Nimble 2018 – The Story continues

Nimble 2018 – The Story continues

The year 2018 is coming to an end, which means it is high time for some interesting product and roadmap news. Here’s some Nimble news (ok, not THAT fresh anymore, I have been incredibly busy recently). For starters, Nimble released its long awaited Mobile 3.0 for Android, complementing the iOS version that got released earlier this year. Nimble unifies contacts from teams’ mobile, cloud-based, and desktop records into an all-in-one relationship manager. With minimal taps, sales and marketing professionals can prepare for meetings by quickly scanning social insights, sales intelligence, and contact engagement history from their portal device. To keep the momentum going, Office 365 and G Suite users can send personalized responses using template, trackable emails, and monitor opportunities across all deal stages from their portable devices. “People buy from the people they know, like, and trust,” said Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara. “We therefore designed Nimble Mobile to give users the insights they need to build confidence, engage in productive discussions, and follow through promptly anytime, anywhere.” With this milestone, Nimble has now truly achieved a vision of being a simple, smart ‘CRM’ for MS Office and G-Suite users that works for the user. I put the CRM into quotes as this term for me and most other people relates to a stragegy or system that includes marketing, sales and service capabilities and not only Sales Force Automation (SFA). And SFA, particularly contact management, is what is at the core of Nimble. Still, Nimble combines key ingredients of the digital workplace that a mobile, sales person needs, into one single place. It provides the user with vital information about...
Data Rules – SAP acquires Qualtrics

Data Rules – SAP acquires Qualtrics

The News On November 11, 2018 SAP announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Qualtrics, the “global pioneer of the experience management (XM) software category”. Here is the full announcement for you to read: WALLDORF, Germany, PROVO, Utah, SEATTLE, Wash. — SAP SE(NYSE: SAP) and Qualtrics International Inc. (Qualtrics) today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which SAP SE intends to acquire Qualtrics, the global pioneer of the experience management (XM) software category that enables organizations to thrive in today’s experience economy. Together, SAP and Qualtrics to accelerate the new XM category by combining experience data and operational data to power the experience economy Creates a highly differentiated offering for businesses to deliver superior customer, employee, product, and brand experiences Ryan Smith to continue to lead Qualtrics; Qualtrics to maintain dual headquarters in Provo, Utah, and Seattle, Wash. Under the terms of the agreement, SAP will acquire all outstanding shares of Qualtrics for US$8 billion in cash. SAP has secured financing in the amount of €7 billion to cover purchase price and acquisition-related costs. The purchase price includes unvested employee incentive compensation and cash on the balance sheet at close. Subject to customary closing conditions and attainment of regulatory clearances, the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2019. The Boards of Directors of SAP and Qualtrics have approved the transaction. Qualtrics’ shareholders have also approved the transaction. SAP CEO Bill McDermott said: “We continually seek out transformational opportunities – today’s announcement is exactly that. Together, SAP and Qualtrics represent a new paradigm, similar to market-making shifts in personal operating systems, smart...
Clash of Titans – The IaaS Platform Providers

Clash of Titans – The IaaS Platform Providers

In the past three posts of this series I have covered the definition of a platform, followed by a brief analysis of the big four players in the customer experience world, namely Microsoft, and SAP, followed by Salesforce and Oracle. And then there are the IaaS Platform Providers Of which there are mainly four, although Gartner Group lists six of them in their 2018 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, Worldwide! And this drop from 14 vendors in 2017 to just six in 2018 already shows how much consolidation is going on in this market. But why even mention them here? After all this text originated as an analysis of the big business software vendors. Cloud infrastructure provides are important for two reasons: They do provide the raw computing power, the storage, networking resources, etc. for business workloads in a highly elastic way – including the ability to scale up and down in (near) real time. IaaS platforms also more and more contain and offer the PaaS portion that is necessary to offer value added services. In essence, the big six of the IaaS providers that are covered by the Gartner Group offer a technology platform, an ecosystem, insight, and productivity tools. The only thing that they are not really doing – yet – is offering rich, integrated business applications. But back to why I do see only four main IaaS providers going forward. These famous four are AWS, Microsoft, Google, and Alibaba. Of course with AWS having a tremendous lead for now, with Google and Microsoft struggling for the second spot, and with new kid on the block Alibaba growing...
Clash of Titans: Microsoft and SAP weigh in

