Thursday, November 29, 2012

Survey Shows 71 Percent of Respondents Using SaaS for Less Than Three Years

Adoption of software as a service (SaaS) has grown dramatically among users of enterprise software solutions, but it varies widely within markets, according to Gartner, Inc. A recent Gartner survey showed 71 percent of organizations have been using SaaS for less than three years.

In June and July of 2012, Gartner conducted a survey of 556 organizations across 10 countries and within four regions (North and South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific) to understand the trend in the movement to SaaS from traditional software license models and to gain insight into how and where software budgets were being spent.
The results indicate that interest in the SaaS deployment model remains strong and continues to expand with late adopters. Brazil had the largest number of new users, with 27 percent of respondents using SaaS for less than one year.
Implementing net new solutions or replacing existing solutions is now the primary driver for using SaaS, according to the survey. Worldwide, there is a shift in SaaS adoption from primarily extensions to existing applications to net new deployments or replacements of existing on-premises applications.

According to the survey, investments in SaaS are expected to increase across all regions. Seventy-seven percent of respondents expected to increase spending on SaaS, while 17 percent plan to keep spending the same. More than 80 percent of respondents in Brazil and Asia/Pacific indicated more spending on SaaS applications over the next two years. The U.S. and European countries were not far behind with 73 percent of U.S. respondents and 71 percent of European respondents intending to increase spending on SaaS.

Respondents picked customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise content management (ECM) as the applications most often being newly deployed. Supply chain management (SCM), Web conferencing, teaming platforms and social were the applications picked most as replacements for on-premises solutions.
More information on SaaS can be found at

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brands Respond to Mobile Customer Service Demand

Savvy businesses are stepping up their mobile activities, not only in terms of content and marketing, but also in terms of customer service and support. According to a study by SAP and Social Media Today, 38% of companies surveyed worldwide in 2012 offered customer service through the mobile channel.

That number is up 10 percentage points from 2011 when only 28% of surveyed companies provided mobile support. Moreover, 8% of surveyed businesses said they planned to enable that capability in the next six months and 9% said they too would enable it, but it would take more than six months.

The mobile channel will be particularly important for this upcoming holiday season. US online buyers told surveyor MarketLive in September that accessible information and customer service was very important when buying gifts online. Although a less-cited response, 24% also said that the option to chat via a mobile phone is an important customer service feature for online gift purchasing.

Industries in North America such as airlines, telecom and auto may have more at stake when it comes to adapting to mobile customer care, since their customers are often on the go when using or thinking about their services.

source: eMarketer

More information on mobile customer service can be found at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gartner Says 821 Million Smart Devices Will Be Purchased Worldwide in 2012; Sales to Rise to 1.2 Billion in 2013

The consumerization trend has hit IT as an unstoppable force, as 821 million smart devices (smartphones and tablets) will be purchased worldwide in 2012 and pass the billion mark in 2013, according to Gartner, Inc. Smart devices will account for 70 percent of total devices sold in 2012.

 In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile. Tablets will be the key accelerator to mobility. Gartner estimates that in 2012 purchases of tablets by businesses will reach 13 million units and will more than triple by 2016, to reach 53 million units. 

Smartphones have become truly pervasive in every aspect of an employee’s life. Gartner estimates that 56 percent of smartphones purchased by businesses in North America and Europe will be Android devices in 2016, up from 34 percent in 2012 and virtually no penetration in 2010. 

The increasing penetration of Android in the enterprise will continue to pose challenges for the IT department and the CIO to ensure that security and manageability remain a priority. However, Android and iOS-based devices will continue to increase their presence in the enterprise side-by-side and in most cases instead of RIM.

In the business market, Windows 8 will take the No. 3 position in the tablet market behind Apple and Android by 2016, with interest coming more from businesses than consumers. Tablets and convertibles will be the way into businesses for Windows 8. Gartner estimates that the share of Windows 8 tablets and ultramobiles in businesses will reach 39 percent in 2016. 

Over the past year, we have seen consumer preferences shaping not only the vendors’ landscape but also the way IT departments need to think about devices in the enterprise with BYOD becoming a part of the devices policy. In just 12 months businesses have moved from resisting Apple to accepting its devices in the organization. CIOs who balance workers' passion for Apple with the needs of IT will reap surprising benefits and prepare the business for entry of other consumer-market vendor technologies.

More information on mobile devices and CRM can be found at

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Maximize Social Media to Become Truly Customer-Centric

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and more, customers have a voice as never before. They are speaking up, saying what they think about products, services, and brands, and sharing stories of their experiences, both positive and negative, with others far and wide. As a result, every business with customers needs to think of communications on social media platforms as a critical part of the overall customer service experience.

GOINGSOCIAL: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Powerof Social Media (AMACOM 2012) shows how anyone in business can tap into the power of social media to become truly customer-centric. Here’s how:

Welcome customer complaints. Public griping has plenty of advantages. When customers voice their complaints socially in real time, companies can resolve those complaints faster than via phone or email -- and reap a quick return in positive word of mouth. Plus, companies can gain from the gripes of prospective customers.

Be responsive and transparent. When publicly confronted with a customer service problem on a social platform, publicly make your intentions of fixing the problem crystal clear.

Get good at active listening. Giantnerd, the outdoor equipment company, continually uses its site’s social features to improve its products. Customer feedback on the smallest of details, such as the location of the toecap on the pedal, has led to changes in a bike’s manufacturing, which have led to increased sales.

Be helpful without being intrusive. Let customers talk among themselves, and join the conversation only when it can add value. Since customers tend to trust peer recommendations more than any form of marketing, empower members of your social circles with the knowledge and tools to lead on the brand’s behalf. The goal is to create a community of “super users”—fans who become brand advocates and platform moderators..

Be consistent. Whether they interact with a brand through Twitter, on a Facebook page, or by calling the company’s headquarters, customers expect to have a seamless conversation and to be treated consistently. Meeting this expectation starts with a well-documented internal customer service policy. That way, everyone--from frontline customer service reps and community managers to the accounting department--is on the same page and operating in a customer-centric fashion.

Be collaborative. Shortly after launching its first pocket camera, the Zi6, Kodak slowly began engaging on Twitter, taking note of what members of its new social audience didn’t like about its new product. Eventually, with the help of its Twitter followers, Kodak launched a major success—the PlaySport—and modernized its image, while rebounding from bankruptcy.

# # #

Adapted from GOING SOCIAL: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media by Jeremy Goldman (AMACOM 2012).

More information on CRM and social media can be found at