Category Archives: PaaS

Seven IT Eras Leading CIOs to Become One of the Key Evangelists to a Social Business Strategy (Part 2/2)

In the first part of this two-part series, we reviewed the four IT-eras that have shaped and transformed the CIO role into a digital mediator and one of the key technologists of the new Social Business (Enterprise 2.0) era.  We saw how mainframe computing led to personal computing then followed by Internet and finally the broadband technology.  The consumerization of IT has brought us the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) movement. BYODs are compelling our 20th century business models (based on the enlightenment era and its resulting industrial revolution) to include workers personal devices such as smartphones, tablets and phablets.           
 
5.  Mobile era
  
Uwe Vielle defines mobile computing as “the ability to use computing capability without a pre-defined location and/or connection to a network to publish and/or subscribe to information.”  Mobility requires new type of softwares or SaaS (Software as a Service) stored in the cloud as well as brand new hardware handsets such as smartphones, tablets and phablets (Samsungs Note II) also known as BYOD.  
 
Post-PC-Era (www.phonedog.com)
 
Two weeks ago, Gartner reported that combined ultra mobile devices, tablets and mobile phone reached 1.872 billion in 2012 and would reach around 2.7 billion by 2017.  Gartner expects a 7.6% decline in PC sales while saying: “This is not a temporary trend induced by a more austere economic environment; it is a reflection of a long-term change in user behavior.”  Broadband and IT-consumerization both contribute to mobility.  Ubiquitous Internet access compels us to centralize our data to a central location: the cloud.
 
6.  Cloud Computing
 
Cloud computing could be compared to the technological shift electricity went through a century ago.  At that time, Thomas Edison favored direct current (DC) systems.  DC was eventually replaced by Guillaume Duchenne’s (1850s) and William Stanley’s (1880s) alternative current (AC).  Alternative current made it much easier to industrialize the production and transport of electricity.  In a similar way the alternative current analogy could be used for cloud computing.  It is not the flow of electric charge that periodically reverses direction, but our computing routines.  IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) deliver the foundation upon which private users can upload their personal digital belongings. 
 
Traditional software vendors like Microsoft are transforming their “one way” Office product into an SaaS platform while offering a 20GB SkyDrive cloud storage.  In May,  Flickr rolled out a whopping 1TB (Terabyte) of cloud-storage for free accounts.  Laptops and notebooks paved the way to mobile computing.  Consumerization of IT brought the diversity of multi-screen computing via smartphone, tablet and phablet devices.  This newly acquired ubiquitous mobile  flexibility threatens the very livelihood of US-PC giants such as Dell and Hewlett Packard.   
 
7.  Post PC era
 
Broadband, mobility and cloud computing confirm the steady decline in the sales of personal computers in favor of “post-PC” BOYDs.  BYOD threatens the use of traditional software in favor of cross-platform applications such as Android, Java or iOS.  In 1999, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates coined this development as the “PC Plus” era.  In 2007, Steve Job renamed it the “post-PC device” era.  According to IDC the U.S. PC market contracted 12.7% year-to-year with a 18.3% decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.  “A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows a 13.9% decline in first quarter PC shipments compared to 2012.  The ‘year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994,’ according to IDC.”  
 
Post-PC-Era (www.intomobile.com)-medium
 
The US PC-industry is in a dire position.  Last year Hewlett Packard announced that it would lay off over 27,000 employees.  Dell’s troublesome privatization endeavors are still going on and a 274-page proxy filing  states,  “Dell – the company and the man – wants to move away from PCs because making money in the global PC market is about as easy as selling tap water in a rainstorm”. 
 
