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CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud. Recognized amongst CIOReveiw’s "20 Most Promising Cloud Computing Companies”


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Incentive Compensation in Retail Industry

incentive_compensationThe retail landscape is increasingly dominated by stores. But the headlong rise of e-commerce has put extreme pressure on retailers to become more efficient, and to justify their bricks and mortar existence to customers. Retailers are recognizing that traditional retail needs to be retooled and their key differentiator could be that employee standing in the store.

Employee motivation is probably the most important single manageable factor for success and profitability of all the facets of store retailing. There are almost as many effective ways of motivating employees as there are ways of enticing customers into a store but money is generally the greatest motivator of all.

Retailers offer incentive compensation plans to promote employee motivation. These plans are tailored to the unique situation of each store.

Some of the factors used by retailers while building a compensation plan for a store are

  • Y-O-Y growth ($$$)
  • Y-O-Y growth percentage (%)
  • Achievement against target ($$$ – A grid of growth $ against various bonus %)
  • Achievement against target (% – A grid of growth % against various bonus %)
  • Inflation
  • Seasonality
  • Store factors (Age of the Store, Store Hierarchy, Geography)
  • Non comparability against last year performance (New Store, Store Expansion, Store Relocation, Cannibalization against new store)
  • Employee role, grade/band, salary etc.

While measuring achievement, Targets are usually the store turnover or the profitability or a combination of both. It is better if the plans are simple. However, simplicity itself cannot be given excessive consideration since it is necessary to cover every major measurable factor.

The master data required to build and roll up compensation plans is either defined at the Incentive compensation platform or flows to the platform from upstream systems along with achievement (turnover, profitability) details.

Master data is typically validated by financial controllers and relevant entities before getting fed for compensation consideration.

Incentive compensation platforms help in performing calculations using set of complex rules and the final rates and amounts are dispatched to payroll department for validation before they are broadcasted to the stores.

Store employees access these details through employee portals or other methods setup for them.

Compensation platform facilitates regular reviews of performance against compensation plans to stimulate store level efforts. Data is archived to facilitate audit.

The installation of an effective incentive plan is the foundation of a successful motivational compensation program. To optimize results retailers should regularly nourish and promote the program and a regular review would make sure it is still working to expectations.

About CRMIT Solutions:

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud.

oracle_specialized_sales_cloudCRMIT Solutions has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle Sales Cloud –Oracle Recognizes CRMIT Solutions for Expertise in Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud. CRMIT Solutions Offers A Host of Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud, Including Consulting, Sales Planning, Social Sales, Customer Data Enrichment, Field Sales Automation, User Adoption, Training, Health Checks and Testing.

CRMIT Solutions deliver a Fixed Scope Implementation offering for Oracle Sales Cloud to fast track sales productivity. Fixed Scope Offering leverages Oracle best practices and agile approach for fast track implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud – Go Live in less than 4 weeks. It drives sales productivity through higher win rates, forecast accuracy, and lead conversion.

Inputs
C.A.Mohammed
Consulting – CX/CRM Industry Solutions
CRMIT Solutions

 


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Oracle Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – Configuration considerations

Oracle Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management (PRM)The Partner Relationship Management (PRM) component of Oracle Sales Cloud focuses on process automation between companies (brand owners) and channel partners. It allows companies to coordinate business planning activities, share information, conduct commerce across the channel. Processes, Objects and Roles are various setup considerations for Sales Cloud PRM. This article shall provide required inputs for a quick out of the box PRM implementation.

Processes:

Following are the processes supported by Sales Cloud PRM
1. Channel Type identification
2. Lead distribution to partners
3. Lead registration by partners
4. Lead > Opportunity > Quote
5. Account & Contact Management

Objects:

PRM uses the same business objects (e.g. Lead, Opportunity, Account, Contact) of CRM for channel sales along with Partner Accounts, Partner Contacts.

ObjectsTowards configuration of these objects, while ‘Application composure’ allows to configure additional fields, page layouts, business rules etc., the page composer tool under ‘Customize User Interface’ option allows configuring saved lists (criteria and columns).

