Category Archives: CRM News and Info

Marketing Partnership to Help Fine-Tune Targeting

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Sonobi and LiveRamp have partnered to help marketers improve targeting. The partnership will let brands and agencies build media packages using the Sonobi JetStream multichannel ad platform and LiveRamp’s identity resolution system. “Sonobi has a forecasting and planning engine that understands the visitation patterns of an individual user across the open Web,” said CEO Michael Connolly.
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Personalization at scale: What's the tech again?

joao silas 51725 unsplash Personalization at scale: What's the tech again?

Video: SAP’s new CRM takes aim at the Salesforce cloud

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I’m in the midst of two blog posts that are taking me far longer than, as always, I meant to take, and the launch of a big website, so I decided to do something that I have never really done: Provide you with an excerpt from my new book on customer engagement. I’m not promoting the book per se — though to some degree that’s a ludicrous statement to make since I’m clearly telling you it’s from my upcoming book and that qualifies as promotion. But what I’m primarily attempting to do, given you are my audience, is show you something that I’ve been thinking about: A brief summation on the technology needed to personalize at scale. This is a short piece — unlike my usual — and is only meant to touch on the technology for personalization. But its value lies in simplifying some things, not just the technology but, and I hope that you get this, the difference between data, information, knowledge, and insight. Also, something that describes the use of analytics.

Read also: Adobe: Experiencing the experiential (part one) | Adobe: In the weeds, in the zone (part two)

Some housekeeping, I’m leaving the chapter references in the excerpt as they are in the book. This is an exact replica. So there will be some missing things. Please don’t ding me for them. The value here is in at the high-level sorting out what technology is needed to drive the insights for personalization at scale. I’m not including the data architecture, which is in the book, too. That’s too deep.

Oh, yeah, the book is named The Commonwealth of Self-Interest: Customer Engagement, Business Benefit. It’s 330 pages of a pretty hefty discussion in my usual inimitable style on how to build a customer-engaged company from the frameworks to the operational core, to the strategy, to the programs, to the use of technology, to the metrics, and to define, especially, the culture, which, by the way, differs from a simply customer-centric culture.

In any case, ladies and gents, the excerpt. Feel free to comment. I welcome them.


Personalization at Scale: The Technology

In an era where engagement is a key strategy and where customers expect you to provide them with what they need to do whatever it is they are doing with you, data and insight become incredibly important for providing a personalized experience. But more than just identifying the products, services, tools and consumable experiences necessary for the customer to sculpt their own choice of engagement with the company, businesses are now in a position where they must anticipate customer behavior and then develop optimized offers or programs for those individual customers in real time or close to that. While algorithms never determine those insights, the data, analyzed and presented in the right way, are the basis for the insights. How can these insights be used?

The difficulties inherent in the identification of an insight, are increased by magnitudes when two other factors come into play. Scale – the size of your customer base and speed – the expectation that the action suggested by the insight will be taken live rather than later, more often than not – add complexity to a situation that was already complex. As the customers are on their thousands and even millions of journeys, how do you find out what they are doing, interpret what you know about their activities, decide how you are going to respond to them, build the response and communicate that response – all while the customers are still on their various journeys. Equally importantly, how are you going to do this in a meaningful individual way for thousands, maybe even millions of people that way?

This is the dilemma of personalization at scale. Yet, because I know you’ve memorized every word you’ve read so far, you don’t have to go back to Chapter 4 to be reminded of the benefits of this. Regardless, though, it is what you have to do and the technology is there to do it. Memorize that.

From Data to Information to Knowledge to Insight

Data is useless. No, I’m not kidding. Data is useless – until it is used in context. Think of it this way. How often has someone told you something and your response, if you weren’t being nice, was “so what? Why’d you tell me that?” Whoever told you that, of course, thought they were telling you something of importance. But you had no idea why they told you that, right? The person who told you the “thing” had context – they had a reason to tell you. But you had no context – and thus didn’t understand what (or why) you were being told.

What you received with that “thing” was information without context and thus no meaningful actions could be taken, and there was no way to truly understand what they meant. That is data. It becomes information when you give it context. It becomes knowledge when you define what the information’s value is to you and its purpose. It is insight when you figure out how to use it effectively.

Think of it this way:

Data:

1. 17.5 ounces white flour, plus extra for dusting

2. 2 tsp. salt

3. ¼ ounce fast-action yeast

4. 3 tbsp. olive oil

5. 10.5 fluid ounces water

Information:

This is a recipe for making bread

Knowledge:

Here’s how you make the bread

Insight:

Judging from the comments on those who ate the bread made with this recipe, this is a good tasting bread that can be made even more healthy and taste equally good with multigrain flour instead of white flour, but it would need 1 tbsp. more olive oil.

Of course, what isn’t easy is to figure out how to take what is data and make it useful knowledge and ultimately gain some actionable insights. The technologies are there to parse the data and then run the algorithms that provide you with what you need to see to gain the insights – as long as you are not overwhelmed by the amounts of data available to you. Scale can be frightening. But the approach to handling big data coming at you at high velocity is simple – take control of it. Follow these steps so that you can gain value from the data you have:

  1. Don’t treat it as Big Data
  2. You want something from it;
  3. Decide what it is you’re looking for;
  4. Develop a hypothesis;
  5. Decide on what specific information is going to be needed;
  6. Plan accordingly;
  7. Gather the information – which means find the data, organize it and build the reports that provide it to you in the form you need;
  8. Run the analytics on the data – the analytics can be descriptive, predictive, proscriptive (more on that shortly);
  9. Use the knowledge you have to produce the insights you need;
  10. Apply those insights (e.g. an optimized offer to a particular customer).

Before we really get into analytics, I’m going to stop here and take a breath. I have to focus. No, not because I’m losing it, though I have been accused of that more than once, but because we’re only going to be talking about customer engagement related analytics here, not analytics in general. I’m guessing you have a pretty good idea of what analytics are. If not, read the excellent Thomas Davenport article “Analytics 3.0″ in the December 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review (32Thttps://hbr.org/2013/12/analytics-3032T). It’s worth your time. Then read this chapter, though it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Can Algorithms Show Your Love…if that’s what you think it is?

Given the large number of data types and the sources and difficulty with providing clarity, how do we use analytics to find the optimal customer engagement actions we have to take? What are we analyzing?

