If CRM has been a struggle or a passion for you then Infosys’ CRM blogs is the place to be in. Come join us as we discuss the latest trends, innovations and happenings which will have a bearing on CRM.

« May 2013 | Main | July 2013 »

June 14, 2013

Are you looking to move your CRM on cloud?

Cloud technology has made massive strides in its acceptance in today's world.  Just couple of year back world was trying to understand the concept of cloud; in a study conducted by Infosys today already 40% of organizations evaluate solutions on hybrid cloud as viable option. 69% of the organizations say private cloud will remain their top choice for future implementations.

Life cycle maturity for cloud is happening at breathtaking pace, from being in phase where it was divulged upon to now in use and as an enabler for IT systems. Organizations are making rapid strides in adopting cloud, the amount of data stored in Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 cloud storage has jumped from 262 billion objects in 2010 to over 1 trillion objects at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

As per Gartner's Priority Matrix of 2012 Implementing Cloud technology provides transformational benefits for Organizations and delivers benefits faster than most IT initiative. Well there might be a big rush to embrace cloud technology; the concept of cloud is not daunting.
"Cloud-based" simply means technology such as a hard database, code for application is hosted in a way that agents, sales users, business users can all access the same information in real time over internet like a website. The hosting of application can be within or outside the organizations servers.  With Internet access users can use the application from any device any location.

Some of the key CRM package Software available on SaaS model is Sage CRM, Sales Force, Acumatica, Commerce, Net Suite, Open CRM, Right Now, Oracle on Demand.  For any new Greenfield implementation, it is no brainer to evaluate On-Cloud systems and choose based on organizations needs and fitment. But most organization already would have existing non cloud based CRM system, so the question they need to answer is do they migrate to a new cloud based CRM platform or reap benefits of existing investment only?

There is definitely a temptation to start on a clear slate and adopt cloud based system. But one should also evaluate an "Application as A Service" Model for their existing platform.

In this model, the organizations can opt to move existing CRM infrastructure completely or partially on a cloud where the infrastructure for existing application i.e. Servers, databases are moved to Cloud and maintained by service provider. Service providers then charge the organization per user or based on used capacity per month. Service providers build and maintain an application hosting that ensures high availability i.e. upto 99.9% of application. Along with this system integrators today offer custom hybrid models for daily maintenance and support of application, infrastructure and software upgrades, regular software enhancements and licenses support.

This model offers multifold benefits like being able to maintain existing CRM system and still being able to leverage Opex model and ensures predictability of IT spend for near future. Moving out the infrastructure and license support to partner enables IT managers in organizations to focus on strategic Initiatives and relieves their bandwidth from daily operational issues.

The various advantages of "Application as Service" are
• Easily Accessible and portable data, thus helping analytics
• Reduce Capex and focus on Opex for all future needs
• High Performance and Easily Upgradable Capacity for IT infrastructure
• Shift IT focus from Operations to Strategic Initiatives
• It helps organizations to have a Global access and thus driving standardization
•  Rollout to global Services becomes easier and faster

As the saying goes "Change is In-evitable". The transition and change of CRM has already begun and would only accelerate in future. It would require each organization to look at flexibilities offered by existing CRM architecture to slowly in-corporate the huge opportunities offered by Cloud systems. Services like "Application as A Service" can help organization continue leverage existing CRM investment and still move to a cloud based architecture thus reaping additional benefits that are offered by a cloud based system.

June 11, 2013

Company Community: Arrival of Intranet Killer?

Have you ever tried to search, using company's intranet, about company's travel allowance policy or connect someone in company who understands a technology better than you and not in your direct network? How interactive and user centric you find your company's intranet? What if you need this information while you are on move? Chances are good that you would be required to search through multiple links, files and directories before hitting at required information. While traveling, even this search may not be feasible at all. As collaboration and mobility are gaining momentum, is this the time to take a look at your legacy intranet system?

As per press release on 30th May, 2013, Salesforce introduced a new product "Company Community", a product packaged as intranet, mobility and collaboration together. From available description in press release, it seems that this product would provide app, content & people access to employees, from any place and from any device. After reading the news, I could infer few things about Salesforce and its new offering:

1.    Salesforce is certainly moving from CRM product to collaboration-based products which would be available from  any place using any device
2.    This product would open up revenue opportunities for Salesforce as users would be not only from Sales and marketing department but from all other departments like Finance, Operations, HR, Legal etc.
3.    Company community seems to leverage existing features on Force.com like Sites, chatter, Knowledge, Security settings etc. to provide interactive app in real time
4.    There would be good possibility to integrate Work.com (SFDC performance measurement tool) to make it even richer

So, lot of interactive apps, availability on mobiles, content sharing, finding expert features etc. are some of the features which Salesforce would use to market its product. However whether this bundling of features would provide enough conviction to companies to switch from legacy intranet remains to be seen. As this product would be available in next few months (second half of 2013) and Salesforce has not revealed pricing information about this product, it would be little early to comment on its usefulness. I would open this discussion for readers with my view that if companies see this product as bundle of discreet services, then it may not work else it could be intranet killer.