OSC_Navigator Screen

OSC - HomeUnder Application Composer,
-> Partner configuration is handled under ‘Sales’ application area.
-> Partner Contact configuration is handled under ‘Common’ application area through the standard ‘Contact’ object.
-> Lead configuration is handled under ‘Marketing’ application area and called ‘Sales Lead’.
-> Opportunity configuration is handled under ‘Sales’ application area.
-> Account & Contact configuration is handled under ‘Common’ application area.

Roles:
From roles perspective, following are the roles provisioned out of the box

PRM RolesPRM’s role reporting hierarchy on both sides is

Brand Owner’s side:

Brand Owner's Side

Partner’s side:Partner's SideWhile setting up users it is better to define role provisioning rules. This would automatically assign all relevant Job roles based on the resource role selected for the user. OSC - Setup and Maintenance PageOSC - Manage Users

Data Security:

a) For Partner Account records,

1. On Brand Owner’s side:
Sales reps, Sales Managers could view all Partner Account records.
Channel Account Manager can View and Edit partner account records if
–they are on the partner account team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to partner account
Channel Sales Manager can View and Edit all partner account records.
Channel Operations Manager can View and Edit all partner account records.

2. On Partner’s side:
Partner Administrator can View and Edit the partner account records (s)he belongs to.
Other partner users would not be able to access partner account record.

b) For Lead records,

1. On Brand Owner’s side:
Channel Account Manager can View and Edit lead records if
–they are owner of lead, or they are on the lead team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to lead
Note: Channel Account Manager can update owner only if they own a lead
Channel Sales Manager can View lead records if a Channel Account Manager reporting to him/her owns a lead or in the lead team or lead is associated to a territory in his/her territory hierarchy.
Sales representatives and Sales managers’ access are controlled same as Channel Account Managers and Channel Sales Managers accesses respectively.

2. On Partner’s side:
Partner Sales Representative can View and Edit lead records if
–they are owner of a lead, or they are on the lead team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to lead
Partner Sales Manager can View Lead records if a Partner Sales Representative reporting to him/her owns a Lead or in the Lead team or Lead is associated to a territory in his/her territory hierarchy.
Partner Administrator can View and Edit all the leads under partner account records (s)he belongs to.

c) For Opportunity records,

1. On Brand Owner’s side:
Channel Account Manager can View and Edit opportunity records if
–they are a member of the account team of a partner organization on the opportunity
–they are owner of opportunity, or they are on the opportunity team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to opportunity
Channel Sales Manager can View opportunity records if a Channel Account Manager reporting to her owns opportunity or in the opportunity team or opportunity is associated to a territory in his/her territory hierarchy.
Sales representatives and Sales managers’ access are controlled same as Channel Account Managers and Channel Sales Managers accesses respectively.

2. On Partner’s side:
Partner Sales Representative can View and Edit opportunity records if
–they are owner of opportunity, or they are on the opportunity team
Partner Sales Manager can View opportunity records if a Partner Sales Representative reporting to her owns an opportunity or in the opportunity team or opportunity is associated to a territory in his/her territory hierarchy.
Partner Administrator can View and Edit all the opportunities under partner account records (s)he belongs to.

d) For Account records,

1. On Brand Owner’s side:
Channel Account Manager can View and Edit account records if
–they are on the account team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to account
Channel Sales Manager can View and Edit account records if Channel Account Manager reporting to him/her has access to account via team or via territory.

2. On Partner’s side:
Partner Sales Representative can View and Edit account records if
–they are on the account team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to account
Partner Sales Manager can View and Edit account records if Partner Sales Representative reporting to her has access to account via team or territory.

e) For Contact records,
Partner users can view and create contacts for accounts that they can view
Partner users with Edit or Full access on the account can edit or delete the account’s contacts
Partner users with Read, Edit or Full access on the account can view, edit or delete associated common component transactions which they participated. e.g. appointments and tasks partner users participated

Other PRM setup tasks could be performed through “Define Sales Partners” task under Setup and maintenance.

About CRMIT Solutions:

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud.

oracle_specialized_sales_cloudCRMIT Solutions has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle Sales Cloud –Oracle Recognizes CRMIT Solutions for Expertise in Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud. CRMIT Solutions Offers A Host of Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud, Including Consulting, Sales Planning, Social Sales, Customer Data Enrichment, Field Sales Automation, User Adoption, Training, Health Checks and Testing.