8.  Social Business   
 
Not too long ago, the CIO was considered (and in many cases still is) the technological IT-drill sergeant in many companies.  He was the technological door keeper, who in the name of “security” only granted employees the right to specific choices of hardware and software.  A major shift began when computing mobility entered enterprises with the use of laptops and notebooks.  Emails and data access became mandatory and VPN (virtual private networks) were created.  Consumerization of IT could be for the former CIO king what the 1789 French Revolution was to Louis XIV.  CIOs are losing their controlling grip and are forced to accept the BYOD revolution and the respective operating systems such as Symbian, iOS, Android, Window & Blackberry to name just a few.  Added to this culinary buffet of BOYDs and operating systems let’s not forget our newly acquired social media channels.  Social media are transforming customer service, experience and marketing altogether and terminates the traditional hierarchical company customer communication era.  Traditional outbound marketing methods (pay, pray and spray) are being replaced with inbound/content marketing which in turn is rapidly evolving into convenience marketing. 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the age of social
Meine Damen und Herren willkommen im sozialen Zeitalter 
Mesdames et Messieurs, bienvenue dans l’ère sociale
 
 
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Salesforce Journey : From CRM to SCRM & becoming a Social Business Strategist Vendor

I attended a Salesforce.com presentation here in Hamburg two months ago and was positively surprised at the genuine way Salesforce Germany presented their company and its (S)CRM-cloud services to the audience.  
Salesforce has been on a shopping spree now for the last two years so I decided to review and log in, hopefully most if not all, the services available to this “Group of companies” they seem to be building at the speed of light! One can also wonder if the integration of all these added services are as swift as Marc Benioff’s proactive, agile and moving forward shopping style! Their latest acquisition is GoInstant a powerful co-browsing interactive Internet tool sharing! GoInstant lets you engage and interact with family members, friends, customers in a “dead-simple & frictionless way”! No software is needed, no downloads!
 
Having an issue with signing documents? Marc Benioff comes to your rescue with Docusign a platform that let you receive and sign any document online on any device thus anywhere! Need to buy a house on the go: No problem, just sign electronically with Docusign and you are ready to go!  Now let’s say you are stuck in Hamburg like me today and would love to spare yourself the exhausting over the pond ride to San Francisco via London or Copenhagen but still need to hold this important meeting while enjoying the commodity of communicating, sharing any form of content via a video conferencing webinar: Here comes Marc Benioff’s help handy again with DimDim, which has also been acquired by Salesforce! 
 
But there are much more tool; here again all of them listed for you with a slide with this slide including the companies’ respective logos:
 
 
1. Buddymedia including Profilebuddy, Reachbuddy, Conversationbuddy, Buybuddy Conversionbuddy, Analytics & Dashboard tools included and allowing user to create and deploy customized interactive content on social network, share the content on the networks, generate engaging conversations, create and manage effective social media campaigns, drive content across social networks and finally analyze your interaction within your network!
2. DimDim: version collaboration, recently acquired by Salesforce, is a video content sharing for webinars & webmeetings of all sorts.
3, Docusign: makes it easy and fast to get your documents signed. Whether you need to close a big sales contract, keep your company trade secrets safe with an NDA or buy a home, Docusign is the easiest, fastest, most secure way to get a signature—anytime, anywhere, on any device.
4. GoInstant: Truly interactive co-browsing is now possible! GoInstant lets us engage and interact with our partners or potential partners in a dead-simple & frictionless way. No clunky software or downloads, just the click of a link and you are sharing in no time!
5. Desk: Ealier known as Assistly is for companies that support a worldwide market and in need of a solution to manage their support communications. Now there is one: with Multilingual Customer Support, you now can support your customers in a language they understand.
6. AppExchange: Need an app? Find, try, and install the right apps—plus find developers and services—for your business.
7. Chatter: Bring the power of social networks inside your company with Chatter—a free, private and secure social network just for your business. With Chatter.com you can connect with your coworkers to work together and be more productive. Updates on the people, projects, and files that you care about most are automatically pushed to you, so you always know what’s going on
8. Data.com: The trusted, proven cloud database for all your social enterprise data.
9. Do.com: Easily create and share tasks, projects, and notes with your team so you always know what needs to get done, no matter where you are
10. Force.com: is the proven cloud platform to automate and extend your business and deliver the social enterprise.
11. Heroku: Build powerful customer apps in Ruby or Java, and instantly deploy and scale them to millions of users.
12. Radian6: Make sense of the social media buzz with social monitoring. Listen, measure, and engage with your customers across the social Web.
13. Remedyforce: was developed by BMC Software and salesforce.com to revolutionize your approach to IT service management. You get ITIL functionality out of the box. Plus you gain peace of mind because it’s built on the Force.com platform.
14. Rypple: Build a results-driven culture with social goals, real-time feedback, open recognition, and easy coaching.
15. Sales Cloud: Give reps and execs what they need to connect with customers and close deals faster.
16. Site.com: Design and publish websites, social pages, and mobile experiences in lightning speed with the first Web CMS in the cloud. It’s built for social, so you can easily add Twitter streams, Facebook likes, and more.
 
