New MobileLite App for Salesforce Users

CRM Solutions, on Demand BI No Comments

For those of you who find it valuable to keep all your data at your fingertips, you may be interested to know that Salesforce.com has just released a free version of Salesforce CRM Mobile called Mobile Lite. The app works on the Apple iPhone, BlackBerry® and Windows Mobile® devices.

Mobile Lite is currently available to Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited Edition subscribers, and supports:

  • Access to Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities etc
  • View standard objects such as Dashboards
  • Log calls and emails on the go
  • Respond immediately to hot leads

For more information on Mobile Lite at http://www.salesforce.com/mobile/lite/

BI Cited ‘Top Technology’ for 2009

Analyst Reports, BI Strategy, Cloud Computing, CRM Solutions, IT Strategy, SaaS No Comments

The latest Gartner 2009 CIO Agenda survey of 1500 CIO’s has revealed some surprising and not so surprising results.

Firstly, the not so surprising is that BI has been voted as the top technology for 2009, after all BI has held this spot since 2006.  What is surprising is that the focus is not on analytics – the survey indicated that the top CIO business expectation was in improving business processes. This surprised me, as many companies have supposedly already been through this era – or maybe is just wasn’t done well enough. The other inference I have made is that BI is now focusing on the operational value it contributes – what we refer to as OBI.

The rankings of exectations and technologies are:

Expectations

  1. Reducing enterprise costs
  2. Improving enterprise workforce effectiveness
  3. Attracting and retaining new customers [#2 in 2008]
  4. Creating new products or services [#3 in 2008], however innovation is forecast to move up the ladder to top spot by 2012.

 IT Strategies

  1. Tighter link between business and IT strategies
  2. Reducing the cost of IT [#10 in 2008]
  3. Delivering projects that enable growth
  4. Attracting, developing and retaining IT personnel

 Technologies

  1. Business intelligence [BI] [ since 2006]
  2. Enterprise applications such as CRM or ERP
  3. Servers and storage technologies.

 The survey results overall are not surprising. As the current market is hardly conducive to growth strategies for most businesses, it is an ideal time to refocus on core business and get better at the basics. BI is known for its ability to improve productivity whilst reducing costs. We can not overlook the past carnage of poorly implemented BI projects and tools that were too difficult for most business users to integrate into their daily operations. However, in the past two years this scenario has changed signficiantly, with tools much more business oriented and the knowledge base of implementation best practice taking learnings from the past and crafting far better BI program practices of today. The other missing link I will personally add is the level of education the business receives, not in using BI but in why they should be using it, and exactly how it improves a business from single user self performance management all the way up to the boardroom strategy.

Virtualisation, cloud computing and software-as-a-service [SaaS] are also acknowledged as cost reducing strategies but many IT managers are still cautious around availability, security, and a full functional fit. Such technologies are gaining favor with mid to small enterprises that may not have the full IT capabilities of larger corporates.

Overall,  although BI is voted the top technology for 2009, the ‘killer app’ is ‘Leadership’. Companies don’t want consultants giving them a set of options – they want strong leadership paths to drive their businesses through the current downturn and still come out having advanced in some way. It may not be with customer growth and revenue growth, but I expect we will see leaner and meaner businesses forging ahead with renewed vigor and tighter focus.

Survey base: N=1500 CIOs worldwide, Duration= 3 months to Dec 15, 2008. Average company size = 400, average IT budget = $90 million.

Ignore It, Accept Defeat or Take Control

BI Solutions, CRM Solutions, SaaS No Comments

I am sure that most of you have been bombarded with blog entries and articles on how to survive the tough times. Although they all offer valuable advice, I have just watched a brief video by Elay Cohen, VP Product Marketing Salesforce.com, which I found extremely inspiring for several reasons. Titled ” Taking Control In an Uncertain Economy”, it resonates the same title message common in many of todays posts and articles, but the content was refreshingly simple. And that simplicity is what made the biggest impression. The opening statements were:

The three choices you have to respond to the current situation:

  1. Ignore It,
  2. Accept Defeat, or
  3. Take Control

And the way to take control is to put the customer back into the center of your business

“Act on every lead, Win every deal, Keep every customer.”

It is easy for businesses to seek complex solutions to simple problems, and whilst the magnitude of the problem today is significant, the best response is quite simple. If your business does not have the tools to give you total transparency to know how well you are performing in each of these three key areas:

Act on Every Lead – Lead generation, Query to Response Cycle time

Win Every Deal – Deal win rate, Sales Cycle Time, Average Sales Value

Keep Every Customer – Customer Satisfaction, Support Tickets, Customer Retention, Churn Rate to Competitors

You need to know exactly what your cusotmers want, deliver it in the way they want it delivered, and do it better than your competitors. CRM and BI tools are NOT just for big businesses, and they are not only affordable by big business. With the Software-as-a-Service model:

  • Simple – Customers do not need any hardware or software installed on premise, meaning implementation times are short and painfree.
  • Affordable – Access to the tools is on a monthly pay-as-you go basis, meaning there are no hefty up-front licence fees.
  • Effective – dashboards and screens are out-of-the-box configured, and easily customised by the business to start giving invaluable information in a very short time.

These tools convert the data you already have and are collecting on an hour by hour basis into usable, actionable information. If you can not see the change in state of your business in real time, you are going to find it very difficult to make the best of the current market environment.

The type of successes experienced by even large, cumbersome businesses are:

Sales Pipleline – 172% increase

Sales Growth – 70% increase

Team Productivity – 20% increase

It’s no longer a matter of not being able to afford CRM/BI tools – it’s a matter of not being able to afford to NOT have them.

I highly recommend you take 15mins to view the Webinar as a reminder as to what the core of your business is all about

For more information on SaleForce.com  solutions