Social Media for the Enterprise – Strategies for Maximum ROI

Social Media dynamism, science and working is unique and can be adopted to Enterprises that have their own community, they can on-board existing traditional engagement channels into Social media and offer an unique customer experience. There are always huge benefits in closing out a successful Social Media channel for enterprises. Simply the Science of Social Media can allow a definitive and a sea of change for enterprises who will want to pursue new ways of global outreach and engagement of customer communities.

There are frameworks, methodologies, practices and process systems created to add tremendous value to enterprises seeking to deploy Social media strategies, With the application of Social Media strategies and by incorporating the best practices honed; enterprises can now pursue providing strong value to their engagement models by providing the need driven, value based solutions over Social media. Enterprises have a list of priorities that they should achieve by deploying Social Media platforms; these priorities are scenarios in which they get the maximum return over investment. These scenarios are the traditional engagement methods that are packaged and deployed over social media platforms; with a global community and outreach like never before. Have listed below few of the direct, maximum yield Social Media pursuits that I could research and list.

Investment and Maximum ROI Scenarios.

Enterprise Collaboration Enablement
Enterprise Support Enablement
Social Media Monitoring & Engagement
Social Media Sales Enablement
Web Collaboration & Intelligence

For detailed insight, visit my other Blog

Jesu Valiant – 2011

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Strategic Acquisitions – How? and What?

All organizations try to achieve the maximum growth in the shortest possible time. The trajectory that they want to take depends on what strategies they adopt to manage the varied challenges that they will face. There are many strategies that can be deployed in the wake of time-lines based growth targets. Its almost a undeniable fact that we have growth targets breathing down on CEO’s and the Board in all organizations and the route that they decide to take spells either the knell or the trumpet.

To swell any organizations revenue the strategy and the impending road-map is key; growth can be achieved by multiple ways. Defining a strategy and the under lying mesh of a plan is a hard job and usually the CSO – the strategist does that; he has to further that his conviction to persuade the brass of the organization. Lets take a look at the varied  examples of growth strategies that have been successfully used on most occasions to improve the swell of revenues.

Growth through Acquisition, examples and top reasons:

Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel

With Nortel filing for bankruptcy and the entire global telecom community completely aware of the ‘cash cows’ of a customer base with Nortel. Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel ensured it roped in the top enterprises where it can up-sell / cross sell and also the key Large Systems piece that had many fans in the enterprise world. With Nortel’s strong presence in NA, Avaya could get a rapid entry there with its newer range of products targeting the UC opportunities with Aura and other range of newer products.

Salesforce acquisition of Radian6

With all the CRM systems loosing out to minnows of smaller organizations thanks to the capability of Social Media analytics that these start ups have created. With Lithium’s intended acquisition of Scoutlabs and the market thirst for Social media analytics, Salesforce jumped into the bandwagon and identified and completed the acquisition of one of the market leaders in Social media analytics “Radian6”.  Salesforce overnight added capability to penetrate a big chunk of the market and also provide new capabilities to its huge and delighted customer base.

Tata Motors acquisition of Jaguar & Land Rover

Tata Motors acquisition of the British icons Jaguar and Land Rover was seen as an achievement; here Tata Motors without wasting much time and realizing the economic slowdown in European and American markets completed the acquisition rather swiftly. It provided Tata Motors opportunity to spread its business across different geographies and across different customer segments. Tata Motors did not hesitate to incur a huge capital expenditure in planning to invest US$ 1 billion in JLR in addition to the US$ 2.3 billion it had spent on the acquisition. Well Tata Motors now had global reach, varied market segments penetration, infrastructure, labs and technology.

JP Morgan acquisition of Bear Stearns

JPMorgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns for $10 per share, a price far below the 52-week high of $133.20 per share. JPMorgan Chase made the last-minute buyout was aimed at averting a Bear Stearns bankruptcy and a spreading crisis of confidence in the global financial system. The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government swiftly approved the all-stock deal. As all could see JPMorgan benefited most in Bear Stearns’ prime brokerage business, which completes trades for big investors such as hedge funds. Bear Stearns collapse was spectacular just before the acquisition falling to 1% in 16 days.

Whats in a Acquisition?

