Thursday, July 31, 2008

CRM 2.0 - Vendor selection process

Here are my thoughts about vendor selection process and implementation phases - any comments highly appreciated!

Phase 1 „Daydreaming“
  • Determine Business Needs
  • What are the challenges?
  • What was the initial reason to think about a new CRM strategy?
  • Get help from an external advisor if necessary.
  • Define the ideal CRM solution
  • Outline the Hi-Level requirements
  • See the company from a customers‘ perspective

Phase 2 „Talk Turkey“
  • Come back to reality – you can not archieve everything you wish (what about ROI?)
  • Sync with existing CRM strategy and business processes – approve a project
  • Priotize the wishlist – separate the crtitical points from the nice-to-haves
  • Discuss with customers, employees and advisors
  • Identify the technology to be used (i.e. SaaS)

Phase 3 „Issue RFI, RFP“
  • Create a list of required functionality
  • Send this list to anumber of vendors (4-8)
  • Find a rating scheme and qualify the returned answeres
  • Ask the vendors to create a proposed solution
  • Asses and compare the outlined solutions
  • Find the two (or three) best fitting vendors
  • Focus on the vendor rather than the product
  • Technology must fit the strategy!

Phase 4 „Compare Vendors“
  • Does the corparate culture fit?
  • Is the vendor financial stable and is the roadmap promising and complete?
  • Is the product future proof (technology, platform), can it grow with your company?
  • Pricing model and license cost
  • Cost of implementation and customization
  • Required Hardware

Phase 5 „Proof of Concept“
  • Find a business process that covers as much technical aspects as possibe but can be implemented within a three week timeframe
  • Ask vendors to implement this business process with their product on site
  • Have IT and business people supervise the customization and administration process – get their buy-in!
  • Finish with a workshop where the vendor presents the PoC and answers questions how it was done
  • Try to estimate the efforts for the full project

Phase 6 „Implementation“
  • Keep business involved - gather feedback from future users during the implementation phase
  • Create reusable application code
  • Keep future upgrades in mind
  • Involve customers as beta-testers
  • Favor a staged approach for a ‚big bang‘

Phase 7 „Rollout“
  • Let users decide, not the contract – usability is the most critical factor...
  • Design DOES matter!
  • Provide detailed information to users (employees and customers)
  • Training
  • Collect feedback and keep improving the functionality and business processes
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

Next Best Action (NBA)

Just came across an article from Anette Mitchell (Architect of O2's NBA) and that reminds me of some requirements we came across when selling Amdocs CRM to Telco customers.

First we tried to implement a solution ourselves but soon recognized that it requires quite a bit of code and analytical CRM capabilities to suggest a product or action (could be a campaign or agent script) based on the customers history and customers that were in similar situations.

Some actions are pretty obvious and can be added 'manually' (like customers with a high probability of churn would get special churn scripts) - but for the complex decisions it requires a sophisticated analytical CRM technology that is able to find patterns in customers behavior and predict in real time what the contact might be looking for.
It must be real time as the current interaction with the customer might have massive influence on the NBA...

NBAs have the power to turn the call center from a cost center into a profit center. This has can massive influence on the customer experience but requires well trained staff and a technology generating high quality predictions. It is also crucial that such a system learns from customer decisions, e.g. do not offer same or similar products if already declined by a customer.

All this help to approach (inbound) customers only with offers that potentially generate value for them.

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Oracle pushes Social CRM Applications

Oracle introduced the new Sales Prospector on Although this is focused on SFA (and there is so much more to social CRM and CRM 2.0...) this is a good first step and shows that Oracle is listening to its customers (or at least to the analysts :)

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

[fun] ROI Charts

Sam Lawrence created some nice ROI charts :)

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Asking the right questions...

Carly Fiorina, ex HP CEO, says that good leadership requires asking the right questions:

I totally agree with that! And further it is important whom you are asking these questions... and like she says, the customer always knows that something is wrong. And even if a customer cannot exactly tell what - listening to customers is crucial to detect the need for adjustments and change. A good leader will know what to do from her/his experience even if it is not articulated correctly.

Having an outstanding leader saying this, emphasizes the need of a customer centered Corporate Strategy. This might be the essence of CRM 2.0...?

See also Christo Norden Powers book on Powerful Questions to learn how to ask the right questions - although this is more focused on a one to one environment. For a company, analytical CRM will deliver the answer (when having asked the right questions to the software :).

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Co-Creation - one step beyond customer feature proposals...

I was thinking before how you could create a community like the open source one or the flock of free plug-in and gadget developers that actively create content and share it (being proud of their creations) while still having a business model and earn money from it.

Obviously it is hard to find an example in the software arena as only few people are willing to spend money on Software in times of Linux and OpenOffice. But Paul has found a very good example of a clothing store called Fashionology LA.

Read his blog post about what the store is doing to create a unique customer experience that customers are willing to pay a premium for.

I wonder if the Apple Store (iPhone v2) will be an example of a successful implementation in the IT world. The fact that content creators are able to offer their programs for free makes me doubtful... Although there will be a good solution for the micro-payment via the mobile service-provider.

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CRM market growing at 23% in 2007

Gartner released their CRM report, stating that the CRM market was growing with 23% in 2007.
SAP leads the pack followed by Oracle (Siebel, PeopleSoft) and

Report says that (CRM) customers are more and more looking for social networking and related technologies. This will help players that actively develop into this direction (like and Oracle). Amdocs - No. 4 in the market - might suffer from this trend with a missing CRM 2.0 strategy.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Apple's customer experience

I just read an article about Apple that was confusing me because they for sure create a fantastic product experience, but they are probably the most un-collaborative (does this word exist?!) company in this arena. Apple is actually doing everything possible to not communicate with its customers. Their policy is to keep everything product related as secret as possible. Even different departments within the company do not know what the others are doing. That avoids that somebody gets the full picture of a new product and accompanied with strict prohibitions in the employees contracts about what they are allowed to talk and to whom, it allows Apple to gain a competitive advantage that is massive (expected three years for the iPhone). When products leave the labs at apple, they are extremely stable and have only few bugs (although they are found quickly and the example of the iPod battery shows that consumers are able to strike back...).
The buzz that is created by new apple products allows Steve Jobs to leave customers in the dark during the development process without harvesting the negative feedback that everybody would expect. While Google motto is "Don't be evil", it looks like Apple's is the opposite. The leadership methods of Apple are antipodal to the open and collaborative ones that are common in most of the Hi-Tec and Software companies these days.
Interesting enough - Apple is tremendously successful with this strategy, gaining more and more market space from companies like Microsoft that recently started to open up to it's customers. Is this just an exception or will this market - which seems to be a precursor for CRM 2.0 strategies - fall back into traditional ways of leadership and marketing?

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Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Paul found a nice app to create a tag cloud from any text or website/blog with RSS feeds.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

CRM market still growing fast

AMR says the market for CRM software will grow with double digit rates.
This is pretty interesting given the fact that so many CRM projects still fail... Do companies realize that buying a CRM software is not sufficient to be successful?

What about the required changes to company strategy and employee behavior? According to AMR the Web 2.0 technology is mostly demanded in the SFA arena - but what about service and support? What about marketing and innovation?

Let's hope the software vendors get the basics right so that users of their platforms will finally be able to focus on the required strategic and behavioral changes towards CRM 2.0...

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