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Enterprise Solutions Framework for Salesforce

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Salesforce has emerged as one of the best cloud solutions for the market and its evolution is quite remarkable. With a new range of feature sets deployed over cloud and the spree of acquisitions that Salesforce has done especially to add more capability to its offering; there has risen a strong need for organizations who have adopted Salesforce to understand, leverage and extract ROI over this rapidly evolving cloud solution.

There are a range of services spanning the entire lifecycle of cloud based CRM adoption using the Salesforce.com platform one can avail from the list of partners. However organizations fall much short of enabling the newest features and obtain the yield of critical benefits. Building these niche services and solutions are undertaken by select Salesforce partners who leverage exiting function sets and take the operability of the cloud to greater depths. We can build comprehensive solutions that drive sales, support through  Collaboration, Social networks, Business intelligence and Knowledge management processes. There are the critical new market solutions that have been framed in the industry to which there is no dynamic solution that has been created.

Almost many organizations find it harrowing to perform, 1. CRM & App Adoption and driving higher ROI, 2. Implementing the new market solutions for the new dynamic business landscape. Many Salesforce implementations suffer from a lack of critical expertise in adopting best practices, packaged solutions.

Have below Salesforce solutions and support framework [Have derived this from ITIL framework; this conjure specifically for Cloud Administration and Management] that can help appreciate the user experience and drive higher utilization of the cloud solution. Have listed the critical areas of operations support & administration where every organization using Salesforce needs to deploy a focus group.

Salesforce Solution and Support Framework

Framework defines a comprehensive solutioning and support stack. We intend to pursue adoption of this framework and thus provide direct value to the market in achieving the elusive 1. Adoption and driving higher ROI, and optimizing for performance 2. New market solutions for the new dynamic business landscape “to be done On Demand”. With a strong Salesforce expertise and solutioning cadence spanning across process management, analytics, interops, migrations, integrations backed by certified applications; the ForceNext as it is branded will deliver the best conjure of expertise in the Services domain.

Solutions Stack for the New Market: On Request mailto:jesu.valiant@csscorp.com

Copyright © 2009-2011 cran.edge/@jesuvaliant @valiantblogs

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CRM’s in 2011 – What the Market needs?

April 14, 2011 4 comments

CRM applications have traditionally helped in issue tracking, tasks management, accounts management and have all their product feature appreciations over the decade. All such enhancements have addressed feature extensions and few rare cases of interops with other applications. In today’s scenario the CRM features are being looked at from multiple perspectives with the advent of newer engagement models and transaction channels. The market does have its share of feature packed systems but features have only looked at addressing the legacy use cases and have not looked at widening the visions over next generation market needs and emerging solution areas. With a late awakening we now see an activity spree in the market that does signal that product companies are trying to make the most, by way of new pursuits and with a load of investments.

Here we take a look at ‘What the market needs today?’, the product stacks prescribed by analysts and how they hold good against the needs.

Gartner in its MQ for 2010 lists the following set of product companies.

Leaders & Challengers per GMQ 2010
-Oracle Siebel
-Salesforce
-Microsoft Dynamics
-RightNow
-Pega Systems
-SAP
-Amdocs

Lets see what are the overall Gaps that are abound in these products with regards to the realities and engagements of today and tomorrow.

1. Integrated E-Support:
With high levels of adoption over self service modules and real-time on-line support systems growing in demand, many CRM’s in the market have not the ability to provide an integrated E-Support Module. E-Support will be the set of functions or features that will help in rendering real time support that will be part of the CRM, i.e., an extension. The functionalities does not end with ‘Incident Tracking’, ‘Data Captures’ and ‘Account details’ but goes on to provide a real time engagement console with the transactions being recorded. Features like ‘Create my Case’, ‘Chat now’, ‘Click to Call’, etc are opportunities to be pursued by CRM companies. There however has been few market leaders who have built capabilities on these lines but much of the market needs here remains to be addressed.

2. Process Automations & Management:
Every Product TAC, Sales & Marketing Teams, Engineering & Design Teams, and almost all the functional arms of any product company plays host to a wide variety of processes and procedures around the tracked CRM entries. There are numerous processes that are covered manually with the reports that are extracted from the CRM databases. CRM here typically functions as a storehouse of data and performs case captures, beyond that all processes are manually managed by the varied functional units within and organization. They have Excel based macros that process data outside CRM, they have audit screens done over third party applications, they utilize web based tools to automate other process and work-flows complimenting the data capture done by the ‘expensive’ CRM.
Here is an opportunity to fill the Gap and make available process / work-flow management functionality as part of the CRM to position product as a market differentiator.

