Posts Tagged ‘CRM Idol’

We’re just a day past announcing the CRM Idol winner (GetSatisfaction) and I’m already involved in a beta for a new product,  I can already tell you that it won’t make it into next year’s CRM Idol because the sponsoring company,, won’t make last year’s emerging company revenue cut of $14 million.  Something tells me they’re a hair over that.  LOL!

Anyhow, the important thing is — what is it? Salesforce calls it a social productivity app and I can’t think of something better.  I started using it yesterday to plan a small personal project.  Basically “Do” runs sort of like Twitter or Facebook with a metaphor that chunks the screen into discrete elements.  Twitter has discrete tweets, Facebook has posts and has things that need doing like projects and within them tasks.

A leader can assign a task to anyone and the cool thing is that the other person does not already have to be enrolled as a friend or associate.  If you know someone’s email address you’re in business.  You can send a task back up the chain of command too like, please check on my expense payment for instance.

As someone looking to improve my personal productivity I enlisted my wife in a small project to go out on a date.  I asked her to get tickets to a show and discovered that Do is a bit more democratic than I thought.  Do let her tell me that she didn’t have time today and that I might be in a better position to get the tickets.  So much for socialization.

Had this been a real world situation I am sure I could have negotiated with an employee to get the tickets tomorrow or as soon as possible or something like that.

At any rate, projects have tasks and larger projects can have sections like get dinner reservations (I know, I’ll do it) could be a separate section if there were multiple tasks like calling the restaurant, getting a baby sitter (my kids are in college, no thanks) or checking to see if our friends want to come.  I suppose checking with friends could just be a task that would go out to them via email and I’d get a reply.

You can add notes anywhere you want, for example, to a task.  To the “Find a babysitter” task I added the note, “Don’t get that woman who drank my scotch last time.”  See, easy. looks like a nice productivity tool.  It lives on the internet and anyone can use it and I believe that anyone with a mobile device will see that it enables them to stay connected and on top of various hot irons in the fire no matter what.  And because it’s internet resident when you come in from the cold and want to use on a computer with a real keyboard, everything about the project will be there already — no synchronizing.

My analysis of the work environment in the years ahead includes more people working away from the buildings and infrastructures built to support them.  Productivity will depend on tools like  Perhaps even more to the point, this product enables you to both comingle work and personal life and still keep things separate.

But I’m not sold yet.  I still need to figure out how my wife already figured out how to use this thing well enough to put everything back in my lap.

The recently concluded Dreamforce conference in San Francisco might have been the most successful CRM conference ever.  That’s not hyperbole.  I have been at some major events in the last ten years that rival this year’s Dreamforce.  For instance, whenever Siebel had a user conference that was also major.  But a lot has happened since the last time Siebel held an independent user event not associated with Oracle — that was in 2005 and much has happened in the intervening six years.

In that time SaaS and cloud computing have finished their takeover of corporate computing — at least the majority of the hearts and minds.  Analytics has become important everywhere (including analytics in CRM was pioneered by Siebel) and, of course, social media has given new life to the whole front office.  All of this came together in the recent Dreamforce.  Beyond that, though, Salesforce has clearly shown that it intends to change the business application development and deployment paradigm with a host of databases, data storage options, programming languages and platforms.

You might think that this is a good time to take a breath and contemplate a new line of work because this all seems locked down but you’d be mistaken.  Despite all the glitter of Dreamforce there are still many minds to change.  Social and cloud computing have nicely established beachheads in strategic areas and even skeptics are likely to acknowledge that the world is changing.  But there’s nothing pre-ordained that says cloud and social will carry the day.

There’s still a good deal of skepticism in the IT community about using applications from the cloud, about data security in the cloud and about performance.  Where social business techniques are concerned many old line IT directors and CIOs still regard social media applied to business as something between a fad, a waste of time and coddling young employees.

As many of you know, I’ve been a judge in the CRM Idol competition organized by Paul Greenberg.  Most of the heavy lifting (it’s still ongoing) was taken care of before Dreamforce.  For instance, we all took about forty briefings in a two week period and our brains are tired.  But the confluence of these events has left me with a unique perspective on the marketplace enabling me to look forward and back about ten years in each direction.

Looking back I can see applications built in the last decade or even earlier that still try to cover CRM’s basic stovepipes.  They are applied to shrinking niches but their owners still manage to find an audience.  These applications are serviceable but no one will confuse them with the systems of tomorrow.  The futuristic applications we saw do things I didn’t even know we needed but now I wonder how long before they’ll hit the big time.  In all of this I learned that the marketplace is simultaneously rather conservative and equally progressive.

The market is conservative in the way of the old maxim, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  And that maxim informs much of the IT community that can’t see the benefit of socializing front office business practices no matter the growing list of success stories to the contrary that you point to.

However, in its more progressive moments, the market is like a machine hungry for fuel and raw material so that it can make the next products.  This hungry market is what propels us and keeps the conservatives on their toes so that at the first sign that the old paradigm is broken, they leap to fix it with whatever new solutions are at hand.

This is not to say that backsliding is impossible.  If you look at most of the cloud offerings today, you notice an eerie similarity in many products.  They aren’t so much cloud solutions as they are what Marc Benioff likes to call false clouds.  They are conventional applications running in a datacenter in the sky without benefit of the standards and multi-tenancy that is the heart of cloud computing.

August showed me all of that — from Idol to Dreamforce — and in the weeks and months ahead you’ll hear more from us about Idol and what seems hot to us.  We’ll also be watching Salesforce to see how well it makes good on its Dreamforce promises.  The conservatives and progressives will continue their back and forth and it will seem like there is no progress yet when you raise your head from the tasks immediately in front of you it will be apparent that progress is incremental as it has to be.  That’s why, despite the success of Dreamforce, the IT debates are not over and the work continues.

CRM Idol Is Here

Posted: April 25, 2011 in CRM
Tags: , ,

This is a good idea.

A bunch of independent analysts led by ring leader Paul Greenberg have launched a competition of sorts aimed at the front office market.  Paulie launched an effort that plays a riff on American Idol, which he calls, appropriately enough, CRM Idol.

The object of the competition like the show is to identify one smoking hot emerging company and to give it the kind of guidance and exposure that you’d have to pay a VC’s ransom to get any other way.  Check it out here.

Now, if you are in an emerging company or happen to know one check out the link and see if you want to follow the rules to CRM stardom.  And it could really be stardom of a sort but if you crash and burn the whole CRM community will be watching so this is definitely for serious adults who want to take the whole process seriously.

The rules and format are simple but they take a bit of explanation so rather than telling you about them here, you’d be best served to checkout the links.

A couple of things.

Although this sounds like entertainment because it loosely follows the American Idol competition, do not be misled.  This is a serious situation.  You will be required to pitch your product and you will be critiqued by a panel of industry honchos with serious cred.  Then the serious honchos will tell the world what they think of your efforts.  This is definitely a bluebook to cram for.  The winner gets more or less instant attention in the spotlight, the runners up get some free consulting from the serious honchos with…whatever.

So check it our, polish up your product and your presentation.  Keep in mind that you need to be a going concern and CRM Idol is not interested in slideware.

Good luck!