Out with the Old and In with the New – Picking Your Path (3 of 4)

old_techThis is the third posting in our series to help you assess the resources, methods, and timing to move from a legacy system to process enablement using a new system.

In our first post, we stressed the importance of clearly defining what processes the new system should enable and what steps should be automated.  In our second post we discussed selecting the correct technology for your new system.  Once you have a very well defined idea of what the new system should accomplish and the level of automation that is needed, and you have made the next critical decision – the technology to be used – you can now determine the best way to proceed to the new system.

In this phase of the assessment your focus will shift from “what” to “how” and “when”.  Just as in the first 2 phases of the assessment, you will have some choices to make in this phase of the assessment as well.  To gather the information that you need to make the correct choices you should poll your user and executive communities to find the following information:

  1. Is there a new product initiative and when is the anticipated launch?
  2. Is there a new law that impacts your business and when will it take effect?
  3. Is there a compelling business event on the horizon, how will it impact your processes?
  4. Has the competitive landscape changed and how is that impacting your business?
  5. Has there been a change in senior management and how is there direction changing your business processes?
  6. Is there a budget process and how many resources have been allocated to system and process change?
  7. Is there a large problem with the current system that can’t be or is too expensive to fix?

There may be other questions particular to your business (information privacy, system security, and merger and acquisition come to mind) but be sure to at least explore and answer the 7 questions above.

New systems are disruptive to the company culture, now is the time to assess how much disruption your organization can withstand.  Is a rip the bandage off approach the best one or would a less disruptive approach be better.   In other words, is it logical to deploy the new system to all potential users, or would a phased in approach to select user groups work better?  Should you wait to release until all of the envisioned processes are enabled or is it a better choice to release when key processes are enabled and then schedule subsequent small releases when additional development is completed?  Your assessment should explore and explain your options on “how” and “when”.  It should include compelling reasons for each possible path and pitfalls to avoid on each path.  The first draft should not seek to recommend a single path but rather, expose and explore several viable alternate design, development, and deployment options that fit your needs and circumstances.  Your goal is to weed out any recommendations that don’t fit with your needs and circumstances and you should have enough information at this point to do that.

Eventually, the final document will have a “best” glide path in it, along with the other paths that were explored and rejected.  Getting to that best path is the subject of our next posting in this series.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.

 

Oracle Service Cloud: November 2016 Release

It’s been a few weeks since November was released and I am finally getting a chance to sit down and reflect on the new things I have seen! It is the final release of 2016 but it is not devoid of promising new features. As with any new release that comes there is a new tutorial that goes over the release highlights; you may want to review it as I will not go over every new feature: http://docs.oracle.com/cloud/latest/servicecs_gs/servicecs_videos.htm. Lots of things are changing with service cloud even the format of the documentation and where it is stored has changed. Slowly but surely all the old rightnow.com artifacts are migrating to docs.oracle.com with the rest of the other Oracle Cloud product documents. The end of an era is coming it seems.

Dec1

Dec2

Full release readiness document: http://www.oracle.com/webfolder/technetwork/tutorials/tutorial/cloud/service/nov16-service-wn.htm

Live Chat

This is a feature that I have been hearing about for 6 months or more and it is quite fun not to mention helpful. Sneak preview allows agents to see what a customer is typing before they hit submit. It is designed to enhance agent productivity and bring value to the contact center by decreasing handle times. Allowing the agent to see what the customer is typing ahead of time gives them the opportunity to formulate an answer faster, resulting in faster responses, and faster conversations.

Agent Browser UI (BUI)

The November 2016 release is a huge release for the Agent BUI. You will still need to request it to be enabled and your Oracle account manager can assist.

What’s under the Hood?

The engine has gone through an overhaul. Significant performance enhancements have been made to support high interactivity. In order to achieve this it has gone through an architectural change which now makes it one version that is compatible with versions of Oracle Service Cloud back to May 2015.

Data! Data! Data!

No this is not a bad episode of Seinfeld. The Agent BUI now comes with a broader range of analytics bells and whistles, including rollups, slicing, formatting options, calculations, sorting, hiding and new charts.

Fashion fades, only style remains the same

The UI theme has been updated for consistency across all Oracle Cloud portfolio applications like Sales Cloud. Now you can use the BUI extension framework through the Add-in manager and do not have to host customizations any longer.

