The place where the Customer counts

Free thoughts on CRM, Business and the next big thing

The place where the Customer counts - Free thoughts on CRM, Business and the next big thing

Le priorità del management per competere più efficacemente

Recentemente è uscito l’ultimo report dell’IBM Institute for Business Value in cui sono riepilogate le considerazioni degli analisti sui risultati delle inteviste effettuate a CEO, CMO e CIO delle principali aziende pubbliche e private e che hanno evidenziato come la necessità di rafforzare le logiche collaborative con tutti gli stakeholder del proprio business sia sempre più prioritario per consentire all’azienda di competere su mercati in continua evoluzione dal punto di vista delle condizioni, delle relazioni tra gli attori coinvolti e della crescente domanda di innovazione.

Prima considerazione che emerge dall’analisi è l’esistenza di un certo disallineamento su quelli che sono le principali forze esogene che impattano sull’organizzazione e che sono percepite come elementi fondamentali su cui basare il cambiamento. A tal proposito è quindi corretto che ci sia un maggiore allineamento con le priorità espresse dei CEO che vedono, come leve strategiche e operative fondamentali per la crescita, la tecnologia (in particolare l’information technology quindi tutto quell’insieme di topic che includono essenzialmente gli aspetti social, mobile, digital, cloud e big data) e le competenze delle risorse umane (sulle quali è necessario investire per gestire efficacemente gli aspetti tecnologici innovativi non soffermandosi più sugli aspetti più superficiali legati all’hype che tipicamente ne guida la diffusione nelle prime fasi).

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Altra importante opportunità di allineamento tra i C-level risiede nella visione di quella che dovrebbe essere la strategia operativa della quale i principali fattori caratterizzanti sono l’esigenza di porsi come innovation leader piuttosto che fast follower, la semplificazione della macchina operativa e il coinvolgimento attivo di partner al posto dell’internalizzazione spinta delle attività.

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Le leve su cui agire per i CEO sono di conseguenza:

  • la gestione della “apertura” organizzativa (openness)
  • il coinvolgimento dei clienti (engagement)
  • l’espansione delle partnership

Gestire la “apertura” organizzativa

L’attuale contesto competitivo, in continua evoluzione, e la costante richiesta di “apertura” e trasparenza influenzeranno sistematicamente le aziende e i CEO, che governano le imprese con le migliori performance di mercato, sono ben consci degli impatti in termini organizzativi e di quali saranno le principali ricadute, come ad esempio la gestione dinamica della crescente domanda di acceso alle informazioni insieme a temi come la collaborazione interna ed esterna (che sono sempre più visti come i principali fattori che li supporteranno al cambiamento).

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E poichè l’apertura porta con sè oltre ai vantaggi anche una certa vulnerabilità e rischi non indifferenti, per i CEO è fondamentale che tutta l’organizzazione interiorizzi i valori, gli obiettivi e la mission dell’azienda stessa in modo da riuscire ad operare efficacemente minimizzando eventuali contraccolpi di natura operativa e reputazionale. Nasce così l’esigenza di educare le risorse interne a collaborare e a interagire con l’esterno nel rispetto della propria cultura aziendale.

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Coinvolgere i clienti

Il tema dell’engagement è molto sentito in funzione soprattutto dell’adozione dei canali di comunicazione che consentono la raccolta di enormi quantità di dati prima impensabili, funzionali ad un’analisi di dettaglio sempre più spinta sulle caratteristiche della clientela e sulla relativa customer experience (che a partire dalla mappatura dell’intero ciclo di vita presenta forti impatti in termini di revisione e ridisegno dei processi operativi).

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Inoltre, conoscere è il primo passo per poi agire coltivando le relazioni attraverso i diversi canali di interazione. E’ interessante notare come i CEO, nonostante l’oggettiva presa di coscienza della crescente importanza dei social media, continua a valorizzare l’approccio diretto attraverso il face-to-face e altri canali a discapito, in particolare, dei media più tradizionali.

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Infine, aspetto differenziante delle imprese più performanti risulta l’evidente attenzione e sensibilità verso la gestione dell’intero ciclo di vita dei dati. Questo fa emergere:

  • lato CMO la crescente attenzione ad acquisire internamente competenze di natura analitica ma soprattutto tecnologica per poter gestire più autonomamente tematiche di customer, mobile e social analytics
  • lato CIO la necessità di investire in maniera consistente in tutte quelle tecnologie che consentano di tradurre il dato grezzo in conoscenza “agibile”

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Espandere le partnership

Risulta evidente che per migliorare la propria strategia operativa è necessario aprirsi ad attori esterni che possono contribuire ai propri obiettivi di innovazione. Il coinvolgimento di business partners, comunità di interessi, istituzioni accademiche e altri ancora, è percepito come un driver fondamentale per migliorare alcuni processi core.

