Time to Stop Procrastinating and to Start Prognosticating Or Is That Pontificating?
There is an important algorithm that all my forecasts are based on that, for the first time, in this 2007 fourth and final wrap up blog entry, I'm going to reveal to everyone so that you can become a fabulous forecaster too.
Here it is:
cs*(womm)n = d(ui)
cs = crowdsourcing
* = times, multiply by, you should know this one. Did you flunk school completely?
womm=word of mouth marketing
n= Either the number of friends you've talked to about the "thing" or a letter of the alphabet that falls between "m" and "o" that makes the algorithm exotic.
d(ui) = Dewars, the scotch (not like "we should end all de wars".....though we, of course, should) You can interpret the ui as "user interface" though if you can interpret it some other way, I can't bail you out.
Let me explain how this complex algorithm was created. I've been listening to (actually, catching up with the Onion News video podcasts the last couple of days.Aside a complete, unrelated but important aside: for those of you who have that sardonic, satiric sort of sense of sumor - ahhh, humor but humor just didn't have that "s" I needed, you should be listening, watching and reading The Onion religiously. (Here are all the links that you could ever want) The November 2007 podcasts were sponsored by Dewars leading up to a December 5, repeal of prohibition day. They ran this somewhat cute but not all that funny ad about the repeal of prohibition. Not worth it until....the end. Here it is, unchill filtered, unadulterated, cask strength. The end of the Dewars commercial:
|CS*(WOMM)N=D(UI): A ONE ALGORITHM PLAY|
|(There is a fade in from the previously undescribed scene and standing center stage is a somewhat exaggerated master of ceremonies sort looking rather pleased with himself. This MC looks at the crowd and begins to speak)|
|"As Tommy Dewar says, 'If an opinion becomes general, it is generally correct!'"|
|(The scene fades to black and we are back to The Onion Video News)|
That rather remarkable quote ,from the mouth of someone who I presume is either a liquor magnate, or a man with a very coincidental name.
THAT, my friends and colleagues, is timeless wisdom when it comes to prognostication. If I didn't know better I'd think that James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds said it at a Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) event. So take that lovely Tommy Dewars advice into account when you forecast - because that is about the validity level of any forecast.
Now for my forecast - the number you see in front of each of these is merely the level of feeling I have as to my "rightness" for 2008. You could call it the "n" in the algorithm above if that gives you a measure of comfort.
- (8) CRM 2.0 will be nearly ubiquitous in 2008 and omnipresent in 2009. It's clear with the moves being made by the market makers like salesforce, Oracle, SAP and to a lesser extent Microsoft with the integration of social technologies into their offerings - and the understanding that customers want cool looking stuff too, that CRM 2.0 is finally reaching the place it should and by 2008 will be there technologically through platforms, partnerships and tools. The issue that will remain will be the culture of the practitioners to take this into the core of their strategy. Its actually a lot harder to "get" the fact that the customers are in command and that they demand transparency, authenticity and more than anything engagement/collaboration as part of their RFP to those that they will do business with. Don't meet that cultural and strategic set of requirements, the technologies you adopt won't be much use for long. I think that the strategic adoption of customer engagement as the core of customer strategy will take longer than the linear willingness to use the technologies and there will be some notable failures when the totality of the criteria aren't met. (parenthetically, I hope that this year sees a better name than CRM 2.0. Maybe Social CRM or if we want to be really hip about it, so.cial.cRM (ain't that de.lic.ious?)
- (7)SMB interest in CRM - both strategically and technologically will not only grow, but be at the cutting edge in the thinking beyond. This is due to Gen X and Y entrepreneurs driving much of the SMB market; the easy availability of cheap or free business technology tools; increasing visibility of anecdotal evidence of small business success which means really good stories that always impact how people think, the published benefits of Web 2.0 technologies; and the increasing use of consumer technologies and thinking in business. - Interesting, the latter is important because SMBs - especially the small businesses are closer to consumer thinking than their Fortune 500 counterparts. For example, a case can easily be made to use the iPhone for small businesses as a business and consumer device, while in the larger environments, those that use Exchange servers for example, it isn't the wisest choice. There are more factors here too, among them the hunger for the SMB market is reaching ravenous levels by technology vendors; and the resultant effect is dozens of solid alternatives to big boys. The value of those alternatives is not just that they are cheap but that the companies that make them are small businesses themselves and they have a solid use case when they look in a mirror. Think there isn't enough proof. First Check out Brent Leary's always mission-critical stuff on this very idea. He is THE expert in this area of CRM. Second, look at some of the results of this study by RingCentral on small business technology spending: "The majority of small businesses (60%) will increase tech spending in 2008 • Only 6% of businesses plan to decrease spending and 31% planning to maintain current spending levels. • Small business use of social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook) will increase from 38% in 2007 to 59 % in 2008." For the full monty on this one check out this site.
