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Social CRM - the new rules

There are changes underway across the worlds of social media marketing, social media applied inside business (what some people would call enterprise 2.0) and  where these tools connect (or not) to the business processes in (Cloud based) CRM and ERP systems.   Products like Salesforce are adding Chatter, and Twitter connectivity.  Enterprise 2.0 tools that started as wikis or forums are adding micro-blogging along with more and more social functionality.  Content Management Systems are adding or acquiring a social dimension.  Marketing departments are struggling with, or looking for tools to help with, brand  reputation monitoring and management.  One significant segment of this change just got much clearer with Altimeter Group's R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang producing Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management.

R told the Enterprise Irregulars earlier this morning that this report is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration, hours of white boarding, phone calls, and skype calls in the early morning and on weekends working with an ecosystem of 42 partners.  The document identifies 18 use cases for Social ...
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What is Enterprise 2.0? - Part 1 - WTF to FTW

Last week some dialogue started between the Enterprise Irregulars on Enterprise 2.0 . Susan Scrupski set a challenge for 2009 to get one of our number, Vinnie Mirchandani , on to Twitter . Vinnie is an Enterprise traditionalist who is sceptical about some of the claims of Enterprise 2.0 vendors and what he calls their "egotistical positioning" of this stuff as some form of Enterprise solution replacement. That triggered some great interplay and ...
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SAP TechEd 2008 - Awesome, Entertaining, Underwhelming

SAP TechE2008 at ICC BerlinI've just arrived back from a very enjoyable 3 days in Berlin at SAP's TechEd 2008 conference. The theme was "Connect, Collaborate, Co-innovate" and I could see plenty of connections, some good examples of collaboration, and one stand-out example of co-innovation (called ESME - more on that in a later post). It started with Community Day, a multi-threaded not quite "unconference" with sessions for the SAP Developer Network and the Business Proce...
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Off to Office 2.0 in San Francisco

Office 2.0 conference 2008 By the time I post this I will be in San Francisco for a collection of WordFrame partner meetings and then the Office 2.0 show. I attended Ismael Ghalimi's first event based around the trend towards web based office and enterprise productivity back in 2006, but missed out last year. This year I'll be one of the presenters and contributors, and our partner SocialMediaToday is one of the media sponsors,at what I hope will be a very worthwhile show. The unconference is on September 3rd, with the main conference activities on September 4th and 5th, all based at the St. Regis hotel.
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Irregular friends and Seesmic on the road

One of my fellow Enterprise Irregulars, Michael Krigsman who writes the IT Project Failures blog for ZDNet, was in London for a few days last week. The EI group talks every day online, but we aren't often in the same city, so it's always good to make time to meet up physically to say hi when we can. We grabbed a coffee and chat at a Coffee Republic near Earls Court tube on Saturday. Michael's wife Elizabeth Shaw was there, and Michael invited one of his blogging friends Chris Dalby. By incredible coincidence I'd only been talking to Dennis Howlett about Chris and his company YellowPark the day before. Dennis has just moved his WordPress blog over to Chris's outfit for hosting, and was being very complimentary about the excellent support and help he got to make the process painless. I'd got Chris's details, but then suddenly, via a different route,I was meeting him face to face.

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SAP's mid market strategy with SaaS

Pascal Brosset talking to the bloggers corner - back right, glasses and grey jacketOne of the most refreshing sessions we had at SAPPHIRE 07 was when SAP's Senior VP of Market Strategy, Pascal Brosset, dropped by the Bloggers corner. Pascal is a straight talking Frenchman, who SAP need to put in front of more people, because he absolutely understands the Software as a Service market, and did a great job of explaining SAP's strategy in the sector. Oh, and by the way, he is the first senior SAP executive I've heard use the term SaaS.

