Constellation ShortList™ for Customer Experience (CX) Services: Global

The Customer Experience (CX) Services Global List acknowledges leaders in driving customer experience excellence in organizations. 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. A systems integrator (SI) or customer experience (CX) service provider brings together solutions into an overall customer experience hub. They work with all functional departments, such as marketing, sales, customer service, supply chain, e-commerce, IT, digital performance management (DPM) and back-office systems.

With SaaS solutions, the SI’s role is changing to focus on strategy, tactics and choosing technology. Customer experience SIs guide brands’ CX journeys on all channels (e.g., email, chat, text, websites, phone, social networks) and devices (e.g., phones, tablets, desktops), and optimize each to make the experience flawless. With options to order on a website and pick up in a store or ship to an address, front-end experiences need to be great, along with top-notch supply chain/ERP so inventory is current. In addition to customer journey mapping and choosing omni-channel technology, they focus on DPM to ensure websites load quickly and shopping carts don’t get hung up or abandoned, while mitigating lost revenue.

CX SIs have a set of best practices, strategy design, optimal delivery, and testing methodology to guide clients to obtain an optimal CX from a customer’s point-of-view. These firms often perform a gap analysis (comparing the current and future state of the customer experience to find gaps). SIs use gaps to create a long- and short-term road map, emphasizing low-hanging fruit and large ROI. SIs often incorporate organizational change management.

Constellation considers the following criteria for these solutions:

  • Best practices methodology
  • An assessment tool
  • Create strategy and technology roadmap
  • Customer references
  • Differentiated IP
  • Customer success management
  • Operating in three continents.

Constellation evaluates over 100 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. Enterprise Service Providers / System Integrators / Management Consultants include:

  • Accenture
  • Bain
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • Capgemini
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • IBM Global Business Services
  • Infosys
  • McKinsey
  • SapientNitro
  • Wipro.

For more information about this short list, please see the Constellation Research website.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-facing Applications


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

For more information, please see the Constellation Research website.

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


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


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



Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming


Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 


Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming


Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?


Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce


Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

• Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• ServiceSource: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy


If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences








Doing Something Really Interesting in IOT Customer Experience or Cloud Customer Service? Apply for a SuperNova Award!

The SuperNova Awards honor leaders that demonstrate excellence in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies. This is the sixth year of the Constellation SuperNova Awards. Are you using IoT to create great, new customer experiences. Has the move to the cloud made your customer service more agile and the customer’s experience much better? If so, let us know. We want to hear your stories of using and developing:

  • IoT
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Experiences
    • IoT and creating awesome Customer Service (Field Service)
    • IoT, the Customer Experience and its affects on Customer’s and Businesses Security/ Privacy
    • Using IoT to deliver smarter Marketing
  • Cloud
    • Using the Marketing Cloud to Increase Conversion, Targeting, Relevancy…
    • Using Customer Service Cloud to Service Customers Reactively, Proactively and Drive Marketing
    • Using the Customer Experience Cloud To Drive Awesome Customer Experiences
    • Using the Sales Cloud to Grow Win Ratios…

We will be recognizing nine individuals who demonstrate true leadership in digital business through their application of new and emerging technologies. We’re searching for leaders and teams who used disruptive technolgies to transform their organizations. Special recognition will be given to projects that seek to redefine how the enterprise uses technology on a large scale.

Are you really on the leading, bleeding edge? Then we are looking for you! If you are not on the edge, you are taking up too much room! We’re searching for the boldest, most transformative technology projects out there. If you or someone you know has what it takes to compete in the SuperNova Awards, fill out the application here

What’s the Timeline look like? I kinda hate to publish this, because everyone looks at it and thinks- Oh August – I have plenty of time! Don’t kid yourself. It takes time to not only do a great project but also document it! So don’t wait to the last minute… If you are up to something special, start jotting down your project info so you won’t be late with application submission!!! And make sure you have data to show your results!

