Monday, March 24, 2014

New study shows 45 percent of customers beyond pilot phase for cloud deployment

Companies are moving forward with cloud deployments at a rapid rate, according to Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream: 2014, a Microsoft Corp.-commissioned study conductedby 451 Research LLC. The new study showed that more than 45 percent of organizations surveyed are beyond the pilot phase, and 32 percent now possess a formal cloud computing plan as part of their overall IT and business strategy. The data also highlights that on-premises private cloud adoption accounted for 26 percent of on-premises infrastructure spending in 2013, and hosted private cloud is expected to experience the highest rate of growth for off-premises infrastructure, accounting for 32 percent of hosted spending in the next 24 months.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Convergence of Digital Technologies Opens Doors for Enterprise Growth

Mobility is the most important digital technology priority for large enterprises, a new global study by Accenture has found. Reflecting its role as an enabler of other technologies in today’s digital businesses, 43 percent of respondents ranked mobility as a top one or two priority, with 77 percent placing it in the top five. Big data analytics came next with 72 percent putting it in the top five, followed by connected products at 65 percent.
Over one third of enterprises (35 percent) expect the convergence of social, mobile, analytics, cloud and connected products – grouped together as digital technologies – to increase their sales in existing markets, according to this research. Three quarters view the adoption of digital technologies as a strategic investment rather than something to be evaluated on a case by case basis, as 29 percent expect their adoption to generate additional revenue; 28 percent plan to build entirely new digital businesses or services as a result of convergence, and 27 percent expect to penetrate new markets altogether, showing significant promise around the world from mobility and digital technologies, and demonstrating that they are viewed as drivers for better engagement with customers, and the creation of new revenue streams.

However, new revenue streams are not the only financial consideration. One in ten respondents reported over 100 percent return on investment (ROI) for mobility implementations in the last two years, and while a further 26 percent saw returns of between 50 and 100 percent, those with the greatest ROI, the leaders, shared common traits in their approach to new technologies, which are viewed as enabling operational efficiency and long-term growth.

Organizations with over 100 percent ROI, of whom over two thirds claimed to have effectively adopted and deployed mobile technologies compared to 45 percent of others, shared a number of common traits:

A formal, enterprise-wide mobility strategy and measurement: Eleven percent more likely than other respondents to have a formal, enterprise-wide mobility strategy, leaders are ahead of the curve. This year, 43 percent of enterprises on average were found to have developed a formal mobile strategy, a vast improvement on the 23 percent that claimed one in a similar survey carried out by Accenture last year. Processes and metrics also offered insight, as 29 percent of leaders have a formal process for identifying, evaluating and prioritizing ways in which mobility can benefit business, versus only 18 percent of others. For leaders and others, measurement is shown as a low priority, as only 22 percent of the former and 13 percent of the latter have formal metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of mobility initiatives.

An aggressive, ambitious attitude: Over half the leaders (54 percent) reported having aggressively pursued and invested in mobile technologies across their business, considering mobility as a key tenet of business strategy. Compared to just 40 percent of other respondents, this was also reflected by leaders being more likely to report they have effectively adopted and deployed mobile technologies (69 percent versus 42 percent). Leaders were also more likely to believe that all the major digital technologies are a top-five priority, an average eight percent ahead of those companies performing less well in mobility projects.        

Securing senior leadership buy-in: Leaders showed a higher likelihood to report that the CEO and the leadership team or board of directors ultimately own their mobile strategy, and that their companies’ senior leadership are highly engaged with the organization’s mobility initiatives. Amongst all respondents, 35 percent had CEOs involved in formulating mobile strategy, with 30 percent of CMOs or equivalent also having a say.

The study found that only 30 percent of respondents believed they had the right talent and skills to properly plan and execute their mobility initiatives, which goes part way to explaining why only 27 percent feel they keep pace with new mobile devices, systems and services, adopting them as necessary to improve their businesses.

Monday, February 24, 2014

IDC: On-Demand Contact Center Services Forecast Shows U.S. Spending Will Grow to $1.6 Billion in 2018

In a newly released study, International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that U.S. spending for on-demand (cloud) contact center services will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% to $1.6 billion in 2018. A majority of companies are using or evaluating a hosted or on-demand solution for their contact center, according to IDC demand-side data.