CRMIT Solutions deliver a Fixed Scope Implementation offering for Oracle Sales Cloud to fast track sales productivity. Fixed Scope Offering leverages Oracle best practices and agile approach for fast track implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud – Go Live in less than 4 weeks. It drives sales productivity through higher win rates, forecast accuracy, and lead conversion.

Inputs
C.A.Mohammed
Consulting – CX/CRM Industry Solutions
CRMIT Solutions


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Telephony Integration  – A smarter way to make and receive calls inside Oracle CRM

CTI for Oracle CRMEnhance your customer interaction, service and satisfaction with CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration for Oracle CRM

Are you still manually dialing telephone numbers, looking up contacts and capturing telephone call information by hand? Moreover which sounds better? “Who is this?” or “Thank you for calling us Mark!” Clearly, the latter.

In business, every call you make and receive counts. Too much information is lost because it is not extracted effectively from phone calls and thus the sales people miss huge opportunities to get strong insights about who they are calling. So it is indeed very important equipping your sales reps and agents with the right resources –  tools and information to interact with your customers.

Your CRM is where data lives and the more data in the CRM the more insight and power you have as a business. So it makes sense that when your telephone rings, your CRM knows about it, who it is, who they spoke to, and how long they spoke. A perfect sync between your CRM and the phone system is just what you need so you can stop juggling and start managing your calls smartly from CRM.

Integrating Call/Contact Center Telephony Infrastructure with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software gives you tools to manage customer connections in real time. The advantages of this integration is robust  communication management include accurate information logging, reduced data loss, increased employee efficiency and speed and more.

Why CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration?

So what do you get being a CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration enabled organization?  Or maybe a better question is, “Why would I integrate my telephony system with Oracle CRM, and what is the end objective?”

The #1 reason why an organization implements Computer Telephony Integration within their CRM system is to reduce  costs, improve productivity levels and seamlessly manage customer interactions.  The idea is to create efficiencies within the system that allow the organization to maximize the time of a user spent helping the customer and to minimize the amount of time spent searching or entering data into the system.  How does Computer Telephony Integration do that?  To answer that question, let’s talk about the various benefits associated with Computer Telephony Integration and explain how they help your users:

Computer Telephony Integration with Oracle CRM

CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration enables you to optimise your investment in your Oracle CRM and Telephone infrastructure, providing a seamless telephony integration with Oracle CRM delivered in a cost effective and user friendly manner.

CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration framework offers a direct access to extended telephony functions that enable a comprehensive call center or contact center solution. Based on a Telephony Application Programming Interface CRM++ CTI Framework directly integrates various telephony solutions with Oracle Cloud Platform.

CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration framework provides unifying access to contact center functionalities including both Inbound (screen pop-up) and Click-to-Dial (outbound integration) functions. Inbound integration enables display relevant information about the caller (360° customer view) to the agent as they answer the phone – name, address, outstanding orders or cases. The Click-to-Dial (outbound call) feature helps one-click phone calling functions, capture the call notes, resolution type and call reasons with built-in Call Wrap Up feature.

Features

  • Inbound and click-to-dial action call handling
  • Automatic call wrap-up
  • Caller ID & multiple call support
  • Customer interaction screen to record and track a series of ongoing customer activities
  • Support for multiple sites with different telephone systems
  • Support for both Voice Over IP (VOIP) and standard telephone systems
  • Customizable user preferences
  • Call history and missed call logging

Benefits 

  • Comprehensive CRM platform with unified screen-based telephony
  • Streamlined telephony activity within your business
  • Improved customer relationships, service levels and customer satisfaction
  • Increased telephone call efficiency
  • Manage Service Request life cycle, submission – follow-up – closure
  • Personalized telephone interaction – identifying callers automatically
  • Increased business productivity
  • Improved reporting & collaborative activity management

Thus CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration helps you increase first call resolution, decrease average handle time and reduces cost-per-call, thereby improving customer satisfaction.

Available on Oracle Marketplace

Oracle_Cloud_Marketplace

CRM++ Computer Telephony Integration is also available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace helps which provides Oracle Cloud customers find the best applications to meet their needs through an easily searchable interface.

CRM++Computer Telephony Integration is listed along with the relevant details to help customers determine their value for their organizations, including user ratings and reviews.

Gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage in your industry is never easy. Leverage  CTI technology to take a step in the right direction. Your agents, company and customers will benefit as a result.

