Monday, July 30, 2012

Nexus of Forces Social, Mobile Cloud and Information - Is the Basis of the Technology Platform of the Future

A Nexus of converging forces -- social, mobile, cloud and information -- is building upon and transforming user behavior while creating new business opportunities, according to Gartner, Inc.

Although these forces are innovative and disruptive on their own, together they are revolutionizing business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders. As such, the Nexus of Forces is the basis of the technology platform of the future.

Not that long ago, people's most sophisticated computing experience was at work, and computing was limited at home. Now, in most cases, the opposite is true. The consumerization of IT is a result of the availability of excellent devices, interfaces and applications with minimal learning curves. As a result of using these well-designed devices, people have become more sophisticated users of technology, and the individual has been empowered. People expect access to similar functionality across all their roles and make fewer distinctions between work and non-work activities.

Social is one of the most compelling examples of how consumerization drives enterprise IT practices. It includes personal activities of sharing comments, links and recommendations with friends. Consumer vendors have been quick to see the influence of friends sharing recommendations on what to buy.

Social technologies both drive and depend on the other three Nexus forces:

  • Social provides an important need for mobility: Accessing social networks is one of the primary uses of mobile devices and social interactions have much more value when they are possible wherever the user is located.
  • Social depends on cloud for scale and access: Social networks benefit from scale, the kind of scale that is really only practical through cloud deployment.
  • Social feeds and depends on deep analysis: Social interactions provide a rich source of information about connections, preferences and intentions. As social networks get larger, participants need better tools to be able to manage the growing number of interactions, which drives the need for deeper social analytics.

Mobile computing is forcing the biggest change to the way people live since the automobile. Mass adoption forces new infrastructure, it spawns new businesses, and it threatens the status quo.

However, mobile does not stand alone as an isolated phenomenon. People will interact with multiple screens working in concert. Sensor data will transparently enhance the experience, integrating the virtual and physical worlds contextually. The information gathered in this immersive world will have tremendous value and, ultimately, the lasting relationship will be between a user and a cloud-based ecosystem.

Cloud computing represents the glue for all the forces of the Nexus. It is the model for delivery of whatever computing resources are needed and for activities that grow out of such delivery. Without cloud computing, social interactions would have no place to happen at scale, mobile access would fail to be able to connect to a wide variety of data and functions, and information still would be stuck inside internal systems.

The model of cloud computing is what Gartner calls a "global-class" phenomenon because it focuses on outcomes connected across the globe rather than technologies and outcomes centered on an internal enterprise strategy. In a global-class computing world, everything shifts to the culture of the consumer and the externalized view of computing.

Information is not stored anywhere in particular. Rather, it is stored everywhere. For years, technologists have discussed the ubiquity of information without realizing how to take full advantage of it. That time is here now. Social, mobile and cloud make information accessible, shareable and consumable by anyone, anywhere, at any time. Knowing how to capture the power of the ubiquity of information and utilize the smaller subsets applicable to a company, a product and customers, at a specific point in time, will be critical to new opportunities and for avoiding risks.
More information on social media and CRM can be found at

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adoption of Online CRM Soars in One Year Overtaking Traditional In-house Systems for the First Time Ever

New research from Really Simple Systems reveals high confidence in online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM systems as over half of those surveyed see better value than in-house equivalents. With confidence in cloud solutions increasing substantially, of those surveyed, 56% are using an online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM system, compared to 45% this time last year. Furthermore, only 15% of respondents admitted to still having some reservations on the adoption of online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM; a vast improvement on the 23% in last year's survey.

From a sample of 685 respondents, the majority from small and medium-sized organizations with less than 50 employees, over half revealed that they believe online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions offer better value than in-house equivalents (up on last year's 44% to 50.1%). Furthermore, confidence in online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions overall has increased substantially, with 72% of respondents claiming to have more confidence generally that a year ago and 80% saying they thought online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions required less IT support.

In terms of social marketing, 67% of those surveyed use social marketing, with LinkedIn the most popular tool (81%) and 34% believing that they saw a positive ROI from using social marketing. Worryingly however, 59% of businesses claim to be unable to measure any ROI from their social marketing efforts.