Dec3

Pass the Remote Control or change the channel

Live Chat is now a fully viable channel; contacts are automatically matched and the contact and chat workspaces are integrated.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest

This is one of the most exciting because it grows the user roles that can now start taking advantage of the Agent BUI and is that much closer to complete parity with the .Net client. Knowledge authors can now author and edit knowledge articles with a new HTML editor with HTML5 support.

Integration and IoT

Oracle Integration Cloud Service (ICS) is becoming the gold standard for integrations in and outside the Oracle Cloud. It has two new connectors between Oracle Service cloud and Oracle Marketing Cloud (Responsys & Eloqua). These pre-built and certified integrations provide a two-way synchronization that ensures data consistency. The configurable framework allows extension to other objects such as incidents. https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/integration/features

A new Internet of Things (IoT) Accelerator which provides a bi-directional integration with Oracle IoT in now available. This Accelerator allows customers to enhance CX to interface with Internet of Things (IoT) so that events and alerts received from smart devices can be consumed and appropriate remedial action taken by agents within the Oracle Service Cloud desktop. The integration is using the ICS framework, thereby ensuring configurability, reliability and fault tolerance. Several initiatives leveraging ICS and IoT are being developed in the eVerge labs so stay tuned.

Oracle product webinars provide even more detailed information regarding this release and others. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/OSVCexperts

SAVE THE DATE: Oracle Modern Service in Vegas!

April 25 – 27th, 2017 http://modernserviceexperience.oracle.com/

For more information on the November 2016 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle Service Cloud and our other business solutions, contact us through at: cx@evergegroup.com.

newheadshotAbout the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) Director of CX Solutions @ eVerge Group has a proven track record helping business improve customer experience, subscribes to the Roadmap to Modern, is an active member of the CX and Service Community. Follow on twitter: @just_rhianna

 

 

 

Out with the Old and In with the New – Choose Your Technology (2of 4)

old_techThis is the second posting in our series to help you assess the resources, methods, and timing to move from a legacy system to enablement using a new system.

In our first post, we stressed the importance of clearly defining what processes the new system should enable and what steps should be automated.  Once you have a very well defined idea of what the new system should accomplish and the level of automation that is needed, you can start to make the next critical decision – the technology to be used!  Even though it seems that the world is moving to cloud computing, you still have the choice to build it yourself, use on premise commercial software, use hosted commercial software, or migrate to a cloud solution.

If you decide, based on the goals for your system and the resources you have available to build the system from scratch, you have a solid start on gathering the information you need to design, build, test, and deploy your homegrown system.

However, it is probably a safe bet that most of you are not thinking about developing a custom system, or even installing an on premise solution, but rather you are contemplating a move to a cloud based solution.  Now that you are armed with a clear definition of the processes you should be enabling with the system and the level of automation you are trying to achieve, this will be a much easier process.  Without the system limits from the first phase of the assessment, the tendency for most companies is to license more functionality than they will initially, and possibly, ever need.  This can add up to a great deal of additional annual investment in the licenses, increase the cost of implementation, and add to the complexity of the system. Increased complexity will increase your training time and costs and decrease the overall adoption of the system.  In short, licensing more functionality than you need is the fastest way to reduce your return on investment in any system.

The next logical step in creating a road map or glide path from your current system to the new system should not be to show how the new system will be a one for one replacement of your current system.  Instead, your assessment should now focus on how your selected technology should be licensed and configured.  In other words, what are the gaps between the base functionality of the system that will have to be filled with additional licenses and/or configuration.  If you find that there are many gaps requiring many additional licenses and configuration, you should take a step back and ask 2 questions:

  1. Have we carefully determined the processes and automation?  Most off-the-shelf and cloud solutions have a great deal of built in knowledge, if your needs don’t match the off-the-shelf or cloud solution closely, this may have been caused by expressing some needs during discovery that would not truly add benefit to your company if implemented.
  2. Have you selected the correct technology? If you are sure that you have correctly discovered your needs, it may be that you have selected the wrong technology.  Be honest with yourself at this point, it is unlikely that you will be happy with your new system if it is a poor match and you have to extend the functionality with a number of additional licenses, or if you have to use non-standard configuration to approximate the functionality you need.