3. Social Web Interoperability:
The last couple of years have seen the emergence of Social media, with direct identification of the individual profiles and engagements globally, this new medium demanded immediate attention from all of the enterprises and corporations. In the wake of Facebook, Twitter, third party forums & wikis, Collaboration platforms, there was an immediate need to listen, manage, engage, analyze these data streams that are out there. The negative impact that can be caused due to mis-management of this medium with its virality over comments and posts posed a very high risk proposition. Many CRM’s today fall absolutely short of capabilities to address this widening gap, however there are a few market leaders who have in the past months frantically went on an Acquisition spree or a partnership spree to add this strength. Salesforce & Raidan over Service Cloud 3, Lithium acquisition of Scoutlabs are few of the attempts made to address this gap.

4. Social Analytics:
With much said and more done over Social media on providing tools capable of listening, capturing, monitoring, engaging of conversation over the Social Web and third party portals and forums, there emerges the strong need to analyze these in line with the few key business cases and identify, get insight,  pursue opportunities, [Social Media Analytics features]. This key feature set is not offered by many in the market. There are only a few product based solutions that currently have tried to build capability here, this area is yet to evolve and the critical aspect of providing Business Intelligence over Social Media is an open opportunity for all the CRM’s out there. With the complexities and lack of analytical cases to pursue and render value there is whole lot of ideation and product features that sprout here with no comprehensive solutions. Again a very strong opportunity for CRM product manufacturers to set their pursuit on.

5. Data Reporting & Analytics:
Much of the CRM’s data reporting revolves around volume driven reporting and rule engine based reporting. Across all the CRM’s that are being adopted there exists a huge gap over data analytics and advanced reporting. We have modules on CRM today that provide the advanced users the ability to query the backend data stacks to procure reports and a very low level slice and dice capability. This gap here to run Analytics and Engineer Insightful details is a Grey area. Although the reporting capabilities have matured, the gaps are huge and every CRM user community over all the product pursue a separate MIS and Data analyst functions outside the CRM process. The market will lap up opportunities here and this can be a huge market differentiator for CRM product companies if they address this glaring gap.

6. Integrated Knowledge Solutions:
Based on an analysis performed over enterprise technical support customers, I could see exponentially at least 15% of customers demanding DIY kits – Self help systems for them to drill down into the solutions. There is also the tremendous gap between the product and its relative documentation that can be ‘called upon’ even by agents who work on incidents and tickets. Both for the customer to assist in better adoption of service or product and for the engagement teams to arrive at a solution to help in better and quicker closure the backend process of Knowledge creation, management, references, knowledge pushing, archiving, etc., remains much to be desired even with the market leaders and the challengers. Solutions over this can be a tremendous value.

Jesu Valiant

Enterprise Collaboration & Knowledge Management

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

In a focused [or] applied environment i.e., [domain specific and task intensive] where the core function revolves around a knowledge intensive processes, there is a strong need to invest efforts in Capturing, Processing, Leveraging knowledge. Our products, services, and environment are more complex than ever before. Workforces are increasingly unstable leading to escalating demands for knowledge sharing / consumption. Knowledge management best practices are evolved after continuous exposure to a whole assortment of challenges addressing varied communities and supporting the end to end ecosystem of businesses. With new genre frameworks and process controls engineered in-house, we do see an opportunity across the industry spectrum to build knowledge management process that addresses the knowledge workflows, knowledge structures, knowledge categorization, content management, content evolution, instructional design, and a whole host of process blocks. With a robust knowledge base and a matured process, businesses get the opportunity to evolve a strong benefit stack.

Global economy has migrated from an Industrial Economy [Commercial Products] to a Knowledge Economy [Expertise based economy]. With new services and expertise that are in high demand in the marketplace, any organization needs to cultivate within its employee base a practice of Knowledge Sharing and collaboration. Every organization needs a logical long term plan for the intellectual assets, people are skilled and they address it as a commodity when walking in for an interview. This valuable commodity needs to be captured, it can be from individuals, groups, domain teams, etc.,Knowledge Management practice attempts to create strategies to ‘source – classify – warehouse – analyze – leverage – reuse’ knowledge with communities. Knowledge management and collaboration completely depends on the community and hence community leaders within the organization are key to drive this practice. With rewards, recognition, learning, sharing, collaborating opportunities; we would have woken up to a new reality.

Successful collaboration and strong knowledge management structures are essential to any well-functioning business enterprise, and information technology has become one of its key enablers. For establishing and enabling collaboration within the layers of organization or community there are methods and process centric, application suites structured over web 2.0 standards pre configured to handle specific enterprise workflows addressing access control, content management, intellectual property and security requirements.

Accelerating journey towards Enterprise 2.0

> Integrated social media solution for businesses that enables organizations to build communities.
> Encourage Interactions, monitor reactions, take feedback and comments, process solutions.
> Promote Information Exchange from among communities or between organization layers & community.
> Knowledge accumulation and usage is a key to business success.
> Create thriving online spaces that deliver measurable value.
> Separate your company from the competition by giving yourself tremendous credibility.
> Presents a free, fair, open & transparent culture; helps gain value.