Pascal explained his view that SAP's A1S, SaaS based, configurable product approach is an absolutely welcome development, as deeply modifying applications is not particularly good for anyone. He said that SAP in the past were good at focussing on processes, and not so good at focussing on people. The new product brings back the balance. He also thought it was a welcome change to be thinking about business and not three letter acronyms like CRM. When we quizzed him about how fast it will be adopted, or how applicable A1S will be to higher end customers, he gave a Gallic shrug and said:

"The market will decide"

Pascal Brosset, SAP's SVP Market StrategyOut of the box the product is more restricted in terms of the functionality available compared to other SAP products, but in return you get better TCO. When asked about deployment options for A1S he said:

"I'm not saying A1S will be on premise, but we believe SaaS has tons of advantages"

At this point I checked his business card to make sure we weren't talking to someone who'd slipped in to the conference from another company. He went on to say that the A1S approach would:

"Bridge the fundamental divide between efficiency versus flexibility."

Obviously with A1S customers cannot modify the code, but the leading partners will realise they can still make money advising customers on their business and building composite applications which can connect to and enhance the product. Pascal said that it is SAP's intention to prove SaaS can work, and he went on to say that he was:

"religious about making SaaS happen."

Next he discussed that fact that a ratio of 1 to 10 of software to implementation services is not right, and he talked about how NetWeaver was integral to SAP's approach of being a good citizen to make their platform as open and easy to integrate with as possible.

Henning Kagermann, SAP CEOLater on Tuesday, I was one of 5 bloggers granted an audience with Henning Kagermann, which in itself highlights how different SAP's attitude is to community and the new web 2.0 world compared to other big software players (or even some of the medium sized ones). I told Henning that I assumed they had considered separati

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Austrian hospitality, the B-8 and cultural diversity

My fellow Enterprise Irregular Bruno Haid excelled himself as host on Sunday in Vienna. As well giving me a great walking tour of the city, which mixed the architecture of the museum quarter , palaces, coffee shops and the art of Gustav Klimt (did every student have some of his art as posters on their wall?) and Egon Schiele, he bought dinner for the B-8. The 8 of us that were the advanced guard of bloggers attending SAP's SAPPHIRE 07 conference live in 8 different countries, and some of us met for the first time that evening, even though we've known each other for ages, and converse by e-mail on an almost daily basis.

Earlier in the day Bruno and I had lunch, coffees and chat with Charlie Wood and Prashanth Rai. The conversation ranged from mundane travel stories to the last US election, and the Iraq war. One of the major side benefits of attending a conference like this is to experience the diversity of views from an Indian, an America, an Austrian and a Brit on the rights and wrongs of the removal of Saddam Hussein.

Sig Rinde and Bruno Haid

Bruno Haid, Maggie Fox and Prashanth Rai

Thomas Otter, Dennis Howlett and Charlie Wood

My Flickr photo stream for the whole event is here. If you don't know Vienna, there are around 90 shots of the city, mixed in with my coverage of the conference.

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Heading for Vienna and SAPPHIRE 07

I'm in a mad rush trying to get things finished before I take an early flight to Vienna tomorrow. SAP are fully engaging the blogging community as a result of the initiatives started last year by Jeff Nolan. Mike Prosceno did a great job for my friends and colleagues in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and I'm sure he and Stacey Fish will do just as well for us on this week's European leg of SAPPHIRE 07, their customer and partner conference.

I'll be meeting up with Craig Cmehil, James Governor, Dennis Howlett, Thomas Otter, Sigurd Rinde, and Charlie Wood, my fellow Enterprise Irregulars, as well as Maggie Fox of the Social Media Collective, Prashanth Rai and Manoj Ranaweera.

We have a packed programme, and Mike's arranged a session for us with Hans-Peter Klaey, so I expect to be able to get the latest on A1S. Watch out for the SAPPHIRE07 tag.

And lastly, those fine people at MOO.com delivered my order well ahead of the official delivery schedule, so I can look cool handing out my cards while I'm there.

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I wish I was in Atlanta

That might be a good title for a song by Little Feat, but actually I'm voicing the frustration that my Enterprise Irregular blogging chums are having fun over at SAP's SAPPHIRE 07 conference. I get the chance to join in when the show hits Vienna in two weeks, but in the meantime I have to attend vicariously through their blogs, and they're doing a great job!

