Category Archives: Customer Services

Informatica Cloud Customer Success

There’s been a lot written about the importance of customer adoption and success to the software as a service (SaaS) model – there’s even a manifesto and a Bill of Rights! Last month, Informatica Cloud received the Bronze Stevie Award for customer support. One of the drivers for this achievement was not only great front-line customer service from a world-class support organization (they even support trial accounts!), but also the establishment of a customer success team, which is run by Bryan Plaster. I sat down with Bryan to discuss his views on the importance of customer adoption to any cloud computing application, platform or infrastructure initiative, as well as some specifics on how Informatica Cloud approaches customer success. (more…)

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Posted in Business/IT Collaboration, Cloud Computing, Customer Services, Customers, Data Integration, Data Synchronization, PaaS, Real-Time, SaaS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Convergence: Customer Success aligns Sales, Marketing and Enablement

This week we had the privilege of participating in two significant conferences taking place in San Francisco.  I was on a CMO panel at the B2B Digital Edge Live conference (#DELiveSF), while my colleague Daniel West presented at the Forrester Annual Enablement Forum (#tse12).  I found it intriguing how both conferences focused on the same end-result … the “Customer”.

In some respects this is quite surprising given one normally associates Enablement with the process of training sales on how to sell, while marketing always talks about promoting thought leadership into the social network or generating leads from prospects. So why the change?

I think the answer here relates to how both disciplines are moving forward in this modern era driven by social networking.  No longer is it just a one-way dialog between vendor and customer – you know, where the vendor promotes products & services via a web-site, or advertises in a magazine.  It is now imperative that there is a two-way dialog. Customers are no longer silent! They talk, and they discuss - both good and bad.  Vendors need to focus on ensuring their customers are successful.  This means focusing on “listening” to their customers and understanding what total customer success means to them – whether it is online, in user groups, at events or in one-to-one meetings.  Interestingly, this is one of the fundamental tenents of cloud computing through which service is paramount in order to drive repeatable subscription revenues.

Hence  the focus of enablement must shift from simply training sales, and move to enabling sales to foster relationships with customers in order to deliver solutions that really deliver on key business imperatives. The entire value delivery chain (from first contact through to sale, implementation and ongoing success) must be aligned and working for customer success - because vendors are now visibly under the microscope and increasingly being compared and discussed in public.  Several comments jumped out at me from the live conference twitter stream (#tse12):

  • Certify sales people on talking to buyers, not talking about products.
  • 86% of business buyers engage in web research independent of sales cycle.
  • 8 months ago, enablement was nice to have, now it is recognized as a must have
  • Sales Enablement = Make your customer a hero. That’s why I use “future advocate” and NOT “prospect”.

Strong words indeed which then align with the role of modern marketing teams – Engaging with customers through their chosen social networks to discuss their needs and help position solutions for their success. The role of marketing then becomes increasingly focused on finding the early stage researchers as they engage on social networks and leverage online assets.  The role of marketing has now moved to that of engaging online, embracing customers and engaging in ongoing dialog.  Again, several topics jumped out from the live conference twitter stream (#DELiveSF):

  • Enable B2B salespeople to do what they do best, with digital at the core: data, content, mobile, social, CRM.
  • B2B marketing: Start with audience design. Target the influencers of the influencers & create content in places they seek it.
  • Marketing direction for digital: brands need to become publishers. Content is king!
  • Digital Edge Live: Control social mess before it controls you.

That last point is key - a significant problem is that this modern world of online proactive marketing has become complicated.  At the B2B Digital marketing conference, we were asked by the moderator, Kate Maddox, on what our greatest challenges were in digital marketing.  Three topics that interested me:

  1. Joining the dots between out-bound email marketing with social media to nurture customers and prospects efficiently.
  2. The cultural change associated with evolving from an old-fashioned traditional organization to a leading social enterprise.
  3. Understanding where user groups now exist – on traditional web-sites – or beyond in the social network of linkedIn, Facebook and other networks.

Marketing and Enablement are evolving rapidly into adjacent displines linked with a common goal of embracing the customer and ensuring that the entire value delivery chain is focused on their success – because without their success we are simply fooling ourselves into believing we are building a sustainable and successful business model.

What do you think?

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Posted in Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Informatica University, Professional Services | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Social Media Monitoring with CEP, pt. 2: Context As Important As Sentiment

When I last wrote about social media monitoring, I made a case for using a technology like Complex Event Processing (“CEP”) to detect rapidly growing and geospatially-oriented social media mentions that can provide early warning detection for the public good (Social Media Monitoring for Early Warning of Public Safety Issues, Oct. 27, 2011).