About CRMIT Solutions

CRMIT Solutions is constantly focusing on two areas in product development – bringing unique , innovative CX/CRM cloud solutions to the market and continuing to expand out-of-box integration. As more and more businesses move towards an IP based telephony system, having tight integration between telephone systems and CRM is critical to improving productivity and a better end user experience.


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Getting started with Oracle Sales Cloud Security

Oracle Sales Cloud_Security
If you are coming from a very light weight Cloud CRM application (e.g. CRM On Demand) where users could only have a single role and functional privileges, data security authorizations specified in wizard based role console, Oracle Sales Cloud’s security framework could look daunting.

Oracle Sales Cloud security framework has Duty Roles, Abstract Roles, Job Roles, Resource Roles and the setup/administration is done across Authorization Policy Manager (APM), Oracle Identity Manager (OIM).

I would like to approach this in my own way.

a. Roles

For a Sales Cloud Application 3 roles are core

  • Sales Representative
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales Support

b. Modules

The core modules are

  • Account
  • Contact
  • Lead
  • Opportunity
  • Activity

Now, what any of the above roles could do with these modules is defined in “policies”. These policies are of 2 types – Functional Policies and Data Security policies.

These policies are grouped under Duty Roles (also called application roles).

Duty roles could inherit other duty roles. This facilitates to assign multiple roles to a single user.

Sales Representative Duty

Functional Policies under Sales Representative Duty

Data Security Policies under Sales Representative Duty

You could add or remove policies under functional policies section.

You could add or remove policies and add explicit rules and actions for data security policies.

Duty Roles are grouped under Job Roles & Abstract Roles (also called external roles).

Job role typically represents the job a user is hired into e.g. Sales representative job.

Abstract roles typically contain common functionality irrespective of job role e.g. the ‘Employee’ abstract role allows a user to manage personal information etc.

During every implementation it is mandatory that we review functional and data security policies that are assigned to a user through Job roles & abstract roles and add or remove any as required by customer requirements.

For best practices on role customization during implementations, you can refer to a customer connect webinar here

Out of the box, following is the data security setup in Sales Cloud for above roles

Sales Representative:

The seeded Sales Party review duty allows a sales representative to view all accounts and contacts in Sales Cloud application.

Sales Representatives can View and Edit other records if
–they are owner of a record
–they are on the record’s team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to the record

Sales Manager:

The seeded Sales Party review duty allows a sales manager to view all accounts and contacts in Sales Cloud application.

Sales managers can View and Edit other records if
–they are owner of a record
–they are on the record’s team
–they are a member/owner of a territory associated to the record

A Sales Manager can also View and Edit records if a Sales Representative reporting to him/her owns a record or in the record’s team or record is associated to a territory in sales representatives’ territory hierarchy.

Sales Support:

Sales Support is a admin role and it allows the users to help sales with their daily activities, perform sales setup/admin tasks and provide access to all sales data in the designated sales region.

At this moment the job role and abstract role administration is handled in OIM (Setup and Maintenance > Manage Job Roles Task) and Duty role administration is handled in APM (Setup and Maintenance > Manage Duty Roles Task).

From release 10, this would become easier as Sales Cloud is coming with a security console to create and manage roles, copy roles and compare roles through a single admin interface. Refer to this customer connect webinar for more information.

About CRMIT Solutions:

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud.

oracle_specialized_sales_cloudCRMIT Solutions has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle Sales Cloud –Oracle Recognizes CRMIT Solutions for Expertise in Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud. CRMIT Solutions Offers A Host of Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud, Including Consulting, Sales Planning, Social Sales, Customer Data Enrichment, Field Sales Automation, User Adoption, Training, Health Checks and Testing.

CRMIT Solutions deliver a Fixed Scope Implementation offering for Oracle Sales Cloud to fast track sales productivity. Fixed Scope Offering leverages Oracle best practices and agile approach for fast track implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud – Go Live in less than 4 weeks. It drives sales productivity through higher win rates, forecast accuracy, and lead conversion.

Inputs
C.A.Mohammed
Consulting – CX/CRM Industry Solutions
CRMIT Solutions


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Build email, blast and manage responses from Oracle Sales Cloud

ORACLE SALES CLOUD_1

Sales representatives and sales managers can create sales campaigns for reaching out to contacts within their territories. Using sales campaigns, they invite contacts to an event or inform them about a product launch. Using a guided process, they can select recipients, use email templates, launch campaigns, monitor responses and take actions.