If you think about it, the science of customer engagement is the attempt to systematize how humans interact, create a methodology to make the efforts, processes and results repeatable and reusable so they can be applied to any size of endeavor. Ultimately to be able to make that happen, you need to recognize its greatest limitation – at best, the effort can reproduce the model of an approximation of how humans interact – and thus give you the basis for insights on how to anticipate future human behavior – either enmasse or at an individual level. But that predicted behavior is also at best an reasonable assumption, no more. Why only, effectively, a good guess? First because, in real life, each human interacts with other humans and institutions in a different way than every other human. That means that for example, I interact with you, differently than I interact with your brother and he interacts with me differently than you do and you interact with him differently than you interact with me etc. even if the interactions are for the same purpose. What? Yeah, I know your brother. Moving on. To add nuance, additionally, while there are an infinite number of interactions possible, each human has a set of constraints that exist to limit how they can respond. They are constrained by their individual bandwidth, which in much simpler terms, means, no one human can respond to everyone they have the opportunity to interact with in a given time frame. So they have to decide who they are going to interact with and, given many considerations, of the infinite number of ways they can interact with someone or something, how they are going to interact. That means, if the interaction is with your business, the customer has a reason they chose to interact with your business and not someone else’s. They have a context for how they chose to interact with you. So a single interaction out of context might end up with the wrong response from you because you didn’t understand why they interacted that way.

Confused? Let’s revisit an example from back in Chapter 6 – but come at it differently.

Remember the example of a purchase attempt made by you on Amazon in a normal frame of mind contrasted with one made in an irritated state of mind due to a fight with a significant other? If you remember, the item in the cart was temporarily abandoned in the first scenario and permanently abandoned in the second. But in the two-hour window before you completed the purchase, without any context, there was no difference in the actual action taken of leaving the item in the cart – but the context (not irritated, and irritated) determined the final outcome – which was different in each case, due to the customer’s behavior which was dictated by their emotional state.

Now let’s throw in a twist – and add predictive analytics to the mix (along with social listening). Amazon would like to be able to anticipate the outcome of your actions based on past behavior, the behavior of people like you, etc. If the only data they have is your transactional data, then there isn’t much they can really figure out because the propensity to purchase that book is based on things like, books like that you bought versus books you’ve considered and abandoned, etc. But that can’t account for your bad day or your emotional state. So, as I said, in chapter 6, their only recourse is to fix the lag since they have no idea why you were so upset – and that they should do even if they did know.

But imagine if you were “vocal” about that bad state of mind on social media or you even more specifically tweeted “#Amazon lag time is driving me nuts – and so are all of you! #drivemecrazy #arrrggh” If they had that data and had incorporated it into the data they were looking at, it might suggest a reason that the cart was apparently abandoned – and that is wasn’t just the lag time that caused it. It gives the data some potential context and thus it might give you a better indication of future behavior. Though, decisions do have to be made whether it is worth the effort to find that out – or to just fix the lag.

As we established in Chapter 4, human beings are self-interested, so they are expecting a response that appeals to them as individuals, not a group. Which means understanding individual and segmented behavior. Even though the customer demands individual attention, you still have to understand their common behaviors and their similar interests (they don’t have to be identical) which allows you to effectively create responses that can appeal to a larger group at the level of the individual.

Predictive Analytics and The Best Next Analytics: Prescriptive

Applying analytics allows you to make the best interpretation of the data you have. If you are using predictive methodologies and algorithms, you can make a best guess – often correctly – as to how individual customers will behave in a specific situation – e.g. a marketing campaign. You can, using prescriptive analytics decide what your best next action will be in, for example, a sales opportunity. Use this presentation or make this the offer or speak to this influencer of that decision maker. Companies like Lattice Engines do that for sales and marketing, like Thunderhead do that for customer journeys, like Pegasystems also for marketing, sales and customer service. As an example, PROS, a Houston, Texas based technology company, optimizes pricing to produce anything from a quote for industrial equipment to dynamic prices for airline seats. PROS uses advanced algorithms that work in real time to look at the demand, history, external conditions, airline industry comparisons, weather and a whole variety of other factors that go into the price of your airline seat.

To provide optimal engagement, the analytics models have to take into account more than the transactional history. The model has to account for the known behaviors of the customers, the preferences and the tastes of those customers. The models have to account for the demographic and geographic differences that are reflected in the individual behavior.

To give you a bit more of the technological picture, I’m going to give you a few examples of the kinds of models that are used for engagement analytics.

The model

I’m not a data scientist. I can’t pretend to get into the math that goes into building these three analytics models, but I can give you the types of models that are appropriate to developing queries around customer engagement. Let’s look at three. One note: they are often used in tandem.

1. Clustering analysis – Cluster analysis is an appropriately named model that is designed to take the survey samples and surface groups that organically have similar affinities. In principal, it’s a very simple model. Similarly answered surveys lead to the creation of a group populated by those who gave the similar answers. But it actually takes a lot of work to build the model especially when the survey questions are focused around attitude or behavior. So, there has to be criteria established for what “similarity” is. The results are not the same as segmentation. Its not segmentation by age, gender, location, or job status. The results of clustering lead to groups like those mentioned below in the Telenor case study – Sure Things, Persuadables, Lost Causes, and Sleeping Dogs. I’ll leave it to you to read the case study to find out what they mean but they are grouped by likely behaviors.

2. Propensity models – This is a commonly used model. You’ve probably heard it most frequently as “propensity to buy.” All in all it means that you are developing models to identify customers who are likely to do or not do something. It can be likely to churn, likely to respond to a particular offer, likely to do x if y,z, and ab are presented or occur. Typically, there is a score associated with the likelihood.

3. Collaborative filtering - The likely way you’ve seen the results of collaborative filtering are via recommendation engines. Along those lines, “because of your past transactions, your current web behavior, the purchasing and viewing behaviors of others who have similar tastes and preferences to you, we recommend this first, this second, and this third.” recommend this In the newer, narrower sense, collaborative filtering is a method of making automatic predictions (filtering) about the interests of a user by collecting preferences or taste information from many users (collaborating). The underlying assumption of collaborative filtering is the same as the concept of a “person like me.” Give the similar tastes and preferences of person A and person B, the likely of their similarity on other things is greater than a random other person.

