Michael Maoz

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Michael Maoz
VP Distinguished Analyst
13 years at Gartner
26 years IT industry

Michael Maoz is a research vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research. His research focuses on CRM and customer-centric Web strategies. Mr. Maoz is the research leader for both the customer service and support strategies area and customer-centric Web… Read Full Bio

Why didn’t you say that in the first place? The CIO needs Google Translate for CRM.

by Michael Maoz  |  December 10, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

My colleagues and I just released a new piece of research that we titled, “Nine CRM Projects to do Right Now for Customer Service (if you are a Gartner client you can read it here (http://www.gartner.com/document/2939818). What we did was take this year’s top 2,000 inquiries, together with our onsite client visits and Symposia one-on-ones and analyze them for common themes. Over 98% of our inquiries did not involve the CIO directly, but instead a thicket of job titles, all of which focused in one way or another on customer issues outside of pure marketing and sales. Some of these include:

  • Business process analyst
  • Solution architect
  • BPM design manager
  • Enterprise architect
  • CRM functional manager
  • Procurement specialist
  • Director of Customer Experience
  • VP of network services

Where is the CIO in these discussions? Nowhere is the short answer. The CIO thinks in terms of IT Governance, IT Strategy, Innovation Management, IT Budgeting, IT Cost Optimization. They talk about the business value of IT.

What we did, then, is listen to the folks who are tasked with translating the CIO’s big picture vision and strategy into a set of tactical decisions. In our case: what are the key projects that any of the IT leaders who want to help make Customer Experience a differentiator for the enterprise should undertake in 2015?

We started with customer experience metrics: do you know the right measures of customer satisfaction? Of how to lower the cost of service while providing consistent multi-channel service? How are consumer needs for consistent service on mobile devices being met? Are employees, those tasked with interacting with customers, motivated and happy, or disengaged? Are we using the right analytical tools to understand all of this? You get the idea – and hopefully you can reach the research – but if not think in terms of people/process/technology in that order to improve customer proceeses.

Don’t expect the CIO to help you with any of this – it’s the other way around. Come up with a ‘bottom-up’ set of priorities based on facts. Connect the Customer Engagement projects to process change, technology innovation, improvements in business metrics – and from there roll them up to the big concepts that your CIO is on the hook to demonstrate: better IT Governance, an IT Strategy that yields more customers, more profit, a better brand, the innovative use of mobile applications and video and sensors that show your Innovation Management, the move to the Cloud to improve IT Budgeting, IT Cost Optimization through better customer self service and crowdsourcing. And close by delivering the metrics, the improvements in cost and profitability that your CRM projects have delivered that show the business value of IT.

Give the CIO a break – create your CRM Translation Table today. Already doing that? Tell us about it!







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Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud Contact Center CRM Customer Engagement Customer Service Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Social CRM Strategic Planning symposium     Tags:

The CIO’s choice between bandwagon and band leader for CRM

by Michael Maoz  |  December 1, 2014  |  Comments Off

The IT world is curious in that the farther one gets from core technology projects the closer one gets to value. CRM business applications are similar – it is often the more arcane or little known software products and suppliers delivering value. It is they who are called in by the CIO or IT lead for Customer Experience to find cutting edge solutions to drive better engagement, solve difficult integration problems, improve process efficiency.

There are so many examples out there: delivering software upgrades to thousands of customers who are contractually entitled. How is that done? Through a CRM, but not by it. Or measuring the time a customer service representative is using an application, or searching for a document, or speaking on a phone, or percentage of the time that they are successful. Or uncovering which customers are your more influential, or trending that way. What is the software that analyzes mobile app usage rates? Efficacy rates? Uptime? Or the best natural language processors or virtual assistants or content personalization or CRM analytics tools? Do any of these come from one of the “Major players” in the packaged business application market? You could be forgiven for thinking so.