  • February 8, 2016 application process begins.
  • August 8, 2016 last day for submissions.
  • September 7, 2016 finalists announced and invited to Connected Enterprise.
  • September 12, 2016 voting opens to the public
  • September 21, 2016 polls close
  • October 27, 2016 Winners announced, SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise 

Why bother? There’s lots of Rewards! Besides getting to hang out with me 🙂 and a ton of other really outstanding and amazing leaders, and get to hear what the top companies in the world are doing, you’ll also get…

Wondering Who Are the Judges?

The judges are technology thought leaders, analysts, and journalists selected for their futurist mindset and ability to separate substance from hype. The SuperNova Award Judges carefully evaluate each SuperNova Award application against a rigorous set of criteria. Judges will identify individuals who demonstrate true leadership in the application and adoption of new and emerging technologies.  Want to catch a judge’s eye? Judges look for projects whose elements can be replicated in other enterprises. Want to know more about the awards and judges? You can learn more about the SuperNova Award Judges.

What Types of Projects or Inititatives Can Be Submitted? Here’s a list of the categories:

  •  Internet of Things – A network of smart objects enables smart services. (examples: sensors, smart ‘things’, device to purchase)
  •  Data to Decisions – Using data to make informed business decisions. (examples: big data, predictive analytics) 
  •  Digital Marketing Transformation – Personalized, data-driven digital marketing. 
  •  Future of Work: Social Business – The technologies enabling teams to work together efficiently. (examples: enterprise social networks, collaboration)
  •  Future of Work: Human Capital Management – Enabling your organization to utilize your workforce as an asset. (examples: talent management)
  •  Matrix Commerce – Commerce responds to changing realities from the supply chain to the storefront. (examples: digital retail, supply chain, payments, omni-channel retail)
  •  Next Generation Customer Experience – Customers in the digital age demand seamless service throughout all lifecycle stages and across all channels. (examples: crm, customer experience)
  •  Safety and Privacy – Strategies to secure sensitive data (examples: digital identity, information security, authentication)
  •  Technology Optimization & Innovation – Innovative methods to balance innovation and IT budgets. (examples: innovation in the cloud, ENSW cost savings, cloud ERP, efficient app production)

Who Won Last Year? I knew you would ask that, so here’s that info below. And they were all outstanding. Let’s see if you can beat what they did last year! We are really looking for the super stars. And you know who you are!

CoIT & The New C-Suite

Martin Brodbeck: CTO, Sterling Backcheck


Data to Decisions

Alda Mizaku: Lead Bus Solutions Analyst, Mercy


Digital Marketing Transformation

Naveen Gunti: Senior Director of e-Commerce Technology and Operations, Tumi Holdings, Inc.


Future of Work – Human Capital Management

Asha Aravindakshan: Operations Director, Global Talent, Ashoka


Future of Work – Social Business

Steve Nava: Senior Director Field Service, Americas, Luminex

*************************************************************Matrix Commerce

Jordan Kivelstadt: CEO, Free Flow Wines


Next Generation Customer Experience

Dan Wallis: Director of KP OnCall, Kaiser Permanente


Technology Optimization & Innovation

Dr. David Bray: Chief Information Officer , Federal Communications Commissions

Erica Stevens: VP of Supply Chain and Information Technology, Dylan’s Candy Bar

So there’s your bar. It’s been set high, but I know you can top it! Go for it! Can’t wait to see you at  SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner at Connected Enterprise!!
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Customer-facing Applications That Make Amazing Customer Experiences

#OracleCloud Summit 2016 Trends, Updates & News

I’m here with my colleagues, Holger Mueller and Doug Henschen @DHenschen, covering the #OracleCloud Summit 2016 in NYC at the Waldorf Astoria @WaldorfNYC. (BTW the Waldorf Astoria has great customer service!!!)

MY POV: My overall take away is that Oracle has built / are building the most comprehensive cloud offering – Data as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas).

