thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
The customer success movement

The customer success movement

Customer success has become an interesting topic for software vendors and systems integrators, alike. I am thinking about this topic for a while now and now bring my thoughts to virtual paper after Jon Reed pinged me about it and after reading Josh Greenbaum’s very readable post about “customer successing”. By the way, Jon called software vendors to attention and to deliver proof points in a great article, too. So, call me a copycat 😉. The customer success movement In the past years enterprise software vendors and consultancies alike, have increasingly established customer success teams as part of their organizations. One can almost call it a movement. And it is a laudable endeavor to work on ensuring the customers’ success. However, when looking closer at the reasons for their establishment and their charters, it becomes quite obvious that many of these customer success teams are set up as a reaction to failing implementation projects or, even worse, as a vehicle for selling further services to customer companies.  Consequently, metrics that are used for measuring the success of the customer success teams are based around project metrics. Have implementation projects been on time, in budget, and delivered quality results, means they have been successful. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with attempting to improve project success and to generate additional sales. There are still woefully many projects that do not get implemented within the allotted budget and time, and in sufficient quality. Additionally, one can argue that only happy customers do follow-up purchases; and customers are happy because the earlier projects succeeded.  I get it. Seriously. I am a consultant, too. Many vendors, often...
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...
Zoho – A True Unicorn

Zoho – A True Unicorn

End of January Zoho held its 2020 Zoho Days, an analyst summit, which I was happy to attend, along with more than 60 colleagues, as the only analyst from Germany, as it seems. Sadly, it took me quite a while to complete this – Zoho deserves a faster commentare. But hey, let’s look forward and get rolling. Zoho is a privately owned enterprise software company that has quietly evolved from a small software company in 1996 to an ambitious global player that serves the SMB- and enterprise CRM market with cloud applications. The company has a set of 45+ business apps with more than 50 million users, 10 data centres and counting, and is available in 180 countries. The company is profitable and maintained a CAGR of more than 30 percent over the past five years. But why quietly? Because Zoho managed its growth pretty unusually (almost) fully organically with only very minor acquisitions. Crunchbase lists one. Following this unique approach, which defies the traditional law of going big fast, the company managed to build a solid platform with a unified data model that allows it to crank out amazing software at an incredible speed, and with a track record of growth that is well in the double digits. Zoho offers a suite of business, collaboration, and productivity applications, supported by development environments, services and infrastructure. Besides CRM, the applications cover a good part of the value chain, including some ERP type of applications, like order management, warehouse management, or billing and project management, HR and accounting. These apps are built upon a services oriented soft- and hardware stack...
The Return of the Suite

The Return of the Suite

The suite is back. I have said and written that a good number of times in the past few years. And that is a good thing (that the suite is back, not that I said it, of course), because one of the major challenges with a best of breed approach is integration. The suite is back, but it is in an incarnation that vastly differs from what we knew about suites back in the times before cloud computing and Salesforce brought back a supremacy of best of breed over the suite. Integrating different pieces of software from different vendors into one coherent whole is easily accounting for one third to one half of project budgets. And this part of the overall cost for implementing new software is often plaid down by best of breed vendors. Which is not a crime, especially if the benefits of the best of breed software outweigh the cost of integration. However. Often it does not. And not openly addressing cost of integration backfires. Always. Believe me. If you research my background well enough you will find out why you should. Little hint: I am not only writing about things. Another strong argument in favor of the suite is the platform war that is currently going on. Why? Simply, because a platform is not only a technical platform. It is more. A platform consists of mainly four pieces: a technical platform the ability of turning data into insight, an ecosystem, and productivity support. And, very importantly, a necessary capability that is provided by the technical platform is integration. Some other aspects include the provision of...
Salesforce Aims At Making Life Easier For Agents

Salesforce Aims At Making Life Easier For Agents

On July 27, 2017 Salesforce announced the availability of an update to their customer service platform Service Cloud. According to Keith Pearce, VP Marketing, Service Cloud, differentiation in customer service is no more a topic within industries, but across industries. Today, customer service in companies competes against the impression gained in another industry, telco vs. banking, vs airline, vs. … you get the picture. Consequently, winning organizations are concentrating on three areas: platform productivity mobile However, this focus can potentially slow down these organizations because they normally come with trade-offs, like scalability vs. speed of deployment, ease of use vs. complete information, or mobility for customers vs. mobility for agents. Salesforce wants to address these trade-offs with this release by making the solution very easy to set up, easier to customize and enhance, easier to use and finally by offering a new mobile app for agents and supervisors. There is a scripted set up that lets admins deploy a usable application in a short time; Salesforce speaks of less than one day. A component library helps in easily adding relevant functionality via drag and drop in a simple application builder. Of course there are additional components and applications available via the AppExchange market place. Agents shall be made more productive by a clean Kanban-style UI, a tool called Community360 that helps in surfacing community content that a user reviewed before logging an incident, a federated search that is capable of searching across open search compatible providers, and the ability for agents to script tasks. Lastly, there is a new mobile app for agents and supervisors. Here is the complete...