I’m not going to dwell on the models any further, but these are useful to see the constructs that drive the analytics.


Well, that’s the excerpt. Thoughts? I’d like to get some feedback. This is about as technical as the book gets.

See ya.

Previous and related coverage:

Customer experience: Lessons from the real world

CX expert, Rich Toohey, a regular contributor to this column does something important again by pointing to the value of design when it comes to customer experiences.

SAP pivots as the customer turns 2018

SAP announced what is probably the most significant initiative as a company since their initial creation of SAP ERP R/2 back in the stone age. They are now customer facing, focused on customer experience, and are rearchitecting their offering around that idea. Right move? Wrong move? Read on and find out.

ServiceNow: Solid and uncertain — a company in transition

ServiceNow is a fascinating company that has been a dramatic and very pleasant success for the past decade plus. It’s now at a pivotal point in its history, and its the kind of pivot that gets it to its optimal goals or it just keeps moving along. Can ServiceNow do it? Read and find out.

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Did Salesforce Need to Buy Datorama?

Salesforce on Monday announced a definitive agreement to acquire the marketing analytics company Datorama.

The acquisition will give Marketing Cloud a power boost by expanding data integration and intelligence, according to Salesforce.

The newly acquired tech will give marketers the ability to unlock insights across channels and data sources, providing a unified view that can help companies make smarter decisions across the entire customer journey and optimize engagement at scale, it added.

In response to that, you might be tempted to wonder, as I did, “Isn’t that what the Salesforce Analytics cloud was for?” or “What happened to Einstein?” You’d be right to ask, of course, but sooner or later it would dawn on you that the reasons companies buy other companies can vary, especially within the lifecycles of individual companies.

Reasons to Buy

Early in a company’s life, it’s not unusual to see acquisitions that essentially perform the functions of research and development — but at warp speed. After all, R&D is hard and risky, and if you see another company with something you like it can be easier to purchase the whole entity rather than spend what could be years developing what you see. Further, if the cost is some small multiple of what you envision spending, well, time is money.

Another good reason to acquire a company is simply for competitive advantage. Buying a useful technology before a competitor can will help keep your business booming while at the same time robbing the competition of some oxygen.

A third reason for making a purchase is “synergy” — that vague term that launches a thousand ships per year, half of which never return. Synergy is risky, because it depends on good analysis of a lot of subjective things like expertise, assets, customer base and good will. Done well, an acquisition like this can help drive new growth, especially if the acquired customer base needs some of what the acquiring company does well.

Emphasis on Service

From the outside, it seems that Salesforce might be buying Datorama for a combination of reasons, but probably not technology per se at this point.

Datorama has 16 offices around the world and 3,000 customers, many of which are name brands. That combination alone makes it attractive to Salesforce. Add to that Datorama’s expertise in marketing analysis and you can see a bigger fit than one simply concerned with technology.

Also, my hunch is that delivering Datorama’s expertise is highly services-oriented, which can explain why there are so many offices for a relatively small customer base. The base might be small, but the kinds of customers this company goes after expect on-the-spot assistance, especially when rolling out new programs, for instance.

My Take

Salesforce leads in virtually every CRM category and has a serious platform business that large numbers of customers increasingly have been relying on to build and maintain bespoke apps for unique business needs.

It’s natural, after all that product success, that the company continue to build out its services by offering on-site support for enterprise businesses taking the plunge into digital disruption. A judicious amount of services will drive further uptake of products.

So, it strikes me that acquiring Datorama, with its robust marketing analytics technology, makes a great deal of sense for Salesforce at this point in its evolution.

Another Salesforce initiative continues to be promoting its industry, or vertical, apps as it tries to gain market share in places where a general-purpose product, even one with a flexible platform beneath it, will have a hard time.

Time will tell, but this looks like a possible play to quickly deploy marketing analytics for specialized markets. If so, then the company is buying expertise right when it needs it.
end enn Did Salesforce Need to Buy Datorama?


Denis%20Pombriant Did Salesforce Need to Buy Datorama?
Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there.
Email Denis.

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Looking to the next Prime Day and return on attention

vintage garage sale Looking to the next Prime Day and return on attention

Amazon Prime Day 2018

Video: Amazon’s Prime Day puts voice everywhere

Since we’re in the midst of Prime Day 2018, I’m in standby mode waiting to see the numbers. So, I guess I’m forced to think ahead to next year, because things move pretty fast with these guys.

Must read: Amazon Prime Day deals: Smart office devices and business tools

It easy to forget Amazon Prime Day started as a way to mark the company’s 20th birthday. Many thought the deals offered that first year were the equivalent to a digital garage sale… and not even a good one, as many people called most of the stuff on sale “leftovers” and “junk.” I don’t remember a lot of commercials running either, as maybe a handful of media/industry outlets paid serious attention to it. Their big rivals in e-commerce and retail for the most part played the day off as marketing gimmick. But after the sales numbers came in for the day, that all changed.

Now, Prime Day is way more than a bad digital garage sale. Amazon retail competitors are having to react in all sorts of ways to what is now one of the most high-profile online shopping days on the calendar. So high-profile that now most of the biggest online news/technology sites have dedicated tons of coverage to it. I mean even when I was channel flipping on Friday not only was I met with a bunch of Prime Day commercials, but Good Morning America did an entire segment about it.

Because of the impact Prime Day now has on our collective attention (and dollars), it’s hard to believe it started just three years ago… just like it’s hard to believe Alexa has only been around for a little over three years. Amazon has used Prime and Alexa as a way to create a return on attention (ROA) — the likes we’ve seldom seen before. And Prime Day is the showcase for the Attention “Echosystem” (yes, pun intended) from a variety of perspectives. So, since we’re in the midst of the Prime Day frenzy and waiting for the results press release to come later this week, I’m already starting to think about the ways Amazon could fine tune its AE machine to increase the ROA in the near future.

Improving Return on Attention with Amazon Live TV?

According to Amazon, the company is guided by four principles: Customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.