Generally, you will find that you have included functions and/or automation that you don’t need rather than having selected an incorrect technology.  We know it is difficult to cull that list of requirements and pare it down.  In fact you may need every bit of that functionality!  That’s why every assessment should include timing and phasing, and that’s the subject of our next posting.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

 

Out with the Old and In with the New (1 of 4)

The 2013 Meriam Webster dictionary notes, “In computing, a legacy system is an old method, technology, computer system, or application program, of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system.”  Based on the number of assessments being done by our various technology practices, there is no question that there is a growing trend to replace legacy systems.  It is a continuation of the evolution of enterprise computing; from ledgers, to mainframes, to distributed systems, to hosted web, to the cloud.  In many ways, moving to a new system can be even more challenging than moving from paper to the legacy system that is being replaced.  That is why any assessment of the effort and any map purported to show the path from the legacy system to a new system should be very carefully crafted and contain some critical elements that make it possible to accurately assess the effort to not only replace the legacy system, but also create enough benefit from the new system so that the investment being contemplated can be justified.  We hope that this and the next few posts in this series help you with your assessments.

Spend the first few days of any assessment asking and answering one question, “What should the new system do?”  This is, and should be, different from “What does the current system do?”  You will have plenty of time to ask that question later.  It is also very different from “What reports or metrics should I get out of the new system?”  Again, assessing the health of the processes and the effectiveness of the users is important, but you will have plenty of time to get those answers later in the assessment.  It seems obvious to even the casual reader that an assessment and the development of a glide path from a legacy system to a new system can only be performed if you have a clear target for what the new system must accomplish, but many customers struggle with that concept.  There are some tools that can be very helpful when answering the question, “What should the new system do?”

  • First, survey 5 distinct groups in the organization:  legacy system users who are individual contributors, legacy system users who are managers and executives, members of your legal team, members of your finance team, and members of your IT team that support the legacy system.  This ensures that you have a 360 degree view of the system from within your organization.  You have wide latitude in the questions to include on the survey, but be sure to include:
  • What will be the most important process(es) the system enables?
  • What routine processes should be automated?

Be sure to include your “far out” fringe users in the survey process.  The most innovative ideas in every organization are found in the fringe.

This first critical step in the process is vital to the success of the transition project.  If your current system is successfully enabling and automating all of the processes that it does or should touch, you will find that the answers to the survey confirm that.  The responders will simply parrot back to you what they like about the current system and little in the way of new functionality or automation will be included.  If on the other hand, the system being replaced does not meet user needs and expectations; you will receive a mixture of what they currently like and what they would like to see in the new system in terms of functionality and automation.  NOTE:  Be sure that the goals of your initial survey are clear (process enablement and efficiency) and that you are NOT asking the responders to describe the current system, but instead ensure that they are focused on and describing a future system.

  • Second, schedule over the shoulder sessions with individual contributors and managers who are using the current system. The assessor should be someone who is not familiar with your current system, but is familiar with your business and markets.  Your goal is to document what processes are being enabled and how efficiently they are being enabled.  Don’t focus on “how”, focus instead on “what.”
    1. What is the goal of the process?
    2. What input does the system need?
    3. What processing does the system do?
    4. What is the output of the process?
    5. What indicates that the process was successful?

Don’t be tempted by the trap to begin gathering additional minute, non-functional details such as user interface preferences, timing, problems with the current process enablement, etc.  You will have plenty of time in the next phase of the assessment.  Remember, our goal here is to define a target – what system configuration will meet the goals for process enablement and efficiency.

Assessments that start well usually end well.  There are detours to avoid to ensure they don’t stray from the path, and we will cover these in future installments.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

CRM Hacks – Profiles with a Purpose

CRM_hacks_graphicYou’ve developed a new product, something quite different from your standard offering.  You are convinced that your current customers are potential targets but you need some additional information to qualify the opportunity at each customer.  Many of our clients immediately turn to their installed CRM application and develop a way to capture the needed information – a customer profile.

Unfortunately, this is the way that many of the CRM applications we encounter have been made overly complicated and difficult to use.  So instead of being a productive step toward the new product launch, just the opposite effect is experienced.  The profile isn’t completed for many customers and the seeds have been planted that will eventually make the CRM application so difficult to use and upgrade that it will have to be abandoned.