Did I forget anything? Please let me know and drop me a note: would also like to read about your personal experiences and thoughts on Salesforce.com and all the acquisitions it has done so far! 
 

2 Main Issues to Consider While Migrating To CRM Salesforce Cloud Computing

I just returned from a Salesforce presentation: Social Enterprise Essentials: a fine event organized in the SAS Radisson hotel here in Hamburg City with wonderful people among others: Kerstin Daher and Ulrich Hoffmann: “Welcome to the age of the networked enterprise”:
  • Sales Cloud: as a sales enterprising tool
  • Service Cloud: innovation and customer service / care
  • Chatter: a private social network for business
  • Force.com: cloud platform for custom app development
  • Radian6: seminar & case study around the international CEBIT computer show in Hannover.
I cannot help but be reminded that we are in Germany and that charm and chivalry remain integral part of our French vocabulary! There is no need to get into the details of these applications since there is plenty of information on the pages attached to the links provided above! These topics were addressed quite thoroughly during this very well organized one day infomercial.
 
Salesforce is using this Cloud tsunami development to certainly establish a stronger business base in Germany and Europe with a significant deployment of man power hosting an event this year in Hamburg city with roughly 250 in attendance.
 
Well done Salesforce for putting together a sales oriented IaaS, PaaS and SaaS package ready to go: it is undeniable that those tools are in place and ready to unleash their power if implemented properly! The need for Cloud CRM is there and the trend not to be stopped! Add BYOD to smart phones & tablets commercialization and you’ve got the right foundation for a Salesforce thriving business potential and its US$ 3B turnover if I understood the presenter correctly!
 
Well done Salesforce for buying Radian6 last year and adding  Heroku  and  Ripple to your 2012 cloud shopping tour, obviously en route to moving from traditional CRM to a more social CRM or SCRM. I was impressed by the morning Radian6 presentation, which completely convinced me of the most “in real time” detailed analysis utilizing countless internet sources of information! It is also worth adding that Salesforce updates its platform three times a year definitely trying to keep up with the relentless social media pace moving forward at the speed of light!
 
Salesforce is mostly keeping up but I was a bit disappointed though when asking about full integration of social media new comers such as Google+, Pinterest and Pinwheel! For now the social media platforms being taken into consideration are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Klout more is probably coming but without any concrete information on future developments.  
 
Salesforce did a great job at presenting an installed and operational cloud structure but did not initiate us to the two main challenges to be faced when
a) implementing a social business / enterprise culture 
b) migrating from legacy structures to PaaS and IaaS,
which are both the foundation for a successful social cloud migration! When I challenged one of the presenters with these two core issues I was kindly requested to “find out more from their service partners” and was told that Salesforce is not responsible for creating a social enterprise or migrating from legacy systems! Correct! However, these two main issues remain and furthermore what happens if a company decide to do a U-Turn and retreat to its former legacy system?  
 
 
Who is going to write a company culture book and educate both staff and management that it is mandatory and obligatory in a 21st century hyper connected company to share strategic customer information? How are we going to motivate sales, marketing & customer service among others to share their confidential customer data and transfer it to a centralized cloud database? Not that easy Salesforce  and we know how much silo thinking isolates information and keep it to itself! The real answer is obviously the undeniable need to create first the right company culture. There is no need for cloud or centralized strategic information if company staff and management are both reluctant to share knowledge and business insight!
 
