thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
Reflecting on 2023 with gratitude – What caught your interest

Reflecting on 2023 with gratitude – What caught your interest

A very happy, healthy and prosperous new year to all of you. This is also the time to review my blog and to have a look what your favourite posts of 2023 have been. With 23 posts, I admittedly have been somewhat lazy in 2023. Looking at the top ten read posts in 2023, there is a clear clustering about a few topics, none of them really surprising. There is a genuine interest in CX, ChatGPT, and vendors.  Again, this is not a surprise.  Still, there are a few surprises in the list! So, without further adoo, let’s hear the drumroll for your top five favourite posts on my blog – in ascending order. After all, some suspense cannot harm. The fifth place gets claimed by my review of ZohoDay 2022 – “Don’t mess with Zoho – A Zohoday 2022 recap”. Yes, you read that right. This is a 2022 post. The fourth place got claimed by another article on Zoho, almost one year younger: Zoho, how a technology company reimagines business software. It is a reflection on the Zoholics 2023 conference in Austin and gives information about how Zoho evolved in the 12 months that lie between these two articles. The article that your reading placed on position 3 is about the topic of 2023: ChatGPT. Beyond the hype – How to use ChatGPT to create value explores scenarios that help businesses gain value from an implementation of ChatGPT and provides an assessment framework that bases on accuracy of responses and fluency of the generated output. The second place, according to your interest, goes to an article about Zoho again. Truly Zoho –...
What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

It is this time of the year. Everybody (and their dog), has some predictions for 2024. As you can guess, reading this, I am participating in this game. Last year, I published three humble wishes to better the industry – and I am sad to say, that my three wishes stay wishes also in 2024. I’d say that this is partly because 2023 became the year of generative AI. We all know why. Pretty much every vendor got caught flat-footed by the meteoric rise of OpenAI. Correspondingly, in the course of 2023, we have seen a huge number of pre-announcements of one generative AI scenario or another being integrated into their software and then offered by enterprise software vendors. Mostly, these announcements were about low-hanging fruit. Which does not mean that they are useless or not valuable, quite on the contrary. Solutions, once they are available, have the potential to increase employee productivity and the customer experience. But, they are announcements or early adoptions. So, based on this, what will we see in 2024? And let’s limit ourselves to the realms of CRM, CX and customer engagement. Success stories The more announcements of something being available soon turn into actual usage, we will be able to see actual success stories. Customers will more and more move from trial mode to actually addressing business challenges and measure the degree of success of an implementation by the change of KPIs that can be attributed to this implementation. In some instances, we can see this already starting. Diginomica’s Jon Reed recently interviewed a representative of Loop insurance who gave some highly interesting...
The Generative AI Game of Thrones – Is OpenAI toast?

The Generative AI Game of Thrones – Is OpenAI toast?

The News This has been an exciting weekend for the generative AI industry. On Friday November 17, OpenAI announced that the company fired its figurehead CEO Sam Altmann and appointed Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati as interims CEO in a surprise move. The press release states that Altmann “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board.” Surprised was apparently not only Sam Altmann, but also the till then chairman of the board Greg Brockman who first stepped down from this position and subsequently quit OpenAI. Investors, notably Microsoft, found themselves blindsided, too – or flat footed depending on the individual point of view. Satya Nadella was compelled to state that Microsoft stays committed to the partnership with OpenAI in a blog post that got updated on November 19, 11:55 pm. All hell broke loose. Microsoft shares took a significant hit. A number of additional senior OpenAI personnel quit. Both, Altman and Brockman, voiced the idea of founding another startup together. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella flew to San Francisco to negotiate a reinstatement of Altmann. It initially seemed that this would be going to happen, along with the complete board stepping down and being replaced by Silicon Valley tech executives. Apparently, this did not work out. The result is that Altmann, Brockman, and some other former senior OpenAI staff are now Microsoft employees, with Altmann becoming the CEO of a new advanced AI research unit. Also on Sunday, Emmett Shear, former CEO of Twitch, was appointed new interims CEO at OpenAI. Meanwhile, more than 500 of OpenAI’s employees, including former interims CEO Murati threatened to quit OpenAI and join Altmann at Microsoft, which apparently...
Relevance, reliability, responsibility are key for AI – the SAP way