Most of this heartache can be avoided with some planning and discipline.  Before you add any new section or tab to your CRM application ask yourself some very important questions.

  1. Should all customer types be profiled?
  2. What is the purpose of this field?
    1. Is that important enough to add it to my CRM application?
    2. Is it directly related to my overall goal of selling the new product?
    3. Is there a better way to achieve the purpose?
    4. Is the field required or conditionally required?
  3. What type of data will be in this field?
  4. How will the data be entered into the field?
    1. Is there an easy way to get it
  5. How will the accuracy of the data be verified?
  6. For pick lists – can the list expand or contract and how will that be controlled?
  7. For calculated fields will the results be stored? Will the calculations ever change?

Next, ask key questions about access.

  1. Who will be adding data?
  2. Who will be viewing the data?
    1. Who should NOT be able to view the data?
  3. Can anyone remove the data?
    1. Is the ability to remove the data tied to any other event – such as time
    2. What kind of reports and analytics will be needed that include the data?

Finally, ask key questions about persistence.

  1. How long will this data be valid?
    1. Will it need to be refreshed, revalidated?
    2. Who will determine the half-life of the profile if there is one?

Having asked and received the answers to these questions will ensure that the final development is a small and easy to use as possible.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Project Killers: The Resourceful PM (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

projectManger_lorax

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the building, where the CIO goes

And the air smells of ozone when the AC vent blows

And no music is playing, except the Black Crows

Is the cube of the gifted PM.

 

And way down the hallway, some people say

If you look far and hard you can still see today

Where the PM once stood, just as long as he could

Before somebody carried the PM away

 

Who was the PM, and what did he do?

And why was he carried to some place so new?

Far from the building and the projects long ago

The old BA still lives here.  Ask him.  He’ll know!

 

You won’t see the BA, don’t darken his hall

He stares at his laptop and waits for the call

He lurks in his cubicle, cool, calm and aloof

Where he makes up reports out of miff-muffered moof

And on special release days in April he peeks

Out past the window blinds and sometimes he speaks

And tells how the PM was carried away

He’ll tell you, perhaps…if you’re willing to pay.

 

He leans back in his chair, his shoulders a-hunch

And taps on his watch and says it’s time for lunch.

You have to be clever and take up the clue

And invite the BA to come dine with you.

 

As you settle to eat, he looks anxiously ‘bout,

and begs you be certain that you never shout.

He orders the priciest dish he can find,

and follows that up with a bottle of wine.

 

Then he grunts, “I’ll call you tonight, I’ll use secure phone,

For the secrets I’ll tell you are for your ears alone.”

BUZZ!

He’s good as his word; you move the phone to your ear

And the old BA’s words come through, though not very clear

Since he’s speaking to you through a cloth by choice

In the hopes that it will somehow help disguise his voice

“Now I’ll tell you,” he says, with his teeth sounding gray,

“How the PM came to be carried away…

 

Way back in the days when the science was new

And the people were eager, but knew not what to do

And the business thought all projects were as easy as pie

I was hired by this place to give it a try.

Then I first saw the list, the Requirements List!

The long standing reckoning of what had been missed

Sorted ‘what would be nice’ and ‘what would be bliss’

 

And promoting the list were requestors galore

Dancing and happy to see what was in store

Certain their system would soon do much more

 

But that list! That list! That Requirements List!

All of my life I’d been searching for a project like this.

A litany of needs more urgent than eating

And requestors with funding all plaintively bleating

I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart

And set up my laptop galumphing to start

 

In no time at all, I had devised a new plan

To knock off each listing as fast as I can

So with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed

I took the first entry.  And I sized up the need.

 

The instant I’d finished, I heard a ga-Roar!

I looked.  I turned to see something framed in the door

of the office.  My eyes said it was sort of a man.

Describe him?…That’s hard.  I don’t know if I can.

 

He was tallish, and youngish, but sharp dressed and preppy

And he spoke with a voice that was controlled but peppy.

“Mister!” he said in a sibilant hiss

“I am the PM.  I speak for the list.

I speak for the list, to give the words meaning

And I don’t like the way that this project is leaning”

He was upset now; I could see his hands tremble

“Isn’t the right starting your team to assemble?”

 

“Look PM,” I said.  “There’s no cause for alarm.