Acquisition is an inorganic growth tool, many times this is the most sought after growth tool. There are many cases of pure failures in acquisitions thanks to the fine art that is required to compose a strategic integration. Acquisition tests the ability of most leaders who have little, or no expertise in shaping a joint market strategy and driving existing share holders commitments. Approaches abound and any failures in the estimated revenues are directly due to the lack of proper research and analysis over priorities and integration dynamics.  In certain events acquisitions could have been avoided and strategic alliances could have been the key.

How to make an Acquisition work?

Before even the ideas over a target company are framed, even before the very first exchange of numbers happen, there has to be a business analysis done from the market perspective invoking the best of methodologies. The earliest of activity starts with getting the priorities of the organization correct; priorities cover non-negotiable stance of the acquirer. This list of priorities are essential to even start mapping the possible targets that would help in fulfilling the non-negotiable stance.

Secondly the acquirer organization needs to ‘listen and monitor’ the market having its scanner on the alert not to miss any available opportunity, there can be missed opportunities that emerge that would otherwise been a launchpad for growth. It would be wise of the board members or CEO’s to avoid compulsions which would emerge from almost everywhere.

Jesu Valiant

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

Developing Social Capital – An Approach

March 15, 2011 1 comment

Its all about building a soul into the spirit of the community, Social networks have been in existence for centuries; yes… its certainly true. Human communities settled and formed communities on river banks for thousands of years and were united as a social group with goals structured around food & hunting, shelter, security, mutual support, farming, etc., these communities grew big and formed distinct civilizations. In today’s world we try doing the same over a virtual platform, things can be so basic and simple provided right insight and approach is formulated.

The key in building social communities lies in the understanding the basic constituents. Every community and social grouping has fundamental units of functions [SFU] – Social fundamental unit,  addressing and enabling these units to function is key to the success of building community and social groups. Like in the real time communities there are some fundamentals that needs to be imbibed while forming communities.

1. Community Bonds among Individual elements.
Bonding within a community is very important, to create the bonding there needs to be goals defined and all in the community inadvertently pursue these set of goals. Its like floating a forum for users of one product series who want to achieve better product adoption and usage across as a group commune together. Some publish articles, some post questions, some answer, some pool in external references, etc., This is the key , build tools and work-flows around these goals to ensure that there is always an opportunity to debate, share, compliment, report, reference, etc., These help building relationships and bonding within a group. There is always Cohesion and Inclusion and no Confrontation or retributions.

2. Community Bonds between Groups of Elements.
Having these all out functional groups there is the next level of collaboration in the form of inter group bonding; in a community business support environment users will need each other strengths to collaborate for a solution. An example is a product buyer comes with an issue on the product compatibility with another brand over certain feature sets; he posts a question over the forum, over FB wall and possibly tweet too. Here there is an opportunity for this reported cause to get viral and many to see it for the good and for bad. There needs to be a response and this can be addressed by the Individual elements or Other Groups of Elements. There can be a technical support team that can respond; if an user reports an issue with much complexity like an interoperability then is not in the control of the support team, they can very well invoke the design & engineering team to advice and action. This is community supporting community, build bonds between groups of elements; this is also called as community support.

3. Platform as a Component.
With the complexities of real life engagements moving into a social application based interaction and responses, there needs to be a strong platform and governance model that helps in bridging the gaps between monitoring, responding, evaluating, enabling, analyzing etc., from a product manufacturer perspective. It also needs to take care of applying work-flows that will support knowledge sharing, collaboration, ideation and support, best practice mapping, etc., There are many a systems at play in the market there are a few that have listed below. These platforms offer the facility and functionalities to support most if not all of the above.

Social capital means the intensity, virality, capability of a Social community. The more the cohesive strength and collaborative spirit the higher the capital. Better Social capital translates to the following benefits for a Product & Technology Manufacturer.

1. Reduces transaction costs
2. Provides vivid and direct avenues for revenues
3. Provides a competitive edge
4. Social Capital with the best practices provides market differentiation
5. Social Capital with the right systems enable conducive collaboration environment
6. Helps build openness and transparency
7. Community Involvement Builds Social Capital
8. Promotes Accountability
9. Product and Logo Loyalty
10. Community Satisfaction & Delight
11. Direct channel with customers

Jesu Valiant – 2011

Shared Services – Boon or Bane?