I regret that QR codes were not put on our badges, which would have helped the networking and exchange of information between participants. A well deserved mention to Claudia Hilker, who managed to pull off a 30 minutes presentation on social media strategy! Well done Claudia and thank you for the book! Looking forward to getting a free copy of the latest “advanced” version!
 
Thank you again to Salesforce and the hospitality extended to all of us with great drinks and good choice of food: Well done and compliments for a well-organized event!  

How to Transform Today’s Traditional Midsize Companies and Literally Drag Them Into Digital and Social 21st Century Transformation? (Part 1)

I rarely write about myself so please bear with me! I remember 25 years ago; my first sales rep days as a Frenchman in Bavaria and Southern Germany. I would often be searching for public phones carrying stacks of German Mark! Thanks to vandalism phone cards were introduced and public card-phones had soon after to be searched for! At that time I was selling Volvic (French) Mineral water! Outbound marketing was in: I had flyers, a few cotton T-shirts no one wanted and for the most part practiced good old B2B door to door basic “hardcore” selling!  Like most companies we did not have Coca-Cola’s marketing budget! In many ways it was easy: I’d come up with a map, mark and pin it according distributors, key-accounts, customers and prospects, and start my regular tours planning around 10 daily visits selling, merchandising and prospecting for the most part!

We did not know about the silo mentality: we were living and exemplifying it! Customer complaints were turned around to make Volvic France shine! I particularly remember how dirty the French plastic crates were and how meticulous German car owners would regularly complain about them! Volvic France could not care less: they were so far away and I bet some of the people at the plant did not even know where Munich is! Every Volvic-silo was doing their own thing: bottling; packaging; warehousing; transporting and finally us: selling! During those 3 years I did not receive a single phone call from France asking me how things were on the ground! Mind you the ground? Obviously it Volvic France and customers were mostly for them a hassle, constantly making requests or complaining about something while our job was to convince them that most (if not all) of their requests were unreasonable!

Thankfully things have changed, as a matter of fact, changed so much that it is frightening: Volvic and everybody else now can receive emails, calls, reports, written-, spoken- video-information regardless of where we are! Sales people are expected to answer phone calls 24/7 and emails at the best before they have even been sent!  To the repertoire of traditional commerce has been added social enterprising, content marketing, E-commerce, social media, cloud computing and mobility! The 21st century traditional and wannabe digital sales-geek has to understand a lot more than ever in order to grasp Social Business & Media, Inbound Marketing, Mobility as well as Cloud communication (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS)!

Here is an exaggerated caricature of today’s midsize companies “operating silos”

  • Sales: trying to motivate Management and Production to finally manufacture products Sales can sell and this at an acceptable price, while complaining at the same time about delivery delays and quality issues!
  • Production: ranting about manufacturing “too many products” not properly streamlined by Sales & Marketing (Dream of every plant manager is: couple of products manufactured without disrupting too much his production lines).
  • Marketing: usually not having a clue of what is happening in their own company because of their mostly and until now “outbound” function!
  • Controlling: mainly informing Direction and Sales Management about things they already know!
  • IT Department: relentlessly upholding legacy structures, struggling to innovate but mostly slowing down everybody else!
  • CEO / Managing Director: trying to please the board of director breathing down his neck while having to meet financial targets and business strategy.

Bottomline: “It ain’t working that way no more” as our “over-the-pond “US neighbors would colloquially say! What do we do next? Who should put the pieces together?

  • Sales: I do not think so: Why? Because I have been a sales person most of my life and I know that most sales leaders cannot fulfill that responsibility.
  • Production: What do you think? (I hope you do not even have to think twice about it).
  • Marketing: probably not a good idea!
  • IT: hm…. Not really customer oriented for the most part don’t you think?
  • Controlling: usually informing company but mostly sales about the past, which is not going to help us much about future strategy!
  • Managing Director / CEO: yes definitely and this is the way it should be BUT his responsibilities are so immense that he needs assistance and help in order to fulfill his vision and above all get the RIGHT information!

