Last quarter’s CRM market news in 60 seconds…

by Richard Boardman on July 19, 2014

In case you missed them, here’s my 60 second bullet point round-up of the main CRM software stories last quarter:

April

  • Salesforce.com take a cue from Amazon’s ‘Mayday’ customer support feature on the Kindle Fire to add a new SOS capability to its Service Cloud which enables customers to be connected to a support representative via video chat at the touch of a button.
  • IBM announces that it will purchase privately held marketing automation provider Silverpop. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Third party support provider, Rimini Street, announces Cloud Services designed to allow customers to migrate to cloud based solutions such as Salesforce while maintaining legacy system such as Siebel.
  • Cloud-based ERP/CRM provider Netsuite announced its Q1 results with revenues up 34% year on year.
  • SugarCRM announced that its revenues were up 38% year on year for the first quarter of 2014.

May

  • Salesforce.com announces a net loss of $96.9M for its first quarter. Revenues were up 37% year on year.
  • Microsoft’s Spring Update, featuring new customer support and social listening capabilities starts to become available to users.

June

  • Salesforce.com and Microsoft announce a surprise partnership designed to provide greater interoperability between Salesforce’s CRM software and Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Azure and Office.
  • Oracle purchases Micros, developer of point of sale and enterprise information systems for the retail and hospitality industries, for $5.3 billion.
  • Oracle announces the acquisition of LiveLOOK whose co-browsing functionality is used to help resolve customer support issues and will fill out Oracle’s service cloud.

In Summary

There’s little let up in the rate of acquisitions as traditional enterprise vendors look to fill out their cloud-based offerings.

Perhaps the big surprise of the quarter was the new partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce.com. While this may prove a win for Microsoft overall I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of the Dynamics team as some of their competitive advantage over Salesforce potentially erodes.

Anyway, that concludes my 60 second take on the CRM industry news for the last quarter. If I’ve missed or misunderstood anything significant please feel free to comment!

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Photograph courtesy of Ron Reiring

I’ve been having one of those ‘I’d long known it was important, but I’d forgotten just how important’ moments in recent weeks.

One of our clients has recently gone live and, in the absence of a colleague who was away on honeymoon, I found myself providing go-live support which involved parking myself in the midst of the sales floor, listening to what was going on and providing help and assistance where needed.

This sort of at the coal-face involvement is critical for a number of reasons:

  • You can pick up issues quicker and address them earlier before they impact too many people
  • You spot issues that users didn’t realise were issues, figuring them to be quirks of the system that they will workaround, rather than something that can be fixed
  • You can capture issues that users might not otherwise report because reporting things is time-consuming, but easy if there’s someone stood beside them
  • You can spot potential improvements to the system because you can see what users are struggling with
  • You can improve user adoption by providing on the spot training and support tailored to an individual’s requirements. This is important because no matter how good traditional classroom training may be, users generally won’t take everything in.
  • Finally, no matter how thorough your original requirements gathering, you will invariably discover new, and often key, requirements that can often be quickly and beneficially addressed

While being close to the coal-face is critical when a system first goes live, it’s also important over the long term too. Seeing first-hand how users are engaging with a system, what they’re doing right and wrong, what they find difficult, what isn’t ergonomic, what could be streamlined, and where the system fails to fully meet their needs, is an essential component of extending the life and value of your investment in technology.

Either way, whether you’re implementing a new system or managing an existing one, the key is always to actively look for trouble. Don’t just assume it will find its way to you.

Photograph courtesy of Ron Reiring provided through a creative commons license. No changes have been made to the original image.

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