Read also: When is Amazon Prime Day 2018? (CNET)

Looking at that first one, if there’s anything that customers are obsessed with today, it’s content, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Amazon Live TV sooner rather than later. Because a live TV service — like what Google, Hulu, DirecTV Now, and others offer — would be a great complement to Prime Video. Prime and Primetime could add membership and more attention and provide more attention-to-transaction opportunities in the long run. I’d go for it, because, as a current DirecTV Now customer, I’d love a live TV option that has a better integration with Alexa. And Amazon can bundle it with Prime and offer it at a discount, just like AT&T offers DTV Now for $ 10 a month for unlimited wireless customers.

Converting Subscriptions to Attention

Speaking of bundling services, some of the best deals currently going are on Amazon’s other content services, like Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Amazon Music. Once again, these deals are designed to attract new Prime members, and gain more of the consumer’s attention in order to convert that into more subscription revenues.

Read also: How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day (TechRepublic)

According to research from NPR, Echo owners are listening to more audio, including podcasts. This fits right into the Attention Echosystem and ROA strategy that seems to be in play here. Come to think of it, you could see a Prime-flavored subscription for PillPack coming, too, with Alexa reminding you to take your pills. Dare I bring this up, but there is even speculation around Amazon getting into the cannabis business. Just think about the ramifications of that as a new Prime offering.

As of July 1, the State of Georgia implemented a new “hands free” law that makes it illegal to hold your phone while driving. As you can imagine, dashboard phone mounts were flying off the shelves — digitally and otherwise. OK, I bought one, too, but I went even further: I bought a Roav Viva, which is an Alexa-enabled, two-port USB car charger that allows you to stay hands-free while asking Alexa to make calls, stream music, and ask for directions. I’m guessing as important as getting and keeping attention is in the home, it’s just as important in another place folks spend their time — the car. And I can definitely see a big move (via acquisition or homegrown invention) to get Alexa into Prime members cars in a big way in the not-too-distant future.

Reviews and Recommendations

OK, maybe some of the stuff above is a bit out there. But you can’t overestimate the importance of customer ratings, reviews, and recommendations on what people decide to buy. And it’s that importance which is driving all kinds of shenanigans trying to get five-star ratings and reviews.

Read also: What is Amazon Prime? (CNET)

To get an in-depth look at just how far sellers are willing to go to get customer reviews (or what appear to be reviews from customers), you might want to check out this episode from the Reply All podcast. It is a real eye-opener. And there’s a real threat to the integrity of reviews going on that Amazon has to deal with to prevent more stories like people getting deliveries to their houses that they didn’t order.

There’s a lot at stake as people ask Alexa more and more about what to buy, and how much transparency they will have regarding why the response they received was made. Because if they can’t trust that Alexa will provide the best recommendations possible based on valid reviews and other available data, lost trust will lead to lost attention and lost transactions. And it’s better to address this now while it’s still early days.

Anyways, I can’t wait for Prime Day to wrap up so we can get into the real fun of the holiday — analyzing the numbers. But, in the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for that Amazon Live TV package, and asking Alexa to order some more pills… or something else.

BEST AMAZON PRIME DAY 2018 DEALS

ZDNet has round-ups of amazing early deals you can get now and even anti-Prime Day deals. Check out our top Prime Day deal guides for more information:

MORE PRIME DAY 2018 DEALS

CNET, our sister site, has also covered all the best Prime Day tech deals, by category:

  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smartphones and mobile – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Storage, SSD and flash drives – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Headphones and audio – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: TVs and home video – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smart home – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Kitchen and appliances – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Laptops, PCs, chromebooks and tablets – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Video games and gaming – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smartwatches and fitness trackers – CNET
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    A Trade War in the Cloud?

    So far, the looming trade war is limited to actions and reactions related to durable things that trade throughout the global economy — cars, steel and aluminum, for instance. Will that remain the battleground? Or should we expect greater contentiousness around services — specifically, Software as a Service, and CRM in particular?

    Retaliation for U.S. trade initiatives so far has been aimed at things produced by Trump-leaning industries and states, like motorcycles, soybeans and bourbon whiskey. However, those industries and their workers might not provide the leverage that other nations need to put the genie back in the bottle.

    Some workers who make bourbon and motorcycles are vocal about their politics and form part of the Trump base. However, their actions seem limited mostly to reactions, not initiative. They’ll support a Trump policy, but they haven’t been out front advocating.

    Looking for Leverage

    On the other side of the coin — and I accept that this is a simplification — the tech sector is by definition entrepreneurial, and able and willing to initiate action. So, any attack on subscription providers by foreign nations could, in theory, motivate more reaction designed to stop the trade war.

    There’s a lot of potential leverage there, because the U.S. has a dominant share of the Software as a Service economy and the subscription economy generally. While U.S. companies have been stepping up efforts to locate cloud data centers in many countries to support data residency requirements, their services still could look like imported services and thus be subject to tariffing.

    The tech sector is also vociferous — both pro and con on numerous political issues. For every Marc Benioff advocating for progressive ideas, there’s a Peter Thiel supporting the administration. However, the progressives might have the numbers, if only because so much of the industry is based in California. So there’s all the more reason for foreign governments looking for leverage against American tariffs to target the tech sector and especially software.

    Permanent Alteration

    U.S. dominance in SaaS and the cloud generally is a double-edged sword. U.S. companies have dominant positions, but for this reason it would be easy to target the industry with, say, 50 percent tariffs. As with other industries, tariffs could be expected to slow growth and adoption, and possibly cause some vendors to set up production in other countries, as Harley-Davidson is doing.

    Once a path is set and investment is made, the shape of any industry could be altered permanently. It will be hard for any business to abandon sunk costs in other lands once a trade truce is agreed to. So we’re possibly looking at a generational or even secular shift in the shape of the cloud and its industries should a trade war infect tech.

    A trade war could be a driving force that sends clouds scattering to the corners of the Earth. That could be good for some businesses, but bad for individuals whose jobs would be put in jeopardy. It would be an acceleration of the natural commoditization cycle with one key difference. There wouldn’t be many new job openings for displaced American tech workers whose jobs departed for parts unknown.

    Last word

    When the idea of a trade war first surfaced about a year ago, some prescient commentators suggested that there likely would be unforeseen consequences. No one has perfect visibility into the heart or actions of an adversary, regardless of the analytics used.