I took the first entry.  I am doing no harm.

In fact it’s quite useful to jump in the lead

And convert the entry to a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need.

 

The PM said, “Sir! Your actions are hasteful.

If no one can work with you, you’ll find they are wasteful!”

But the very next minute I proved he was wrong,

For just at that minute a user came along

And she thought that the entry on line one of the list

Was understood well, I had gotten the gist.

 

I laughed at the PM, “You poor stupid man!

You have to get to it as fast as you can!

“I repeat,” cried the PM, “I speak for the list!”

“I’m busy,” I told him.  I showed him my fist.

 

Then I looked back at the screen and in no time at all

Had blown the doc up to hang on the wall

And I reached out to requestors with meetings galore

And promised them results betterer than before

 

Soon I found I was working full tilt.  I was sizing up needs.

IT and the business were as busy as bees

tackling list entries and gathering more.

Soon the requirements list rolled clear to the floor.

Then…  Oh! Baby! Oh! How that requirements list continued to grow.

Now taking one entry at a time, or even tackling two

I found that the task was more than I could do.

 

So I quickly invented a new requirements tracker,

which allowed me to whack out four lines with one whacker.

I was writing down needs four times as fast as before!

And that PM? … He didn’t show up any more.

But the next week he again darkened the door.

 

He stated, “I’m the PM who speaks for the list and the listers

It seems you’ve forgotten those missuses and misters

They’ve asked me to speak in hopes that you’d heed.

You don’t have a plan to solve the first need

And my poor users are all feeling fright-full

that you will not produce something delightful.

They loved making the list.  But they didn’t realize

that with everyone asking it would grow so in size.

So they’ve taken a vote and they found with dismay

that they don’t have a need worth the price they must pay.”

 

I, the BA, felt sad as I deleted their asks.

BUT… business is business!  There were still lots of tasks.

And the project continued despite their sad masks.

 

I meant no harm, I most truly did not.

But I had to get going, so going I got

I biggered my tracker, I biggered the poster,

I biggered a chart to resemble a coaster

with buckets of needs that I got from the list

and circulated to all so that no one was missed.

I went right on working, finding more needs

And I biggered my bonus, which everyone needs!

 

Then the PM came back, I was just starting to type

when that old-nuisance PM came back with a gripe.

“I am the PM,” he paused for effect,

“and I speak for the list which now is a wreck.”

“BA!” he cried with a cruffulous croak.

“BA! You’re making this project a joke!

“My poor IT team, how they all like to wail

they can’t seem to make out the head or the tail.

“And so,” said the PM, while pushing a sigh

“They’re all lining up and saying goodbye.

“What’s more,” snapped the PM his patience had failed

“Let me say a few words about your E-mail!

“You churn out new memos day and night without stop

Most filled with Glupp and Schloppity-Schlopp

“And who reads the letters that they get from you?

“I’ve asked everybody and I’ve found that it’s few!

 

And then I got mad, I turned terribly blue!

I yelled at the PM, “Now listen here, you!

All you do is yap-yap and say what you would do.

Well, I have my rights, sir, and I’m telling you

I intend to go on doing just what I do.

And for your information, I’m just about through!

 

And at that very moment, out in the hall

We heard the soft rustle as the poster did fall

on the floor ‘neath the feet of the oncoming CIO

accompanied by shouts that the project must go.

He held out his arm and opened his fist

He flatly demanded, “Hand me the list.”

 

No more list.  No more needs.  No more work to be done.

All my hopes had been smashed and dashed, every one.

Now all that was left to be seen with my eye

Was a big empty office, the PM, and I

The PM said nothing just gave me a look

When the walls of my cubicle suddenly shook

with the pounding of feet from the people outside.

They picked up the PM.  They gave him a ride.

And I’ll never forget the look on his face

As they carried him off to a much better place

That was long, long ago

But each day since that day

I’ve sat here and relived what the PM had to say

Get the resources first, get the team to assemble.

He’d told me that with his hands all a-tremble.

Once the resources are certain I have now realized

Lists are much more easily prioritized.

And the users and listers, once they know the cost,

can easily understand the gain and the loss.

Once the plan is created, and each knows his task

Reading an e-mail about the project is the least we can ask

 

Each project has potential just like some seeds

Give them clean water, clean air, and meet all their needs

And each of them will become a healthy plant.

