Monday, November 29, 2010

Study Finds Blind Spots in Go-To-Market Process Limit Demand Chain Performance and Revenue Optimization

A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council reveals significant blind spots in the go-to-market process as marketers focus on strategy, creative development and campaign execution to the detriment of effective demand chain provisioning. The latter includes the efficient and timely delivery of marketing and merchandising materials to dealer, agent, franchise, retail and brand office locations, as well as the processing of customer requests for sales literature and samples through web, call center and email channels.

According to the report, entitled Competitive Gain in the Demand Chain, many marketing executives admit they have never assessed demand chain performance, nor given it high priority within the marketing operational mix. This may be contributing to the belief, expressed by 80 percent of respondents, that their organizations are not efficient or effective enough in provisioning all of the demand chain. A surprising 20 percent of more than 250 marketers audited by the CMO Council in the past three months admit their demand chain is under-performing or in need of improvement.

Marketers agree that demand chain provisioning is critical to business competitiveness and performance (38 percent of respondents), while an additional 31 percent believe it is important to sustaining sales and channel operations. Yet, only 25 percent of respondents are ensuring sales support materials and resources are delivered on-demand, which would improve sell-through and customer conversion. Only 15 percent are taking steps to audit and assess marketing supply chain effectiveness, indicating that there is little to no visibility into the demand chain provisioning process to truly gauge content, material or operational impact and performance.

While 56 percent of marketers are focused on campaign design, development and execution, only 16 percent are looking to production, warehousing, inventory management or delivery as critical elements in an effective demand chain. In addition, just two percent are looking to optimize the actual delivery, fulfillment or distribution of their critical marketing materials.

One area that potentially holds an immediate opportunity for improvement and value creation is specific to vendor selection or management. Nearly half of respondents view demand chain procurement and fulfillment as a compilation of individual vendors, asking each vendor to bid on individual elements of the demand chain. Only seven percent of marketers view the demand chain as an area for consolidation and rationalization to gain more control and efficiency. As nearly 60 percent of respondents plan on introducing a more disciplined approach to marketing execution systems, vendor visibility is likely an ideal place to begin demand chain transformation.

More information on CRM can be found at

Monday, November 22, 2010

New IDC Report Discusses Formula for Determining Social Business ROI

One of the top challenges associated with implementing enterprise social software is measuring the impact on business goals. A new International Data Corporation (IDC) study, Determining the Value of Social Business ROI: Myths, Facts, and Potentially High Returns, reveals that enterprise social software adoption still has room to grow, with 41% of respondents indicating that they have already implemented an enterprise social software solution -- leaving 59% who have yet to implement a solution. With this much adoption anticipated, IDC forecasts the emerging social platforms market will generate revenues of nearly $2 billion by 2014, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.2% over the 2009-2014 forecast period.

When conducting ROI on social business initiatives, the rules of business still apply, regardless if a company deploys social business initiatives to assist customer service, marketing, public relations, product innovation, employee collaboration, or other functional areas of the organization. IDC believes business executives need to understand not only the traditional metrics and value calculations of ROI, but also the impact that social business initiatives have on these computations and their interrelatedness. 

More information on social media can be found at

Friday, November 19, 2010

Global Survey Reveals Companies Are Addicted to "Big Data"; Executives Report Feeling Overwhelmed by Flood of Business Data but Still Seek More, Faster

Avanade, a business technology services provider, announced the results of its global survey, "The Business Impact of Big Data," which examines executive attitudes about how enterprises are managing the exponential growth of data.

The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, reveals that big data is creating very real business challenges for executives. In fact, more than half -- 56 percent -- of C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders report they are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. Many also report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information. Forty-six percent report they have made an inaccurate business decision as a result of bad or outdated data.

Data Addiction

Despite the challenges created by the proliferation of data, executives report they desire more data and they want it faster. One in three executives believe access to even more sources of data would enable them to do their job better, while 61 percent say they still want faster access to data. According to the survey, this desire for more data and need for speed is driven by the ability to keep up with customer service expectations.

Executives do recognize there is value in the data, from improved business forecasts to reduced uncertainty in decision-making and improved competitive positioning. Sixty-one percent of companies believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their businesses operate.