    However, retaliating against what an adversary does well is an old story, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see tariffs on cloud computing services should cooler heads not prevail. Those tariffs will have follow-on effects that we can only guess at right now, but it’s doubtful that those actions will improve the U.S.’ standing in tech.
    end enn A Trade War in the Cloud?

    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.


    Denis%20Pombriant A Trade War in the Cloud?
    Denis Pombriant is a well-known CRM industry analyst, strategist, writer and speaker. His new book, You Can’t Buy Customer Loyalty, But You Can Earn It, is now available on Amazon. His 2015 book, Solve for the Customer, is also available there.
    Email Denis.

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    Miller Heiman CEO Byron Matthews: Stay Tuned for the CRM 4.0 Revolution

    Byron Matthews is the president and CEO of
    Miller Heiman Group, a global provider of sales methodology and sales technology solutions.

    In this exclusive interview, Matthews shares some secrets to enabling sales success.

    85433 240x320 Miller Heiman CEO Byron Matthews: Stay Tuned for the CRM 4.0 Revolution

    Miller Heiman CEO
    Byron Matthews

    CRM Buyer: What is sales enablement, and why is it important?

    Byron Matthews: There’s a gap in performance across B2B selling, because buyers are innovating faster than sellers are getting better at selling. Sales enablement’s function is to try to close that gap. It’s not sales operation, like territory plans or comp plans. It’s more strategic, in terms of trying to drive sales performance by getting better content and coaching services for salespeople.

    Selling models are changing. It used to be acceptable that you’d show up and ask good questions to get an understanding of a customer’s needs. Then you’d go back and find a solution. Today, that’s not good enough, because buyers are not going to sellers for information. They’re more informed, so the time you spend with a customer cannot be based just on getting an understanding of their needs. You need to provide insight and inspire and educate them. A lot of firms aren’t built that way.

    Sales enablement provides content to sellers who have the situational fluency to know what information they need in order to make the conversations they have with buyers more sophisticated.

    CRM Buyer: What does it mean to have a holistic approach to developing, managing and sustaining long-term customer relationships?

    Matthews: Today it’s not just about initial sales, but a much larger relationship. It’s about the entire buyer journey, from how they connect with you to sales to service. All of those touchpoints need to be connected and coordinated. You need to manage the entire buyer’s journey.

    CRM Buyer: What can be done to improve the adoption of CRM by sales reps?

    Matthews: CRM has never been designed for the seller. It’s been designed for sales managers and sales operations. Find me a seller that would say, ” I would never have won that deal if it weren’t for my CRM system.” You can’t, because that comment doesn’t exist.

    We believe that we’re on a verge of CRM 4.0.There’s a massive explosion of new technology, all trying to solve the what’s-in-it-for-me for the salesperson.

    CRM 4.0 will be AI-driven, insight-led, and powered by sales processes and methodology. The way I engage my CRM system will be based on what I need to do, and defined by that methodology. The time of having a generic CRM interface is going to end.

    AI-driven and insight-led engagement is what is everything will be about. What do I need to do? What meetings do I need to have? You’ll look toward the technology to help you answer those questions.

    CRM Buyer: How do you see AI helping salespeople?

    Matthews: If I’m chasing a deal, I have to figure out who are all the people who are making decisions, what role they’re in. There’s a whole series of behaviors I need to think about.

    A methodology organizes all of that, and the behavior turns into action. It tells you that these are the next three things I need to do: I should meet with this person, get this information, send this email.

    Imagine if that was the way that I interfaced with a CRM system. As I have more and more deals, it starts to learn my behaviors. It might learn, for instance, that I don’t get to the person who signs the contract in time. I use the people below them, and I don’t fight hard enough for the meeting with the economic buyer. It shows over time that I’m less successful when I don’t get to the economic buyer.

    The system would say something like this: You’re losing 72 percent of the time when you don’t get to the economic buyer, so you need to consider leveraging the person who works for the economic buyer to get a meeting, and here’s the content you should use, because the last two times you did, it was successful. That would drastically increase the likelihood of me using the system.

    It’s not about me filling out a form, but it’s a way for me to think, over time, about what I can do differently. That’s how the whole game’s going to get changed.

    CRM Buyer: What role does gamification play in sales success, and in encouraging the adoption and use of CRM?

    Matthews: We believe that the adoption of CRM will be way past 80 percent as we see more automated insights. After that, you can add in gamification, in the sense that you get badges and points. There are things you get for accuracy of forecast. There’s transparency around results.

    But none of that’s going to happen until you turn a CRM system into something that adds value for a salesperson. It has to augment their thinking about what they should be doing in a day, and until that switch happens, you’ll never get above 70 percent adoption.

    CRM Buyer: Why is it important to automate mundane selling tasks?

    Matthews: There’s not a lot of value in them. Many really good sellers spend way too much time on those tasks, and time with buyers is decreasing. Buyer engagement is lower, because buyers don’t look to sellers for information anymore. If you have less time with buyers, the time you do have with them has to inspire and educate and provide insights. It takes time to do all of that.

    If you are stuck in non-selling activity, you are spending less time preparing for those critical moments that matter. The most important thing is to prepare for client interactions. You cannot be stuck in tedious tasks.

    CRM Buyer: How is CRM evolving and changing? What’s in the future?

    Matthews: I think the whole thing’s going to change. CRM 4.0 is finally going to be about the user experience and about value to the user. It will be AI-driven, insight-led, and powered by methodology. It’s going to be a massive revolution.
    end enn Miller Heiman CEO Byron Matthews: Stay Tuned for the CRM 4.0 Revolution


    Vivian%20Wagner Miller Heiman CEO Byron Matthews: Stay Tuned for the CRM 4.0 Revolution
    Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a variety
    of outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.
    Email Vivian.

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    3 things to look for in the Amazon Prime Day 2018 results

    echo amazon istock 3 things to look for in the Amazon Prime Day 2018 results

    Video: Voice is going to play a substantial role on Prime Day 2018

    what’s hot on zdnet

    If you haven’t heard already, which would mean you don’t have Wi-Fi or a mobile device, Amazon Prime Day 2018 (APD 2018) is a week from today. And you will have no shortage of articles covering it from a variety of angles and perspectives leading up to the big day (and a half).

    So, I might as well add my two cents to the mix as well.