A Product recommendation:

CSS Corporation presented the EDGE collaboration and knowledge management system.

http://www.csscorp.com/news&events/news-read.php?NID=139

Email:
enterprise.ke@csscorp.com

Web 2.0 has transformed the way we look at online community behavior and the possible implications of collective, collaborative knowledge management models. The power of the Web 2.0 model has been universally recognized, however, the implications for enterprise adoption suffer from a lack of immediate consensus. The CSS EDGE platform creates a working model for transforming the enterprise support function by providing a governance model for integrating internal and external communities or groups.

EDGE has been architected using open source components, configured to handle specific enterprise workflows and enables the enterprise to harness the power of Web 2.0 to drive customer loyalty, drive marketing and product management, as well as provide collaborative environments for promoting ideas that drive continuous innovation.

Jesu Valiant

Unified Communications – Solution Opportunities

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The Unified Communications landscape is defined by two major evolving fronts 1. The Voice Communications leaders and 2. Application [Desktop] Communication leaders. What the opportunity one can have in a domain thats already has seen the fiercest of competitions in the landscape and competitions in the billions across multiple logos and strategies that change every day? Well.. thats the opportunity. There is a huge spectrum of varied products & solutions, but there is a lack of services that to address the complexities. More than two decades have gone by since IPFX – NL came up with its presence solution but nothing major has changed the UC landscape. There is yet to be any full fledged ‘solution’ that can sweep the market.

UC Implementors: Many seek to cater to this service and drill deep in this massive market, seeing the opportunity within and around. There are already a huge assortment of services companies who have jumped into this fray to make the most of it. Data indicates that enterprises are preferring to buy their UC services from Telco’s or Network Providers rather than IT Services Companies. The reality contrasts as most of these Telco’s and Network providers have their Service partners who run the regional errands; having to focus more on the core competency they seldom undertake ‘service’ ventures. These errand companies are mostly a Tier 2 player in that region.

Challenges: There are a host of core technical issues and market issues that hound this practice of Unified Communications. With hounds abound in the form of Interoperability issues, Storage issues, Security issues, Challenges in deployment, Challenges in FMC. With these issues in the open, companies get  something if not everything, muting the true experiences of unification.

Selection of a UC Services player: Only a few IT Service Companies are well placed to address this Gap; these companies are either Technical Support, Managed Support  partners, Professional Services partners to 1. The Voice Communications leaders and 2. Application [Desktop] Communication leaders who ‘field’ the collection of skills from the skills reservoirs.

Ushering the “Open” wave: The steady growth of Open Source has brought in a range of Open API’s and bridge bundles that users in betterment of the choice for the market. From IP telephony, conferencing, IM, UM, the stacks have challenged may proprietary products. Seeking strengths on this area whilst searching for a true type services company will further augment strength of the solution you want to implement.

An Approach: 1. Any company wanting to adopt Unified Communications needs to understand their landscape and the proposed, 2. Identify areas of Technology convergence and bucket the product stack they stare into at, into these categories, 3. Services are expensive and not all address our specifics; hence identify the right IT service providers who may be Technology Partners, Solution Partners, Professional Services Partners with credibility [Case Studies, Best Practices, etc.,], 4. Ensure strip bare competition for varying bids among the best identified and always settle for the expertise rather than cost.

Jesu Valiant

Enterprise Technical Support & Knowledge Engineering

Technical support has been a challenge to most of the enterprise product manufacturers, trying to keep pace with evolving technology to achieve greater spread and depth. With the focus on research and development along with evolving the standards, the key aspect of enterprise product support over Installations, Migrations, Integrations, Up-gradation across the product application spectrum across all industries remains a challenge.

Technical Support vendors / Solution Partners who emerge having setup their robust, certified and proven support model evolved by the depth of expertise they harbor over time;  function as a seamless & integrated arm as a technology & solutions partner of industry leaders across enterprise support services, carrier support, infrastructure management, applications management, networking / data / voice /video. These partners over their prolonged exposure to the varied communities, processes, practices of enterprise product manufacturers have evolved key support processes and frameworks.

Knowledge Engineering

The Process Frameworks over Knowledge engineering over enterprise support, the  Support 2.0 concept, Six – Sigma process adoption in high-end technology support,  are a few of the key critical client success factors driving market adoption of outsourced high-end technology support offering.

The Knowledge Engineering Framework that’s evolved over a decade of enterprise support experience has augmented the strength to deploy robust analytics – recommendation – solutioning models to address a complete host of evolving business challenges. This Knowledge engineering framework applied over certain key propositions has evolved astonishing results turning and tuning the tide.

With this new genre in approach, the Knowledge engineering process looks to optimize and contribute towards all the core functions of enterprise product manufacturers over Product / Design, Business / Strategies, Marketing / Sales and Operations & Delivery.

Jesu Valiant – 2010

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