Even if you have high-quality customer relationship management data, there's a hidden monster that can gobble up management information system credibility. It's time to reign in user-generated CRM reports.
Stories by David Taber
On many an old map, unknown territories were marked, 'Here be dragons!' Sure, it's actionable, but it's not very informative. Centuries later, do we have the same problem with software project management? Here's how to slay the dragons that threaten to set your cloud projects aflame.
Over the holidays, CIO.com columnist David Taber spent way too much time discovering eternal truths while playing online poker. Take a look at what he learned along the way about agile project management.
At a conference as big and boisterous as Dreamforce, you hear a relentless stream of ideas. Some are good, but most are bad. At Dreamforce 2013, there was only one idea that really mattered: Whether smartphones are the future client for enterprise apps.
A smart person once said, 'As long as you're asking the wrong questions, it doesn't matter what answers you come up with.' When it comes to making the business case for CRM, the CFO is likely to ask too many of the wrong questions.
So this article may come as something of a surprise, as I'm going to be beating the drums about social CRM again, this time for the service and support organization. Why? Social networks give you the quickest access to customers where they already are.
The problem of a customer master database that holds the core of your company's customer data is as old as distributed software. The cloud adds some new twists to this issue and offers a new strategy for solving it.
This all happens in big cloud projects as well. There are many contributing factors to these bad outcomes-chief among them adversarial incentives, inappropriate metrics and lack of collaborative infrastructure-but those aren't the root cause.
When developing and integrating cloud systems, the public interfaces and external "contracts" among services mean that design and architecture can evolve rapidly and in parallel. But when they do and the teams are not in the same room, this speed is an invitation to chaos.
Year after year, the cost of disk space has plummeted. Since you can pick up a terabyte for $50, it's often seemed a false economy to be careful with storage.
It's axiomatic that in software of any complexity, the ecosystem of plug-in products, tools, compatible APIs, and developer community can become really important. In certain software product categories, the importance of the ecosystem can swamp any feature advantage that an upstart product may have, leading to what economists call a natural monopoly.
There's a lot of noise from vendors of every stripe about the cloud. Unfortunately, in the vendors' efforts to show how all their products are cloud-based, there's a lot of blurring about the specifics of what it means to be a cloud application. Consequently, this article will apply differently to every cloud vendor. (And for the purposes of this article, let's keep the discussion to SaaS and cloud-based apps from a vendor or integrator, not ones you build yourself, although some of the same principles apply.)
Earlier this month, at the CIO Perspectives event in San Francisco, I got an ear-full from attendees about social networking systems. How should they be harnessed? Should they be allowed in the Enterprise? How do you make them more than just a waste of time?
Most of the interest was in applying Facebook-like interfaces and lightweight apps built on Adobe AIR. One of the sessions gave a really great example of federated information in the Grapevine app demo.
All too often, the cries for mobility have come from vendors trying to sell you devices and add-on software. But in today's field sales and support environments, the business drivers to support road warriors are crystal clear. Many of your sales reps work from their home office. And all of your field force is supposed to be at client sites, not sitting at their desks in headquarters.
The good news is that the technology for on-the-road CRM is really here, mature even if not perfect. And the devices that you need to run CRM on are the devices that most of your field force already has: laptops, 3G/4G cards, and a RIM or iPhone device. Remote access to CRM is available almost everywhere it's needed worldwide.
Extensive academic research shows that the majority of mergers fail to increase shareholder value, often because the integration of acquired business units takes longer than anyone planned. So the ability to effectively integrate the information systems of merged business units is a key success factor for any acquirer.
Even though there are a lot of corporate integration consultants, the execution of their strategic plans seems to go awry...particularly when it comes to CRM systems.