Relevance, reliability, responsibility are key for AI – the SAP way

The News A lot is going on in the SAPverse during October and the early days of November 2023. First, SAP conducted its CXLive event with CX-related announcements, then the company reported good Q3/2023 figures, a new version of its CX software that includes new generative AI capabilities got released and lastly, it executed its SAP TechEd event with a good number of AI-, BTP-, and ERP related announcements. As this is quite a lot, I covered the CX world in a previous post and will cover the TechEd related news in this post. So, what is new at SAP TechEd? For one, it is enough to fill a 17-page pre-event news guide that SAP sent out. SAP certainly is able to stack up the news for major events. I took the liberty to ask ChatGPT for a summary of the document, which I slightly edited afterwards. Here we are: AI and Development Environments: SAP introduces SAP Build Code with generative AI, improving application development and testing, while new AI capabilities are integrated across SAP’s ecosystem to drive automation. Business Technology Platform (BTP): BTP is augmented with new guides for application deployment and makes the SAP Cloud SDK for Java open source. A new vector capability for managing unstructured data via high-dimensional vectors is announced as part of SAP HANA, enhancing developer productivity, and allowing for Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) that combines large language models with business data. SAP Graph is generally available, and now extends API management to offer a unified API for streamlined access to enterprise data, boosting productivity and integration efforts. Cloud ERP: SAP introduces new...
How SAP plans to win the CX game

How SAP plans to win the CX game

The News A lot is going on in the SAPverse during October and the early days of November 2023. First, SAP conducted its CXLive event with CX-related announcements, then the company reported good Q3/2023 figures, a new version of its CX software that includes new generative AI capabilities got released and lastly, it executed its SAP TechEd event with a good number of AI-, BTP-, and ERP related announcements. As this is quite a lot, let me focus on SAP CX in this post. I will cover the TechEd related parts in another post soon.  During his keynote to SAP CX Live CEO Christian Klein named CX “a very critical part of SAP’s portfolio. There is no intelligent enterprise without CX”. This got later reaffirmed by Chief Marketing Officer for SAP’s industry and CX solutions, Sven Denecken, who said “SAP is very serious about customer experience. If you heard otherwise, that’s not true”. Why is this important? You’ll find out in the next section. The bigger picture Like every other company, too, SAP has jumped on the generative AI train. For some time now, we are hearing of a lot of announcements and available functionality. This includes an own co-pilot as well as an own foundation model that focuses on business data and business decisions. Focusing on CX, SAP announced the availability of a number of AI driven assistants that cover the whole chain from marketing through service but also lead into fulfillment.   With all these, SAP is in tough competition. The company is not perceived as a CX leader, some people even doubt it being serious about CX at all and also question the company’s...
SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

The news On October 4 and 5, 2023, SugarCRM held its Connected event followed by an analyst summit in London. The first day – Connected – was targeted mostly at customers while the second day focused on analysts.  The event started off with an intense speech by Katherine Grainger, DBE, a British rowing champion. Her core messages were about team bonding, the importance of communication, continuous improvement, and perseverance (well, at least that’s my take). This was followed by information about what is new in the software and, more importantly, a customer panel.  The main sponsor, Mobileforce, placed some words about the partnership. In addition, the analysts had 1:1s with customers, partners, and Sugar executives. The second day was filled with information targeted at analysts. CEO Craig Charlton and his executive team shared about financial status, strategy and more in-depth product news. Sugar being a privately held, VC backed company, the financials are of course under NDA, so it suffices to say that the company is not one of the biggest players but on a solid trajectory with high win and customer retention rates. According to Charlton, this can be attributed to the word “ease”, which later got confirmed via a marketing study related by CMO Clare Dorrian. Going forward, the continuation of this growth shall be supported by verticalization, a concentration on AI and a focus on the upper mid-market and lower enterprise market. This is based on the assessment that CRM can become an assistant to its users via the smart application of (generative) AI to “let the platform do the work” for the users. The industry strategy got explained by the...