constellation evaluates over 25 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:

  • IFS
  • Oracle Field Service Cloud (formerly TOA Technologies)
  •  ServiceMax
  • ClickSoftware
  • PTC
  • SAP
  • Vertical Solutions.

For more information on the short lists, please see the Constellation Research site.

@Drnatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer-Facing Applications

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Constellation ShortList™ for Digital Performance Management

Digital Performance Management provides companies with the analytics to determine if their customer experience is optimized. The Constellation ShortList presents vendors in different categories of the market relevant to early adopters. In addition, products included in this document meet the threshold criteria for this category as determined by Constellation Research. This Constellation ShortList of vendors for a market category is compiled through conversations with early adopter clients, independent analysis, and briefings with vendors and partners.

Mastering digital performance management (DPM) is one of the leading challenges of the digital economy. Often referred to as application performance management (APM), it requires a joint effort between many functional departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, e-commerce and IT. It is no longer just about IT looking at the performance of the technology stack or the management of the infrastructure or cloud that delivers customer experience.

Today, it’s about the collaboration between the lines of business and IT to measure and manage the end-to-end transaction delivery and translate it into actionable information that a brand can use to optimize customer experience, as well as the performance of the technologies used to deliver it. When DPM is optimized, companies can deliver an engaging digital experience, maximize revenue and improve brand loyalty. DPM vendors help both the business and engineering teams to not only define conversion and revenue goals but also make sure they are reached.

They make sure the application’s performance doesn’t become a roadblock to optimal customer experiences and reaching business metrics, including conversion rates, high availability and high user experience indexes. The goal is to monitor and measure to eliminate all revenue barriers with a strong focus on digital performance to ensure that the road to conversion is quick and easy; the customer experience is smooth; and customers remain loyal as a result.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Monitoring of each customer’s journey and business transactions, using intelligent analytics
  • Proactive application monitoring for quick problem resolution and maximum availability
  • Full insights into each customer’s journey to make better business decisions
  • Connect the dots between customer experience, application performance and business outcomes
  • Full technology stack monitoring with deep operational insights into the user’s application environment
  • Big data monitoring and data visualization
  • Mobile application monitoring
  • Cloud, server and mainframe monitoring
  • Load testing, virtualization and network monitoring
  • Customer behavior analytics.

Constellation evaluates over 25 solutions categorized in this market. This Constellation ShortList is determined by client inquiries, partner conversations, customer references, vendor selection projects, market share and internal research. These are the best-of-breed vendors that provide applications and services without bundling into another platform:

  • APM+
  • AppDynamics
  • Dynatrace
  • NeoSense
  • Oracle
  • SAP
  • SOASTA.

For more information, please see the Constellation Research website.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications

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The Business Phone System Reinvented: The Next-Generation Cloud Communications and Collaboration Tool

The only way to build a truly innovative and collaborative culture is to give everyone a voice. In working with Dialed, I just completed some ROI research to understand how quickly, easy and affordable it is today to plug every employee into your business with a very innovative phone system. They way it works is that Dialpad turns all of your devices into your business phone, letting you make high-definition calls over Wi-Fi or your carrier network from anywhere. And businesses can let their  remote workers and global offices feel like a part of HQ with peer-to-peer HD video. This is especially great for field service, where video often can solve the problem like no other solution because you can SEE the issue. In these new systems, modern business communications integrate seamlessly with the productivity apps that employees use every day, making it easier than ever for them to collaborate with docs, emails, and calendar invites.

With this system, a brand can move a phone call from their WiFi to their carrier or from a desktop to a mobile device very easily, so in essence it is very easy to switch calls from device to device (phone, tablet, desktop…) It is also easy to transfer calls between colleagues or departments simply by looking up a name in the directory.