But if you rush them or starve them you’ll find that they can’t.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Illustration created and provided by Jonathan Pike, eVerge Group IT Specialist.

 

Project Killers: Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh my!

OZYou’ve just discovered yourself surrounded by Witches and Munchkins in Munchkin land and you desperately want to get back to Kansas.  You’ve heard that the Wizard of Oz in Emerald City can help you get back, but how do you find the Wizard?  Just follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Do you see the similarities to your CRM project?   In Munchkin land Dorothy had a clear goal, return to Kansas with the help of the Wizard of Oz.  Your CRM project has a clear goal; help grow your profits by delighting your customers.  The path from Munchkin land to the Wizard is the Yellow Brick Road.  Your path to delighting your customers is your project statement of work.  Just as Dorothy gathered helpers on her journey to Oz, you will assemble a project team to assist you in getting to Deployment.   Finally, just like Dorothy you start off confidently down the road.

If you have watched the 1939 classic movie the Wizard of Oz, you should remember that the Yellow Brick Road was a path filled with risks to the journey – or as the Strawman and Tin Woodman stated – Lions, and Tigers and Bears.  There were also belligerent fruit trees, wicked witches, and deadly poppies along the way.  Dorothy hadn’t planned for any of these risks and would have been stopped ‘dead’ in her tracks if not for the help of her companions and finally the intervention of Glinda the good witch.

Your project path is a lot like the Yellow Brick Road.  yellow brick roadWhat are the lions, and tigers, and bears you will face?  Where are the belligerent fruit trees and deadly poppies?  Who are the ‘bad witches’ and what risks do they introduce?  Every project faces at least one risk to successful completion.  Most of the time, there are myriad risks to successful completion.  If these risks are not identified and/or not mitigated, they become impacts.  Impacts cost the project time, money, and scope.  In the most severe form, they kill the project before any benefit can be realized!

Dorothy ran head long into her risks and impacts, and unless you have a ‘Glinda’ protecting you, we don’t recommend that approach.  Instead create a detailed project plan using a tool such as MS Project that can point out some of the most common risks faced by a CRM project.  Here are the top 10 risks as identified by online-crm.com:

  1. Invalid project assumptions (different expectations among stakeholders)
  2. Project planning omissions. Significant delays incurred not because project planning tasks were underestimated but because project tasks were completely omitted (forgotten)
  3. Data conversion delay. Unanticipated data scrubbing due to poor data quality
  4. Lack of continuity or consistency of business processes among multiple locations (as well as the introduction of sub-optimization by some locations)
  5. Failure to proactively anticipate and mitigate user adoption challenges – fear of change, sub-optimization and/or sacred cows. Closely aligned with failure to recognize the change in cultural due to a CRM implementation
  6. Missing or infrequent active and visible executive sponsorship
  7. Project is perceived by users as optional; CRM software failure is an option
  8. Failure to backfill project team schedules/workloads
  9. Failure to recognize weak (basic PC operation) user skills assessment prior to training
  10. Failure of Risk Management and proactive risk mitigation

Interesting to note that one of the top 10 risks to any CRM project is the lack of proactive risk mitigation!  Your job as a project manager is to identify these above risks (and all others) well in advance of running into them, determine the potential each has for becoming an ‘impact’ to the project, determine whether or not to accept or mitigate the risk, and establish a risk mitigation plan for each risk that you have identified should be mitigated.  Those mitigation plans should have tasks, resources, and due dates that are tracked on your project plan with strict adherence.  Each risk that is not mitigated becomes an ‘impact’, you will have to deal with impacts to the project, but by the time you are dealing with them the project has been delayed, made more costly, reduced in scope, or all 3.  If you don’t have more time or don’t have more money, and Glinda doesn’t come to your rescue, your project has just come to the end of the Yellow Brick Road with the gleaming Emerald City far in the distance.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

Customer Experience: Is the Bar Being Raised and Can You Still Jump Over It?

It is a widely held belief that the secret to a satisfied customer is similar to the secret to a satisfying marriage – low expectations!

As with many things in life, a customer’s satisfaction with a product or service is something that can really only be measured against that customer’s own, personal expectations.