March 12, 2011 Leave a comment

With the financial year 2010 – 2011 drawing to a close, corporations who have not scaled their performances are looking to vertically integrate internal services to create a pool of shared services to run an internal horizontal and this is done with the perception of reducing costs thus. The major areas of such an alignment is very true if organization does not have a industry spread and rather sticks to one direct LOB [Ex: Legal Firms, Pharma etc.,]., it simply means ensuring that resembling functions are grouped together and thus an opportunity for cost savings, services consolidation, unified governance etc., are achieved.

The reality that emerges is a stark contrast to the ‘dream’ of shared services that a CIO, CEO, CTO or the board has. In the current dynamic business environments this is bound to become a curious case of debacles, a ready candidature for worst practices. The entire activity of service team integration to achieve horizontal spread with the varied competencies are complex, expensive, and hard to reverse. Any internal mergers and fusions of services sets the top brass drooling over imaginary prospects today; in fact this in todays business dynamism completely a ‘penny wise – pound foolish’ strategy. This ‘like services’ integration motto proves that the proposer exists in a prehistoric world, where this idea will suit a mass production environment and during times of industrial revolution.

Business dynamism of today involves node level skill based revenues, operational environments, industry process and workflows, domain centricity, COE & Practice Blocs, etc., and in today’s scenario its always “Economies of flow are superior to economies of scale”. Economies of Scale applies to a mass production and industrialized service design. There is however play for Shared services models in a closed industry bloc and lets take an accounting firm; the HR will only focus on recruiting MBA’s and CA’s, if they open a Financial consulting BU the same HR role is diversified to seek analysts and statisticians. If it moves into a systems perspective then introduction of new ‘sniffing’ skills addressing this bloc is needed. This is addressed by adding new skill in the form of resources. Now if this micro transaction is a macro in its millions of dollars worth of PA transactions then the need is directed  in having a dedicated resource augmenting HR rather a shared services bloc.

Economies of flow are superior to economies of scale

Economies of Scale: More the Quantity of output; lesser the average cost. Successful environment for SSO.

Economies of Flow: More the Value, More the revenue and More Agility. Risky Environment for SSO.

In a complex technology environment supporting a dynamic business unit dealing with complexities like multi tenancy client and product eco system, industry specific workflows and addressing diverse industry stack, technology spread across varied functional requirements, distributed niche services,etc., there are a host of mushrooming communities of practice that exists each focused on their direct pattern of work. Here a shared resource for ‘anything’ becomes a nightmare with huge sacrifices that need to made over business agility, business TAT, quality of niche services.

However this does not rule out any scope for shared services as there are indeed a few areas where a SSO [Shares Service Organization] model will yield results and optimize business across a given Sharing services can go either way. Performing analysis over the services organization, introduce best practices, eliminate waste and failures, perform analysis and identify work that can be shared and pursue optimization.

Jesu Valiant – 2011

Technical Analysis in Stock Trading

Current stock market trading demands a lot of understanding to ensure that the trader does not end up risking his investments. Interest in stock market trading has grown in the leaps and bounds, there is a lack of proper analysis to reduce the risk percentage. Trading without any expert guidance and proper analysis is more than a gamble and adds a huge risk to the investor. There are a lot of professional trading bodies out there in the market who assist and provide the consulting for any market investor; in the background they use data analytics techniques shaped over decades and advice investors reducing the risk. This share and stock related analytics is called Market Technical Analytics.

Technical analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing the statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume. First cases of Technical analysis were developed by Homma Munehisa during early 18th century in Japan and it was the very first of candlestick techniques, this technique is still under utilization today. With the advent of information age and the standardization across the globe of the stock market data as OHLC, there have been numerous decision support systems that have been attempted and built. Today there are many sophisticated software packages intended to make the OHLC data into into graphics and analytics output.