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Conclusioni

Quello che emerge da questa analisi di IBM Institute for Business Value è estremamente interessante perchè definisce la fotografia di un top management sempre più attento ad elaborare e consolidare i diversi input esogeni che influenzeranno nel bene e nel male il percorso futuro delle aziende. In tale contesto è fondamentale comprendere, adattarsi ed agire in tempi sempre più rapidi affrontando i cambiamenti del mercato attraverso:

  • la definizione di una strategia operativa che consenta una corretta gestione aziendale in un’ottica di piena apertura e trasparenza
  • l’agevolazione di processi osmotici che consentano di rimuovere sempre più gli ostacoli ad una cultura collaborativa all’interno dell’organizzazione
  • la definizione di un piano di valorizzazione delle risorse interne ponendo attenzione al rispetto dei principi fondamentali che regolano la cultura dell’impresa
  • la migliore comprensione della propria clientela (attraverso la gestione di nuove categorie di dati e la definizione di nuovi ruoli guida come il Chief Data Officer e il Data Scientist) per coltivare le relazioni in un’ottica di mutuo beneficio
  • abbattere i propri perimetri aziendali coinvolgendo partner esterni e creando un nuovo ecosistema di business che, in ottica collaborativa, agevoli il perseguimento di obiettivi di lungo termine condivisi.

Chissà se anche in Italia ci stiamo muovendo in questa direzione.

My personal Social CRM expectations for 2013

We are at the end of this year and as usual you can read lots of articles about predictions and trends for next 2013 about whatever you want, and Social CRM is not except.

Here, more than predictions, I’d like to list my personal expectations for the next year; a short set of strategic/operations/tech events I’d like to see coming true to boost Social CRM strategies implementations.

Social media as commodities – they are more and more seen as new channels to be integrated with others (phone, email, chat, etc.) even if their own pecularities have to be considered carefully cause of potential pitfalls related to their misuse (a perception gap resulting from a bad accordance between customers and companies expectations is a classic dangerous outcome).

Communities as Social CRM basis – real Social CRM success cases will come mainly from generation and/or nurturing of specific p2p communities. It’ll obviously depend on industry but B2C and B2B sectors will gain more and more value considering people contribution to the business in marketing, branding, service and innovation areas.

Customer Experience as a new focal point – service design concepts and techniques will be increasingly utilized especially to analyze customer journey and understand customer experience through moments of truth and pain points; and these activities will be the fundamental steps to re-think and re-design your customer-centric strategies.

Internal and External integration – I’d like to see a progressive effort to improve integration between internal collaboration projects with external ones to link and correlate more dinamically and fluently operational processes with customer-centric objectives

Big data will simply become data – it depends on how companies will open their “eyes”, or better “ears”, to take information coming from various sources. More openness more data but, once you get them, I’d like to see expertise in the company to extract sense from them and, more valuable, to nurture analytical approach so you can allocate right information in each organizational level to help people doing their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

Mobile is here to stay – nothing to say cause I’d like not to listen about Mobile potential opportunities anymore. It’s “a fact” not a “nice to have” and you need to consider it not simply as a new touchpoint to integrate in multi-channel offering but also as a new interaction model with its own pecularities.

Merger & Acquisition won’t stop tomorrow – yes, the market will keep on moving and won’t stop in 2013 for sure. Consolidation is mandatory when you have so many granular and different features concurring to a Social CRM functional enablement, and big CRM players knows that very well.

What do you think? Do you want to extend the list wtih more expectations?

Meanwhile I wish you a Merry Christmas and/or Happy New Year and see you on 2013

Social Business Forum 2012 – Big data bring big value to the Social CRM

Here it is, my presentation at the Open Conference in Milan at the Social Business Forum 2012. Great experience, great people, lots of insight and lots of new points of view about the evolution of topics like Social CRM, Social Business and Analytics. I need some time to handle all this information and to elaborate some thought to express on a new blog post (stay tuned cause outcomes will be surprising ;)). A big “thank you” to the deus-ex-machina Emanuele Quintarelli (that I called the Event Man), Emanuele Scotti and Rosario Sica and all the OpenKnowledge guys for their invitation.