The customer will be satisfied with your company’s offering if his or her expectations are met. However, this also implies that as the customer’s expectations go up, satisfying the customer will become more difficult. Evidence strongly suggests that all customer expectations are, as a rule of thumb, rising constantly over time.

Your customers are not measuring their experience with you against your competitors in the current marketplace; instead they are comparing your company to the customer experience delivered by Amazon, JetBlue, Apple, or American Express.

Claes Fornell is the Swedish professor who came to America more than 20 years ago and founded the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). In his book, The Satisfied Customer, Fornell reports that before field testing the ACSI, his team scoured the literature on customer satisfaction in order to ensure that they captured just the right kind of variables.

According to Fornell,

“Although there was no consensus on how to measure customer satisfaction, three facets showed up over and over. The most common had to do with the confirmation or disconfirmation of prior expectations. Another was the idea of comparing a company’s product to a customer’s ideal version of the product-regardless of whether or not such a product even existed. The third facet was the cumulative level of satisfaction when all interactions, the customer’s total experience over time with the company, were taken into account.”

Simply stated, a customer will become less satisfied even if your product or service remains at the same level of quality because his or her expectations have increased.

It is easy to imagine that, as companies around the world focus more and more on improving the customer experience, streamlining and automating their processes, and providing greatly enhanced online experience that the general level of customer expectations with regard to ALL companies is increasing.

This means you cannot simply maintain your position by continuing to do what you have always done. If your remain static, you customer satisfaction scores – ACSI or NPS – or previously determined internal scales from Ecstatic to Miserable – will decline as customer expectations rise.

No matter what your current position in your marketplace, dominant to new entrant, you simply will not maintain or grow that position without actively working to improve your customer experience, because the rising tide of customer expectations will soon submerge your satisfaction scores.

As the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, and as new customers with elevated expectations enter the marketplace, you must plan to improve your customer experience at an accelerated pace just to maintain your current level of customer satisfaction scores. That type of planning and execution requires a partner with deep experience in customer satisfaction, broad knowledge of current and future trends for customer expectations, and keen awareness of the technologies that are currently and soon to be available to customer experience managers.

Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant
Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

 

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

May 2015 Service Cloud in a Nutshell

Oracle Service Cloud: May 2015
The May 2015 release has arrived! It is the second release of the year and has four major new features/enhancements. As usual there is a new tutorial that goes over the release highlights; you may want to review it as I will not go over every new feature: https://cx.rightnow.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7811
Single Sign-On for Third Party Identity Providers
In this release you no longer need to integrate Agent desktop for Single Sign-on now you can connect to third party identity providers. This allows for seamless connections between applications utilized by your call center agents. If you already own or are thinking about acquiring Oracle Sales cloud this will allow you to use Oracle Identity Management as the IDP as the two applications come with it when bundled. Also available now is Single log-out which will log agent out of the Service cloud , any other service providers that are connected to the IDP and the IDP itself.

sso

Connect REST API
The new REST API is something I have been hearing whispers about for a few years now and recently had the opportunity to see a demo from the Oracle Product Manager who “owns” this new feature. The REST API opens up a whole new realm of integration possibilities. To go hand in hand with the new API Oracle has come out with a new version of the Connect Common Object Model 1.3 which will allow synchronized metadata among PHP API, ROQL and Connect for Web Services. The full developer documentation can be reviewed for anyone interested here: http://documentation.custhelp.com/euf/assets/devdocs/may2015/Connect_REST_API/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm#href=connect_rest_api.1.01.html

The launch URI to access the API is:

https://<your_site_interface>/services/rest/connect

Service Collaboration
Service collaboration has been enhanced to allow agents to get assistance from subject matter experts (SME) who are not users of agent desktop. Users such as product experts and analysts, can be brought in to answer questions or contribute to solving an incident.
If you configure collaboration, the External User check box displays on a tab in the Profiles editor. Users with an external profile can collaborate in conversations with agents, but are not charged as named users for licensing compliance purposes. This is a huge score especially for organizations who don’t want to give accounts to occasional or highly specialized users. External users can log in to the collaboration service via a web browser or supported mobile device, but cannot use the Service Console.
I recently did a 3 part fast cast series about modern service and all the features outlined here can help businesses get ahead if they are far enough along on the maturity curve and look at adopting them as part of their roadmap to modern.