CRM and Security

When it comes to the most important kinds of data, companies report that customer relationship and sales information are critical to their strategic decision-making process. They recognize the opportunity to grow their top line revenue by harnessing customer information, and this focus is driving additional technology investments in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Sixty-seven percent of executives have invested or are seriously considering investing in CRM in the next 12 months.

With growing data, there is also a growing requirement for data security. Seventy-eight percent of companies report that they are investing in security solutions or will do so in the next 12 months. In the public sector, pressures are even greater with 74 percent of government organizations investing in CRM and 85 percent investing in security.

Struggle to Derive Business Value

The survey also reveals a big data disconnect. Despite the increasing volume of data, pressure to keep up with customer expectations and focus on technology investments, today's companies are still struggling to see big data as a driver of real business value. On the one hand, executives surveyed say there is value in the data. On the other hand, less than half of respondents -- 46 percent -- view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization. Rather, the majority -- 54 percent -- consider data as a consequence of doing business.

The "Business Impact of Big Data" survey was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm, in August 2010, and surveyed 543 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Social-Networking Services to Replace E-Mail as the Primary Vehicle for Interpersonal Communications for 20 Percent of Business Users by 2014

Greater availability of social-networking-services, coupled with changing demographics and work styles, will lead 20 percent of employees to use social networks as their business communications’ hub by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Analysts said that this is one of a wide range of capabilities that have emerged in communications, social Web and mobile, enabling richer interactions among people and expanding collaboration to a broader level.

While microblogging is reshaping enterprise communications, business communications are evolving. Newer employees will enter the workforce with a predisposition to communicate via a social network, but they will use e-mail in parallel -- optimizing the business need with the communication modality.

Vendors such as Microsoft and IBM will add links to internal and external social networks from within e-mail clients and servers, making services such as contacts, calendars and tasks shareable across e-mail and social networks. By 2012, Gartner said contact lists, calendars and messaging clients in any smartphones will be social-enabled applications.

Collaboration is slowly moving to the cloud, and Gartner analysts expect to see steep growth rates for sales of premises- and cloud-based social networking services. Organizations will deploy hybrid models where some services live on-premises and some are in the cloud. Gartner predicts that the percentage of e-mail accounts on cloud services will grow to 10 percent by year-end 2012, up 7 percent from 2009.

From a vendor’s perspective, the market is consolidating around Microsoft and Research In Motion (RIM), the two market leaders. Gartner forecasts that by 2012, RIM and Microsoft will own 80 percent of the enterprise wireless e-mail software market.

More information on social media can be found at

Sunday, November 14, 2010

With Millions of Brands to Choose, New Media Users Follow Only Five

Even as new media adoption explodes – up 48 percent from 2009 – loyal followers can be hard to come by for companies trying to reach consumers online. With the world’s most loved brands a click of the mouse away, new media users still choose to demonstrate affinity (e.g., “like” on Facebook, “follow” on Twitter or subscribe to an RSS feed) for an average of only 4.6 companies online, making this club one of the most exclusive to which a company can hope to gain access. These are among the findings of Cone’s latest research, the 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study.

Consumers are more open than ever to engaging with companies via new media (86 percent vs. 78 percent in 2009), but it still takes a big effort on the part of the company to reach the upper echelons of the consideration set. To stand out, companies need to incentivize new followers. Before deciding whether to engage with companies online, 77 percent of new media users look for free products, coupons or discounts. And they expect to find them in the following places:

Social networks – 48%
Mobile devices – 20%
Message boards – 20%
Blogs – 13%
Online games – 12%

It may be difficult for companies to get to the top, but it’s even harder to stay there. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of new media users say they are satisfied with their online experiences with companies, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hesitate to punish companies by disengaging. More than half of users will stop following a company if it acts irresponsibly toward its consumers (58%), over-communicates with them (58%) or provides irrelevant content (53%). Under-communicating (36%) or censoring user-generated content (28%) is also grounds for falling out of favor.

Companies that can deliver high-quality customer experiences are richly rewarded.
Users who engage with companies via new media are more likely to:

Share information about the company across their own social networks – 62%
Feel a stronger connection to the company – 61%
Feel better served by the company – 60%
Purchase the company’s products or services – 59%

As new media usage grows, so too do the myriad touch points. No longer satisfied to sit still, users are increasingly taking their online experiences on the go, as nearly one-in-five (18%, up from 13% in 2009) look to interact with companies via their mobile devices. Other touch points include social networks (38%), message boards (16%), online games (15%), blogs (13%), photo-, audio- or video-sharing sites (11%) and microblogs (3%).