    Read also: When is Amazon Prime Day 2018? (CNET)

    Now I’m not focusing on what the best deals are or all you need to know to make the most of APD 2018. You can find that pretty easily, with a great summary of that right here on ZDNet. I’ll stick to my lane and focus on a few things I’ll be looking for with respect to the role Alexa will play this year, and how what happens next week will set up the holiday season and beyond.

    Overall Prime Day Growth: Can it keep up with last year?

    One of my favorite things to do over the past few years is read the after holiday press releases from Amazon to get scoop on what took place. So I decided to go back and dig through press releases from Amazon — with the results of the first Prime Day in 2015, up to the releases detailing results from 2017 holiday shopping season. And there was a bunch of interesting factoids in them, way too much to go into here. But, according to Amazon:

    • Prime Day 2017 sales grew 60 percent year over year from 2016
    • A record number of people joined Prime on Prime Day 2017
    • Tens of millions of Prime members bought something on APD 2017 — up 50 percent from APD 2016
    • Echo Dot was the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across Amazon globally on APD 2017
    • Prime members bought seven times more Echo devices globally APD 2017 than APD 2016

    While they didn’t give an actual number, estimates from a number of analyst firms and industry sites had sales from APD 2017 near the $ 1 billion mark, since estimates the year before were in the $ 600 million range. And, as great as that number is, it was surpassed by Cyber Monday 2017 as Amazon’s biggest selling day ever.

    Read also: Amazon Prime Day 2018: Everything you need to know (CNET)

    That’s a lot of growth and momentum going into next week, and a lot of expectations to live up to. It will be interesting to see if APD 2018 can grow at the same clip as in previous years and also top Cyber Monday 2017’s single day sales record. It should definitely be bigger, as there are now over 100 million Prime members (up from the 80 million-ish this time last year), more countries participating (18 vs. 13 last year), more hours (36 vs. 30), and more hype.

    There’s also Whole Foods, which wasn’t officially on board for APD 2017. However, by last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping weekend, the Echo Dot was the best-selling device at Whole Foods that weekend, according to Amazon. But, really, how many other devices are people buying in Whole Foods? Anyway, this year Whole Foods is definitely playing a role in Prime Day, so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact it will have on overall Prime Day sales.

    And just as I was about to wrap this up, wondering if APD 2018 could do $ 1.6 billion and meet the 60 percent from last year, I literally see a headline that estimates a record $ 3.4 billion day. If that even comes close to happening, we are in for some interesting after shocks…

    What Percentage of Sales Come Through Alexa?

    As I recover from the $ 3.4 billion projection, I can’t help but wonder what role voice shopping will play this year for Prime Day. Earlier this year, OC&C Strategy Consultants predicted voice shopping would hit $ 40 billion by 2022 in the US and UK — up from $ 2 billion today. Now it’s not often you see a twenty-bagger in four years’ time in terms of sales growth. But if ever there was a showcase for why that number is legit, APD 2018 is it.

    Read also: How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day (TechRepublic)

    Last year, the Echo Show had just gone GA at the end of June, so not too many folks had them at the time. There was no Echo Spot. Amazon hadn’t acquired Blink or Ring. So the breadth and depth of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled device line has changed dramatically since APD 2017.

    As all these additions to the device line rolled out over time, more interactions were taking place through them. So much so that Amazon’s 2017 holiday results press release included a section for Amazon Devices and Alex for the first time, including stats like:

    • Alexa customers set three-times as many timers this year compared to last holiday season
    • Alexa customers turned on their holiday lights more than a million times via Alexa this holiday season
    • Music listening time on Alexa was three-times as much this holiday season compared to last holiday season
    • Alexa on Fire TV is more popular than ever before, with usage in the US up 889 percent over the same time period last year

    Now, Alexa being used more than a million times to turn on the holiday lights is a pretty big number. So is the 889 percent increase in Fire TV popularity, and the three-times increases in other Alexa usage scenarios.. Although, since we don’t have actual numbers, we don’t really know how impressive (or not) those numbers are. But usage numbers are partly a function of how many devices are sold and being used. These numbers from the 2017 holiday season press release help shed some light on those number, like:

    • The Echo Dot was the No. 1 selling Amazon Device, and the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon, with millions sold
    • Millions of Prime members voice shopped with Alexa for gifts
    • The most popular items purchased by voice were the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and TP-Link Smart Plug Mini
    • Echo Spot, Echo Dot, and Echo Buttons all sold out

    This latter group of numbers feel aligned with the thought that people are buying these devices at an impressive clip. And as they get comfortable with using these devices, they use them for a growing variety of reasons. I’m hoping APD 2018 will be the event where Amazon starts sharing some more details around not just around how many units of Amazon devices were sold, but what dollar amounts did voice shopping generate on the day.

    Read also: What is Amazon Prime? (CNET)

    It also would be cool to know percentage of Prime households own at least one Echo device, because, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) LLC, Echo owners spend approximately $ 400 a year more than Prime members ($ 1,700 vs $ 1,300). Based on the above bullet points, there’s a pretty good chunk of Prime members using Alexa to buy Echo devices, but I’m guessing they’re buying other stuff, too.

    Also, what percentage of overall sales came via voice shopping would be nice to know. I know I’m dreaming a bit here, because I really don’t expect to get those numbers, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it? At least give us one of those two-times or three-times numbers to let us know if voice sales as a percentage of overall sales increased dramatically, or significantly, or at all. I know I’d appreciate it, and I’m guessing those estimating the voice shopping sales numbers will too, as Amazon will no doubt be leading that as well, as it does online shopping in the US.

    I could go on, but it may be easier to check out the embedded video above as I discuss this with my Watching Amazon partner and eCommerce expert John Lawson.

    Small Businesses and Voice Shopping?

    According to Amazon’s Small Business Impact Report, released in May of this year, more than a million US-based small businesses are selling on Amazon, with more than 20,000 SMBs worldwide doing more than one million in sales last year. And Prime Day 2017 was “another record-breaking success” for SMBs worldwide, according to a company press release. But with all the focus on this year’s Prime Day, I’d love to see more specifics around how much are SMBs selling — and how much of those sales are coming via voice shopping.