A recent article by Chris Matyszczyk of CNET highlights the often conflicting and confusing nature of monitoring social media.  A 26-year old British citizen, Leigh Van Bryan, gearing up for a holiday of partying in Los Angeles, California (USA), tweeted in British slang his intention to have a good time:  “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America.” Since I’m not too far removed the culture of youth, I did take this to mean partying, cutting loose, having a good time (and other not-so-current definitions.) (more…)

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Posted in Complex Event Processing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Integration Platform, Master Data Management, Real-Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Craziest 2012 CEP Predictions – Watson, Kardashian, the BCS and More

Remember the last time you were home in the evening, there was little in your kitchen to eat but you didn’t want to go out? Then you had an idea – that you could concoct a delicious meal made from a variety of completely unrelated and forgotten frozen and semi-fresh food coupled with rarely used spices  and other odd ingredients.  That’s a lot like predicting the future. If you stay safe and conservative, you’re going to get close to what you expect. But, if you get all crazy (think stir fry Top Ramen and turkey jerky), your prediction will sound cool, but has a low probability of working out (unless you are on Top Chef). (more…)

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Posted in Complex Event Processing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Real-Time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dodd-Frank Legislation and Structured Data Retention

The “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act” has recently been passed by the US federal government to regulate financial institutions. Per this legislation, there will be more “watchdog” agencies that will be auditing banks, lending and investment institutions to ensure compliance. As an example, there will be an Office of Financial Research within the Federal Treasury responsible for collecting and analyzing data. This legislation brings with it a higher risk of fines for non-compliance. (more…)

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Posted in Application ILM, Application Retirement, Big Data, Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, CIO, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Governance, Data Services, Data Warehousing, Database Archiving, Enterprise Data Management, Financial Services, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Mainframe, Mergers and Acquisitions, Operational Efficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Your Data Work for You

Yesterday, CIOs from Informatica, Qualcomm and UMASS Memorial Healthcare participated in a panel to discuss how to deliver business value from applications while managing “data deluge” – the ever increasing growth and fragmentation of data across the application portfolio. Having worked in the IT Applications area for 15 years, I know firsthand how big a challenge this can be for organizations.

We are experiencing an unprecedented growth in the sheer amount of data that can be made available. Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide exciting new insights into user preferences and habits and the move to electronic systems for utility companies and healthcare organizations means that an even larger set of information can be stored electronically for reference and used to gain new business insights. Even internal systems such as sales automation, marketing and support applications contribute to this overwhelming tide of data that can be extremely valuable but hard to unlock. (more…)

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Posted in Big Data, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Integration, Data Quality, Identity Resolution, Master Data Management | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gartner Points to Marketplaces as Key 2012 Trend

Recently, Gartner highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2012. Amongst the usual suspects of Cloud computing, social user experience, and mobile applications, App Stores and Marketplaces were highlighted for the first time. According to the report:

“Application stores by Apple and Android provide marketplaces where hundreds of thousands of applications are available to mobile users. This will grow from a consumer-only phenomena to an enterprise focus.” (more…)

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Posted in B2B, Business Impact / Benefits, CIO, Cloud Computing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Data Integration, Data Integration Platform, Marketplace, Operational Efficiency, Partners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proactive Customer Service for Transportation Operators

As a long-time practitioner of Complex Event Processing (referred to as “CEP”) technologies, I see the world in a different way – seemingly difficult problems can easily be solved by this technology.  Whenever I hear of a business problem needing timely responses to critical events, I think “CEP!”  Whenever a customer asks how they can get their business users more involved in operational decisions and influence outcomes, I say “CEP!”  And whenever I read an article where the author asserts that companies need to modernize to be more proactive and customer-centric, I think “I need to call that guy and tell him about ‘CEP!’”

Here’s one case: (more…)

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Posted in Business Impact / Benefits, Complex Event Processing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Operational Efficiency, Real-Time | Leave a comment

Know Thy Customer

There has been much discussion, particularly in the UK, about banks restricting the use of their investment and retail arms. The thinking process behind this is that investment banking is much riskier and so by drawing a clear line between the two, consumers will be better protected if another financial crisis should hit. (more…)

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Posted in Customer Services, Customers, Financial Services | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Dry Cleaner Rocked My World: A Loyalty Lesson For Big Companies

Shocked! I was simply blown away the other day by the most unlikely of companies – our dry cleaners.

Here’s what happened:

I went in on Saturday to pick up my dry cleaning. This establishment is owned and operated by a family.  I was greeted by the mother/owner who asked how my wife was doing.  I told her it was the day of her baby shower so I was staying away and running errands.  She asked me to hold on for a minute and disappeared only to return with a bag in hand and said it was a gift for my wife.

My Dry Cleaner Really Loves Me!

She told me that last time my wife was in, she noticed that she was pregnant and looked up our last name on several registries, found an entry and bought something off it. (more…)

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Posted in Application ILM, Big Data, Complex Event Processing, Customer Acquisition & Retention, Customer Services, Customers, Real-Time, Uncategorized | Leave a comment