Report: Best rated CRM software tools 2014

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A recent report from G2 Crowd, based on the reviews of 1,700 CRM professional users, shows that Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are the leading two customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This is the finding of a report that has checked the 27 highest rated systems by customers.

The report grouped tools together based on two main deliveries a) overall customer satisfaction (average scores by users) and b) market presence (market share, vendor size, and social impact). The report defined the CRM systems as software systems that provide salesforce automation features (account, contact and opportunity management), marketing automation tools (lead and campaign management), customer support options (knowledge management and support case), and a unifying database.

In the CRM “leader” category finished Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Both tools showed substantial scale and were rated relatively highly. Salesforce was rated significantly better by 9 out of 10 users: reviewers gave Salesforce 4 or 5 stars. Furthermore, 84% stated they would recommend the product to peers and 88% thought the CRM tool is headed in the right direction.

However, Microsoft Dynamic’s impact on the market in the top tier is predominantly depending to its large market share. Only 60% of Microsoft Dynamics users rated the product 4 or 5 stars. Still, 64% would recommend the tool to their peers and 60% think the CRM system is headed in the right direction.

G2 Crowd Grid CRM Software 2014

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Another study by Salesforce.com shows that customers experince CRM systems to boost customer experience. However, data quality and predictive analytics could still do better in performance conversion. Nevertheless, the battle in the CRM tool business is on. Microsoft just bundled their product offering to challenge Salesforce. Although aggressive pricing might change proples’ minds, Salesforce.com has the benefit there exist hundreds of AppExchange partners, like Marketo, Eloqua, LinkedIn and others. While Microsoft also has its’ partners, Salesforce.com’s still offers the enterprise app cloud development platform that shows more opportunities.

Screens & the future: Samsung sees a display centric world

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Every screen manufacturer seems to have their own vision on how the world will have some format of flat screens following us, pushing us and making our lives “better”. We have seen the screens of the future with 3D and Augmented Reality merging, the car rear screens by Toyota, Microsoft’s productivity vision of the future, or Corning’s Day Made of Glass.

Now, Samsung shows us a world where even cutting boards get their display. What is your view? Are they going too far? Or is this a future you can envision?

Microsoft Study: 40% of employees see a lack in workplace collaboration

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The management view of the future workplace is still not yet fully evolved to a real social workplace. The main concerns are still loss in productivity and security concerns which still don’t give employees access to social tools. This is the main findings of a new study commissioned by Microsoft. However, employees (40%) still believe that there isn’t enough collaboration in the workplace.

The question managers asking themselves remains whether social tools help foster better teamwork, or not. And whether here lies the disconnect between employees and the management, and where companies should have a look at when they want to detect the reason why employees brought their own technology and software to the modern workplace. Via social networks and testing them out, employees found tools to share content, communicate across business borders and grow business through networking.

Microsoft-Recognizing-Value-In-The-Workplace-Study

The report with nearly 10,000 respondents in 32 countries states that 34% think their company underestimates the benefits of social technology. The misperception of management versus social tools becomes more obvious when 37% believe they could perform their jobs better if management gave access to the use of social tools.

“Freemium products let employees try new tools in small groups before the IT department even knows about them. Work is becoming more global and less routine. People are more dispersed than ever and there’s a stronger need to stay connected regardless of location. The workplace is changing, and that’s causing tension.” Microsoft’s Brian Murray, Director Enterprise Strategy, Microsoft.

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Although the perception of employees remains positive about the value of social networks, management stays resistent to change their attitude towards social workplace. Probably as they are backed up by Gartner reports concluding that 80% of enterprise social networks won’t deliver real business value. The Strategy Web would argue that most managers have never thought about getting a deeper insight in a social business strategy, hene the social workplace opportunity.

The question is whether it is just easier for managers staying away from a cultural change and all it’s implications like new technology, training and management coaching? But maybe some managers want to answer this question after reading through this infographic…

Microsoft-Social-Tools-in-the-Workplace-Study

Target-group men: 10 Stats for better marketing

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Obviously, there is a difference when targeting men and women. Their purchase behaviour differs in many ways. Who is searching more for coupons, bargains or the latest gadets? According to a report by Microsoft, marketers should have an eye on the right mix between banner advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) tactics in order to address and find men at the right time with the right content in the right context.