A great stride forward for Sales campaigns is breaking them off from Leads.

Screenshot below: Currently, to access Sales Campaigns you would go to leads.

Oracle Sales Cloud - Existing Version

Screenshot below: Future release, Sales Campaigns are separated from Leads and moved to top level.

Oracle Sales Cloud - Upcoming VersionSimilar to any primary object Sales Campaigns would have its own overview page with predefined lists

Campaigns ListWhen creating a Sales Campaign the first step is to select contacts. The best part of this step is an ability to build your own contact search criteria. The “Add” allows users to add any (Standard & Custom) fields created for a contact to search query. “Apply” would add the selected contacts as recipients to the Sales Campaign.

Now you could add 500 recipients to a Sales Campaign.

Contacts Screen

One of the future enhancements is to allow cross object segmentation e.g. Show me the contacts in a country where opportunity deal size is greater than 100K.

The second step is to select/design the email template. During this step Sales reps/Sales managers could select a email template, personalize the message and insert links for response actions (e.g. Request Call Back) by recipients. Users could also add a Subject and From address for the message.

Template

The third and final step is wrap Up or Launch Campaign. During this step Sales rep/Sales manager could give a name and description to Sales Campaign, define actions (e.g. Receive email notification, Create a call back task) customer responses and define the campaign launch (e.g. Immediate, Later).

Wrap Up

While tracking the results of a Sales Campaign, user could use the summary page to monitor message delivery status, recipient responses (including list of contacts who chose that response and current response status) and take actions e.g. Convert to New Lead. A separate section is also provided to track the leads created from the campaign and their current status.

SummaryResponsesThese features are commonly available from Oracle Sales Cloud release 10.

About CRMIT Solutions:

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud.

oracle_specialized_sales_cloudCRMIT Solutions has achieved OPN Specialized status for Oracle Sales Cloud –Oracle Recognizes CRMIT Solutions for Expertise in Implementing Oracle Sales Cloud. CRMIT Solutions Offers A Host of Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud, Including Consulting, Sales Planning, Social Sales, Customer Data Enrichment, Field Sales Automation, User Adoption, Training, Health Checks and Testing.

CRMIT Solutions deliver a Fixed Scope Implementation offering for Oracle Sales Cloud to fast track sales productivity. Fixed Scope Offering leverages Oracle best practices and agile approach for fast track implementation of Oracle Sales Cloud – Go Live in less than 4 weeks. It drives sales productivity through higher win rates, forecast accuracy, and lead conversion.

Inputs
C.A.Mohammed
Consulting – CX/CRM Industry Solutions
CRMIT Solutions


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Oracle Mobile Application Framework for a More Engaging Customer Experience

mobile-framework

Oracle Mobile Application Framework (MAF) within JDeveloper provides a feature rich framework for mobile application development under an umbrella of Java Technologies. This widened the paradigm for mobile application development, because it had always been a problem to develop an application for such multifarious hand held devices where the challenges to create one for each device type is unique. Oracle tried to bring some uniformity that leverages existing knowledge and investment into developing multifaceted applications. MAF apps are portable for mobile operating systems like iOS and Android powered devices.

Oracle MAF leverages component based development approach to create rich user interfaces across multiple platforms and devices. The application logic is written in a centralized framework, so there’s no need to learn a new programming language for each platform.

Oracle MAF enables developers to build and extend enterprise applications for mobile operating systems from a single code base. Based on a hybrid mobile architecture, MAF supports access to native device services, enables offline applications and protects enterprise investments from future technology shifts.

At the Oracle OpenWorld 2014 (Moscone Center, San Francisco), Oracle announced the New User Interface Design System which is used by Oracle’s cloud applications, cloud services and available for customer-developed applications. The new UI design principles deliver elegant user interfaces and experiences for web and mobile applications. Oracle MAF uses open standard technologies to develop applications which can access native device services like camera, GPS, contacts etc.

MAF Architecture

Simplify Enterprise Mobility with CRMIT Solutions

Large and mid-size enterprises are seeking to mobilize their IT infrastructure to enable customers access these applications through their mobile devices. Ever since deploying its first Mobile CRM solution in 2007 for a large enterprise, CRMIT Solutions has been constantly refining its offerings in sync with the ever demanding requirements of the customers and the emerging markets.