“End consumer demands combined with a need for speed, flexibility, and cost reduction are all driving companies to evaluate hosted and on-demand solutKey research findings include:
-- While the majority of companies are still using on-premise contact center solutions, most of them are also using or evaluating a hosted or on-demand contact center service. IDC survey data shows that 39% of respondents were using a hosted or on-demand service, 38% were evaluating a hosted or on-demand service, and only 23% were using an on-premise system and not evaluating the hosted or on-demand model.

-- Factors contributing to the growth of hosted and on-demand contact center services include cost reduction and pricing model, cloud-based outsourcing, increased shift in spending, and multi-channel customer care.

-- As customer experience becomes more of a strategic focus for enterprises and the pressures for speed, flexibility, and multi-channel increase, hosted and on-demand contact center services must continue to evolve to keep up to client expectations and support consumers' future channels of preference.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Software Assets -- Not Financial Assets -- Will Determine Business Success Over The Next 10 Years

Software assets — not financial assets — will be most critical to your brand in the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful companies will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers, according to a recent Forrester report.

Mobile, big data, the Internet of Things, and digitization have changed the ways customers interact with brands: Customers expect to be able to interact with brands through software. Digital business in this era will be akin in scale and complexity to the ERP re-engineering that took place in the '90s to address Y2K issues. Why? In the age of customer, a good software experience can build trust, capture consumer attention, create unique customer experiences, and make a brand essential.

A bad software experience? "The next 10 years will see more change than any time since Great Depression in the makeup of the Fortune 1000 as some companies figure out the power of software and others do not. Increasing customer expectations fueled by an accelerated pace of technology will increase the delta between the haves and have-nots in term of overall financial performance," writes John McCarthy, author of the report.

According to George Colony, Forrester CEO, in the age of the customer, all companies will be software companies. Your most important assets will not be financial assets, they will be software assets. Software will allow brands to become customer-obsessed: to know what their customers want — and how, when, and where they can meet (and exceed) that expectation.

More information on Mobile, big data, the Internet of Things can be found at

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

While Many Companies Try SaaS for Cost Savings, Top Performers Discover Competitive Advantage

IBM announced that nearly half of the businesses using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are achieving competitive advantage, rather than simply reducing costs. Leading enterprises—those gaining competitive advantage through broad SaaS adoption—are collaborating more effectively  through social business tools, improving the customer experience, and accelerating time to market through their SaaS initiatives, according to a recent survey conducted with more than 800 IT and business decision makers worldwide by the IBM Center for Applied Insights.

Global spending on SaaS is expected to reach $45.6B by 2017, according to industry estimates. SaaS is often used by line-of-business leaders who are looking to deploy technology to rapidly provide their teams with needed functionality, increase productivity and address new market opportunities. In fact, industry analysts estimate that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs, while Forrester reports that 65 percent of business leaders have plans to buy technology for their group without involving IT at all. 

However, circumventing IT to deploy SaaS without provisioning and securing it first can have unintended consequences, and IBM’s study suggests that organizations in which IT and business leaders work together to select, secure and deploy SaaS applications are in fact the ones who deliver the greatest value to their organization. Further, organizations that are gaining the most out of their SaaS deployments are more likely to see it as a critical piece of their enterprise cloud strategy when compared to their peers. 

Nearly one in five companies that responded to IBM’s survey has deployed SaaS broadly and is now gaining competitive advantage as a result. By developing mature and cohesive enterprise-wide SaaS strategies, these Pacesetter organizations are able to improve market agility, achieve a deeper level of collaboration and make better decisions than their peers. Specifically, compared to peers that are newer or less advanced with their SaaS adoption, Pacesetters are:

-- 79 percent more likely to have increased collaboration across their organization and ecosystem through SaaS

-- More than twice as likely to have leveraged analytics across the organization to turn big data into insights using SaaS

-- More than twice as likely to have increased innovation using SaaS

More information on CRM and SaaS can be found at

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Measurement and Analysis Across the Entire IT Infrastructure Is Key to IT Operational Excellence

Continuity Software™, a provider of service availability risk management solutions, announced the results of the Continuity Software IT OperationsAnalytics Benchmark. Based on results collected across a variety of industry verticals - including financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail - the benchmark underscores the importance of operational analytics in meeting IT performance goals. 