Many men, especially young dads (between 25 to 40 years), are influenced by the impact of social networks, according to the report by Performics which we reported quite a while ago. Interestingly enough, 58% of them use four or more sources for their purchase decision. Utilizing social media with story-telling about products and services will make the appropriate impact on men, will give them insights on how companies and brands against their competitors.

Check the infographic published by Brian Honigman and have the 10 stats in mind for the next marketing campaign or tactics when addressing the male audience when your business wants to influence the purchase behavior of men.

PS: If you are interested to see the difference to women, you might have a look at the latest Blogher study here

Target-Men-Marketing-2013

Study: What makes Twitter users trustworthy?

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We all want to know what makes us trustworthy, especially when we tweet something. What is the secret sauce that makes others believe in the importance of our tweets? What makes those tweets better than those of our competitors?

The answer comes with a study “Tweeting is believing” from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University. In their research the two parties find how companies and individuals can feed their tweets with more credibility, and giving them some of the secret sauce.

So, ok,… the results were no really the deepest insights, but somehow they undermine what many of us might have expected: Gain followers, receive retweets, include URL’s in your posts, set up a profile picture alongside a serious bio with information that correspond with your tweets.

In order to get the right findings the researchers surveyed more than 250 Twitter users factors to understand what makes up credibility in Twitter accounts. These factors got scored from one tot five, five being the highest.

The top-rated factors that make tweets more trustworthy…
1. Tweet was retweeted by someone you trust – 4.08
2. Tweet from a verified subject expert – 4.04
3. Author is someone you follow – 4.00
4. Tweet contains a URL you clicked through – 3.93
5. Author is someone you’ve heard of – 3.93
6. Account has verification seal – 3.92
7. Author often tweets on topic – 3.74
8. Author’s tweets frequently include similar content – 3.71
9. Author’s user image is a personal photo – 3.70
10. Author often mentioned and/or retweeted – 3.69

These were the lowest five credibility lowering factors for tweets…
1. Weak grammar and/or punctuation 2.71
2. Profile picture equals Twitter’s default user image – 2.87
3. User image is a cartoon/avatar – 3.22
4. Author follows many users – 3.30
5. Author’s user image is a logo – 3.37

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In many seminars, companies and managers have asked me whether a weak language and incorrect tweeting is destroying the credibility of the brand. They wanted to know whether avatar pictures or brand pictures might affect it. In my eyes, companies should worry more about their general company Social Media standards, their way of collaboration external and internal, and ask themselves why and what they are tweeting about. Tweeting is just a tiny part of your Social trustworthiness….
What are your own experiences? What makes you trust a Twitter user? Any ranking similarities you can see as well?

Study: In-car internet to become “the norm”

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Never will I forget the day some time between 2001 and 2002 when I went to the BMW pavilion exhibition in Munich to get an understanding of what “Connected Drive” means. Those days, even the people in the pavilion could not help us, and it took BMW three days to give us some proper feedback on this term via telephone. Today, the term is clearly defined as driving with internet access which enables all sorts of connected infotainment, and if you want to know more about it, you can get plenty of information here.

Every day today, people are sitting in their cars, grapping their smartphones while waiting at traffic lights – although a great Facebook page tells us not “Text-and-Drive”. The future will be different though…

According to the world’s top car bosses, in-car internet access is close to becoming reality. A recent survey by KPMG called “Global Automotive Executive Survey 2011″ shows that speech recognition and internet connection with Wifi and 3G will become the norm in the future.

The results of the study state that 37% of the 200 responding car executives see “infotainment” to be almost as important as car safety. It makes clear that over the next five years, car buyers will see in-car gadgets provided by the big tech firms like Apple, Google or Microsoft.

The new Toyota Avensis commercial in Germany features in-car texting and internet.

Intel already announced some collaboration with Toyota at the end of last year. Intel forecasts that the connected car is the fastest growing technological device following smartphones and tablets.

