Best of CRM: September 14th

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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.

CRM Rethought Part 5 – Now What?
By: Paul Greenberg (@pgreenbe)
The full series is worth a read, but in this final post Paul wraps up with a recap of the series and various CRM definitions before unveiling his new understanding of CRM. The original definition of CRM boiled down to technology supporting a business strategy of improving human interaction in a business environment. Then social CRM came into the picture, which focused on adding social capabilities and strategies to CRM to function as the companies’ response to customer control of the conversation. Moving forward, Paul’s new definition of CRM is as follows: “CRM is a business science with a defined philosophy and a set of strategies and programs, supported by systems and technologies, designed to improve human interactions in a business environment. Its purpose and its value are to make the customer’s experience with the company good enough to provide a mutually beneficial outcome over time, even as expectations change.” That’s it – CRM is no longer “social CRM,” since it’s all social now. And CRM goes beyond technology to incorporate customer strategy into the underlying business core.

How Light Vendor LED Source Made the Cloud Work for Itself and its Franchisees
By: Jordan Novet (@gigajordan)
At last week’s CloudBeat conference, Scribe Software and LED franchise LED Source came together to take the audience on their journey of adopting and integrating Salesforce CRM and QuickBooks. Salesforce and QuickBooks served as the most cost-effective way for LED Source to empower franchisees with CRM and financial software, but the 15-1 multipoint integration proved problematic when the company wanted to maintain visibility into their franchisees operations. Ultimately LED Source turned to the Scribe Online platform, connecting their existing systems and greatly speeding up future connections. According to Lou Antonucci of Scribe, reusing the connectors built on the Scribe platform moving forward means that “in 30 minutes, a franchise will be up with an accounting system and a sales system fully integrated.”

Microsoft Goes Public with More Details on Dynamics CRM 2013
By: Mary Jo Foley (@maryjofoley)
Microsoft provided a new release guide for the fall CRM 2013 and CRM Online service updates, outlining “the new user interface; the guided processes meant to eliminate the navigational guesswork; the performance and business rule updates; and the coming Yammer, Lync and Skype integration functionality in the release.” These updates are in line with what Microsoft promised a year ago, with the exception of direct Exchange integration, which will likely be made available sometime after launch. And in a move to create a more consistent experience, the update will move the look of Dynamics CRM more towards the flat “Office 2013” look.

Fast-moving Trends in Mobile ERP, CRM Technology
By: Joel Schneider
Joel writes about our need for constant access to information, both in our personal lives with the knowledge of the entire world in our pocket, and increasingly in the corporate world. To meet these new demands, ERP and CRM software developers are going mobile, but as Joel aptly points out, trying to include every aspect of desktop software won’t work. Essentially, “mobile devices are not just handheld desktops; to be useful, mobile apps need to provide easy access to relevant information and avoid extraneous functions that don’t apply to the task at hand.” While keeping that fact in mind, more mobile apps from SaaS companies are linking CRM and ERP functions to cloud-based programs, providing more mobile flexibility and delivering the value demanded. One more consideration concerns the rise of BYOD – to meet employee needs, companies must create a mobile strategy around maintaining security without losing flexibility.

How Will we Integrate all These Enterprise Cloud Apps?
By: Fritz Nelson (@fnelson)
Cloud apps continue to grow at an unprecedented rate, with all-encompassing solutions and niche vendors competing and partnering every day to deliver the best CRM, ERP, marketing automation and more. Despite all the new cloud services popping up, the problem of connecting these disparate services is often put given a lower priority by the cloud solution vendors, making integration solutions absolutely critical for connecting all these apps in a low-cost, scalable manner. Fritz covers a couple integration solutions and their differentiating factors, with SnapLogic focusing on prebuilt connectors and Boomi taking advantage of a drag-and-drop interface. But beyond cookie cutter prebuilt integrations, we need to remember that the best-of-breed integration platforms are moving towards combining power and ease-of-use to enable IT or tech-savvy business folk to undertake complex multi-point integrations in hybrid environments. Essentially, we need to place equal importance on ease of use and power. As Fritz writes, “for many of these customers this (world of new integration solutions) must feel like deja vu, only it’s all taking place in a cloud-oriented world, with simpler APIs. Welcome to the new age of integration.”


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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