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.55.56 AM

B2B Customer Experience: How does an application consume all this data – from service, sales, marketing, mobile… to result in a business outcome? That’s my focus- not as much on all the data or infrastructure – but rather what is the customer / business outcome that all this provides? Here’s an example…

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.57.27 AMThe person is coming close to the company and gets a notification to look to see more about how well the account is doing (Account Health.) I (as this sales person) sign-in and I find out that from service cloud, that this is not a “healthy” customer, so I can’t talk to them about adding services or products. I’m walking into a situation where there is an issue that has not been resolved. If I did log on and see there weren’t any issues, I might be able to start the conversation about what they might buy. Instead, I’d start by solving the unresolved issue. I can also see the opportunity for what they might buy if I can solve their issue.

Customer Service Is Mission Critical: This makes so much sense and why customer service needs to be a mission critical part of the overall business strategy. It is the canary in the coal mine. Everything you need to know about what your customers think and feel about your products and services can be found in customer service. It always has been. It’s only recently, by connecting marketing, sales, service, that we can actually use that information to make better business decisions. I like this a lot. It’s something I’ve been on a soapbox for years. I thank the cloud for bringing all these applications together so that we can have this integrated view of our companies.

Customer Success Management: What some of the conversation today reminds me of customer success management. I have written about this in separate reports for vendors that specialize in looking at how well an application has been deployed, used, by whom and for what. It seems this idea has been translated into the Platform as a Service by Oracle, to be able to know more about my customers and determine if they are happy and if not, and what I, as for example a salesperson, can do. It only makes sense. If you have the data, why not use it to know if your customer is happy? No customers, no business. It’s really that simple. This capability may not be as developed as the customer success management vendors, but it’s definitely in the right direction.

Customer Experience: Certainly it’s gotten more difficult to manage devices and channels and predict customer behavior. One of the TRENDS at  is to have all data in one place, analyzed to help brands to deliver the right message, at the right & real time, which results in much better customer experiences #cx for the customer and better business results for the brand.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.13.30 AM

The message is that Oracle ID Graph can be used to connect customer behavior to get right message, to the right channel via modeling the data to discover the best decisions.Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.27.59 AM

From analyzing all this data, Oracle has found the best predictor of future purchases is past purchases. This shows that one of the real values of data is customer’s behavior. If businesses can understand “Say, Do, Buy” they will be able to target, personalize and measure the success of the customer experience across devices and channels via this Identity Graph.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.24.53 AM

Oracle CX Cloud Differentiators: The CX Cloud Product Highlights include, because of the PaaS, DaaS, IaaS and SaaS, a unique customer experience cloud – including the ability to integrate the sales, marketing, service, commerce, social, mobile….to provide brands the ability to make the right business decisions, quickly.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.29.05 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.44.45 AMFuture of B2C and B2B: If could measure TV ads, it could put end to guessing how much money and where to spend money on TV ads. This is a huge challenge that needs to be solved. That would be a service that would put an end to the huge amounts of money that lead to the famous quote – “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” by John Wannamaker.

Mark Hurd @MarkVHurd: He’s speaking to us about their need to shift to persona selling, which they are and have done. It used to be that the buyer was the CIO. But the cloud has brought new buyers to the table – CMO’s, Customer Experience Professionals, Customer Service… Smart. The line of business doesn’t have to wait in line for IT’s list of to do’s. Maybe IT still needs to stay focused on their list. Certainly much of what they do is needed. And maybe it was never realistic to think they could do all that is required in IT and to service the lines of business. Perhaps that is part of the beauty of the cloud. It puts the line of business in charge of their needs in software / hardware.

mark hurd

Mark is also talking to us about the idea that the focus of software as a service is interested in the business outcome, rather than what software companies used to focus on, which was the product. This is something that is so important. Software / Hardware for the sake of software / hardware is not enough, at least in my opinion. Until the cloud, the multiple customer personas didn’t have as much buying power and they didn’t have the weight they do now. Yes, hardware / software all needs to work, be secure, be fast, etc.. but at the end of the day, it has to provide a business owner capabilities that make their business run better. Period.

Great information. Great Summit.

