thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Zoho Creator – the next wave of collaborative no-code/low-code development

Zoho Creator – the next wave of collaborative no-code/low-code development

The News On March 3, 2022 Zoho released the new version of its Creator no-code/low-code platform. It offers a unified development platform to empower both IT teams and business users.  The new release is targeted at building end-to-end solutions in an easy way. It combines integration, process automation and analytics/business intelligence with the ability to build applications and offers application management capabilities needed to manage security, compliance and governance. Along with the built-in collaboration features it allows for a tight collaboration between business- and IT users. The bigger picture About a year ago I wrote a first article on no-code and low-code platforms, based upon the realization that the ongoing digitalization and necessity for business agility in fast changing environments require more than traditional developer support. At that time I cautioned that business users should not just be allowed to do everything without governance in order to avoid another “Lotus Notes moment”. Since then the world moved on.  No-code and low-code have become an indispensable part of the business applications world. They are critical to the fast adaptation of business applications and process automation across business applications. This is a task that is traditionally handled by IT departments. These, however, are regularly understaffed to be able to fulfil all the operations and enhancements demands that are on their desks.  To achieve this, no code and low code platforms need to support both, IT departments as well as the business departments. This means that they need to straddle a considerable gap. Typically, no-code and low-code platforms concentrated on either business users or IT departments. The latter are not really useful for IT departments as they...
The Return of the Undead – Do they go B2B or B2C?

The Return of the Undead – Do they go B2B or B2C?

In the first part of this article, I explained why there is no metaverse (yet), although the idea is around for quite some years. Despite the current hype, it is just a re-emerging topic. Foundational technologies like VR are around since as long as the 50s although VR really entered our minds only in the 90s. The Virtual Reality Modeling Language VRML got standardized in 1994 and its successor X3D in 2004. Half Life with the first highly immersive world was released in 1998. I went into some definition and laid out a framework for a kind of an architecture that can support whatever this idea evolves into, with some emphasis on common standards and some governance. These are necessary, because the metaverse is nothing more than a platform of platforms, which means that at the end of the day it is a kind of a protocol.  Or else we will see a collection of (competing) multiverses. I closed with some questions that need to be answered. Why does it need a metaverse, if at all?What are meaningful use cases?Who will rule? Startups? Existing players? Governments? So, let’s dig into it. Why metaverse? Now that the definition work is out of the way, one of the main questions is what the value that a person or organization can expect from being involved in or using “metaverse” is. After all, it is real money that is spent, whereas the whole concept of metaverse is digital and virtual. That raises several interesting questions like: Where is the link between the physical and the digital world, if any? Where is the problem that cannot be solved without the or be...
Metaverse – The Return of the Undead

Metaverse – The Return of the Undead

There. Is. No. Metaverse. I am sorry to be a party pooper but read me out. It doesn’t exist. At least not yet. And not for quite some years to come. I am talking of a decade or more. Perhaps not ever. And whence it comes, it probably looks different from what we see now, and we will likely call it by a different name. Does this statement surprise you? I mean, many people, companies and investors are looking at metaverse as being the next big thing. Crunchbase already in November 2021 reported more than $10.6bn being investedinto metaverse related startups. According to a Galaxy report quoted by Institutional Investor, crypto and blockchain startups alone collected more than $32bn in 2021. Microsoft just invested a whopping $70bn in Activision Blizzard, which is clearly a metaverse play. So much money cannot be wrong, right? Google trends also suggests that there is quite some interest in these topics that came up quite recently and quite suddenly, which means that the trend has reached the masses. Figure 1: Google Trends NFT (blue) & Metaverse (red) 01/01/20 – 02/07/22 Last, but not least, “Metaverse” is not a new concept, as it exists since at least 1998 – yes, I am talking about Half Life, the first person shooter game that is often credited with providing a highly immersive world as a first of kind. The first usage of the term itself is credited to Neal Stephenson, who used it in his novel “Snow Crash”.  Still: It. Does. Not. Exist. The biggest evidence for there not being a metaverse is that everyone (and their dog) is building one or even claiming...
RPA – hot or not? Here are the ultimate answers