Clash of Titans: Microsoft and SAP weigh in

A little recap As it has been some time since I published Clash of Titans – Platform Play, the first part of this little series, let me start with a little recap. The business applications market, especially the CRM market, is evolving fast. CRM has morphed from concentrating on transactions to become an enabler of engagements. Engagements in turn result in experiences. And positive experiences are what companies want to achieve. In a digital world this is possible only if companies rely on a foundation, a (technical) platform. Becoming the provider of the dominant technical platform therefore has become the main goal of of the big business software vendors. However, even governing a great technical platform is not enough. Software vendors that want to be successful platform players need to be able to deliver on four areas to succeed: Platform (IaaS/PaaS) Ecosystem Insight Productivity Only if they deliver on all four aspects are ‘platform players’ able to provide their customers with what they need to involve themselves in digital engagements that result in sustainably positive experiences. I will look at how the big four are measuring up in this and the next article of this little series. Microsoft and SAP will be the starters. Then I will look at Oracle and Salesforce. I might conclude with some surprise additions. But let the games begin! Microsoft Microsoft is the (not so, if you look sharply) hidden champion of this game. Actually, I think that Microsoft is the 800 pound gorilla in this game. It is Microsoft’s objective to become the fabric that connects enterprises of all sizes with their stakeholders,...
Clash of Titans – Platform Play

Clash of Titans – Platform Play

A lot has evolved since my Clash of the Titans post that looked into how the big 4.5 (Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Adobe) and others are positioning themselves and their platform in the greater CRM arena. First, the commoditization of the business application has accelerated and the vendors’ focus on the underlying platform has increased. CRM, and enterprise software in general, has always been a platform play although this has not always been recognized and sometimes even negated. The obvious reason for it being a platform play is that the creation of positive customer and user experiences need a consistent technical platform. Or else we are ending up in engagements that are fragmented across interactions. This results in inconsistent and poor experiences. So far, so well known. A bit less obvious is the fact that there will be only few dominant platforms. Vendors, who want to become and stay successful on a grand scale need to be one of these few platform providers and attract partners and customers. This is the reason why I consult my customers that one of the very first IT strategy decisions that they need to take is the platform decision. As the article got a little longer this time and as I do not tend to write articles that are as long as dear friend Paull Greenberg’s (maybe I should consider to?) this revisit of the Clash of the Titans will become a two or three piece series, first covering the framework I want to use, the very definition of what I talk of when saying that CRM is a ‘platform play’. The...
Einstein smartens up Salesforce Service Cloud

Einstein smartens up Salesforce Service Cloud

The News A few days ago Salesforce released a new iteration of its Service Cloud Einstein after infusing its artificial intelligence, Einstein, into the Service Cloud in February 2017. This release comes with three major enhancements to the Service Cloud: Einstein Bots for Service Lightning Flow for Service Einstein Next Best Action Einstein Bots for Service is providing the ability to easily configure chat bots that enable instant response to customers and a seamless handoff to customer service agents. Lightning Flow for Service gives companies the ability to automate processes with contextual, step-by-step guidance for fulfilling requests and resolving issues, using a graphical interface. Einstein Next Best Action is delivering intelligent recommendations and offers on any channel to increase customer satisfaction. While Einstein Bots for Service and Lightning Flow for Service are in General Availability since July 11, 2018, Einstein Next Best Actions will remain in a Pilot phase for some more time. The reason for this is that Salesforce wants to be double sure that this functionality is reliable. It needs a good amount of data and a good training set. And Salesforce cannot look into the data. The bots themselves do need to get trained and, once active, take feedback from the service agents. All three features work hand-in-hand. Salesforce uses a credit card scenario to make this point. When a customer goes to the web site for help the chat bot takes over and gathers the necessary contextual information and then escalates the issue to a customer service agent who continues the chat at the position the chat bot exited with all information available. A Lightning...