In the ROI research we interviewed two companies, Vivant Solar and a large communication services provider to see how they transformed their on-premises telephony systems to a purely cloud-based communications solution using Dialpad. The change, depending on the situation, resulted in six- to seven- figure cost savings. Both companies previously had legacy, on-premises PBX (Private Branch Exchange) technology, which is a private telephone network used within a company.

Dialpad provides a secure, enterprise communications cloud solution that incorporates traditional PBX features into a modern cloud-based, business communications VoIP system. The solution integrates with Google Apps for Work and with Office 365, with a user interface built to satisfy the needs of a modern workplace but without the typical costs of traditional enterprise, on-premise telephony systems.

The platform offers messaging, voice, video, conference calling in the cloud, attributed call transfer, auto-attendant, IVR, business SMS, MMS, and group messaging, call recording, live-call device switching, international outbound calling, local telephone numbers, multi-device functionality, toll-free numbers, visual voicemail, contact profiles, a company directory and fax support as well as core social profile applications, such as LinkedIn and Twitter for context about the caller. In case you are wondering, has anyone else discovered this service, Dialpad’s customers include 60 percent of the Fortune 500, high-growth enterprises, and forward thinking organizations and start-ups. The service is built on the WebRTC framework and runs on a redundant global network of nine data centers on four continents.

CUSTOMER ROI CASE STUDY: VIVINT SOLAR 

In the evaluation of various technology infrastructure systems, Mike Hincks, Director, IT Infrastructure at Vivint Solar, found that traditional IT voice systems come with hundreds of thousands of dollars of yearly infrastructure and hosting costs, all designed around employees using desk phones. The catalyst for change was to use a system not tied to a desk phone. One of the many interesting features was that Dialpad had no upfront capital expenditures or maintenance costs, which made it easier to get the technology approved by senior leaders at Vivint Solar.

In addition, Hincks looked at the money the sister company was spending on long-distance contracts. With Dialpad, there were no long-distance carrier costs. Hincks also looked at the cost of the team he would need to hire in order to maintain an on premise, hosted solution. The sister company had had a five-person team to manage voice applications. In addition, Hincks would have needed to schedule the IT team’s time to provision a new phone for each employee, with at least one hour of training per employee and some additional time from the IT team for troubleshooting. Dialpad required less than one full-time equivalent employee.

Another one of the biggest conveniences was that Dialpad integrated with Google for Work without any authentication process. “I found the Millennial workforce wants technology to work right away. They don’t want to set up an application, have to go through training or troubleshoot it. They want to click on an app and see it work immediately,” said Hincks.

The positive feedback about Dialed from Vivint Solar’s more than 4,000 mobile workers includes:

  • Improving the ease of signing up and using the communications technology
  • Increasing agility to work anytime and anywhere on any device with technology that doesn’t get in the way of productivity
  • Increasing productivity by being able to use a simple user interface
  • Boosting the ability to make bigger sales at a faster rate.

The ROI: Costs were reduced by several hundred thousand dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure and maintenance costs
  • No long-distance carrier costs
  • No need to hire a team to manage the cloud based communications
  • No need to train employees or engage the training department
  • High user adoption rate because of the simple user interface
  • Improved ability to attract talent by reducing recruiting costs and increasing retention of top talent

A GLOBAL COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS AND SERVICES COMPANY

In the second company, the Director of Digital Workplace Technologies set up a proof of concept (POC) with Dialpad. He found that the best way to meet the needs of workers in the modern enterprise was using cloud technology. He wanted to re-conceptualize how communications services could be presented to users and to eliminate deterrents to productivity, especially for the geographically distributed workforce that used telephony systems. The Director of Digital Workplace Technologies said, “It was important to look at an IT project as an organizational change management project. We learned this lesson when we moved our users to Google Apps for Work. Technology changes that affect how productive workers are should be seen as organizational change projects. If you can’t find something you are looking for, it makes you less productive and frustrated. So we always overlay organization change management with our IT rollouts.”