@Dr Natalie Petouhoff, Constellation Research, VP and Principal Analyst, Covering Customer-facing Applications




The CMO Club and Oracle Deliver New Solution Guide to Help CMOs Transform Their Marketing Organization


The complexity of marketing has increased exponentially. The question on many CMO’s mind’s range from:

  • Do I have the right technology?
  • Am I using what I have well?
  • What else do I need?
  • Are my processes efficient and effective to take advantage of the technology?
  • Do my people have the right skills, mindsets and capabilities to deliver on all the various aspects marketing has expanded into – from SEO, to demand gen, to lead conversion, to e-commerce, to branding, storytelling and brand personas, to email, social and digital marketing…?
  • Are my strategies going to create the kind of lead conversion rates that will enable to expansion of my team and the respect that they should garner from the senior leadership team?
  • Do I have the right customer analytics strategy and can I execute on the data and data warehouses that are required to really know my customer and service real-time information where (channels & devices) when they need it?

To help CMOs meet skyrocketing customer and boardroom expectations, The CMO Club, along with Oracle,  released “The CMO Solution Guide for Building a Modern Marketing Organization.” The guide, which is based on interviews with CMOs and digital marketing leaders from major brands including Dow Chemical, JetBlue Airways, MasterCard, PayPal, Quiznos, The Hershey Company and Viking River Cruises, includes insights and best practices that CMOs can apply to build customer-first marketing teams that drive measureable results.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.22.49 PM

To help marketers successfully manage this transformation, the new CMO Solution Guide provides practical advice from 20 in-depth interviews with CMOs and digital marketing leaders from organizations of various sizes and different industries.

Pete Krainik, CEO, The CMO Club said, “While the number of tools and amount of data available to marketers continues to multiply, the age old challenge of capturing and leveraging the right data to create engaging customer experience across all channels still exists. The first step they must take is to establish the appropriate organizational alignment to successfully create this type of customer experience. While no organization is exactly the same, this guide helps provide easy-to-implement changes that any marketer can use to drive transformation.

While there is no organizational model that fits every company universally, four key themes emerged during the course of the interviews that informed the organizational decisions that CMOs make: Acumen, Alignment, Agility and Accountability. More on those below:

  • Acumen: To become more effective modern marketers, respondents reported that enhancing the skills within their department has become a top priority. From developing valuable customer insights through data mining to investing in content creation and the need for greater evaluative analytics, leading marketers are investing heavily in helping their teams learn new skills.
  • Alignment: From top to bottom and across all functions, the guide shows that it is critical for all departments to follow the same processes and company culture in order to effectively engage customers across all touchpoints.
  • Agility: To meet consumer demands for exceptional customer experience, the guide noted how important it is for businesses to have strong cross-functional teams and the flexibility to pilot something new to test and learn best practices.
  • Accountability: To demonstrate marketing’s impact on the bottom line, the guide recommends establishing the right measures from the outset and instilling a culture of personal accountability around those parameters.

Along those lines is a larger question that looms in most organizations. That question is who should be the general manager of the overall customer experience? CMO’s are well positioned to be that person, but there are risks as well as rewards in taking on that responsibility. I’ve outlined some of them in a new report Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience? And I look forward presenting  the accompanying webinar coming up later 2016.

Should CMO Lead The Whole Customer Experience

While most brands may not realize it, they are competing on one important variable: customer experience. With all other things being equal, we are in a service economy and there’s nothing that is more important than the experience customers have with companies. And it’s not the brand promise creating by marketing that makes up that customer experience, but also the experience customers have with sales, service and back office operations. It’s not an easy question, but one that must be answered by every senior leadership team and their board of directors. That is what digital disruption is all about and companies not understanding this will go out of business or be acquired or merged for their customer list and cash flow. Poor customer experience, no business. Period. It’s that simple.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer Facing Capabilities of Organizations to Deliver on Better Customer Experiences



Five Gottcha’s To Lookout for When Leading Customer Experience

The importance of leading the customer experience cannot be understated. However, if the CMO steps into this role, there are risks that come along with the rewards. It may mean, in some organizations, that you’ll have to start by wearing a flak jacket to repel those who want to do you in. While that sounds harsh, those who have tried to lead new initiatives and were some of the first people who ventured out and did it, like social media, have been seen in the organization as early adopters. Most people in corporate America, though, are members of the early majority and late majority in terms of adoption of new ideas.