Who should be fulfilling this strategic role! Stay tuned for the second part of this article!

12 Reasons Why Enterprises Will Be Forced To Bring More Cloud Computing Into Their Own IT Environment

Cloud is more than ever the 2012 buzzword for both CIOs and CMOs! Your business wants to stay afloat?  Read on and prepare your company for your IT’s mandatory creative disruptive reconstruction!

1. Cloud is nothing new: as a matter of fact there is a suggested one billion users using cloud-based applications such as Gmail, Hotmail & Yahoo without being completely aware of it!

2. Social Media Platforms: It would be redundant to remind ourselves that all our social media pictures, music and favorites are now saved on the cloud! Think of services such as Flickr or Instagram to name just two!

3. Free private cloud “hard disk” space for everyone, which should be very dear to some of my German friends:  Google Docs: 1GB for non Google documents; ITunes’ ICloud: 2GB; Dropbox: 2GB; Box: 5GB formerly Box.net and its handy Microsoft Office extension allowing user to save directly to the cloud;  4shared: 10GB; Microsoft’s Sky Drive: 25GB; Adrive: 50GB a mega vault  recommended for bulk pictures , sound and video files.

4. Giant PC software manufacturer Microsoft wanting to compete with Google’s array of free online applications and finally moving up its fabulous Office Suite to the cloud: Office365, a secure anywhere access to professional email, shared calendars, IM, video conferencing and document collaboration.

5. PC manufacturer Dell reinventing itself and is on its way to becoming a Cloud Company having made lots of acquisitions in the last months and weeks: Dell already acquired Make Technologies (Software solution relieving organization from legacy application and platforms), Wyse giving them an entry into thin computing and mobile technology,  Sonicwall a leader in advanced network security and data protection, Clerity  a provider of mainframe migration, modernization and optimization solutions.

6. CRM Cloud Company Salesforce has also been shopping lately: already acquired Social Media marketers’ well known Radiant6  and recently Heroku a cloud application platform and Ripple  a telecommunication client providing chat and conference services throughout the US and obviously moving from traditional CRM to Social CRM aka SCRM.

7. Cloud giant Amazon with its Amazon Cloud Drive: 5GB of free private online storage or AWS (Amazon’s Web Services) providing professional users with free cloud storage space thus assisting them to access data at any time from everywhere and on every imaginable platforms or device!

8. Technology Commercialization:  the challenge “par excellence” for IT leaders struggling to integrate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to the existing IT structure! If companies want to attract savvy workers, management will have to integrate the smart-phones and tablets to 21st century E-Portfolio workforce!

9. API-fication From Applications to Apps: quote from Gartner’s website:

“When the way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users changes, it has a dramatic impact on all other aspects of the market. These changes will have a profound impact on how applications are written and managed in corporate environments. They also raise the prospect of greater cross-platform portability as small user experience (UX) apps are used to adjust a server- or cloud-resident application to the unique characteristics of a specific device or scenario. One application can now be exposed in multiple ways and used in varying situations by the user.”

10. Mobile Technology: unimaginable to plan a website which is not Multiplatform ready! Computer patrons want to access their data everywhere and at anytime and from all sort of device!  The Cisco report also predicts that:

“Smartphone traffic will grow by a factor of 50 between now and 2016. a) The network traffic from tablets alone will grow more than 62 times between now and 2016. b) Mobile video will take up 71 percent of 2016 mobile data traffic. c) Service providers will increasingly look to offload mobile Internet traffic to fixed or Wi/Fi networks. d) There will be 5 billion tablet devices by 2016. Each mobile user will consume more than a gigabyte of mobile data each month in 2016, compared to .5 percent who did so in 2011.”

11. Mobile Payment systems have been developing with recent Silicon starters such as Square already followed by Paypal and others will obviously come

12. Ambient Social Networking: one of Austin’s 2012 SXSW buzz words! Ambient Social Networking instead of connecting people to places such as Foursquare connects people to people in real time including startups such as Catherine Fake’s Pinwheel and upcoming companies Highlight, Sonar, Glancee,  Gindr , Banjo or Discover Circle!  