    OK. I know I’m really asking for a lot, but I’m also really curious about how much small businesses are participating in Prime Day, especially via Alexa and voice shopping. This just came to mind because I got an email from the Amazon Alexa Team about a live Twitch Stream for this Thursday regarding teaching people how to “design, build, and launch rich, conversational skills that deliver customer value and drive habitual use.”

    Read also: How to make sure your Alexa will never accidentally send recordings to friends

    I’m not expecting to see much of any of what I’m asking for in the Prime Day 2018 aftermath press release. But it feels like there’s so much riding on this one day. Something that three years ago people didn’t take seriously. Three years ago most of us barely knew what an Echo device was or who Alexa is. And now, three years later, a day when expectations are anywhere from $ 1.6 billion to — gulp — $ 3.4 billion of sales.

    But, for me, whatever that top number is, I think the most interesting piece will be how much of it will come from people asking Alexa to buy something. And how many different types of things they ask her to buy. And how many of those things they ask her to buy for them are being sold by those third-party sellers. That may give us an idea of just how big this voice-first economy will be going into the 2018 holiday season and beyond.

    Previous and related coverage:

    Voice and the next generation of CRM adoption

    CRM and voice are talked about but not often linked in a practical way. While more is being spent on CRM than ever before, more needs to be done for it to be as helpful as it should be.

    Amazon’s platforms, ecosystems and speed herald a voice-first transformation

    As the adoption of voice assistants overtakes smartphones, the most disruptive force in business today may lead the voice-first category into even more disruption.

    CRM playaz with Pega’s Jeff Nicholson at PegaWorld 2018

    Where the world’s network operators debate what benefits there may be from relocating network functions from their base stations to cloud data centers. NFV can achieve many goals, yet stakeholders are far from agreement over which goals take precedent.

    Voice assistants: Moving from party tricks to practical applications

    In this week’s Voices Carry, CI expert Brent Leary riffs on the different practical applications that conversational interfaces can have today. This is the real world, after all. They aren’t just cute any more.

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    New B2B Customer Experience Dashboards Promise Better Business Visibility

    MaritzCX on Tuesday unveiled preconfigured business-to-business customer experience templates that monitor key financial indicators; metrics for customer touchpoints, including Net Promoter Score and Overall Satisfaction; business-specific outcomes; and overall account performance.

    The dashboards are integrated into the MaritzCX Technology Platform.

    “The dashboards become a hub that aggregates all of the data being monitored,” said Jennifer Rubin, MaritzCX associate practice leader.

    They give businesses “a centralized, holistic view of their information to make more informed decisions,” she told CRM Buyer.

    Among the factors monitored:

    • Net Promoter Score and trends in NPS over time;
    • Response time to follow up requests;
    • Text analytics, to surface issues that have to be addressed;
    • Performance across accounts and account managers;
    • Revenue at risk by account size; and
    • Performance by industry or product and service offering.

    The dashboards address a number of pain points: multi-tier distribution models, OEM and branded products, incomplete customer information, and the volume of disparate data. The templates help users better visualize account needs and opportunities, focus retention strategies, and profile NPS.

    “As more and more companies move to account-based selling, understanding the overall health of accounts is important,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

    “This includes top-down measurements like NPS and also bottom-up views of account activity, and the strength of individual relationships with influencers,” she told CRM Buyer.

    Action Planning Built In

    A team of customer experience designers and consultants will help configure dashboard templates to a company’s specific needs.

    Companies also can use
    CXEvolution with the dashboards. CXEvolution is MaritzCX’s proprietary customer experience assessment model for designing CX roadmaps and building customer experience programs.

    CXEvolution is the world’s largest study of CX practitioners, with more than 10,000 CX participants from 1,000 companies spanning 40 industries, MaritzCX’s Rubin said.

    It measures performance in terms of CX strategy, people, processes, technology, customer alignment, existing customer growth and other financial indicators.

    Companies are placed within one of four CX success stages — emerging, attentive, responsive or proactive — to provide a benchmark and pathway for realistic areas for improvement, Rubin said.

    CXEvolution identifies and quantifies “individual roadblocks to success; benchmarks a CX program against other companies in [the user’s] industry; and provides prescriptive-action scenarios correlated to predictive financial returns,” she added.

    Preconfigured B2B dashboards show company-specific information, Rubin said. Linking them with CXEvolution lets enterprises use the information from the study to see how their CX programs compare with others. They also can see a typical return on various CX initiatives other companies have implemented to help them determine where to invest their resources to get a similar type of return.

    Each dashboard has action planning built in, so account managers can be held responsible for their customers’ experiences, and at-risk accounts can be monitored at all times.

    “Understanding and presenting a view of this data is just the first step,” said Nucleus Research’s Wettemann. “Leadership will go to those who apply advanced analytics and AI to not just present the data, but use it to recommend best actions based on the data in context of the overall relationship.”

    However, the dashboards “look like a play [by MaritzCX] to sell their research as a service through ongoing CX measurement,” Wettemann observed.

    “I see MaritzCX more closely competing with the customer satisfaction research firms like Qualtrix,” she added.

    “Most of the big CRM vendors have partnerships or organic capabilities to help large enterprises understand account health and customer satisfaction,” Wettemann said.
    “I don’t see anything particularly special here.”

    The Need for B2B CX

    More than 60 percent of B2B organizations consider CX impact and data in their operational decisions, according to data from a panel presentation at 2018 CXEvolution.

    However, much needs to be done in the area of B2B CX, which is
    “an industrial wasteland,” according to Bertrand Duperrin, head of employee and client experience at Emakina France.

    The B2B client “is a B2C client that walks through the office door,” he said, adding that enterprise consumerization means B2B clients have the same expectations as consumers. That means going digital isn’t about thinking marketing, but thinking value and services.

    Meanwhile, the
    B2B buyer-seller gap has been growing, and purchasers increasingly have been relegating salespeople to specific parts of the process.

    More than 70 percent of 500 B2B companies worldwide surveyed prefer to wait to engage a seller until the seller has a clear understanding of their needs, according to CSO Insights, the research division of
    Miller Heiman Group. Nearly 58 percent of buyers saw little difference among sellers, and only 23 percent consider vendor salespeople a preferred problem-solving resource.

    “The intent of the dashboards goes beyond sales,” Rubin pointed out. “Delivering personalized service and account-level support is a trend that’s as important as the trend to use self-serve purchasing.”

