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Showing posts from November, 2020

The Value of Focus in A Platform World

Smaller enterprise software vendors today operate in a world where their fortunes may rise and fall on their ability to integrate with one or more cloud computing platforms. In many cases, having a connector or API for multiple platforms is a great means to survive and thrive. But it’s not the only way. Versatility has always been one of the watch words of cloud computing. The ease of adding and updating functions, or of moving to a new platform entirely, created an incentive for vendors to embrace that versatility. The CEO or CFO who is looking out for their company’s future would thus rarely be faulted for trusting vendors whose products work on as many platforms as possible. The CTO, on the other hand, might not share that view. While that role has to allow for future moves their company might make, they are also the person who is most responsible for choosing the best tools for the job and making sure they keep working. For the CTO, a vendor’s ability to serve across multiple platf

CRMKonvo - Customer Experience and how to do it right

This episode starred Nicole France . Nicole is VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. She focuses on digital marketing, sales effectiveness and customer experience. We planned to talk with her about platforms and their role in the ecosystem; eventually we got there after talking shop about the larger challenge of enabling and embracing customer experience. How can a customer have an experience? What does it take for companies? Are they properly set up to deliver? What is the role of culture? We covered lots of questions before even going into techncology, which is a good thing, as customer experience first of all is about people with technology only being an enabler. Only then questions like: Why have platforms become important (again)? What is necessary to make them a success? Are there winning players? What is the role of a CDP in this, if any? Is there a difference between a suite and a platform, and which (hint: there is)? become important. How to make sense of the buz

Salesforce in Acquistion Talks with Slack - Good News or not?

The News Today various media outlets broke the news that Salesforce is in advanced talks with Slack Technologies about a possible acquisition. The news had two effects: Slack stock went up nearly 40 per cent during trading hours while Salesforce stock loses out by 5 percent, which basically says that Salesforce investors are not so convinced about this acquisition being a good thing, whereas Slack investors clearly are. Slack and Salesforce share an integration, which is listed on AppExchange since 2019. There have been speculations on Slack being a good target for Salesforce that date back till August 2016 , basically ever since the integration between Salesforce and Slack got announced. The Bigger Picture There are several aspects to this news. Salesforce already has Chatter, a tool that often gets negative feedback. The company also owns Quip, which is essentially a solution for the collaborative creation of documents and spreadsheets.   And Salesforce has created , as a

Fastcall drives cooperation of Salesforce users with Intercall and solves Covid challenge

  The News Fastcall , a renowned developer of CTI solutions that are exclusively dedicated to Salesforce, recently announced the release of its Intercall solution. Intercall helps teams to communicate and interact internally from within Salesforce. The app allows phone and video communication. Using Intercall, an employee can call coworkers via their Salesforce user profile instead of using a particular phone number, making it unnecessary to know the current location of the coworker or to perform repeat calls due to unavailability. It is a first-of-its-kind Salesforce app and offers video and screen sharing within an integrated Salesforce phone application by leveraging Salesforce and Twilio. Intercall is the latest addition to Fastcall’s suite of applications and is designed to enhance work-from-home productivity for Salesforce users. Phone applications found in the Salesforce AppExchange today, including Fastcall’s namesake application, enable companies to increase productivity by e

CRMKonvo - Freshworks on Platform, CRM and useful AI

Freshworks has is now officially a fresh (sorry, I really couldn't resist this pun) member of the club of platform players. The company introduced its own flavour of CRM and a platform that they build upon. What is next? Lot's of ground to cover. A CRKKonvo with Prakash Ramamurthy, Chief Product Officer, Peter Stadlinger, Head of Products CRM and David Krauss, Senior Director Product Marketing at Freshworks. Together with Marshall Lager, Ralf Korb and Thomas Wieberneit they discuss market perspectives, what the value for customers actually is and how the innovations that the team has recently introduced fit in there. Prakash, Peter, and David bring a wealth of knowledge to the conversation, including a pretty interesting dive into how to train an AI based upon the idea that the human who is in front of the machine is still one of the most important trainers, due to tacit knowledge and wisdom that cannot be codified. Which also explains the trifecta of priorities that Freshwork

CRMKonvos - The story of someone who went out to find Customer Experience

In this episode we welcomed Lars Brodersen, author, publisher, and long time CRM expert. Lars is the author of the customer manifesto, which he wrote as a reaction to a series of pretty unsettling customer experiences, starting from soured milk in his Latte Macchiato followed by an I don't care attitude of the waitress via a horribly wrong order confirmation by a car rental agency, a new appliance breaking and the repair service being an awful long time away, or the electrician being available only after various attempts and a long awaited for package finally being lost. It is the story of someone who moved out, just to find traumatic experiences. All in all, nothing that we haven't experienced. Yet, he reacted differently, by writing the customer manifesto, which emphasises on one simple truth: Companies are there to serve the needs of their customers. This is their sole reason of existence. This "earned" Lars a spot in our CRMKonvos, with us talking about this, his

Freshworks officially cool now in the club of platform vendors

A few days ago, together with a group of fellow analysts, I was invited to attend the 2020 Freshworks analyst days that covered a lot of ground from corporate vision through strategy and of course, some announcements for the Freshworks Refresh 2020 Global Virtual Conference . These announcements came shortly after the company appeared in the fourth Gartner Magic Quadrant for 2020 and after being ranked #16 in the 2020 Forbes Cloud 100 list. All this clearly shows some ambition – and success. As you may be aware by now, these announcements included Neo, the new Freshworks platform and the new Freshworks CRM product. These two topics created the most discussion points between the Freshworks executives and the analysts. Of course, these two announcements were supported by statements on the corporate vision, mission and current standing as well as product vision. Impressive customer testimonials were not missing, too. My Take This I need to divide into three sections, one about the event

CRMKonvos - Raj Balasundaram on AI in Marketing and more

It was a Tuesday again. This time Ralf Korb and I greeted  Raj Balasundaram , Senior Vice President of AI at Emarsys as our guest - and had a second one, but more on this special appearance below. Of course we were interested in both sides, Emarsys, the marketing automation company that was recently acquired by SAP, and in his deep experience with the implementation and use of AI based systems. We had lots of questions like: Where is the marketing automation market headed? What is your view on marketing automation tools at the intersection of CDP’s, personalization, RTIM, Customer Journey Orchestration? Will these market segments merge? Will they jointly create another one? What is the difference between Marketing Automation and Marketing Clouds? Is one used rather for B2B purposes and the other one more on the B2C side? Or is it different concepts? What is the role of AI and M/L? What is AI after all? Is it just a vendor generated hype? Why should AI work now, after the previous hype

CRMKonvos - Latin American expert insights: How different is this market?

Ralf Korb and I had a special guest in Jesus Hoyos , long time CRM practitioner and analyst who works from Mexico and Florida. Jesus concentrates on the Latin American and North American markets. Apart from being a genuinely great person, he had a lot of interesting topics to cover, starting from how different even the various Latin- and South American markets are to how pricing models should be different, not only to accommodate for a pandemic situation but also for the structures of markets that are dominated by small companies, companies that are far smaller that the enterprises that are usually targeted by the bigger vendors. This also has implications on product development, training schemes and its availability, partner and ecosystem enablement and a lot of of other topics (including kayaking in the Everglades). This is a conversation mostly in English, with some Spanglish and a few German in between. And it is jam-packed with valuable information. Well worthwhile viewing and li