Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Striving For The Perfect Customer Relationship

For a company to continuously improve, it needs to strive for the perfect customer relationships and that is where CRM systems can give you a competitive advantage.  Traditionally, CRM systems have been used by sales and marketing teams to create leads and manage sales pipelines.  Realistically CRM should be used company wide to record all interactions with your customers and gather salient information that are jigsaw pieces in the complete picture of your customer relationships.

I was lucky enough to attend an IBM partner event today and listen to a presentation by 2010 Winter Olympic Skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams

Amy talked to us about what she had to do in achieving a lifetime goal of winning an Olympic gold medal. She talked about the level of detail all athletes go into to understand their performance on a continuous basis, and also in an annual review at the end of the season. This review is undertaken by all the people in the team; physiotherapists, psychologists, coaches, technicians, etc. The analysis of which determines the team's approach to the next season.
For Amy she had to put her trust into all the people who were supporting the British Skeleton team, and then with all the feedback and intelligence to turn that knowledge into a medal winning performance.

What I took from the talk was that in order to continuously improve your performance you need to understand everything about what you are doing.  Because even an insignificant detail can give an unexpected insight that can dramatically improve your performance.

So, take a look at your CRM solution and ask yourself what it really tells you about your customers?  Do you know what assets they have, what training courses they've booked with you, how many customer service issues there are (if any), their credit situation, who are the decision makers, etc.?  If you don't have such insights how can you develop your company to win?

Monday, 1 November 2010

IBM revamps it’s Cloud strategy

The Financial Times reports that IBM is to revamp it’s Cloud computing strategy. Having worked in IBM, handing such an area of business over to IBM Global Services will not be a fix to it developing an impetus to it’s Cloud computing business.

One interesting comment made by their head of Cloud computing business- Erich Clementi, was that there were as many opinions about their Cloud computing strategy as there were people.

IBM Global Services is a major outsourcer, and in my humble opinion, having to handle a Cloud Computing strategy alongside their existing business model is too contentious.

The IBM Software business has created SaaS products such as LotusLive, but this does not seem to be making an impact in the market place yet.

Whereas in previous era’s IBM has realigned itself just in time to continue to be a major force in the market.  I worry that in this new rapidly (not fast, but rapid) moving Cloud computing space, if they cannot sort out a cohesive strategy soon they may be usurped by new players.

Microsoft got the message in time and again in my opinion, realigned their business to meet the threat of disruptive market players like Google, head on.

I wonder what IBM customers must be thinking right now?

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