Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.

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September 30, 2016

Dreamforce 2016: There's a lot to Tweet about!

It's time once again for Salesforce's annual spectacular event Dreamforce with this year's event scheduled to start at SFO from Tuesday, Oct 4th. Salesforce has been in the news lately though not due to Dreamforce. The news is about Salesforce being one of the potential suitors for Twitter if that company is up for sale. With Disney and Google as probable competitors of Salesforce in this race, it makes for interesting news indeed. As a practicing consultant, I'd be interested to learn what the use cases would be for Salesforce to incorporate Twitter into their products and offerings, as Salesforce products already have good collaborative capability out of the box.

 

Coming back to the topic of Dreamforce, we need to get prepared for the deluge of information from Salesforce that will be available throughout the course of the event. Here are some areas that I would to like gather information on so that I can help my clients make better decisions about Salesforce products (whether they are existing users or are thinking about trying Salesforce products):

 

1.       Salesforce Lightning vs. Salesforce Classic:

Lightning is different user experience with a new user interface (UI) that moves away from the previous version, Salesforce Classic, which was characterized by tabs at the top the UI. As I mentioned in my blog post on Lightning in July (URL: http://www.infosysblogs.com/management-consulting/2016/07/frontiers_of_salesforce_-_part_3.html), from an implementation perspective there are some limitations that call for a careful assessment of which option is more suitable for the unique needs of my clients. I'd like to see what changes are on the horizon for Lightning and how that can shape future decisions on this topic.

 

2.       Einstein for Artificial Intelligence (AI):

Salesforce recently announced the availability of Salesforce Einstein - meant to help enterprises to deliver customer experiences based on predictive analysis i.e. AI for CRM. This appears to involve all the major cloud offerings of Salesforce (Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, etc.) and I am eager to see the demos during Dreamforce to understand where this is with respect to practical implementation in my client's projects i.e. the likely use cases for immediate application of this offering.

 

3.       Wave Analytics:

This has been around since 2014. However, I've seen more interest amongst my clients in recent times than before, which is not surprising as Wave Analytics itself has been gaining traction slowly. Salesforce has been working on areas like making it more declarative (more clicks less coding) and improving the ability to use multiple external data sources. Given the popular and successful capabilities of the Sales Cloud and Service Cloud offerings, a stronger Wave Analytics offering will certainly be good news for Salesforce fans.

 

Are you planning to participate in Dreamforce too (either in person at SFO or over media channels)? Are there Dreamforce sessions or topics that interest you? I welcome your comments. My next blog post will be immediately after Dreamforce and will be a summary of the event (similar to my last year's post: http://www.infosysblogs.com/management-consulting/2015/09/my_aha_moment_at_dreamforce_20.html). 

September 25, 2015

My aha moment at Dreamforce 2015!

I was one of the lucky 170,000 + persons that had a chance to be a part of Dreamforce 2015 during September 15 - 18 at San Francisco. An amazing event with 1600 sessions and tremendous opportunities to interact and network with your peers, clients, analysts, competitors and of course, buddies.

 

Upon return, I reflected on the various events / announcements and decided to jot down the buzz words that really stood out from the mind-numbing amount of information thrown at us:

  • The evolution of last year's Lightning Platform into Exchange (50+ components pre-built in the cloud) and Experience (new user interface)
  • Salesforce IQ for Sales Cloud and small business in which the CRM system is connected with email and calendar. With the help of algorithms, predictive analytics drives customer communications
  • Trailhead (online learning) and the free starter kits: This is a significant leap in the training area. While the Developer Edition was already freely available, Trailhead takes it to another level in terms of personal, hands on and most significantly, free training for everyone. This truly is democratization of technology learning
  • Vertical apps (financial service cloud and health cloud)
  • IOT Cloud powered by Thunder Platform (with Microsoft as a launch partner)

 

Apart from the serious stuff, there was entertainment too. Some of it standard stuff like the Foo Fighters rock concert and some unusual like:

  • Stevie Wonder trying to get the audience to croon about Salesforce being "the sunshine of my life"
  • Parker Harris, Co-Founder of Salesforce, turning up to a key note address dressed as "Lightning Man" (or as Marc Benioff put it 'a NASCAR driver in baby blue suit with Thor's hammer')
  • Japanese rock star Yoshiki making a surprise appearance on a stage behind the audience (quite literally!)

 

But, my one big aha moment was during the session featuring Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. While showcasing Office 365 and other Microsoft products, at one point he seamlessly transitioned from a Microsoft screen to a Salesforce screen and referred to both as the best in class products! That was a powerful indicator of how closely Salesforce and Microsoft are partnering and collaborating given that Microsoft's own Dynamics is still a player in the same CRM market!

 

Were you there at SFO too? Or did you follow the live streams remotely? If so, I would like hear your comments and opinions on what appealed to you as being significant or interesting at Dreamforce 2015.  

June 5, 2015

The Politics of Change

With another presidential campaign season upon us, I'm reminded of a quote I read about 10 years ago, by a film producer:

If you really want to change the world, don't go into politics. Make movies.

As a public relations consultant with some experience shaping public opinion, I had my doubts about this notion. While film can certainly introduce ideas, its influence is limited by the one-way flow of communication. To inspire audiences to action, you must do more than simply present to them. You must listen, and listen well.