RPA – hot or not? Here are the ultimate answers

One of today’s big business topics is robotic process automation. What is it? A boon or a thing? Where is the real value in applying RPA and how to do it right? So many questions that the #CRMKonvos team needed to ask Sebastian Eggert of SOGEDES. It is no secret that RPA has its roots in UI based test automation to conduct load and stress tests and screen scraping. It is also no secret that it is always better to use APIs than that. That would put RPA firmly into the category of dying animals or, in more technical terms, make it a bridge technology. But then, how about real life? Can one always do connect applications with APIs? How about empowering business units to get solutions faster than working with a continuously overburdened IT department? And: How about the risk of entrenching existing processes instead of entering the road to digital transformation, which is a business transformation? Is it reasonable to expect investments being made into RPA being turned over fast? After all, temporary solutions have the tendency to become quite permanent. And if it is a bridge technology: What is the future? Hint: Look into process mining and machine learning… Most important of all is the right approach for implementing RPA. Where to start, how to decide about good candidates for automation? Does it need a strategy? He answered them all! Watch the episode that will remain known as the “hot shit” show. Because RPA is quite...
Medallia and Thunderhead for great CX

Medallia and Thunderhead for great CX

The News On January 20, 2022 Medallia announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Thunderhead, the leader in customer journey orchestration, or like the press release states it, leader in every-channel journey orchestration. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this fiscal year. The stated benefit for customers is that “with the combination of customer experience insights and journey orchestration, organizations can have a single view of the customer journey and use real-time interactions to improve experiences and loyalty.” Thunderhead is expected to “strengthen Medallia’s ability to power individualized journeys and conversations at scale, across all online and offline channels, helping Medallias’s thousands of customers continue to increase their brand loyalty, sales and growth.” Thunderhead founder and CEO Glen Manchester says that “the acquisition heralds the next era of customer experience. We pioneered the idea of the customer operating system, with our closed-loop customer engagement platform powered by continuous listening, feedback and learning, all actioned through our unique fusion of journey orchestration and real-time interaction management (RTIM). With Thunderhead, Medallia can ensure that every single aspect of the customer lifecycle – marketing, commerce, sales and service – will be a seamless, relevant, and frictionless experience.” Tl;dr Watch my snap analysis – or read on.  The bigger Picture The name of the game is CX (platform). As with any platform game, it is crucial to have enough scale. On top of this, the markets for CDP, segmentation, personalization, real-time interaction management and customer journey orchestration are converging. A CDP provides the persistent and transactional data foundation that allows the delivery of the additional value that insight...
Is Microsoft bringing the joy and community of gaming to everyone?

Is Microsoft bringing the joy and community of gaming to everyone?

The News On January 18, 2022, Microsoft announced the intention to acquire Activision Blizzard with the vision of bringing the joy and community of gaming to everyone, for $95 per share, which equals a transaction value of $68.7 bn. This is a bit more than eight times of the revenue that Activision Blizzards expect to have in the fiscal year 2022. With this acquisition, Microsoft can add 400 million monthly active users to the already existing 25 million Game Pass holders. Until the acquisition closes, the companies will run independently. After completion of the transaction, Activision Blizzard wil report to Phil Spencer, the newly appointed CEO of Microsoft Gaming. This acquisition makes Microsoft the third largest gaming company by revenue, after Tencent and Sony. The stock markets reacted with a sharp increase of Activision Blizzard shares to about $87, while Microsoft stock largely followed its pre-existing slight downward trajectory. Here my analysis in a brief video. The bigger Picture We have currently around 3 billion people and growing, who are actively gaming. Millennials and younger do not even know a world without social media and smart phones. They often play using mobile devices. Microsoft, on the other hand, is available on basically every device and offers quite some hardware, too, either directly or via partners. Additionally, Microsoft already before was a known entity in the gaming market, e.g. owning gaming platforms like Minecraft and Doom. Still, according to Shacknews, Microsoft seems to have missed the own growth targets, even though an increase of Game Pass holders from 18 million to 25 million in the year 2021 is quite significant.  Apart from the...