thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Death to the silos – long live the silos

Death to the silos – long live the silos

The word is that it takes two to Tango. It turns out that sometimes it needs three! I will not spoil the excitement by naming who they are, though. Why do we have silos in enterprise software? How to remove them? Do they even need to be removed? Does throwing more software at a software problem help? Aren’t the problems a software problem after all? If more or different software helps, what type of software can or should be used? Or are corporate silos even a Wallstreet problem? Great questions and even better answers by Joshua Greenbaum in this #CRMKonvo. This one got even bigger than I expected. But then, Josh thinks in big lines. And he has wits, a lot of wits. He did not disappoint, really! Apart from a lot of knowledge, that is. Listen in to our CRMKonvo. I can also highly recommend to read Josh’s article “Death to all Silos, with Aphorisms”. It is worthwhile, promised! Death to All Silos, With...
Customer Service is a changing – finding the logic in support

Customer Service is a changing – finding the logic in support

Customer service is in the middle of a transition. Not only is technology capable of doing far more than it was, say, ten years ago, but also are customers expecting far more. That has a consequence for businesses. Automation and conversational AI are one thing. These technologies already help companies serving their customers more effectively, efficiently, and the customers way.  But this is not enough! The same technologies that allow this, allow it for every company. Which means that one needs to elevate the game.  How this elevation can happen using unstructured data to improve the customers’ service experiences by e.g. leveraging unstructured data to avoid escalations is something that Martin Schneider of SupportLogic has good and very interesting stories to tell about. He argues that systems must become more intelligent and that purpose built AI is the way ahead, of course fuelled by the demands and learnings of Pandemic times. In a nutshell he says: For years, people wer not harnessing the insights inside the unstructured data inside support interactions. Today we have the power to do so – in a sense, finding the logic and the trends etc. in support interactions that help guide the business, all driven by these support interactions. It is very worthwhile listening to him.  And entertaining, too!...
The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The year 2021 comes to an end. More than three years have gone by since the last look at the Clash of Titans, an analysis of how the then big 4.5: Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Adobe – along with some other players, are shaping the greater CRM and CX arena. A lot has changed since Thomas Wieberneit published his 2018 series that consisted of 4 articles: Platform PlayMicrosoft and SAP weigh inThe War Cry: Oracle and SalesforceThe IaaS Platform Providers It is obvious that the commoditization of the business application continues, and the vendors’ focus on the underlying platform has even increased since 2018. CRM, and enterprise software in general, has always been a platform play although this has not always been recognized and sometimes even negated. Two obvious reasons for it being a platform play is that the creation of positive customer and user experiences needs a consistent technical platform, or we end up with engagements that are fragmented across interactions. This results in inconsistent and poor experiences. The second reason is that it needs a technological platform to enable and grow a thriving ecosystem. Vinnie Mirchandani in January 2020 stated that Enterprise Software Platforms have so far underperformed. Mirchandani looked at Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. He basically argues, without providing too many details, that the major enterprise software vendors’ platforms are all lacking ambitious goals and do not aim high enough. One of his major points is that none of these vendors has put enough emphasis in empowering, nurturing and growing their respective partner ecosystems to take advantage of the software platforms by augmenting the applications delivered by the platform vendor...
You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

These days every significant software vendor and some others, too, is positioning itself as a CX- and/or a platform player. By now, it is well known, what it means to be a platform player, and this is also not the main topic of this post. Just as much: In order to be a significant CX player, one quite simply needs to be a platform player.  Also, regardless of whether one has a platform or not, if everyone is a CX and a platform player, then obviously this is nothing that differentiates one vendor from the other anymore. Customers meanwhile nearly expect a set of solutions by one vendor being built upon one platform – or at least to appear like they are built on one platform. This basically means that “platform” as a thing to emphasize on has reached its zenith. And then, there is an additional problem associated with the platform game. A platform market is a kind of a winner takes it all market. Following the analysis and argumentation of Ray Wang in his new book Everybody Wants to Rule the World, in a platform market there will be only two major players. All other players are becoming insignificant or will vanish. While this sounds somewhat dystopian the point that I want to make is that there will not be a great many successful and strong players in a platform market. To use a metaphor, at one point in time a few vendors will have created enough gravity to become the entity that customers are attracted to. It is also visible that the first vendors have understood this and are acting...
How to walk a Fresh way towards CX and EX

How to walk a Fresh way towards CX and EX

The News On November 11, 2021 Freshworks held its annual Freshworks Refresh event. This year, the event had a hybrid format with around 250 customers, partners and analysts participating on site while around 17k people have registered for online participation. There was a social pre-event and an after-event for entertainment and networking purposes.  The event itself was themed around “delight made easy”. Naturally, it had different agendas for customers and partners on one side and analysts on the other side. The morning was dedicated to a 4-hour sequence of keynote sessions for everyone. The event was kicked off with a keynote by Neuroscientist, entrepreneur, and author David Eagleman, who spoke about the “Science of Delight”. The closing keynote was delivered by Amy Purdy, who shared her inspiring story of how she used creativity, a positive outlook and a never-give-up attitude to turn her life from nearly dying, finding herself with a double lower leg amputation and failing organs into becoming a 3 times Paralympic medalist. Between these two speakers, who set the scene, Freshworks offered product and customer information. Freshworks CEO Girish Mathrubootham gave a product update that linked into Eagleman’s message and a distributed customer panel spoke about their experiences with Freshworks, how they implemented Freshworks solutions and how these help the respective businesses. Rounding this off, Freshworks awarded several prizes to customers who offer exceptional EX or CX and showcased the winners of an internal hackathon. The latter is relevant because these winning solutions made it into or will make it into Freshworks products. The afternoon was filled with customer related information in the customer and partner track and product and strategy sessions for the analysts. The...
How autonomous automation is the future

How autonomous automation is the future

During the past weeks I had a couple of observations and conversations that lead me to thinking that sometimes software vendors underestimate the power that their machine learning based systems could have to improve the lives and experiences of employees and customers.  From various vendors in various lines of business, from process mining and automation via application performance monitoring to vendors of conversational AI and pretty much everything in between I hear something like the following: “Our machine learning based system continuously analyses the process/interactions and detects anomalies. From there on it identifies the patterns and can make suggestions how these anomalies can be avoided or resolved.” Of course, this is paraphrased, but you get the meaning. Here are some examples. A real life scenario that I once encountered is as follows: A global B2B e-commerce solution using synchronous pricing is set up in a template approach. It is using one single ERP system for pricing. This is a pretty common B2B scenario, as it is often not feasible to replicate all prices to the e-commerce system, due to the sheer amount of product – customer combinations that are possible. In this scenario, adding a product to the shopping cart involves multiple calls from the e-commerce solution to the ERP system to establish the price. The pilot country site is close to the country that hosts the ERP system. Implementation of the e-commerce solution happened in the country that hosts the ERP system for all e-commerce sites. Deployment into the target countries can happen only after the testing phase, which is clearly suboptimal. Adding a product to the cart...