Best of CRM: November 16th

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Every week, we recount some of the best buzz around CRM and data integration. We’ll review our favorite articles and share the most pressing findings or key takeaways from each.

Cloudy Outlook for Enterprise Customer Relationship Management
By: David Roe (@druadh20)
David provides an analysis of new research from software consultancy Software Advice on enterprise deployment of CRM systems, along with the two major takeaways that sales force automation is the most popular application and enterprises now prefer the cloud over on-premise CRM deployment. In fact, 96 percent of the enterprises who had made a decision between cloud and on-premise systems selected the cloud, likely due to their preference for best-in-breed rather than a locked-in vendor solution suite. Marketing automation ranked as the number two most requested app, followed by customer support and a help desk. Efficiency was a top selection criterion across options, meaning that “it’s clear CRM vendors should be focusing on adding or improving existing capabilities that will make enterprises more efficient, especially across sales force automation and contact management.”

Why Salesforce.com isn’t Just for CRM Anymore
By: Rick Whiting (@RickWhiting1)
Salesforce has gone far beyond the capacity of a simple CRM provider. The latest survey from Bluewolf on salesforce.com users highlighted the value of the platform, with 90 percent of survey respondents indicating that Salesforce is more valuable to their company today than it was a year ago, and over half seeing “substantial innovation potential” using Salesforce. More telling for Salesforce’s play beyond a single CRM solution is the importance of its app ecosystem, with 90 percent of respondents saying they have at least one app from the Salesforce AppExchange installed, and over a quarter having installed at least a few. Bluewolf’s Co-founder and CEO, Eric Berridge, explained potential reasoning behind the growing ecosystem, saying “the richness of the functionality that’s available in the B2C world is suddenly being translated to the B2B world. And, in our opinion, Salesforce is the de facto platform to make that happen.” The survey went on to underscore the importance of the cloud, mobile apps, customer engagement and more.

CRM Watchlist 2014: the Day Draws Near
By: Paul Greenberg (@pgreenbe)
This update on the CRM Watchlist competition provides information on where it stands, what goes on behind the scenes and some hints on how to think about the competition. With just shy of 200 registrants, the competition has a mix of repeat entrants and new companies, and new submissions will be accepted until November 22nd. During the selection process, winners are grouped into four categories: Lifetime Achievement, winners who are grouped for convenience and review’s sake in categories, Ready to Leap (RTL) companies, and Companies to Watch (CTW). Paul provides an extensive list of criteria that the winners possess, with special emphasis on the fact that “this is an impact award – which means that there are a lot of things that you have to have been doing to have the impact or the expected impact.” To improve your chances of winning, Paul recommends you focus on outcomes, show multichannel support, highlight the contemporary tools aligned with the market, show how your systems are able to do the blocking and tackling, show that your marketing is aligned with the markets you claim to be in, make your thought leadership very clear, and think in terms of ecosystems.

Microsoft Streamlines Dynamics CRM 2013 Workflows
By: Pedro Hernandez (@pedrohernandez)
The underlying premise of this article is that Microsoft is helping increase user productivity by reducing the number of screens used through a new activity feed. According to Microsoft’s Mukul Aggarwal, the activity feed grounds users in customer data on one screen: “the activity feed is the first thing you see when you view records in CRM, whether it’s an opportunity, lead, account, contact or service case. Saving an activity lets you stay on the same page, so that you can take any action (like marking it complete, deleting, closing, or converting to opportunity or case).” It’s also important to note Microsoft’s focus on a smooth transition – when users upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, any customizations they’ve made will remain unchanged. The new UI will also include the same navigation options previously available, so the upgraded experience should be easy to use immediately out of the box.

Role of CDO Still in Question
By: Loraine Lawson (@LoraineLawson)
The role of the CDO – that’s Chief Data Officer, not Chief Digital Officer – remains in question as organizations determine how C-level roles must transform to meet new digital and data needs. An important reason behind this question, as voiced by New Bank of England’s CIO John Finch, is his belief that “I don’t think we need a CDO – I think we need a group of tech savvy policy people.” While John was referring to a Chief Digital Officer, Loraine believes the same reasoning transfers to Chief Data Officers. Another take on the future of the Chief Data Officer from Gartner Senior Vice President Peter Sondergaard is that the role may be necessary, but more as a temporary change agent than a permanent position. Loraine brings these opinions together with the possibility of a CDO to guide organizations to a data-driven culture, then as more tech savvy individuals inevitably enter the C-suite, for the role of the CDO to be distributed among existing executives who feel comfortable managing data-driven operations.


We hope you had a great week! We’ll see you again soon with a roundup of all the movers and shakers in CRM and data integration news.

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