Hasso blackboard keynote

Thomas live blogged SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner's keynote, whilst Dennis gave his considered opinion, and Dan thinks we have to wait and see. Dan also has the details on A1S from Hans-Peter Klaey, now the president of their SME division, and then Dennis presents his analysis. I've written twice before about the product, and their on demand strategy. Like me, Dennis doesn't see how it is going to work, and worries that we aren't being shown the new product, even though they say it is being trialled by 150 customers.

Dennis has met with a few people and teased us about what might be coming from CODA. He seems to think that there is definitely more innovation on show at SAPPHIRE 07 compared to SAP's major rival Oracle. Dan has also posted about Duet, which integrates SAP and Microsoft Office. I'm looking forward to the rest of the output.

Update: Jerry Bowles is at the bloggers corner too, and Coté of Redmonk is blogging Henning Kagerman's keynote.

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Weekly SaaS Roundup - w/c 2007/04/02

As I write this week's roundup, there is some debate going on between the Enterprise Irregulars on the SaaS term itself - could there be a better term? It's a bit ugly, and a bit of a mouthful, but Vinnie suggests "as a Service" is here to stay. He says:

"Few of my corporate clients have a problem understanding "as a service" - they know it means no capex, lots of stuff they should technically not have to worry about....if they can be convinced about the "not worry about" part - security, service levels, etc - they have little problem with the term service. "

Vinnie highlights we've already got Hardware as a Service, Chris Selland reminded me we have Telephony as a Service, and earlier this week I saw Bob Brauer, CEO of Strikeiron, talk about Data as a Service, and say DaaS is gut!

One of the recent talking points has been hybrid access for web applications. Dan Farber reported on Zimbra's announcement of their off-line client:

"The Desktop Zimbra client (alpha code) will solve the problem of disconnected use, which plagues many online, on demand application users. The desktop version offers faster search, rich email rendering and synching with the Zimbra server. The Desktop Zimbra alpha download is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and is free for open source and Zimbra Network Edition users to try out. Pricing and availability haven't been set, according to the company"

Om Malik suggests the desktop is like a "cat with nine lives" as announcements of the death of software are premature:

"The biggest problem, of course is the availability of ubiquitous broadband, without which even the smartest web application is as bright as Paris Hilton. As long as Moore's Law helps keep Silicon Valley churning out ever-faster processors and the storage capacities of disk drives keep rising (along with falling prices) the edge client (translation: the desktop) will always be around."

He references the Zimbra client, Salesforce's off-line edition, Adobe Apollo, or Yahoo Widgets 4 as examples.

Meanwhile Mastermaq, a Microsoft developer quotes the same Dan Farber post and wonders why Microsoft aren't better placed with their software AND services approach:

"The company spends billions on R&D every year too, so it should be no surprise that they are often ahead of the curve when it comes to technology innovations. I don't know what the problem is, but I continue to be amazed at how they can be so far ahead, and yet so far behind, all at the same time"

Elsewhere Alex Barnett quotes Richard McManus and picks up on Yahoo's announcement of an API to its mail application, and see this as a big deal pointing the new direction for the web:

"Why is this 'big'? It is a clear signal of where we're all going with the web. APIs, APIs APIs!!!!!"

APIs and mashups are going to be crucial, but taking things back to practical application of SaaS and web 2.0 technologies, I listened to this podcast on Jenerous of Eric Madsen talking to Mark Mader, the president of SmartSheet. Mark's product is not competing head on with traditional spreadsheets or online versions like Editgrid, but where spreadsheets are used lists of work and assignments of work that people share. That's the kind of project management approach that many organizations end up using. It's always interesting listening to the top guy talking about his product, company and business model.

Lastly, Joe McKendrick was writing at the FASTForward blog, about SaaS passing the tipping point. He says:

"Saugatuck predicts that the next surge of growth will come from large enterprises that are now beginning to view SaaS as "just another part of the fabric of enterprise IT." Saugatuck calculates that on average, the typical large enterprise now taps into at least three SaaS applications, with one in seven having greater than 10 SaaS applications."

Jeff Kaplan jumped in in the comments to suggest this is old news, but it's still heartening to hear more enterprise examples, and more commentators saying the same thing.