Siemens recently closed the acquisition of Vistagy, incorporating it into Siemens PLM Software. Vistagy is a provider of specialized engineering solutions including applications for design and manufacture of advanced composite materials.
Composite materials are made of two or more constituent materials that when mixed retain distinct properties. The composite is generally designed to achieve a specific set of attributes, such as lightness, strength, flexibility, durability, etc. Despite their high cost, composites are increasingly being used to manufacture disk brakes for sports and luxury cars and orthopedic dentures, as well as being used in airplanes, wind turbines, and even space ships. Read the rest of this entry »
During briefings with small ERP vendors, I often hear the argument that they are more flexible and can better respond to their customers’ needs than larger vendors. The ultimate example: “You can even talk to the CEO if you need to.”
But would you want to? Bypassing the usual workflows and calling the CEO (this actually really happens) may not be a recipe for the best technical support ever.
Besides, from my experience working with and for small ERP vendors, I know that if you want to talk with the CEO, it’s likely that you’re unhappy about something (customers rarely call to congratulate the CEO for the team’s great work). Or, you’re trying to get something from the vendor without going through the formal process of, say, submitting a developmental request for new features.
I know that small ERP vendors are more willing to make compromises and create special relationships with their customers, but there are also disadvantages that you need to consider. Let’s take a look at the challenges you might encounter during the selection and implementation process, and some of the things that you can do to avoid them. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first wrote about the upcoming TEC CRM Buyer’s Guide focusing on innovation, I stated that customer relationship management (CRM) vendors can differentiate themselves from their competitors through innovation. But I also mentioned that innovative technology should not be embraced just because it’s new or cool, or seems to bring the answers to your problems.
Innovation is great, but remember that innovative products can also bring challenges that your company might not be ready to deal with. So after all the excitement settles, here are a few things you should consider before adopting innovative technology. Read the rest of this entry »
Social media provides data to the enterprise on how its customers are interacting. Even though most decision makers understand that gathering and analyzing this data is important, it’s not always easy to know how.
Astute Solutions was founded in 1995 to offer call center and issue management software, which later became a full customer service solution. The acquisition of RealDialog from LiveWire Logic in 2006 added knowledge management to the offering. In 2010, Astute acquired Gamma Engineers for its social media management technology. This has evolved into today’s Astute Social Relationship Management (SRM) solution, with the ambition to offer functionality not just for managing social data, but for using the results in the cross-channel customer relationship activities of a company. Read the rest of this entry »
Everything can change without notice in your relationships with prospects and customers, and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions should be flexible enough to help with this ongoing challenge. Monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) packages or suites can take years to implement and cannot easily adapt to change; but CRM solutions can provide functionality that makes change management easy and reduces its disruptive effects to the minimum.
Customer-centric or not, every company generates information about its customers that may be used by any department of the company—e.g., invoicing for accounting, customer feedback for product development, sales performance for incentives and compensation management, etc. Traditionally, CRM solutions did not offer functionality that would allow companies to use CRM data in any department other than sales and marketing. Also, functionality that was not specific to CRM but still related to it, such as business process management (BPM) and project management, was very little supported by CRM systems. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of us use a mobile device for work, and even though we all care about how to maintain and keep these devices safe and running well, there are questions that we probably did not consider seriously or decided to deal with later. Though this inactivity may not have serious consequences for each individual, the sum of many small issues can turn into a big problem at the company level.
In order to avoid that, you should start looking at three types of issues that will arise when looking for answers to the following questions: Read the rest of this entry »
CRM has changed enormously over the past decade. New technologies and changing customer behavior have both had a great impact on the way companies manage their existing and potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »
In recent posts, we’ve learned that business software implementation failures are rampant and that the blame is all on the vendor. And though unhappy customers are suing the software vendors, little speculation is offered on the cause for the implementation failure. Read the rest of this entry »
Even though enterprise resource planning (ERP) for services is a growing market, its most important players still take a generalist approach when it comes to dealing with specific industries, and media and advertising is one of them. Vendors like Oracle and SAP, who decided to adapt their manufacturing offering to services, or vendors like Netsuite and Deltek, who concentrated on service companies from the start, choose to mix their existing solutions—ERP, customer relationship management (CRM), and document management software, add-ons, etc.—to create solutions for specific industries in the services market. Read the rest of this entry »
Many people consider social media as a set of tools for communicating with others and/or entertaining themselves and collaboration as a characteristic of business processes and workflows that allows employees to work together to be more efficient.
In reality though, both social media and collaboration can help employees communicate and share information, and thus work more efficiently. In addition, the success of any social media and collaboration initiative heavily depends on the tools used and the way they are integrated with the activities of the company. Read the rest of this entry »
Just a quick post to highlight the best presentations of the two collocated Gartner events in Los Angeles last week:
Yesterday Nimble released the public beta of its social CRM platform at the Demo Spring 2011 event. In a future blog post, I will share my thoughts on the platform after trying the beta release, which is by the way open for invites. Read the rest of this entry »
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) was born of the need of large companies to manage their resources and operations. In the early stages of ERP almost half a century ago, only multinational corporations could afford the investment in the software and the infrastructure needed to support it. Material requirements planning (MRP), the predecessor of ERP, was used by only a couple hundred companies in 1975, and the number grew to 8,000 in 1981.
Over time, the programming tools evolved, and the commoditization of hardware and the use of the Internet to store data and facilitate remote connections made ERP more accessible. Nowadays even very small companies can acquire an ERP solution for a reasonable price. But ERP is not the same for companies of all sizes. This fact reflects an important reality of the manufacturing sector: medium and large companies face challenges that are very different from those of small enterprises. Read the rest of this entry »
In part one of my interview with Martin Schneider, Senior Director of Communications at SugarCRM, we discussed the history of SugarCRM and the open source customer relationship management (CRM) space. Part 2 describes SugarCRM’s approach to development, their partner ecosystem, and how social media has changed CRM. Read the rest of this entry »
I attended ERE Expo online by following the live stream, which by the way was really great, with no interruptions and good sound/video quality. In a way, I’m glad I couldn’t be there in person, since the conference was in Florida, the weather was great and the location was very close to the beach—following online from rainy Montreal allowed me to concentrate better. On the other hand, it seems that the networking was great and people really had fun attending.