DON’T FORGET ORGANIZATION CHANGE MANAGEMENT

The company needed to have a new communications system that could be completely up and running in minutes, compared to months or even years required for deploying global on-premises systems. Applications built in the cloud reduce costs because they are more flexible, extensible, and easier to work with while making collaboration intuitive. And this company found organizational change management was a key element for a successful implementation of this new communications system.

The ROI

Using Dialpad, the company was able to retire several of its old telephony systems and realize millions of dollars in cost savings by reducing:

  • Maintenance agreements
  • Infrastructure
  • Service and support for the infrastructure
  • Phone lines from service providers.

Today, the company has deployed about 6,000 VoIP lines on Dialpad, which cover about 40 percent of its global employee base. It is looking to expand coverage every quarter. The company’s savings were several million dollars, year over year. Savings came from:

  • No upfront capital expenditure
  • No maintenance costs
  • Reduced reliance on IT helpdesk
  • No long-distance carrier costs.

GIVING EMPLOYEES MORE CHOICE, RESULTING IN HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

After implementing Dialpad at just one large site, the global company reduced the site’s cost per minute of call time by double digits. In addition, the new system offered features that the old telephony systems could not. For instance, the PBX system had been tied to a particular device – the desk office phone. However, most people are now mobile, working from various devices and remote locations. Clearly, workers could not take their desk phones outside of their offices. When workers were away from their desks, they had to use cell phones or other alternatives – from multiple phone numbers – that created additional costs for the company.

Dialpad, however, allows employees use to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony. When the company moved to Dialpad, employees could use their computers to place calls, essentially replacing desk phones. They could also use the Dialpad application on their Android or iOS mobile devices. To the person receiving the call, it all comes from the same phone number, whether the VoIP call is made from a computer or from a mobile device.

Employees could also become more productive. With the ability to communicate from any place, using any device, while still being accessible from a single phone number, people could connect with each other more easily. As collaboration was made easier, the ability for teams to work more effectively with remote employees was also improved. In essence, the company had a new potential to increase the agility and adaptability of its workforce. Employees could be more productive, collaborative and feel more connected to each other using Dialpad.

MODERNIZING THE WORKPLACE 

The new technology enabled the company to modernize its workplace. The company realized that it needed to give employees – as well as new hires and interns – technology tools that are modern, intuitive and easy to use, unlike traditional enterprise tools. The company found employees could easily pick up how to use Dialpad because they were familiar with Google Apps for Work. While moving to Dialpad, the company was also able to shift a portion of its traditional help desk activity to a self-service and community-supported model. In the community, users can ask influencers an guides questions.

WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN CHOOSING NEW TECHNOLOGY

Hardware costs and desk phones traditionally have driven the voice communications industry. While struggling for decades to bring down hardware costs, providers attempted to shift to a software model that yielded some feature and cost improvements. However, these changes have not significantly reduced costs, improved scalability, boosted agility or simplified use. In contrast, a revolutionary, exponential change occurs in the telephony industry from using a 100 percent cloud based system designed with the user in mind that is extremely easy to deploy and use while slashing operating costs, eliminating call charges, and offering rapid, unlimited and affordable scalability.

GIVING EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY RESULTS IN BETTER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES

At the end of the day, it’s really the employees that create the customer experience. And employees can’t do that unless they are given the right technology. It’s up to companies to evaluate the technology they are using and to provide them the latest technology that allows them to be their best. For information about this research study, you can find it here.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Creating Great Customer Experiences By Empowering Employees

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#OOW16 – #IOT Is Really Asking Your Business What Outcomes Are You Looking For?

Many companies approach the internet of things by starting with a device, make it connectable and then are in search of a business use case. This is a typical process that happens when there is a new area of technology area. If a company uses that as a strategy, it can be the long road to #IoT innovation. What businesses need to ask themselves are, “What business outcomes are they looking for and what innovations could be possible to shift their business model?”