More information on social media and customer service can be found at

Monday, November 8, 2010

EMEA Enterprise IT Spending to Rebound in 2011 with 1.3 Percent Growth After Two Consecutive Years of Decline

Enterprise IT spending in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is forecast to rebound in 2011 and reach $795.2 billion, a 1.3 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. However EMEA will be the only region to show a decline in IT spending in both 2009 and 2010, with enterprise IT spending forecast to total $784.8 billion in 2010, a decline of 2.1 percent from 2009.

The European sovereign debt crisis is heralding a period of austerity that is affecting the mature economies of Western Europe. Faced with increased market scrutiny of their public finances and hoping to avoid following in Greece’s footsteps, a number of other European countries, most notably the U.K., have since followed suit and adopted public sector austerity measures of their own in an effort to scale back their public deficits and debt.

Looking forward, the ongoing drop in the value of the Euro and the British pound should promote healthy export growth in Western Europe and with it, positive economic growth. Gartner analysts said as governments scale back their spending and social support, Western Europe is not expected to return to stronger enterprise IT spending growth until 2012.

The IT services market continues to struggle in EMEA and will be the slowest to return to growth. It is forecast to decline 5.6 percent and reach $234.0 billion in 2010. Unlike in the past where IT services spending showed relative resiliency in tight times, a risk-averse and cost-focused mindset is today broadly persisting. While a lot of efficiency can be won through a productive focus on controlling cost, the emerging problem is a lack of balance, which inhibits investment in changing the business through new strategies, productivity enhancement, and process and product innovation.

From 2012, Gartner predicts that enterprise software spending in EMEA will surpass growth in spending on hardware, and this trend will continue through 2014 as organizations begin a new software applications replacement cycle. In Western Europe, countries leading the rebound, such as Germany and France, contrast sharply with those including, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal still struggling with weak growth.

More information on Enterprise IT can be found at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CFOs Concerned About Time Waste but Also See Business Benefits in Social Media Use

As social media makes its way into the workplace, executives are weighing the potential risks and benefits. Approximately half (51 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently for an Accountemps survey said their greatest concern is that employees are wasting time during business hours using sites such as Facebook and Twitter. CFOs also expressed worries their staff may behave unprofessionally or post inappropriate information online. However, three in 10 financial executives (28 percent) said using these sites can improve customer service.

The survey was developed by Accountemps, a staffing services firm specializing in accounting and finance. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?" Their responses:

Wasting time at work - 51%
Behaving unprofessionally - 18%
Posting financial/confidential company information - 11%
Posting negative comments about company - 10%
No concerns - 10%
Don't know/no answer - 1%

CFOs were asked, "What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?" Their responses:

Provide better customer service - 28%
Enhance company's reputation - 22%
Expand networks of valuable contacts - 20%
Can secure new business - 18%
No benefits - 10%
Don't know/no answer - 2%

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gartner Says Mobility will be a Trillion Dollar Business by 2014

Worldwide mobile voice and data revenue will exceed one trillion dollars a year by 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Mobile will generate revenue from a wide range of additional services such as context, advertising, application and service sales, and so on. Each of these will be a significant business worth several tens of billions of dollars per year.

In mature markets, smartphones will dominate device sales for the foreseeable future. However, the dominant mobile device type shipped globally will be feature phones without an identifiable OS because emerging markets dominate handset demand. Organizations operating in emerging markets should assume smartphones will be a niche device beyond 2014.

Many new device types such as tablets and e-book readers will emerge through 2012 and some will find a role in corporations. However, none will achieve a market share comparable to smartphones or laptops, which will remain the dominant corporate mobile devices. Mobile knowledge workers will require both a PC and a smartphone through 2014.

The smartphone platform space is very competitive, and the leaders will change through 2014 with Symbian is losing share to Android and iPhone OS (iOS). Android is gaining ground fast and will appear on consumer electronics and non-handset devices such as tablets.

Gartner believes that context will be a defining principle of mobile business for the next decade. It will play a key role in many areas of mobile business, especially advertising and marketing.

More information can be found at