Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has slagged off his CRM competitors for doing “a horrible job” which has cleared the way for his outfit to make a fortune.
The cloudy software vendor saw its revenue for the three months ending 31 July jump 26 per cent year on year to $2.56 billion – making it the first enterprise software company to hit $10 billion,.
However that would not have been possible, claimed Benioff, if Salesforce’s CRM rivals had not “abandoned” the CRM market.
“When you’re in enterprise software you have to realise, its hard work [and] not everything is going to be perfect all the time – there is going to be problems,” he said. “That’s why being so committed to the customer is more important than ever.
“I have to say our competitors have really done a horrible job in last few years. I just would say that a lot of them have abandoned the CRM market.
“If you talk to the major CRM analysts, and we do that, we just had one of them at our management conference, they are shocked. We’re shocked at how these companies have really walked out of the CRM market. Companies that had huge multibillion dollar positions in the CRM have conceded that market to us.”
Benioff said the actions of others in the market has created an “exciting” opportunity for Salesforce and its chums.
Nearly half of companies are avoiding investing in tech for sales teams because it costs too much.
Beancounters at CITE Research found that 48 percent of businesses did not want to shell out cash on new tech because it was too pricey. More than 63 percent of UK firms spent at least £1,200 on technology annually per sales representative to equip them with the right tools to do their jobs effectively.
The survey of 400 sales executives in the United States and the United Kingdom was conducted to define what technology stack a modern sales team uses. Apparently this includes smart phones, laptops, CRM systems and web meeting platforms.
Nearly a quarter of respondents said they spend at least £2,400 per sales employee.
The research also highlighted a lack of confidence and expertise in installing new technology, with 34 percent admitting to being worried about the complexity of introducing new tech systems – and 20 percent concerned about a lack of skills in using the tools.
The survey revealed concerns about keeping pace with digital transformation. More than 63 percent of firms said they were worried about the cost and effort needed to maintain systems up to date and more than two-thirds (69 percent) worried about staff training. Other hurdles to tech deployment include cultural challenges, with 34 percent of organisations citing ‘resisting change’ as the main reason for avoiding new tech investment.
The report confirms earlier findings and seem to indicate that some organisations are willing to spend money, but many are in the experimental phase. Other than CRM, organisations are dabbling in a variety of other tools in a trial and error period to decide what is critical for sales people to be more efficient.
The study showed that CRM is still the most frequently deployed tool for sales teams, with 70 per cent of organisations saying they use the technology.
Microsoft has been hyping its Dynamics 365 platform for months and now is finally showing it off to its channel partners.
For those who came in late, Dynamics 365 is an integrated CRM and ERP. Vole talks up the software’s machine learning skills, business intelligence and advanced data integration features.
Vole announced that Dynamics 365 will be released next month, giving customers a cloud-based customer relationship and business management solution that delivers predictive insights by using artificial intelligence.
Microsoft thinks the software will create opportunities for partners to drive business transformations.
Dynamics 365 is fully integrated with Office 365 and the Cortana Intelligence Suite, and works with Microsoft’s productivity tools, email and business intelligence solutions.
The product, accessible through a mobile app, leverages machine learning algorithms to help sales, service, and marketing agents gain insights into their professional relationships.
CRM rival Salesforce has a similar product which it calls Einstein, an artificial intelligence technology infused into its sales, service and marketing apps.
Cloudy Salesforce has written a $2.8 billion cheque for Demandware whose software is used by businesses to run e-commerce websites.
The move is part of a cunning plan to open a new front as Salesforce wants to take more market share from traditional software providers such as Oracle and SAP who offer cloud-based e-commerce services.
The e-commerce market has been growing as retailers expand their online presence, boosting demand for software that helps manage functions such as payment processing and inventory management.
Salesforce appears to have paid rather a lot for the company to see off any of the other outfits which were bidding for the company. Word on the street is that Adobe and Oracle were also snuffling around.
Demandware has not been doing that well. Its shares, which have fallen about 21 percent in the past year. Its customers include Lands’ End, L’Oreal (because it is worth it) and Marks and Sparks. It has reported sales growth of more than 30 percent for the last 10 quarters.
While Salesforce has beaten up everyone in the CRM war, it still needs to stay in front. To do that it needs lots of products which is something it lacks.
Global spending on digital commerce platforms is expected to grow over 14 percent annually to about $8.5 billion by 2020, Salesforce.
The deal, slated to close in Salesforce’s second quarter ending July, is expected to increase the company’s 2017 revenue by about $100 million-$120 million.
Salesforce had forecast fiscal 2017 revenue of $8.16 billion-$8.20 billion in May.
Major CRM company Salesforce said it has introduced a version of Salesforce1 called Lightning, intended to help customers build mobile apps.
According to the company, developers and users can create purpose built apps for screens of every type of shape and size, including tablets, laptops, smartphones and wearables.
Lightning has a new interface and Salesforce claims is optimised for any device.
Salesforce dubs this tehnique as Platform as a Service (PaaS). People can use pre-built components such as feed, list chart, search navigation or build their own Lightning Components.
The Lightning Process Builder lets people create enterprise workflows and visually automate complex operations including follow up emails, vendor porcurement and order fulfilment.