In my speech I wanted to give to the audience – even if the topic was maybe a little bit “tough” – some information about a topic that, from a hype phase, is now consolidating and that I’m sure will bring lots of value to various aspects of your business strategies and, in particular, to Social CRM.


What’s it all about?

Big data is about technologies and practices that allow us to handle huge amount of data coming from a variety of sources typically in a stream structure. The phenomenon of social platform adoption and people collaboration together with a new set of antennas/sensors embedded in different products and contexts (first of all mobile phones and Rfid) let these data explosion become a reality giving new challenge to the companies hungry of infomation about their customers. The three drivers that typify Big data are volume, variety and velocity. These respectively bring with them business opportunities and risks as well: richness of information and lots of noise, completeness of information and too many sources to be handled, up-to-date information and risk of information loss.

Big data sources inside Social Business ecosystem

In a social business ecosystem where all actors exchange information of all kinds, everyone is characterized by three classes of attributes.

  • Myself: all data typically defining my unique profile.
  • Myworld: all data representing my experiences with products/services I typically use for personal or professional use.
  • Myrelations: all data identyfing my membership to different communities (friendship, interests, hobbies, professional links, etc.).

Let’s get a Social CRM definition

How Big data are useful for Social CRM? Before we have to give a definition of Social CRM and the most appreciated one was given by the most famous CRM expert Paul Greenberg which highlighted the strategic perspective of CRM (social or not).

The shift from CRM to Social CRM

Starting from the three famous CRM pillars (collaborative, operational and analytical ones) we can see that shifting from a traditional to a social approach we have gained, for sure, more channels where conversations occur (direct to the companies or within people excluding a direct invovment of companies), new activities and multi/cross-channel operational approaches and, finally, what about analytical improvements?

The Big data funnel for Social CRM

Now we have the opportunity to start from the real human experience that, interacting with different touchpoints, leaves tracks in the shape of raw data (i.e. transactions, interactions through traditional channels, web & social, location-based). The challenge for modern companies is to take these continuos data streams, transform them in information (giving meaning to data) and make insight (extract piece of information that is relevant for the business cause is actionable).

Now we are plenty of “human” data

From a customer perspective the three classes of attributes Myself, Myworld and Myrelations can give us a really complete view on his essence (more than traditional profiling and transacational attributes).

What’s pratically changing?

Segmentation practices must change cause we can enrich our understading of customers through new information that characterize them not as simple targets but as beings that naturally express themselves belonging to communities (or tribes if you want).

So it’s time to really understand your people

Now you have the opportunity to really understand customers’ attitudes, experiences, emotions and opinions. You are more close to understand their real nature as human beings.

How can we handle it?

But there’s a problem. Big data, with their specific characteristics, make difficult to address our attention to the right information, and “right” means useful for your customers and your business. Mainly in the case of unstructured data handling (i.e. text) you need human intervention for decision making but because of our cognitive limitations we need more and more some help to support us in processing, understanding and selecting information.

What’s in it for me?

Thanks to descriptive and predictive analytics we have all the methods and analysis that can support us in many businessapplications, especially in a proactive way.

Can we trust Analytics?

But lots of companies are suspicious about analytics accuracy and think that only high values of accuracy bring significant outcomes. Wrong. First of all people confuse precision with accuaracy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_and_recall) and that can create dangerous misunderstandings but, more than that, the impact of analytical errors strongly depends on the business contexts and priorities so it’s normal that you maight focus your attention only to some kind of errors and drop others depending on your business objective.

An example for Social Customer Service

Well, it0s clear directly seeing the slide that correct analytical handling of structured and unstrctured data can provide proactively more information at your CSRs in order to better serve your customers fulfilling their expectations and improving their satisfaction.

Great opportunities but pay attention to the issues

Finally you’ve to remember that big opportunities bring also big potential issues that you must address. First of all about policies (liability, security and privacy), access (not every data is transparent and available so it’s mandatory to find trustworthy approaches to incentivize data sharing) and technologies (framework like hadoop are necessary to support massive parallel and distributed application processes). But be sure to spread inside your oganizations an analytical culture and to find the best analytical talent that must have not only strong analytical skills but also great expertise in decision making to support top and middle management in this important phase.