Oracle will be doing a product release webinar Thursday May 28th which should provide even more detailed information regarding this release. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/OSVCexperts

For more information on the May 2015 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle Service Cloud and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: cx@evergegroup.com
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About the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) Director of CX Solutions @ eVerge Group has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating Service Cloud (RightNow) for eight years. Follow me on twitter: just_rhianna

Last release of 2014: Oracle Service Cloud November 2014

It has been a few months since the November version came out and eVerge Group’s Service Cloud practice has kept me so busy that I almost decided to skip the review being that it is now January 2015 but then something inspired me. I have been travelling without much time to even take a breath the last few weeks and had the opportunity to oversee a very talented team as they started implementing an instance of the November release for a client.

If you know me then you know I am a hands on person. I do not sit idly by while others get to play with the shiny new toys, I want to join in and help teach others who are newer to the product, the ENFJ in me won’t allow me not to teach. While working collaboratively with this team and rolling up my sleeves to share a few hard learned tricks on workflow I discovered some features that I somehow missed previously. I still haven’t determined when the two I found came into production but it created an incessant thrumming in my head to go back and review the new features so I could continue to share.

There is a new tutorial that goes over the release highlights you may want to review it as I will not go over every new feature: November Overview Video

Service Console Enhancements

We know from previous versions that tool windows can be shifted around to the right or left sides of the console as well as being collapsed or closed. In the November release an agent can now have even more room on the console by docking the tool windows to the status bar. Just don’t be like me and forget that you did it because when you login the next day you might panic and wonder why you have a blank screen.

nv15toolwd

 

Drop down menus now have type ahead and track items recently used. With the type ahead feature an agent no longer needs to scroll or navigate through menus that in some cases could be six levels deep. Now as they begin to type the menu will highlight potential matches if there is more than one. Ten recent items can be listed by default.

N15-menuEnhancements to Message templates

The editor now has sub tabs so you can edit multiple templates at the same time to nov15msgallow different versions or language templates to be easily compared. This also allows an administrator to work in other areas of the console without having to close out message template like you had to in previous releases.

 

Within message templates you can also now create up to 10 conditional subject lines and can write conditions based on the number of message threads as well.

New configuration Assistant

I have used this new tool for the project mentioned above and it is great being able to create and manage new interfaces, mailboxes and test sites. However, by far the best part of this feature in my opinion as a system integrator is the ability to reset the System Administrator password without having to contact Oracle customer service.

Chat

If your company uses chat you can now let agents view a customer or site visitor’s browsing history from the customer portal. Agents can get crucial information about what pages the customer already viewed before requesting the chat session allowing them to more easily address the customers issues and concerns.

Agent Browser UI

Yes it is available for “infrequent users” but it is not really much more than a taste of what is to come in next few releases at this point. It certainly is not functional in a way that brand new clients could expect to be solely dependant on and abandon the trusty .Net thick client. For now my recommendation on this one is, if you upgrade to November 14 take a peak and check it out. If you wait just a little longer I think  you will be greatly rewarded, I witnessed the same sort of progress with the Mobile App for Service and the functionality that it has now is light years from when it was introduced.

Before I let you all go off, running and playing with the new version eVerge Group will be at the Modern Customer Experience event in Las Vegas this March. I have heard that it will be more akin to the RightNow Customer Summit that was held at the Broadmoor in the days before being purchased by Oracle. If this is the case I can assure you it will be full of great sessions, good conversation and fun evening events. If you are attending please let me know so we can talk about all things CX. If you are thinking of attending register quickly and take advantage of the early bird rate.

http://eventreg.oracle.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x1824286fd9f

nov15 bee

The Golden Bee – RightNow Customer Summit

 

For more information on the November 2014 version including release notes, manuals, webcasts, tutorials and community posts. Please review at the official RightNow documentation overview page.

If you are interested in learning more or have questions feel free to reach out to me at cx@evergegroup.com

eVerge Group is an Oracle Platinum Partner with extensive experience. For more information about Oracle Service Cloud and our other business solutions, contact us through our website: http://www.evergegroup.com/contact.php

 Rhianna_smallAbout the author: Rhianna Albert (Just Rhianna) Director of CX Solutions @ eVerge Group has an extensive background in customer support systems and processes, is an active member of the CX community and has been implementing and integrating Oracle Service Cloud solutions for eight years.