The IT Operations Analytics Benchmark survey's key findings include:

Large organizations are the most common users of analytical tools to monitor and measure IT performance goals.

-- 57% of the large organizations surveyed use analytical tools to monitor, and measure IT performance goals (versus just 29% of small companies).

Cross-domain operational excellence is mostly measured by uptime.

-- 89% of the organizations surveyed measure uptime across most or all IT domains; 66% measure performance; 51% measure the number of open issues.

Frequently tracking configuration consistency helps organizations meet their goals.

-- 53% of the organizations that track configuration consistency on a daily basis across the IT infrastructure are meeting or exceeding their goals, compared to 31-33% of the organizations that track only portions of the infrastructure.

Better measurement and analysis tools are required for IT operations excellence.

-- 40% of organizations surveyed cited better measurement and analysis tools as the most effective means for achieving operations excellence, followed by tools to detect cross-domain IT configuration issues (22%) and tools to enforce IT best practices (19%).

Storage and network performance rank highest.

-- 71% of the organizations surveyed monitor storage and network key performance indicators (KPIs); other areas of IT operations that are commonly monitored and measured include applications (69%), databases (66%), and clusters (49%).

Cloud environments continue to lag behind.

-- Only 14% of the organizations surveyed monitor and measure cloud KPIs.

-- 43% of the organizations never analyze configuration consistency in their cloud environment.

More information on IT and CRM can be found at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ForeSee Releases the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition

ForeSee, the global leader in technology-driven customer experience analytics, today released the ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition. Based on data gathered during 2013’s holiday shopping season, the report features company-level and channel-specific customer satisfaction analysis for the top 100 U.S. retailers.

The new FXI Retail report offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the Company-level and across every applicable sales channel including Store and Contact Center as well as Web and Mobile. The study is based on more than 67,600 surveys collected between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17, 2013, for the 100 biggest U.S. retailers as reported by the Fortune 500 and Internet Retailer’s top 100 websites. Retailers listed in this report include Amazon, Dell, L.L.Bean, Apple, QVC, Keurig, Costco, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Groupon, Family Dollar, Best Buy, Toys“R”Us, zulily and others.

Key Findings:

Company-level: retailers that satisfied the most (and least) during 2013’s holiday shopping season:

Amazon (90) and L.L.Bean (90) tied for the highest Company-level satisfaction. While this is the first time ForeSee has studied Company-level satisfaction during the holidays, the L.L.Bean website has scored an 80 or above in Web satisfaction eight out of the nine years measured, and Amazon has topped the Web satisfaction list every year. Amazon and L.L.Bean set the bar for customer experience excellence. came in with the lowest Company-level satisfaction (76), as well as one of the lowest Web satisfaction (75) and Mobile satisfaction (73) scores.

Store channel: Apple, which prides itself on stellar Apple Store customer experiences, lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86 – three points higher than Apple’s score of 83.

53 percent of retailers register merchandise as the main priority affecting in-store purchase, and 35 percent register service.

Web channel: While Amazon (88) led the pack for Web satisfaction, some retail sites such as (86), (84) and (84) are creeping closer. (83) and (80) tied for the most improved sites with seven-point gains in customer satisfaction from last year. 

57 percent of retailers identify merchandise as the top driver affecting customer web experience, compared to only 7 percent that register price.

Mobile channel: In a category that saw satisfaction stagnate this year, Walmart (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in Mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012’s score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a Mobile satisfaction score of 87.

38 percent of retailers register functionality as the top priority affecting the mobile customer experience, above both merchandise (34 percent) and content (31 percent).

Contact Center channel: QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in Contact Center satisfaction by three points. Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in Contact Center satisfaction.

55 percent of retailers record knowledge of the customer service representative as the top priority affecting the customer contact center experience.