An introduction to the Enterprise Software Summit by the organizer, Bruce Daley, set the tone and topics of the event. Engaging in white spaces, business models, offshoring and consolidation with a focus on this year's outlook.
Interesting talk by Allen Bonde from the (ABG) Allen Bonde Group, a CRM research and consulting firm. Provided some of the big picture issues for the industry and sparked a good discussion.
Last year's predictions
* return of dot coms (somewhat...return of consumer internet and net-based apps)
* increase of it spending (same level, fixing leaky pipes enables new spending)
* significant market consolidation (yes)
* return of the asp model (yes)
1. renewed focus on optimization and automation of interactions with customers
2. lack of innovation among incumbent CRM and ecommerce created an opening for new self-service CRM market
3 trends for discussion
Automation -- of external-facing processes and interactions drives CRM/eCommerce investments in 2004. CRM and eCommerce converging. Automation: market driven
* Apps at the edge getting funded.
* Payoff: reach and efficiency, lower cost of interaction, leverage existing investments.
* demand for self service
Optimization -- of decision making and info delivery to all levels of business to increase demand for analytical apps and enterprise decision management fucntionality, delivered through operational systems
Centralization -- to enhance accountability for technology an accelerate platform standardization, will emerge as key mandate from business to IT. Regulatory pressure, cost savings of implementations driving new initiatives of control.
Four waves of CRM, from process- to knowledge- to interaction-centric:
* internal process improvements
* multi-channel CRM (internet driven option of a new direct channel created this...eGain/Kana)
* analytical CRM
* Self-service/eService CRM (a developing whitespace market, about 150 companies ranging from natural language recognition to content management to other categories, believed to be a void, not necessarily a market)
** Integrates the other trends, a horizontal enabler, an idea as old as the vending machine (first one in the 1800s in London was post-cards), helps drive portals, eCommerce, eSupport and other web aps
Scenarios for who captures self-service
1. Search players should own this space,
2. the CRM people really need to own this
3. Content Management, Collaboration, Portal
Self-Service firms Kana, LivePerson, Primus, eAssist, Kanisa, IPhrase acquisitive lately. SupportSoft, $80m raised for acquisition
Comments: Interesting conflict between the self-service trend (decentralization) and centralization trend (control). Some comments were more about how the masses are asses, not everyone wants self-service like us early adopters/technologists, you need to segment a drive customers to different services. I see a larger cultural shift of consumer styles that demands self-service. Its not just about how its lower cost, but a fundamental demand created by the failings of CRM under the trap of "personalized service." We have also lost sight of how our customers want to help other customers -- user groups.
Optimization is technology driven. BI for the Masses as a new mantra. Seibel says he has never seen anything enhance the productivity greater for regular workers. Paging Doctor Winslow...
Enterprise Decision Management -- Traditional operational systems are good at tracking and automating processes, but poor at coordinating, optimizing and automating actual decisions. Most of these firms begin as consulting firms and are in the business of providing professional services. BI is more of a tool than an application.
Comments: Should be said that these systems can inform decisions, but actually taking actions actually requires enabling conversations about the information itself. Also, any model needs constant refinement when new events occur.
Accountability and effcicency are driving a new wave of IT centralization Altirius, Actuate, Marcury iInteractive providing the management infrastructure. Can be the first step in oursourcing, but not always. Org structures, funding models, user profiles. Centralization as a source of savings that can fund more decentralizated innovation, which makes spending seem flat.
Comments: Obviously, I have problems with this premise. Centralization realizes scale and speed economies, but scope and span -- the ability to change which may be more valuable. Another trend is Centers of Excellence, but this is counter to Communities of Practice. Great comment from someone else that distributed social computing demands new models.
Three catalysts for 2004
* Dynamic CRM
* BI for the masses
In addition to growth, business leadership is increasingly focused on accountability, productivity and enhancing customer value as key outcomes for new IT investment.