Software runs my life

Year: 2008 Page 2 of 12

Integrating your CRM and Website

Closed for BusinessAs far as I am concerned, having a website without having a CRM/sales system behind it is like having a shopfront with no shop. People can view your products, but they can’t offload their hard earned cash. Why do that to yourself?

Unfortunately it seems that companies need to literally see people banging on the store door (via hits, emails, phone calls etc.) before they will open the store. How many customers have you missed in that time? You’re paying for the store location, so why not fit it out inside?

Salesforce announced at Dreamforce that they are taking this view to another level. Your website should be linked into the core of your company. Every process your company runs should be accessible (and deliver value) to the customer at all times. Zdnet give it good coverage, but I think Smoothspan explains it best. The basic premise is know your customers, and then deliver the best experience you can to them. CRM’s have always tried to get close, but it requires a company to be completely online and committed.

Interest Rate Experts

Today the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates by 0.75% (0.25% more than the expected 0.5%. That represents a 200 basis point cut over just the last three months.

When reading an article on the cut on, I noticed the “Related Coverage” sidebar. Every single piece of news has a different guess; some thought rates would go up, some down and some the same. In short, no-one really has any idea. How can these people be called experts? Is it really that the conflicting factors of inflation, house prices, consumer spending, the global stockmarkets and employment (to name just a few) are too hard to compare and weigh up? Maybe, but these ‘experts’ get paid for what they do! Or perhaps the experts are just journalists looking to create sensational headlines from titbits of superficial knowledge?

I am inclined to think that journalists play a very large role in the economic crisis, and that the severe fluctuations in the market are driven by fear generated by ‘experts’ and delivered to ‘mum and dad’ and ‘out of their depth’ investors.

Recession Spending

An article by Andrew McAfee triggered my interest today, what will happen to technology in a recession? Or more specifically, what technology actually excels in a recession? Some IT leaders have commented in the NY Times, but I would like to focus more specifically on software technology.

The most obvious answer is that the cheapest software wins. Deploying SAAS and other Web 2.0 models are not just about delivering new functionality; they are about driving down costs through low delivery costs and economies of scale. With employment at near record lows (and salaries at record highs, especially in IT) no-one wants to take on more staff.

I think that the silver lining to a recession is that the weak get weaker and the strong get stronger. A renewed focus on what works and how to efficiently deliver value is a good thing for any company. With SAAS systems now gathering widespread acceptance a recession will, in my opinion, accelerate the growth of these systems. The current financial crisis has also highlighted how interconnected the world is, and SAAS systems delivered from data centres thousands of kilometres away will again gain more acceptance.

Unlike the article I don’t think it is necessarily a case of socially driven applications gaining traction, I also think CRM and ERP systems will see an increase in popularity. Customers are no longer so easily separated from their cash, and every inefficiency in the supply line is being watched like a hawk. Adopting best practice from a new technology package is a great way to address these issues.

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