We heard from the @OracleIOT group several business scenarios:

  • Break / Fix it – which drives a predictive prescriptive business process
  • Static Analytics – which drives the use of real-time, big-data analytics
  • Ownership – which drives as-a-service business models and
  • Central Service– which drives self-service as well as self-guided service.

new-business-modesl-for-iot

What they are finding is that there are various phases a business often goes through when deploying IOT. It can start with the devices or assets (trucks, phones, factories, etc…) which are then connected to a platform which are connected to a network. For a business to actually make use of IOT, the first phase, Phase 1 can be about Connecting Assets for situations like remote monitoring and asset tracking. Phase 2 is can be using Predictive Analytics which means designing predictive algorithms to transform decisions into proactive instead of reactive decisions and improving products and processes. Phase 3 can be about Service Excellence. This is where the customer or employee experience is affected. It is where IOT is being used to transform business processes by blending IOT into enterprise applications like ERP, SCM, Customer Support, CRM, HCM…

phases-of-development-of-business-maturity-use-of-iot

Some of Oracle’s IOT applications are in the areas of:

  • Asset monitoring for the utilization, availability and data from connected sensors
  • Production monitoring and prognostics of the equipment on the manufacturing factory floor
  • Fleet Management for business who have fleets of trucks, buses, delivery and maintenance vehicles
  • Connected worker for the tracking of employees, for instance in the mining, engineering construction industries.oracle-iot-application-to-business

Here are some examples of clients applying IOT to their businesses:

oracle-example-clients-using-iot

VINCI is building the next generation sensor-driven building automation to reduce the number of “truck rolls” which has a huge ROI. They are doing this with the integration or Oracle Service Cloud and SAP. Lochbridge is creating connected fleets where IOT and big data is being used for predictive maintenance in monitoring fleet / cargo to reduce the response time. GEMU is using real-time filtering and processing of valve events and proactive parts replacement with the integration of CRM, IOT and a service ticketing system. And SoftBank is using IOT to deliver mobility-as-a-service where they are monitoring vehicle location for billing and geo-fencing.

As the world of IOT expands and more and more companies start to see the value in connecting enterprise applications, with devices, and networks, we will see the transformation of workers, employees and customer experiences. When those experiences are transformed, the real value and ROI of the connected enterprise will come to life.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research, Covering Customer Facing Applications and IOT

 

 

 

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Implementing Customer Experience, Cloud, IOT or Any Technology Project? Why Will it Fail?

Obviously no one plans on implementing a project that will fail. However, statistics show that over the past 20 years a very large percentage of technology projects do fail to result in the business outcomes that they were expected to meet. The real issue is that leading change (implementing new technology, whether it be CX, transitioning to the cloud, IoT, etc…) is different than the role of leading in general. But this point is often overlooked or some leaders don’t realize how big a difference there is in leading change compared to their every day leadership job.

The reasons projects often fail and the need for orchestrating customer experience projects using organizational change management range from:

  1. Projects ran over budget, were late, or never completed.
  2. Projects were attempted more than once because initial efforts failed.
  3. Only a small part of the organization adopted the new processes or systems.
  4. When the project went live, critical business systems halted, causing loss of revenue, increased costs, dissatisfied customers and frustrated employees.
  5. Parts of the business (or possibly the entire organization) eventually reverted to the old way of doing things.
  6. The return on investment (ROI) and/or stated benefits were never realized.
  7. The project cost the business more money than it saved or generated.

 

Our research shows that there are seven steps for leaders of change leaders can use to be more successful.