More and more IaaS, PaaS and consequently SaaS will have to be included into IT portfolios in order for companies to fully harness social marketing and keep up with real time consumer conversation. Social networking within companies itself has become a priority for astute entrepreneurs searching for social enterprising tools such as Yammer and exploit the power and wealth of knowledge within their own group, pro actively addressing the SILO mentality, which stifles  mobility, creativity and innovation!

When are you moving to the cloud? What is your company undertaking this year to make things more “cloudy”? Let me know and let’s update these points together because as the cloud progresses so will this list!

Constructive IT times to you with partly sunny but cloudy days ahead and wishing you a wonderful Passover Season! 

5 Keys Areas to Proactively Manage Your Business

Today’s corporations are working hard to keep up! Is this a wonder? Strategy curation just like content and information, is crucial for the development of (y)our corporate vision! Vision 2020 challenges your present accomplishments in order to increase turnover, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and set up action plans while ratifying priorities! In this “hyperlinked” and hyper-connected society both existing businesses and “start-ups” have to rapidly adapt! Every mobile user is not only a potential buyer but a reporter having the power to promote or demote!

Vision 2020 assists you into developing your hyperlinked corporate strategy with the utmost priority of increasing sales, productivity and real time communication while concentrating on 5 key areas:

1. Social Culture: Establishing a social culture in a 21st century company is obligatory! Social Media dialogue with engaging customers or prospects (positive or negative) ought to be monitored and answered in real time! US Business Think Geek promotes a “one head one heart” social culture but also states: “We need to hire for passion and train for skills” because it is impossible to have a board meeting every time a negative comment pops up on Facebook or Google+. Zappos exemplifies social culture in a remarkable way with CEO Tony Hsieh Zappos’ Culture Book and how Tony defines branding: “Your Culture Is Your Brand”!

2. Social Media Strategy: in the 1870s Graham bell developed the Telephone; the Facsimile was invented by Giovanni Caselli in 1865 before the telephone even existed! Email came in the early 1980s. Mobile phone was invented by Motorola in 1973 and first commercialized in 1983. Social Media as a web-based and mobile technology has literally transformed our daily communication into an interactive dialogue also promoting “user-generated-content including (micro) blogging (twitter), content community sites (Vimeo YouTube), social networking sites (Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest) and finally location-based social networking (Foursquare or Pinwheel). Social Media demands to be fully integrated into the marketing strategy of a company! It is a business prerequisite to properly roll out inbound marketing tools, foster brand awareness and develop communication between brand, prospects and customers and transform followers into passionate brand advocates.

3. Inbound Marketing: Over are the days where companies could blast marketing emails, brochures and fliers to prospects and customers! Traditional outbound marketing (buy, pay & bug) is in the process of being replaced by inbound or content marketing. Sharing resources, vlogging, blogging, EBooks, Earticles, whitepapers and all together relevant curated information not only attracts customers but promotes, develops and solidifies brand loyalty.

4. Cloud Computing (IaaS): As wireless devices (smart phones & tablets) commercialization becomes a pressing IT issue, mobile technology (Dropbox, Box) and mobile payment systems (Square & Paypal) develop, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service: SAP, Oracle, IBM or Salesforce) become a matter of speed if IT wants to timely react in our dynamic cloud environments! Modern CIO needs to budget these areas if companies want to keep afloat and compete with Internet Cloud Giants such as Amazon!

5. Mobile Technology: Tablets & Smartphone including the broadband development have both created a Networked Society. Wearable computing is already here; connecting home to adjust temperature via your smart phone is a given! In 2012 windows will sell tablets while 4G networks will develop and grow! Companies like Square & Paypal already compete for mobile payment systems market shares! Commercialization of mobile computing hardware will merge private and professional life into each other whereby workforce won’t have to physically be at work in order to produce and connect. This is a nightmare for IT leaders as they strive to move additional parts of the traditional IT to IaaS (cloud computing) while constantly worrying about data safety!