CRMIT Solutions expertise lies in developing mobile applications using Oracle MAF platform to leverage full capabilities of Oracle ecosystem – a framework using open standard technologies like Java, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS to develop applications and leverage native device services including calendar, camera, GPS, contacts etc. This gives the flexibility to provide uniform user experience across devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android etc.

CRMIT Solutions’ team currently includes trained MAF consultants to support modern smart devices. In addition to effectively using the features and capabilities of MAF, CRMIT Solutions also understand the importance of the non-functional aspects of an MAF-based solution, optimal UX and security. This ensures that its mobile applications are adopted easily by users, resulting in quick ROI.

The Mobile Application Framework allows one single code base and adapts natively to the various mobile operating platforms  like iOS, Android  thus simplifying the development experience for users and more importantly extending data security and key functionalities in the future – including  Mobilytics, Data Cloud (Data-as-a-Service).

Key Features

1. Develop once, deploy to multiple mobile devices and platforms including iOS and Android
2. Choose your preferred development language Java or JavaScript
3. Leverage over myriad components for simpler development of richer user interfaces
4. Accelerate development through visual & declarative application development
5. Choose your preferred IDE – Oracle JDeveloper or Eclipse
6. Access native device services, such as phone, SMS, camera, GPS and more
7. Integrate both on-device and browser-based mobile interfaces into the same applications

Key Benefits

1. Leverage existing skills to develop mobile applications using open standard technologies (Java, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS)
2. Supports both real-time and offline data access
3. Offline support using SQLite – encryption included
4. Build secure mobile applications with end-to-end encryption on a proven platform
5. Reduces the development and maintenance costs

Conclusion

Creating a mobile application has its own challenges due to OS non uniformity, device variation, etc. Oracle MAF provides a whole new perspective in leveraging developers’ existing knowledge of Java, XML, Web services, HTML, CSS, etc. JDeveloper with Oracle MAF features will definitely leverage productivity for professional developers at the same time; a fun time for those geeks who neglected this arena so long. So, Happy Coding!

Thus Mobile Framework will allow the organizations to create a cross-device application that will reconnect their customer’s workforce to their enterprise system, with the convenience of anytime, anywhere processing, empowering them to manage their own information on their mobile devices. As the workforce reconnects, a natural increase in data accuracy and optimization of workflow process response times occur.

About CRMIT Solutions

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud. CRMIT Solutions is committed to providing customers with the best service in the industry. Everything we do – every order, every delivery, every service, every offering – centers on the satisfaction of our customers, and making them more efficient at what they do.

Achievements

Naga Chokkanathan
Senior Director – Corporate
CRMIT Solutions


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Contextual Enterprise Applications

Blog_Context Specific

We live in an age of ‘Consumerization of IT’. There is very little doubt that this reality will have to be embraced by organizations in the coming years. Thanks to the ‘Consumerization of IT’, users of enterprise applications expect the same experience that they derive through some of the consumer applications. This experience could mean different expectations to different stakeholders – such as ‘Intuitive UI’, ‘Interactive Dashboards’, ‘Faster Response Times’, ‘Minimum clicks, Maximum Productivity’ etc. However, most individuals now expect highly personalized or ‘contextual’ applications which can perform a certain task keeping in mind the user, the user’s preferences, etc. At the end of it, the expectation is for the data and information to be highly accurate, quick, and relevant to their tasks.

Defining Contextual Applications
It is a standard practice in organizations to automate business processes through their IT applications. These IT based processes are fine-tuned to the organization requirements, while being adapted from the proven worldwide best practices. Enterprise applications are still ‘traditional’ in nature as users have to derive information and then use it, rather than being pushed with relevant and timely information. The figure below shows why enterprise applications are still ‘traditional’ in nature:

Enterprise Applications Limitations

My very basic definition of contextual applications would be:
“An application that provides relevant, accurate, and specific data or information to a user to perform a specific task in time and sync them to other related applications, while considering various aspects of the user and ‘Human Factor’ elements.”
User and Human Factor elements would include user’s role, work location, devices being used by the user, products the user has purchased, recent tasks performed, user stress levels, user cognitive abilities etc.