Practice #1 – Understand the Business Case for Change

Practice #2 – Start with the Executive Team: Move It from Involved to Engaged

Practice #3 – Engage All Leaders and Prepare Them for the Journey

Practice #4 – Build a Broad Understanding of the Change Process

Practice #5 – Evaluate and Tailor the Change Effort

Practice #6 – Develop Adaptive Leadership Skills in Change Leaders

Practice #7 – Create Change Leadership Plans

Don’t become one of the statistics of failed projects. There are best practices that work.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications to Create Awesome Customer Experiences

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From the Field: Lithium Technologies and Microsoft Dynamics Partner To Create A Total Community Digital Strategy

Is social CRM dead? Depends on what you consider social CRM to be. With the partnering of Lithium Technologies and Microsoft Dynamics, we will see yet a new and more extensive version of intelligent customer engagements. The partnership includes Microsoft Dynamics and Lithium’s community data, social customer intelligence and analytics.

The expectation of the value of an online community is often associated with cost savings – just as call deflections can reduce the costs of customer service. While many cost savings are possible, there also are six major areas that my research has found through which an online community can contribute to a company’s revenue, profits and margins. The six areas are: increased revenue through new products and services; enhanced communications, marketing and public relations; improved employee engagement; better business cost efficiencies; expanded business value in customer service; and heightened senior leadership and board member business guidance. With this paper, leaders can create a basic blueprint to embark on a discussion about whether to create an online community, the value the community can provide, and how best to lead this key strategic initiative in their organization.

Back to the conference, @jasonlsilva gave a wonderful talk on perception, change and our ability to redefine the meaning of a billionaire to one that helps a billion people. That I think is quite different than most of the start-up wanna-be billionaire’s who are in tech to become the next billionaire. You can see more of the videos from Jason’s show BrainGames on youtube called Shots of Awe. He talked about how the smart phone is the most powerful tool to get people out of poverty. And that it’s important to step back and understand where we are in time with respect to technology. 100 years ago we were electrifying the world – today we are cognifying the world via technology. In cognitive psychology, after a signal reaches the brain, the instant when we are aware of a change in our environment, but it is before the brain is able to identify and codify what the change is. The key is to not only not be afraid of change, but to embrace it with a positive mindset. The book Mindset was recommended by Lithium’s CEO Rob Tarkoff @rtarkoff by Carol Dweck. And lucky me – got a selfie with @jasonlsilva – @jasonlsilva and @drnatalie

Speaking of great customer service, I got this note from Claudia Kardzair & Nena Gadingan who are Guest Care Managers at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis:

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.11.04 AM

The days of loyalty driven by customer care are here. Some analysts think companies will be competing on customer experience in the future. I believe they always have been. It may not have been as measured as it is now, it may not have been as obvious as now — but customers have been making mental note of their experiences. If it is bad, they will take themselves out of your marketing funnel, regardless of the number of emails, tweets or other communications a brand sends. It is the era of customer experience being the number one metric all CEOs and CFOs need to pay attention to.

And at the conference we got to hear about the wonderful total community results from customers like @USAA and Renee Horne and Mark Nichols from Skype.

Skype Community Results Renee Horne USAA Results

 

 

 

 

 

The keynote on the future of CRM and intelligent customer engagement by Jujhar Singh, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, provided a deeper understanding of what the partnership means to customers.  He shared key insights into how businesses can maximize customer data to create more personalized brand experiences. The combination of online communities and the power of CRM is an amazing capability. Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of Lithium Technologies, explained that with the partnership Lithium will be able to expand what they now offer, the power of Total Community across Microsoft’s intelligence and data infrastructures.

Microsoft Dynamics Integration with Lithium Technologies

By working closely with Microsoft, they together bring a much broader solution to their our customers. The strategic alliance will allow the integration of Lithium social interactions and community data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics customers now have a community platform that offers businesses greater insights from the wealth of customer signals embedded in communities.

What does the future of CRM hold? Perhaps it will finally go from it’s former capabilities – a customer contact management system to actually become the more aspirational customer RELATIONSHIP engagement system that enrolls a brand’s customers and never looses sight of what is important to THEM and is always there when their customers need them with the things that are important to them. When companies do this they become truly customer-centric.

@drnatalie petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering customer-facing applications

 

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