    Having access to the consolidated information the dashboards offer “is very helpful to personalizing the type and amount of support an account needs,” she noted. “The dashboards show how the account perceives the relationship with the company, alongside key financial and operational data, so that clients can identify revenue at risk as well as accounts that may be well positioned to expand sales.”

    B2B procurement officers opt for self-service over live salespeople for convenience,
    Avionos has found. Ninety-seven percent of the 160 procurement officers at U.S.-based B2B companies recently surveyed considered a supplier’s online customer portal a critical factor in selection. Eighty-nine percent reported making more purchases online than they had a year earlier.

    If an organization delivers a poor experience, “it doesn’t matter how easy it is to buy a product or service in an automated fashion,” Rubin said. That organization “will not likely be among the companies on procurement’s consideration list.”
    end enn New B2B Customer Experience Dashboards Promise Better Business Visibility


    Richard%20Adhikari New B2B Customer Experience Dashboards Promise Better Business Visibility
    Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
    Email Richard.

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    Important Change to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Update Policy

    CRM Blog Important Change to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Update Policy

    Microsoft is revising its Dynamics 365 update policy resulting in some important changes for existing customers.

    In a recent blog post it announced:

    • Two major D365 cloud releases each year will deliver new functions and capabilities
    • Updates will be available from April and October each year
    • Release notes will be published on July 23 for the October 2018 update
    • Updates will be backwards compatible so apps and supported customizations remain operational post-update
    • New features involving potentially disruptive changes will be disabled by default enabling prior testing
    • Revised update timelines to help administrators validate the impact of major updates in a sandbox environment
    • Continuous delivery schedule means that customers running an older version will need to update to the latest edition
    • Revised update process applies to the D365 apps and underlying platform (Common Data Service for Apps)

    What this means for Dynamics 365 users

    In practice, Microsoft has consistently shipped two main updates each year but the major change for existing customers is the removal of the option to skip a cloud release.

    Until now, D365 admins have been able to remain up to one version behind the latest version but this will now require all to be on the latest available version.

    With all users on one version, Microsoft will be better able to focus its resources on adding new features and making Dynamics performance improvements.

    As a result, customers running Customer Engagement apps (Sales, Customer Service, Project Service & Field Service) should plan to be on the latest version by 31 January 2019.

    D365 v9.0 users are already using the latest version but this change in policy will require v8.2 users to complete their cloud update before Feb’2019 to avoid having an automated update being scheduled by Microsoft.

    Many admins already use a sandbox environment to test updates before applying to their live environment. From April 2019, Microsoft has signaled that it will provide a separate timeline specifically to test new capabilities and train users in advance.

    As well as its two major updates each year, Microsoft promises a continuous set of updates for reliability and performance. A recent step up in the frequency of its update cadence has been evident with new updates arriving most weeks.

    To find out more, Microsoft has published FAQ’s about its new Dynamics 365 update policies.

    About Preact

    Preact is a Microsoft Gold Partner implementing and supporting CRM solutions since 1993.

    Check our blog for more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM.

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    Dynamics 365 Client vs App for Outlook

    CRM Blog Dynamics 365 Client vs App for Outlook

    How many times have you checked your eMail today? I’m willing to bet that you’re monitoring at least one of your eMail apps while you’re reading this blog. The fact that most of us are glued to our eMail makes apps like Outlook an attractive destination to plug in new functionality. Microsoft offers many different flavors of Outlook plugins, including two that extend Dynamics 365 functionality: the Dynamics 365 Client and Dynamics 365 App.

    Dynamics 365 Client vs App for Outlook

    Both work with Outlook, but they have different functionality and footprints. The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is a Microsoft Office add-in that provides a Dynamics 365 assistant for Outlook desktop, web or mobile. The Dynamics 365 Client for Outlook is a Windows application that provides all Dynamics 365 core functionality directly from Outlook. Here’s the pros and cons of both, which should help guide you to the right solution for your scenario.

    Dynamics 365 Client for Outlook Pros

    The client allows a user to access Dynamics 365 exclusively from Outlook. This is a big win for organizations fighting with user adoption, because they don’t have to introduce a “new” app. Instead, the client is presented as an extension of Outlook, which is an application most users live in. This creates the illusion of adding value to an application that is always open, and not introducing the overhead of checking yet another app. The Outlook client also offers the ability to go offline. This is key for users who don’t always have access to high speed internet, especially ones who find themselves traveling often. The client also allows developers to programmatically create offline filters, which can manage the size and content sent down to the client.

    Dynamics 365 Client for Outlook Cons

    The client requires the FULL version of Microsoft Outlook, so it doesn’t work on the mobile or web versions. It must be manually installed on every computer, which creates a lot of overhead for your IT staff. Anyone who has installed \ uninstalled it knows about the angst that comes along with this task. My biggest complaint is the client causes my Outlook to perform slow, and at times brought it to a halt. Microsoft recently deprecated the client, then quickly reinstated it after the backlash from the Dynamics community. Microsoft clearly recommends that you chose the app over the client.  All of this indicates that Microsoft will continue to support the client, but stop all future development and enhancements.  

    Dynamics 365 App for Outlook Pros

    The Outlook App supports all versions of Outlook, including the full client, outlook web access and mobile. The install is super easy, and is pushed out directly from within Dynamics 365. It’s automatically available from all modern versions of your Outlook, with no local install on any of your devices! My first experience with the interface was very easy and intuitive to use. With just a few clicks, I can regard an email from a prospective client, create a lead, contact or activity associated with Dynamics 365 records. Above all, it performs incredibly fast, utilizing the Dynamics Web API to retrieve data in real time.

    Dynamics 365 App for Outlook Cons

    Server-side synchronization with Exchange is required, so you will not be able to use the app if your environment does not support it. This is very easy to setup if you are utilizing Dynamics, Active Directory and Exchange all in Azure. The app is a Dynamics assistant, and not a full-fledged application. While you can customize forms and lookup custom entities, your users will need to fire up the Dynamics 365 App for full functionality. I feel the biggest barrier to successfully implementing the app is weening your users off the old client. Despite the speed and flexibility provided by the app, they are going to revolt when you try to change their daily routine. Maybe the best time to introduce the app is when your users complain about Outlook performance 🙂

    Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing and Unified

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