My secondary research on ‘contextual applications’ yielded a concept called as ‘Mindflows’ (term coined by PwC). ‘Mindflow’ is the flexibility of a workflow to adapt to the thoughts of a person to accomplish a certain task.

Mindflow_PwC

Source: PwC

According to PwC, systems have to be designed based on not just workflows, but should also consider the human cognitive processes as part of the overall business processes. The following table shows how ‘mindful’ applications are better than traditional ones:

Advantages of Mindful apps

Source: PwC

Contextual Enterprise Applications on the rise
The need for contextual enterprise applications has risen dramatically in the recent past. Gartner lists ‘Context Rich Systems’ at #5 on the list of technology trends of 2015. It further states that “Businesses will be challenged with creating a dynamic user experience based on an expanding set of contexts to pull data from”.

Some of the present day enterprise applications are in line with Gartner’s trend. IT solutions are modeled more around human behavior now than in the past. For example, Oracle’s marketing automation application also called Oracle Eloqua is modeled around how the marketer thinks. Steven Woods (Group VP of Software Development, Oracle) believes “that’s how today’s software should be designed. How does a human think given a certain task, and how will software mold that thought process”. (Source: PwC )

Oracle Eloqua

Source: The Hub

Apple and IBM recently formed a partnership to focus on mobile business applications for various sectors, such as Finance, Law Enforcement, Transportation etc. One of the applications from their partnership was ‘Incident Aware’, which offers law enforcement officials contextual information relating to any untoward incident. This information included maps, video feeds from the crime scene, background information on suspects, and real-time information on back-up arrival times.

IBM's Incident Aware

Source: IBM

Engencia, which is the business travel services arm of Expedia, provided an application to its customers for their mobile devices. Each time a business user clicked on the app, it transmitted all of the relevant information to the travel desk agent. With the travel agent having most of the customer information already handy, there was very little input required by the business user for changing travel plans.

Egencia_Page

Source: Engencia

While the above examples certainly show that contextual enterprise applications are on the rise, here are some of my random ideas for contextual applications – though not aware of its being under usage already:
1. A Manager approving leaves for one of the resources in the team could be prompted to approve other pending leave applications for other resources. In addition, an interacting application could open a Project Management Application (with a single sign-in) and allow the user to modify the project plan based on the leaves approved
2. A service application could sense the energy/stress levels of a field service agent and suggest the next task to keep up on the productivity
3. Service desk applications can ‘predict’ a caller’s issue by using information such as name of caller, products/services purchased, location of caller, issues raised from same/nearby location of caller etc.
4. Timesheet applications could automatically record time spent on each task or activity based on several parameters (such as name of the application the user is working on, keywords being typed by the user etc.) and record the time spent on each task for the day

To conclude, one element that will play a huge role in designing the next set of enterprise apps is the ‘Human Factor’ element. Ergonomics, Cognitive Engineering, Psychology, Stress & Fatigue, Culture, and other HF elements will be major parameters in designing future enterprise applications. The ‘Cloud’, ‘Mobile’, ‘Analytics’, and ‘Social’ will be the major enablers of contextual applications. There is also little doubt that context-sensitive applications will play a very important role in the ‘Internet of Things’, ‘Wearable Computing’, ‘Smart Machines’ and other technology innovations.

About CRMIT Solutions

CRMIT Solutions is a leader in transforming businesses with cloud based Customer Experience (CX) solutions on sales, service, marketing & social cloud. CRMIT Solutions is committed to providing customers with the best service in the industry. Everything we do – every order, every delivery, every service, every offering – centers on the satisfaction of our customers, and making them more efficient at what they do.

CRMIT Solutions also extends Marketing Cloud Automation solutions with Oracle Eloqua. “Marketing automation has been a critical componemarketingcloudnt for our customers and Oracle Eloqua is an ideal fit for modern marketers to power revenue performance,” said Vinod Reddy, Founder & CEO, CRMIT Solutions.“They can transform the way you market in the digital age while delivering an integrated and highly personalized customer experience,” added Vinod

Achievements

CRMIT Solutions is committed to provide customers with the best service in the industry. Everything we do – every order, every delivery, every service, every offering – centers on the satisfaction of our customers, and making them more efficient at what they do.

Vikram Huruli
Senior Business Consultant
CRMIT Solutions Pvt. Ltd., India