- (8)Social media and especially social networks will hit a wall as too many proliferate and privacy issues and commercialization questions begin to predominate discussion. This won't stop people from using them in business or joining them but the rate of growth will slow, barring some spectacular entry into the fray. We've seen that with the continuing stupid moves being made by Facebook - especially with Beacon. If you think about it, Facebook began to treat its "customers" as objects of a sale, rather than subjects of a relationship - exactly what even "classic CRM" set out to fix. This was reinforced no further back than yesterday, when news hit that Google, the drivers of the possible "spectacular entry" - did the following: "They flipped on a switch in Google Reader that makes posts and articles designated as "shared" by Google Reader users available to every person listed as that person's contact or friend on Google Talk. Given that bloggers don't necessary want the exposure to what could be parents or business associates, among others, the bloggers took umbrage. AND to make it worse, they didn't even learn from the mistakes of Beacon. They made this an opt-out feature, not opt-in. So stupidity, privacy and distrust are punching holes into the sex appeal of social media and this will be even more prevalent in 2008 - starting to settle the totally scorching social network frontierland. For more info on the StupidGoogle error, check here.
- (6)Web based apps. will become enterprise ready in 2008 as companies like Zoho begin to challenge the on demand market leaders with their pricing and features. Zoho in particular will be ready to rock - with offline and business work. This is a natural evolution, since most of the social media and Web 2.0 application vendors are trying some way to make money and need to appeal to businesses as well as consumers. In fact, dozens of Web 2.0 vendors have asked me over the last 6 months primarily how to get into the CRM "market." The interest in how to help businesses lock in their customers is pretty high because most of the big and small Web 2.0 and web-based vendors are seeing the value. Companies like Zoho are putting forward solid products with inexpensive subscriptions, making them eminently appealing and the more business functionality (scalability, integration, security, etc.) they include, the more that businesses will see their value. I see this as a real threat to the on demand world by 2010 though. So on demand has time to get itself ready to meet the challenge.
- (7)Enterprise 2.0 will become the business norm for Fortune 1000 companies by 2010 - 2008 will see major moves forward outside of the tech sector where it is already becoming pre-eminent. This is not particularly surprising. There is already widespread adoption within the high tech industry with companies like IBM, SAP, Microsoft and Cisco wholeheartedly embracing all the social media and the arts of social tagging among other things 2.0 related - both internally and with their customers. Additionally, this is becoming a widespread endeavor outside high tech with Proctor and Gamble and other mega-giant-ginormous companies adopting the Enterprise 2.0 technologies. There is more and more demand directly in the workplace for Enterprise 2.0 tools with as Computerworld called them "the children of baby boomers" expecting collaboration and informality in the workplace as they enter it. The number entering that workforce (and have been over the past few years) - 80 million with this new set of expectations. Their expectations in the workplace are colored by the way they live at home and communicate with their friends. Dion Hinchcliffe does his usual exhaustive work on Enterprise 2.0 at the end of the year. This is a MUST read if you want to understand the way that Enterprise 2.0 is transforming the workplace and its important in changing culture and business models.
- (5)There will be significant growth in four verticals for CRM, particularly community based CRM - public sector and the three "emotional verticals" - retail, financial services and health services. Each of these verticals is already seeing a huge upsurge in CRM interest, much of it triggered by prior customer experiences at the service level. The financial services industry and retail sectors are all actively engaged in CRM now, with health services trailing them and public sector in a separate universe. Interestingly, the public sector is intensely interested in in CRM because they've seen its value in the 2008 presidential primaries where the case can be made that part of the reason for Barack Obama's success has been his campaign staff's savvy and finely honed usage of social tools and CRM to engage the potential voters. This hasn't gone unnoticed on the administrative side - the one with all those federal agencies, nor on the legislative side - the ones with all those Congresspeople.
