Does Cloud CRM systematically answer all your questions / needs?

Many clients from medium and large enterprises that we meet have migrated their CRM in the Cloud or are seriously thinking about it. On the other, and as surprising as it may look, we have also met others who have set a Cloud CRM and are on the verge… of coming down from their cloud!!!  In fact, just recently, while attending the CFO Summit in the USA, we were quite surprised to find out that many enterprises were not that satisfied with a well-known Cloud CRM solution and are seriously looking to a tailor-made CRM solution!

This is the story for this post; why should you migrate to a Cloud CRM and why should you look into a more traditional, some would say a more, personalized solution?

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Web or Windows? No, Web & Windows! (Part 1)

The debate has been raging for over a decade and the heights the confrontation and rivalries at the turn of the Millennium. So, what is it, Web or Windows? At the time, these two diametrically opposed visions each had hard core advocates who had sworn allegiance to the death. Much water has passed under the bridge since then and today we understand that reality is not quite so simple; not everything is black or white.

The vast majority of businesses have purchased numerous office software programme licenses from Microsoft (Windows, Office, SharePoint, etc). Since the arrival of Windows and a great many of these have invested in the development of applications custom built in Microsoft’s .Net framework. And today, almost all IT managers are turning to the Web where they are seriously considering or at the very least evaluating their options there.

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Sales and Productivity – the case of CRM Solution

Companies today have many means to use to increase sales and achieve corporate objectives! Moreover, several of these means (strategies, tools, tactics, etc.) are the heart of the managers and executives annual Strategic Plans.

Marketing for example can play within the entire range of tactics and tools, whether traditional marketing with advertising, media placement, direct marketing, promotions, etc., or Marketing 2.0 with a wide assortment of technologies for collaboration and profiles in Social Media… this, of course, if you’re an aficionado of Web 2.0 and already have an Enterprise 2.0 footprint – a digital footprint.

Human Resources may, for its part, contribute to the achievement of objectives by providing additional or better qualified resources, resource allocation, training, or help with developing and deploying a Knowledge Management strategy, etc.

And then there’s IT….

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Obsolete IT applications – issues for entrepreneurs

So let’s jump merrily into the depths of the nightmare of every entrepreneur: IT investment. I say nightmare because it’s a field of expertise for which the vast majority of entrepreneurs have absolutely no basis for appreciation or evaluation.  There is little or no reassurance for a decision-maker faced with a 100, 200, or even $500,000 decision, which choice will likely have a major impact on productivity, thus profitability and the future of the business.

So… to help the entrepreneur in this situation, and I believe there will be more and more who need help in the years to come, because the stakes are the same and are just as important as ever: Business Process Automation, increasing productivity, mobile workforce, accessible information, increased quality of Business Intelligence, improved decision-making processes, integrity and security of company data, etc., all of course with the ultimate goal; increase Profitability and improve Customer Satisfaction.

The Problem

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The Database – always at the heart of a company’s business reality

Amazingly, 25 years ago, the only people who spoke of Databases (DB) were the IT folks. They were perceived within large enterprises, not just as geeks but as business gurus. They held the secret formulas, some sort of modern day sorcerers.

Over time, the variety of databases available has diversified. Databases infiltrated the universe of many different departments of businesses; be it the Sales Force with its CRM, Human Resources (HR) with a homemade Access application, the Finance department with their multitude of Excel sheets (even if strictly speaking, they’re not really databases, it must be pointed out that Excel still manages the largest amount of data stored globally), Production and Purchasing with their ERP, etc. And that’s without counting the best years of Visual FoxPro,  which has been replaced by SQL, Oracle and many others…

Since that time, we have bandied about the term across levels of business, for example: “I think we have that into our Database”

Good evening, tonight on Discovery: The Adventures of Databases…

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HTML 5: custom business application or off-the-shelf software?

hAs we mentioned in our previous post, it’s clear that, mostly for economic reasons, companies want applications that are “ready-to-mobilize”. The demand is there: 75% use standard applications and 20%, custom business applications. Further, we continued on to show that developers see positive opportunities for both options. Off-the-shelf as well as custom-made business applications…

One in the hand, is better than two in the bush

Recently however, a senior mobile developer confided to me that he had seriously considered dropping some mobile development platforms. Because customers were just not ready to absorb the costs of cross-platform development. Instead, in order to save money these clients were asking him to select THE platform (or sometimes two) with the greatest reach and potential, to evaluate the costs for it and to eliminate the others! While this is understandable, it’s not necessarily an elegant solution and very often proves problematic because there are few companies or homogeneous target audiences that use only one model of mobile device, let alone a single OS.

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Mobility: custom or off-the-shelf business applications?

Two articles on enterprise applications coming from the same publisher, businessmobile.fr, caught our attention recently. They’re interesting because they appeared less than a week apart and were in fact contradictory:

Mobility for business: complex business applications are slow to gain acceptance

In the first article based on a Forrester study, it says “the use of specific business applications is still limited and trails far behind the adoption of email or calendaring functions.”…

Hum…

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Web applications or Windows ? No, Web applications & Windows!

The debate has been raging for over a decade and the heights the confrontation and rivalries. So, what is it, Web applications or Windows? At the time, these two diametrically opposed visions each had hard core advocates who had sworn allegiance to the death. Much water has passed under the bridge since then and today we understand that reality is not quite so simple; not everything is black or white.

The vast majority of businesses – be they big, medium or even small – have purchased numerous office software programme licenses from Microsoft (Windows, Office, SharePoint, etc.) since the arrival of Windows and a great many of these have invested in the development of applications custom built in Microsoft’s .Net framework or other platforms. And today, almost all IT managers are turning to the Web applications where they are seriously considering or at the very least evaluating their options there.

Walking the Web applications / Windows high wire with my business

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Web Migration of my old applications or die. Really?

The time has come to migrate the technology  and your IT Management Director swears by the Web. He o wants all new applications (or almost all…) to be Web-based. The main argument being made is that all these web applications will be much easier to deploy and maintain. That there will be huge savings in fees. Should you make the web migration move.

Oh Web!  Oh how we adore you!

Some of your current applications actually contain a lot of business intelligence. Your users have gotten used to the way they’ve accessed it over the years.  Will a web migration allow you to preserve the integrity of your business intelligence and maintain the current level of usability?

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Client Database vs CRM – 12 fundamental questions

It seems that everyone has been in CRM mode since the beginnnig of the New Millennium; CRM 1.0, CRM 2.0, Social CRM, CRM-in-the-Cloud, etc., it’s the Buzz word of the moment. Surprisingly, we forget that the 90’s was the Golden Age of Database; at the time every business invested heavily in a Database. Who doesn’t recall VisualFoxPro. But that was another time…

The fact is that it’s all well and good to put into place a sophisticated CRM with advanced management functions, with or without plug-ins for Social Media; it will never compensate for the deficiencies or the absence of a Database that properly reflects the reality of your business situation. Equally, you are no further ahead if your CRM system database needs to interface with other IT systems used to run your business.

When it comes to choosing between a CRM and a Database, one must evaluate needs that vary depending on the size, industry sector, and above all the size of the Sales Force/ Customer Service and customer base of your company.

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