Lightning Framewrk and Schema Builder are now generally available, while Lightning Components is in beta test and likely to appear in February 2015, along with other elements of the product.
Software giant Microsoft said it has bought Parature, which specialises in cloud based customer management systems.
It did not say how much it paid for the company, nor did it reveal how it intended to integrate its software. It said it would reveal those details at an upcoming conference in Las Vegas in February.
However, it is clear from Parature’s business model which way the wind is blowing. Parature has 70 million users worldwide and works with 500 well known brands including IBM, Ask.com, and the US Environmental Protection Agency, Microsoft said.
It provides a knowledge base with self service portals, and supports ticketing mobile. Microsoft said the services it offers complements its existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer care offerings.
A survey of 300 IT decision makers in the UK and the US has revealed that 86 percent of their companies fail to use mobility to change their businesses and make more money.
Matt Bancroft, president of Mobile Helix, which commissioned the survey said that while widespread enterprise mobility is “still its infancy” making good choices today will increase revenues.
“Mobility has the potential to disrupt business in much the same way as the internet, but at the moment, cost and complexity challenges lead people to frequently ignore the enormous possibilities available,” he said. He sees the value of mobility as consisting of three stages – turning existing enterprise apps into mobile apps, adding mobile capabilities to existing apps and making new mobile apps as where necessary.
The survey shows that 87 percent of the CIOs think most employees will gain from increased access to CRM, ERP and SharePoint on mobile devices. But 66 percent of CIOs think it is too complicated while 72 percent say it’s too expensive to integrate mobile into legacy applications.
The CIOs are also concerned about development, support and security.
A comprehensive survey conducted by market research company Ovum has revealed that IT vendors are failing to address their customers’ needs.
The survey, conducted in 60 countries worldwide of CIOs and IT decision makers is the largest ever ventured.
CRM, it appears, has been widely adopted by higher education with only 10 percent of institutions not using the software.
But there are opportunities aplenty because over 50 percent of these institutions will replace their LMSes in 24 months. Incumbents, Ovum suggests, will be switched to new providers.
“To secure their position in the market, LMS providers must be quick to expand their platforms to seamlessly incorporate compelling features such as social media, video, analytics, and other learning objects, keeping customer satisfaction high and prices low,” said analyst Navneet Johal.
But less than 20 percent are using cloud computing for their enterprises,
“A myriad of factors is holding institutions back from moving core applications to the cloud, the absence of viable solutions in some cases, the questionable return on investment from switching out existing solutions, the difficulty of supporting highly customized solutions in a hosted environment, and even lingering (albeit somewhat irrational) doubts about security,” said Johal.
Giant CRM company Salesforce said it has released a service connecting employees, customers and partners to any app on any device.
Called Salesforce Identity, the service is intended to make accessing data universally, wherever it is stored.
The company said that the service lets firms create a connected app and strategy, which can then be managed from a central location.
The service includes a single sign on, authorisation identities for mobile devices for Salesforce CRM and custom applications built using its Platform Mobile Services.
It also lets social collaboration be built into a system, including Facebook and Google. Pricing starts at $5 per user a month, including single sign on, mobile identity, cloud directory, multi-factor authentication and other services.
Salesforce has brought out Social.com which it reckons will transform advertising – being what it claims as the first social advertising application which integrates social ads with CRM.
The application will allow agencies to run social advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with real time responses from customers and social listening, which Salesforce touts as a way to utilise data to maximise dollar return on ads.
Part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Social.com will let advertisers create optimise and ultimately automate the social advertising campaigns. The differentiator, Salesforce says, is that the competition mostly offers outsourced services, however, Social.com is here for agencies and advertisers to use themselves.
Using Social.com, Salesforce claims brands will be able to put together and launch social advertising on scale in mobile, as well as optimising them by testing and targeting different placement and creative combinations, then use data from Facebook and Twitter to figure out where to go next.
Social.com will also allow advertisers to alter advertising spend automatically, and automate how it is allocated using real time optimisation decisions.
Marketers will also be able to use Social.com to put offline and online purchase data side by side, as well as other useful data like customer loyalty, contest data, whitepaper downloads, and active campaigns. The idea is providing a bridging connection to existing and potential customers.
Social.com is generally available now, while real time customer data and listening should be generally available this Summer.
Salesforce has made some changes to its Chatter service.
The company has announced that it has integrated the activity stream service, launched in 2010, into its CRM software. This now means that customers will be able to access and edit records as well as take action on an account, all from a mobile device.
This includes the iPad, as well as Android phones and tablets with the updated app already available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Chatter is a work based social networking site that lets employees create professional profiles, set up an activity stream, join groups, participate in discussion forums and monitor trending topics. Bosses can also use the network to award their employees for specific work and projects they have done.
Chatter users can use the “publisher” tool to create and edit information and notifications on their mobile devices. They can expand their abilities to create a task, edit a contract, post poll questions and configuring custom processes.
Salesforce said there were around 195,000 Chatter customers and that providing them with access to the CRM via a mobile device was “crucial”.
It said that the new features showed the company was moving into the “huge shift to mobile” and the “new way of working” that mobile devices had dictated.