The survey also confirmed that 61% of businesses are using in-house ERP/Accounting solutions (down from 69% in 2011) with 53% of those questioned saying they would be confident in switching to a cloud solution - aside from online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM - when the time comes - a figure 5% up on last year's 48%.

More information on CRM can be found at

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

IDC Study Reveals Emerging Social Media Trends Across Vertical Markets

IDC announced the availability of a new study, 2012 U.S. Social Media Trends by Vertical, that highlights the adoption of social media as an emerging technology across six major vertical markets including banking, government, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and utilities. Part of IDC's annual vertical view survey, the unique study found that similar to Internet adoption in the 1990’s, B2C companies - especially retailers - are driving social media adoption while B2B companies lag behind. The report also found that social media is enabling organizations to increase productivity and improve knowledge sharing as they leverage social networks to share best practices and identify appropriate resources.
Additional key findings include:

-- Increasing awareness of product and services is the top social media investment driver

-- Respondents cited managing and tracking all posted content as the top challenge to social media

-- Social networking accounts for half of the social media budget

-- Marketing is the biggest user of social media and is driving the purchasing decision of these technologies

The study also found that when comparing social media investment to other emerging technology areas, retailers more than any other industry are making strong investments. Successful retailers are integrating their mobile, analytic and social media strategies into one cohesive business approach. Social media touch points such as Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon are enabling these organizations to analyze customer behavior and in turn deliver personalized offers direct to a consumer’s mobile device.
Across all verticals, the research found that moderating conversations about products and services was not a high priority. IDC notes that companies are not taking full advantage of the communications aspect of social media and are using it more as one way method of communication – gathering feedback or pushing brand messaging to a wide audience – rather than collaborative communication as the medium was intended.

More information on CRM and social media can be found at

Monday, July 9, 2012

Survey - Key Risks Not Being Continually Monitored; Social Media Plays Increasing Role

A new Deloitte and Forbes Insights survey reveals that fewer than 25 percent of executives report that their organizations continuously monitor risk. While the majority of respondents anticipated that the global economic environment will remain the greatest source of risk through 2015, more than one in four (27 percent), predicted that risks posed by social media would play an increasingly important role.

Forty-one percent of respondents said that they saw the global economic environment as the most important source of risk over the next three years, and nearly one-third put government spending and budget into that category. Regulatory changes were of concern to 30 percent of respondents and both social media and financial risk were seen as a concern by 27 percent. The top areas of concern regarding increased volatility over the next three years included financial risk (66 percent of respondents), followed by strategic risk (63 percent) and operational risk (58 percent).

More than 50 percent of executives believe that regulatory, technological and geopolitical risk will increase in volatility, and 55 percent of executives surveyed reported that their organizations will revamp their risk approach within the next 12 months; roughly nine in 10 (91 percent) reported that they plan to reorganize their approach to risk management in some form or other over the next three years.

When asked how they planned to accomplish this, the majority (52 percent) said that they would elevate the profile of risk management throughout their organizations. Other areas viewed as key included reorganizing risk management processes (39 percent), additional training for staff (37 percent), incorporating new technology (31 percent) and integrating risk into strategic planning (28 percent).

Despite advances in risk-related technologies as well as concern about unstable risks, the survey found that automation tools and tools used for continuously monitoring risk are underutilized. Most monitoring is done periodically, on a monthly, quarterly, biannual or annual basis.

Additional Survey Findings:

-- Risk viewed as C-suite issue. Risk management has become a C-suite issue. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said that the main responsibility for overall risk management belongs to the chief executive officer, with 23 percent assigning this responsibility to the chief financial officer or treasurer. Interestingly, the chief risk officer or head of risk came in third place, with 19 percent.

-- Automated risk management systems and processes. Dashboard reporting for senior stakeholders, data analysis and self-assessment are most often a mix of manual and automated processes. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said that their companies were in the process of automating their risk reporting.

-- Budgeting for risk expected to remain stable. Respondents indicated that strategic risk and technology risk were the two areas where budgets will increase the most. Around 50 percent of respondents said they expect minimal change to risk management budgets across the board. Fewer than 15 percent of respondents across all risk areas said risk budgets would decrease over the next three years.
More information on CRM and social media can be found at