OHLC Chart:


In the Information Technology domain data analytics using Business intelligence concepts and tools have reshaped the entire landscape, there are better products, better services, best of breed competition negators thanks to this analytics. In the financial market analysis however there is no magic bullet and there is a heavy dependency built over human resources as consultants and analysts.
Moving away from the comprehension basics, time we look at the solution sets available and address the market needs.

Types of Analysis:

There are two distinct analysis foundations the Technical analysis and fundamental analysis. Technical analysis is used for a trade, whereas fundamental analysis is used to make an investment. Fundamental analysis of a business involves analyzing its financial statements, organizations management and competitive advantages, its competitors and markets. Technical analysis is the forecasting of market prices by means of analysis of data generated by the process of trading.

Understanding OHLC:

Open-High-Low-Close charts are widely used in the stock trading market, they are highly useful in analyzing the variations in the stock over a period of time. The OHLC provides the data volume and helps identify the Short-, Mid- and Long-Term Trend, and Volume predicts Market Trend Reversals. There are a host of analytic logics and rules that can be applied over these data stacks to help in decision support and render predictive analytics.

How a Technical Analysis software helps?

A comprehensive technical analysis application helps reduce the complexities and reduces risks to almost 98%; this risk assessment and protecting insulates the users against any bear slugs. Today in this space there are many players and only few offer a comprehensive solutions, so how do we evaluate and identify these? well.. there is no straight answer. However there are some best practices that needs to be bundled with these application, the analytics and logics, the charting systems with multi referenceability and factoring, etc., OHLC based analytics will always have the earlier system predicted trend along with the actual trend and more less the deviation the higher the value. The following are some of the analytics components that ought to be present in the applications like Candlestick patterns, Elliott waves, Darvas Box Strategy, MACD, GAP, GANN, EOD & Intraday modes, Line Studies, etc.,

Jesu Valiant

Social Media Analytics – Top Applications

March 1, 2011 3 comments

Every organization and corporate house is participating in the Social Media; its come to a point where PR’s focus now are into Social Media. Social media opens a direct channel with the customers with their respective direct identities and hence more ownership and interactions and suddenly a new transaction channel with direct implications. Value of Social media channels now has made the most stiff-necked CEO’s bend down and deploy Social media strategists, this channel has truly emerged and maturing quite fast.

With the Social media becoming a business accelerator and Gartner identifying that Social Communications and Collaboration & Social Analytics as the Top 10 strategic technologies for 2011; the game in this space is heated and the market is lapping up every possible skill to make the most of this new front. With all the transactions and the buzz around the social web that is happening there is a an immediate need to monitor, record, analyze, model, gather intel over these transactions. The market now has hundreds of Social Media analysis companies rendering services and providing products, of these products there are a host of features on offing, only few however provide the comprehensive solutions.

At the first look every product looks similar and there is not much difference; when drilled down over product usage, product adoption, flexibility, rule sets, parameters, people & pages analysis, integrations, key social web performance indicators; there are only a few that surface to meet the demands. With not in any particular order the following are the ‘surfaced’ and recommended products.

Top Social Media Analytics Products:
Sysomos Heartbeat 2.0
Sysomos MAP
Edge3
Kontagent
Radian6 Dashboard
Radian6 Engagement Console
Alterian SM2
Attentio
DNA13
Fangle
Research.ly
Beevolve
Social Mention
CollectiveIntellect
ScoutLab
BrandsEye

Most Wanted Social Media Feature Lists:
Timeline Cohort Analysis
Funnel Analysis
Viral Optimizer & Analysis
Revenue Tracking
Traffic Source Optimizer & Analysis
Retention Workflows
Competitive Analysis
Geographic and Demographic Data
Key Influencer Identification
Key User / App / Page Engagement
Comprehensive and Spam-Free Database
Real-time feeds & captures of blogs, message boards and other types of unstructured data
Real-time analysis of blogs, message boards and other types of unstructured data
Comprehensive and constant web coverage
Social Media Metrics
Data Filtering and Segmentation
Workflow Management
Social CRM and Web Analytics Integration
Automated Sentiment Analysis
Historical Data
Listening Grid
Real-Time Coordination
Case Based Reporting
Complete Activity & Conversation History
Social Profiles
Integration and Interops Capability
Efficiency and Productivity

Jesu Valiant – 2011

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