According to Reuters, Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars with the new in-vehicle telematics system that will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. It allows drivers to access Facebook on the road. However it is not exactly the same as using the social network on a personal computer or a smartphone. “The version of Facebook offered in Daimler AG’s Mercedes is stripped down to a limited set of features, specially designed for drivers and centered around the locations of friends and businesses.” Audi’s A7 series already offers a built-in 3G wireless which shall be extended to other new models.

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Car manufacturers will look out for cooperation opportunities with IT companies as well as telecoms and the music industry. It will be interesting to see how much the in-car technologies will evolve and develop in combination with the Hybrid technology that will get the main investment according to 53% of the car execs. Apart from that 57% see speech recognition and built-in navigation as important product issues for consumers in the future. Just imagine you can send your tweet, write a blogpost or a Google+ status update without taking your eyes from the streets. If speech recognition performs, a lot of the dangerous texting and driving could end. Although it will take some time for people to adapt to the nex technology.

Productivity squared? Future productivity vision 2011 (video)

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Many of us web techies have seen the 2009 version of Microsoft’s productivity vision. In their video, Microsoft offered an outlook on how technology could “transform the way we get things done at school, at work, and in the home over the next 5 to 10 years”. Some things have become real in their vision…

Many companies fear that productivity might get lost with the advent of Millenials working in companies in the future. And one things is for sure, screens will change our productivity and our daily working habits in the future.

Also, in their latest version 2011 we can find visions that seem to be not too far away from us, not even visions any more. The video gives still some interesting aspects to think about on how future technology could make our time more efficient to focus our attention on productivity. Now, whether this really strenghtens our relationships when we do different things at the same time, needs to be seen.

Watch it and tell us if this is how you would like to see your productivity squared, and if this is to become real in your future…?!

Screens of the future – Merging Augmented Reality and 3D Apps

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What happens if we are merging Augmented Reality and 3D applications in the car industry? After the last vision of Toyota which explored the futuristic rear seat window called “Window to the World” and the Corning “Day Made of Glass“, or Microsoft’s productivity vision of the future, this is another fantastic vision of the capabilities of modern technology in the future.

This business vision, called the Aeon Project, won the 1st place at the Imagina Awards for Best Design and Communication. It is thinking ahead of time and explores the merger of Augmented Reality & 3D applications in a mobility mode.

The Aeon project is not only about the navigation or connected drive mode opportunities, you might know from other car manufacturers. It offers some interactive knowledge management via selectable applications which gives the user the chance to learn about the world around us. It just takes a simple swipe of finger and the screen tells you more about the history of buildings or gives information about restaurants nearby.

It also offers customization features. Whether you want virtual reality, mixed reality or augmented reality, the system can shift from facts to figures to graphics. The real connection of online and offline…

Do you like that…?

Infographic: Why mobile will fuel the future of business…

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Mobile apps and technology is becoming increasingly important for companies in order to increase productivity, generate revenue, approach a new client generation and to get rid of paper. Thsi states a study by Zendesk which highlights the results in a nice infographic… and it reminds me of some research data of a Microsoft study.

The Zendesk research found out that 43% of businesses are planning to increase mobile technology for business purposes by 2015. Corporate networks will see half of all devices being mobile devices until that date. The business use of mobile apps is expected to grow on a worldwide basis up to of $25 billion by 2015 (approx. $6.8 billion in 2010).

News Update – Best of the Day

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About one year ago Twitter started introducing their new monetization model: Promoted Tweets. Twitter expects 150 Mio. USD revenue this year with the program. Now, one year later the first “success story” have been published, and Gordon Mc Millan writes a nice summary “Do Twitter ads work?“. Not really, it seems…

Is tablet computing changing the future of the whole computer industry? Who can say that today? However, since tablets are equipped with advanced sensors like high-resolution cameras, augmented reality has become an interesting opportunity to facilitate help for customers, i.e. in the form of manuals. Metaio explains in their latest video how this works…

Have you ever wondered why Microsoft bought Skype? This infographic by Jess3 might have an answer for you. The infographic highlights the dynamic of geosocial networking, and the relative size of social networks, like Skype, Twitter or Foursquare among others.

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