- (10)The debate of where CEM and CRM interlock, fit, subsume, etc. will fade to the level of significance it should have - none. The customer experience and CRM will simply be the foundations for customer strategy in 2008. This one has been a silly discussion since the beginning. The way that customers engage companies can be improved and enhanced through the operational effectiveness that's necessary ("traditional CRM") and the types of tools and experiences provided (customer experience) so that the customers can be significantly participant in the life of the companies that they want to do business with - within reason - meaning the company's business plan's parameters and the willingness of the company to be authentic/transparent (critical factor). The debate about whether CEM is part of CRM or vice versa or one will eliminate the other will be consigned to the dustbins of history and the lowest rungs of academic frippery where it belongs. Roomba will suck it up and toss it.
- (8)Consumer thinking and the associated technologies will be a major part of business thinking and technologies in 2008-2010. This one is a near lock for the next three years. Already we're seeing analysts like Gartner talk about its potential as they did at their September 2007 CRM conference and Forrester taking it even further with their emphasis on the rise of social computing - which is very much coherent with the increase of the use of consumer technologies in business. That means (see number 5) that text messaging, instant messaging, mobile devices/smartphones, and Web 2.0 technologies will become part of the strategic planning as will the idea of how to replicate a consumer-side experience on the business side to make this more palatable with their customers. Think not? Think again. One of the reasons that Rearden Commerce has had some success in the marketplace was because they understood that the line between personal and business was not only thin, but actually about the same as that yellow line of scrimmage you see at football games on TV - not real. They were able to build a business model that went on the realistic premise that people did personal things at the workplace and work things at home and by aggregating the services and tools for that to be effective in total, they could be successful - and they have been. Don't underestimate the new interface that SAP CRM 2007 sports. It looks a bit like Google and is entirely skinnable - meaning you can personalize the look and feel down to the decals on the screen so to speak. They get that consumer thinking colors the way people like to interact in a business environment - even B2GoddamnB environments (I swear if I get that B2B v. B2C question again, I'll.....)
- (6)The newer forms of marketing and public relations will begin to predominate over traditional forms, though traditional advertising etc. will by no means disappear. But the value proposition of search engine marketing, experiential marketing, word of mouth marketing and a myriad of others will become increasingly interesting to companies - though hopefully, they will each become marketing tools in a toolbox - rather than uniquely distinct marketings. Social tagging and folksonomies will also begin to hit the ground running - maybe not at cheetah speeds but fast - as marketing nirvanas - though privacy issues will still prevent the widespread adoption of this in 2008 - though look out for 2009-2010
- (4)Partner Relationship Management will get its third life in 2008. PRM will see a resurgence in 2008 due to breakthrough thinking like the salesforce-to-salesforce channel management tools that salesforce released based on evolving partner communities that would enrich the partner ecosystems out there. This is always dicey since I keep predicting that PRM is going somewhere and it never does. This might be the year. We can always hope, can't we, fans of the Cubbies?
- (7)SOA becomes the architecture of choice in 2008.This one is a no brainer I think. The level of acceptance is already high but that doesn't mean the issues of SOA will be resolved. For example, the CTO of Websphere Jerry Cuomo thinks that SOA governance and policy will be the main SOA roadblocks in 2008. The actual architectural implementations are starting to roll out. I agree with him. Once the technology becomes more or less mainstream and stable, the issues on how its going to be handled within companies and among companies become paramount. We've reached that level of maturity so far.
- (50)The Yankees will surprise and take the division again and go on to finally break the "curse" of not winning a World Series for 7 long years. Just think - six year old Yankee fans have never seen them win a series and 1 year old fans have never seen them win a division. What kind of way is that for the little New Yorkers to grow up - with all that failure for so long.
I was going to do a company "list" based on highly likely success, probable success, iffy but positive, shaky and sliding down. But I'm going to hold off on that one until I finish a series of meetings and do some more research. That'll be a prize in the early new year, if I remember to do it. Remind me.
With that, Once again, I close the year with my foot firmly ensconced in my cheek (or is that my tongue?).
Have a very, very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Thank you so much for making me do something that I actually love doing and letting me know constantly why I should keep doing it. You're great people and better friends.