As a result, if you are an innovator or early adopter, be prepared that others may not see what you see. They may require a business case and more details on why you want to change the organization. If you know this in advance, it will save you a lot of heartache and make you much more successful.

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The five “gottchas” our research uncovered for CMO’s (or whomever is leading customer experience) to watch out for include:

  1. Jealously and politics among colleagues
  2. Lack of organizational readiness
  3. Lack of skill sets in functional departments
  4. The amount of change the organization has to go through
  5. CEOs and board members who do not understand the importance of customer experience.

It is highly recommended that if you step into the Customer Experience Management role, you have full backing from the CEO and board members for all decision-making and ample resources in people, budget and technology. Projects without this will be doomed to fail. What has your experience been with leading change?

Read my latest research report, Should the CMO Lead the Customer Experience?  Download the table of contents and an excerpt of the report here:

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering IOT of Customer Facing Applications in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Create Great Customer Experiences


7 Principles To Drive Success Factors For CMOs to Thrive When Leading Customer Experience

As brands realize Customer Experience Management is key to their overall strategy and long-term growth, our research at Constellation found CMOs should consider the following 7 principles when leading customer experience initiatives:

  1. Bring passion about the brand you work for and drive cross-functional collaboration and lead organizational change
  2. Focus on both communications and brand guardianship as well as innovation, product and business responsibilities
  3. Balance the brand view and the business view so the CEO takes you seriously
  4. Gain mastery of technical and non-technical skills: it’s critical
  5. Use data and predictive insights to deliver real-time, optimized customer experiences
  6. Evolve into a strong, well-balanced leader of cross-functional teams and groom successors and
  7. Gain design-thinking experience.

Leaders of Customer Experience Management must have an emotional tie to the brand, identify with it and want to share the value it brings to customers. The CMO must be passionate about championing the customer experience and leading the development of the strategies, activities and tactics to create and sustain demand. Marketing must become the cross-functional voice of the customer. Having some organizational change management skills is very helpful to be able to lead the change, and is an inherent part of the changing role of the CMO, especially if they take on an end-to-end customer experience position.

The Reward for being a Great CMO? With a winning brand, you will be a CMO that not only knows how to adapt to change, but actually anticipates and drives it. You will be a CMO that knows how to cascade change down and across an organization so the changes to roles, processes, technology and its integration are accepted. You will be able to accomplish this by leading the employees in all departments. You will be able to structure teams to establish a culture that embraces change.
Your leadership will cut across functional department boundaries and get everyone on board, behind a vision and into a new way of working collaboratively. This may mean fixing processes that are broken or that no longer make sense. The reward is knowing that you have created an environment where cross-functional teams are not threatened by change, but instead embrace it and find ways to optimize the opportunities change brings.
What Does Leadership Have To Do With It? You will need to be a great leader. Just because someone is appointed to a position does not mean they actually have all the skills to get people to follow a new way of doing things. Asking for feedback on leadership skills is key prior to taking a new role. The innovation you will be responsible for can come in the form of how a brand enables customers to find, consume, participate in, talk about and share content about the brand.
Customers often control a majority of the dialogue about the brand and Marketing must be ready to talk directly to customers. This is new. In the past, marketers were accustomed to pushing content or campaigns out, but not having to respond. Social and digital media completely changed that with the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and customer communities. Influencing others is key, especially when communicating and engaging with so many different departments, with different agendas and success criteria. Often Marketing delivers a brand promise and other departments, like Customer Service, is tasked to deliver on it. So collaboration is key.
People Want to Follow Great Leaders. Times have changed, customer expectations have changed and now brands have to follow suit. Ask yourself, “Would you follow you?Are you able to lead the traditional responsibilities a CMO has had as well as the whole customer experience, which requires you to collaborate with many functional departments?  How is your company handling the leadership of customer experience?
Read my latest research report, Should the CMO Lead the Customer Experience?  Download the table of contents and an excerpt of the report here:
@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering IOT and Customer Facing Applications in Marketing, Sales and Customer Service that Create Amazing Customer Experiences