Continue reading "The Politics of Change" »

May 19, 2015

4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution

So, you've implemented your ERP and your company is successfully processing data and collecting information.  What's generally left out are the required people and organizational transformations needed to maximize the use of data, web reporting and social media analytics.   Organizational Transformation experts can help!

Continue reading "4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution" »

February 20, 2015

What is Enterprise Gamification?

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Enterprise Gamification - No, it's not the next social game like Angry Bird or Candy Crush or Words with Friends that you would play on your smartphone or tablet.   However, Enterprise Gamification does borrow from these social games their design features and game mechanics (i.e. awarding points, badges, levels of achievement and leader boards) which are used to keep gamers motivated and engaged, as well as reward their behavior, activities and continued play or engagement. Enterprise Gamification is the application of game design principles in the context of the enterprise to improve user engagement.  Now, I know what your are thinking: "these 'game mechanics', as you call them, will only distract my customers, employees and business partners from what I really want them to be doing, like shopping on my online commerce site, or entering data into my customer relationship management application in a timely and accurate manner, or sharing information on my raw material fulfillment orders properly." Actually, you are partially right in that these are exactly the type of business behaviors, activities, metrics and key performance indicators that enterprise gamification is designed to address.   

Continue reading "What is Enterprise Gamification?" »

March 10, 2014

Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"

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In an earlier blog, I wrote about "engaging your end-users" in the transformational journey from start to finish.  I explained that by doing so you would help to drive ownership and adoption among your end-user groups.  In another earlier blog, I pleaded with you to stop clinging to outdated train-the-trainer and point and click application simulation based learning as these approaches have not kept paced with the speed of change and the ways end-users REALLY learn and want to consume learning content.  In this blog, I am going to share with you a new method of learning I call "Persona-based Learning" that brings end-user engagement and adoption to a whole new level.  Persona-based Learning is about putting the learner (end-user) at the center of the transformational journey through the use of real life business scenarios brought to life through short, engaging, high impact animated videos.

 

Continue reading "Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"" »

November 22, 2013

Characteristics of companies with successful BI & Analytics initiatives

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Guest Post by

Kishor Gummaraju, VP, Head, Management Consulting Services and BI & Analytics for Retail, CPG, Logistics and Life Sciences, Infosys Limited
Harish Gudi, Partner, Management Consulting Services, Infosys Limited
Santhanakrishnan R, Senior Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys Limited

 

Every organization that's in tune with current trends has BI & Analytics programs. What is also true in most places is "everyone within is running with what they call as analytics"!

IT / BI teams are focused on shaping up the enterprise BI & Analytics strategy, identify the right tools to be part of the 'standard stack', and deliver metrics & cubes that business can then pull into their self-serviced (sometimes do-whatever-you-want!) reporting & analysis on ipads.

On the other hand, business teams are adopting solutions that are fast enough to meet their needs & give them ready to consume insights, whatever the technology components are (standard or custom), and whoever the provider (internal BI or external providers), even if they realize the repercussions

There's frustration on both sides. Comments like "we can't deviate from our enterprise BI standards & have island solutions" (BI) and "we have these because we don't get what we need in reasonable time" (business) are not very uncommon even today.

Continue reading "Characteristics of companies with successful BI & Analytics initiatives" »

October 22, 2013

Successful channel partner enablement: Asking the right questions

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According to Jeff Bezos, some companies work to try to charge more and others work to charge less. In today's business world, more companies are choosing to be the second kind. Business consultants are constantly challenged to come up with offerings and solutions that help companies achieve that goal.

One such business problem is how clients can achieve speedy route to success in their partner relationship management (PRM) transformation programs and therefore streamline channel operations and experience for partners.

 

Continue reading "Successful channel partner enablement: Asking the right questions" »

July 26, 2013

No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!

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No more train-the-trainer....please!!! What does this mean?  It means that based on industry experience this method of training is outdated, over-used, fails to deliver the necessary user adoption and is a lazy attempt to check the box on change management and training. 

Continue reading "No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!" »

July 1, 2013

Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!

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In the movie "Field of Dreams," the main character hears a voice in his cornfield whispering "If you build it...he will come."  While this made for great family entertainment, this phase has no place in the implementation of new business processes and technologies such as ERPs, CRMs, or even Social Media Platforms.  "If you build, (he) they will come" is at best wishful thinking.  No, don't be na├»ve and think that just because you built it the people in your organization will actually use it.  This is especially true with Enterprise Social Media platforms.  Read on to learn how our Organizational Change Management consultants can help bring the "context" and best practice engagement methods to your Enterprise Social Media deployment that will drive user adoption!

Continue reading "Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!" »

June 14, 2013

Let's get engaged!!

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Traditionally, the engagement period prior to marriage gives the couple time to learn about each other's likes and dislikes, their histories and their goals in life, and to begin creating shared experiences.  Many believe this period sets the marriage on a course for long term success!  Hmmm, sounds kind of like what our change management consultants do with our clients when we engage with them on their business transformation journeys. 

Continue reading "Let's get engaged!!" »

August 29, 2012

How Can Companies Realize Business Intelligence ROI Faster?

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If you ask any group of business executives, they will be nearly unanimous when it comes to vocalizing their need to use analytics to make better business decisions.  However, ask the same executives whether or not the actual ROI they get out of large business intelligence initiatives meets or exceeds the hype, and you will usually get a very different answer.  Unfortunately, in the eyes of the business users, many view business intelligence as a "money pit" they can't afford not to invest in...

Continue reading "How Can Companies Realize Business Intelligence ROI Faster?" »