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The Future of CRM Software

CRM is a business strategy aimed at growing mutually rewarding and profitable customer relationships. CRM software is the enabling technology for CRM strategy. However, there is a disconnect as most CRM systems are internally focused on what's good for the company but lack both purpose and capabilities which inspire customers to grow their relationships with suppliers.

The next generation of CRM technology is needed for two reasons. First, businesses need new strategies and supporting technologies to proactively respond to more empowered customers. Second, CRM software is a 23 year old customer data management technology that lies somewhere between mature and commoditized. It's time for a technology refresh. Here's what's needed for the future of CRM software.

A New Purpose

CRM software must transition from an internally focused, sales driven, customer data management application designed for monologue communication, process efficiency and cost reductions, to an externally focused, conversation driven, customer engagement application designed to engage customers in dialogues across channels, deliver consistent and rewarding customer experiences, and build customer relationships based in part on goals important to customers. More CRM future ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 1/9/2016       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM Software
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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 — What Matters Most in the New Release

Microsoft released Dynamics CRM 2016 today. The goals for this release include improved integration with Office 365 and Azure machine learning; new customer service capabilities; continuation of mobile; inclusions of the recently acquired FieldOne and FantasySalesTeam applications; and a list of new CRM enhancements that includes tighter integration with Excel/Word and some improvements to the Outlook client.

From what I’ve seen so far, the new features likely to get the most utilization include offline mobile and tighter integration to Excel and Word templates. This later feature continues Microsoft's 'productivity' theme and will facilitate common use cases such as the creation of proposals or the export of pipelines to Excel, Pivot tables or Power BI. I also think the improved integration with Cortana and Azure Machine Learning looks promising, but is still in early days.

Microsoft's prior release of the Unified Service Desk (USD) – a configurable framework for integrating what is often a plethora of contact center applications so that agents can get a unified view of the customer – signaled its intention to put much more emphasis in its customer service application. The Dynamics CRM 2016 release continues the customer service evolution with updated forms and a dashboard it calls the Interactive Services Hub. More Microsoft CRM release ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 12/13/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in Microsoft CRM
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Retail Robots

According to IHL, overstocks and out-of-stocks (aka inventory distortion) cost global retailers $450 billion annually, or $252 billion just in North America. That later amount equates to the annual revenues of Home Depot, Kroger and Target combined.

Retailers rely on supply chain systems to measure what comes in from the truck and POS systems to measure what goes out with consumers. However, as most consumers find out the hard way, what's reported to be in the store and what can actually be found on the shelves are often quite different. IHL research reports that out-of-stock levels are often 3 to 4 times more than reported.

Why the difference? Several factors, such as shrink, ineffective product placement, inaccessible or misplaced merchandise, or goods that simply aren't found at the point of decision.

When consumers cannot find what they came for it exacerbates negative consumer experiences and results in lost retailer revenues. Fortunately, achieving even small reductions in stock-outs can deliver big improvements in customer experience and store revenues.

Simbe Robotics has introduced a service based robotics solution that performs automated shelf auditing for retailers. More Tally the retail robot ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 11/13/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in Retail CRM
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How Design Thinking Aids Customer Strategies and Customer-Centric Business Models

Design thinking is nothing new, however, it is relatively new to enterprise applications. The cognitive design practice driven by organizations such as IDEO has heralded design innovations such as the computer mouse, ergonomic keyboards and a plethora of innovative objects. Organizations such as the Stanford d school and IBM have since built upon design thinking principals to create frameworks for highly complex projects and enterprise applications.

Design thinking is an evolutionary, human-centered design and problem solving method that applies deep empathy for users and collaboration among a broad team. Instead of designers working alone, they team with other stakeholders which makes the process symbiotic with agile methods.

But how's this really different from what we've been doing?

More design thinking for CRM ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 11/2/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM strategy
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CRM Market Share Report 2015

CRM market share is used by vendors to demonstrate leadership, viability and the release of innovation that matters to customers. CRM buyers often consider this positioning as an early stage indicator of which vendors to short list. However, more telling than market share position at a point in time is trajectory. CRM buyers often remain cuatious of vendors in decline.

Each year Gartner releases CRM market revenues and market share among top vendors. In this CRM market share analysis I've consolidated the annual data to show trending and filtered among the big 4 vendors in order to demonstrate some data driven findings, display some inherent challenges with the data and compare the results to another source. More CRM market share reporting ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 10/17/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM software
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The Benefits of Extending IT Governance to CRM Implementations

More often than not, IT governance operates in a model whereby boards and senior business executives defer IT strategy and decisions to the IT leaders but create oversight and controls so that the IT delivery aligns with the interests of the business stakeholders – and ensures that the IT and business strategies and objectives remain complimentary and synergistic where possible, and not separate or possibly in conflict. It's not easy, but when done correctly, IT delivers the maximum value throughout the business and empowers the business to achieve objectives that would otherwise not be possible.

Drilling down a level, the governance model and its benefits are directly transferable to CRM adoption projects, if you do three things. More CRM governance ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 9/25/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM Implementation
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How to Design CRM for the User Experience

How long did it take you to learn eBay or Amazon.com? How many manuals did you read? How did that experience compare with learning your CRM application?

Consumer technologies have set the standards users expect in their personal and professional application usage. However, when trying to leverage these technologies with business applications most organizations get it wrong because they fail to understand the difference between the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX).

The UI is focused on the visual presentation, but the User Experience is much more than that, as it contributes to an emotion that either enhances or degrades the continued use of the application. To achieve a positive emotional connection, the UX should precede the UI so that form follows function and utility is aligned with user-centered design. What that means is that the UX begins by engaging users to understand what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Any attempt to achieve a UX objective by hiring designers, creating wire frames or dressing up existing applications with UI facelifts – without first understanding user behaviors, expectations and prioritized use cases – will not achieve a successful user experience. More CRM user experience ...

Author By Chuck Schaeffer       Calendar 7/31/2015       Trackback Permalink       Comments      Filed In Posted in CRM Implementation
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