Why do our procurement officers and our CIOs often overlook the best and settle for less? It seems to be in part the Bandwagon Effect. For those non-US English speakers, this is a social behavior where individuals adopt a way of acting, or buy a product or service, at a rate of increase in proportion to the growth of others who have done so. Another way of looking at it is that there is strength in numbers. What my respected cohort does, I feel safe doing.

It requires true independence, confidence and strength to resist the powerful gravitational pull of the trendy. And that is what I see in so many Gartner clients devoted to the most inspiring projects: disregarding the herd and braving the odds to go after true shareholder value. Or better citizen engagement, or better connections for students. And the software used very often comes from “None of the Above.”

These project owners were sure enough of themselves that they built a business case, did their homework, and focused on the essentials: revenue growth, cost savings, new business enablement. They focused away from: status quo, sure thing, trendy, peer acceptance. Thomas Paine, the philosopher who wrote Common Sense in 1776, said that ‘when men (today he’d say men and women) yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.’ Another way of looking at this is that in the end going after the easy project that one’s peers have chosen and are pushing for. But as a business or as an IT organization that is a lazy option that could, in a time of a downturn, come back to haunt. And when we sit with the thoughtful CIO and IT leader who makes the independent choice, there is always that same electricity and passion for the customer and for the business. This gives them the clarity of thought to make the independent choice.

What are you seeing?

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Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience IT Governance Leadership Strategic Planning     Tags:

Siddartha CIOs, looking to exit the walled garden of Customer Experience

by Michael Maoz  |  November 4, 2014  |  1 Comment

Just about every student in the 1960s and 1970s in the Western world was exposed to Herman Hesse’s short novel, Siddartha. Everyone, it would seem, except future CIOs. But it is not too late, any more than it is ever to late to read Lou Gerstner’s Who says elephants can’t dance. Any time is a good time to read them. To save time, here’s the deal: Siddartha is reared in a beautiful palace, unaware of the turmoil that is life. He eventually leaves the confines of the palace, only to spend much of the rest of his life coming to understand the every truth has another and opposite truth. Only when he becomes aware of the totality of life’s dimensions do his eyes open and he attains enlightenment.

Let’s get practical: I brought my Passport, Visa application to China, photographs and letters to a logistics company three days ago for overnight delivery to a distance of 150 km – under 100 miles. I had printed labels for the company that was to receive the package, signed the forms, paid the tab, and trustingly left. When the 24 hours were up, I called the Visa processor to see how it was going. No package. OK, let me wait a bit. another six hours. Nothing. But the logistics company has tracking, and I enter the number. Nothing – it would appear the package has not been touched for two days. A call is made to the automated service, and then to a human agent, who says it was on its way but the labels were incorrect. Then that they were correct but they missed their flight. Then they were returned to the origin and there they sat. And still sat as of a few hours ago, nearly three days later. And no one appears to know why.

Hey, stuff happens. Force Majeure. Casus fortuitus – call it what you will. At the same time, wouldn’t this be something you would want to alert the customer to? Your urgent package has gone walk-about and you, dear customer, are now in a bad place, and here is the situation and here is what we are trying to do. That would be nice. Instead it is: you caught us.

The CIO of this fine company – great company – has little way of receiving specifics of what goes wrong. Over the years I have had multiple snafus with this company, and others, and the CIOs are all clients. The visibility that you (they) have into the day to day life of the customer is limited. It is the illusion of the 360 degree view that we build to and not the reality. Think this one through: why would a CIO know or care about the most granular aspects of the customer experience? The lack of outreach / notification / update / explanation? How will the multiple failed trips to the website, phone calls to the customer support center, brusque ‘we don’t know’ from the original shipping depot reach a CIO?

The lack of any one person holding responsibility for the health of the customer experience is what chokes progress in its improvement. We in IT can afford to be a tad smug and say, “What does it matter, anyway, what the customer experiences?” Why? Because in many countries since the beginning of 2009 until today the stock market is up over 200%. The secular economic tide has lifted princes and thieves alike. But just as in a time of peace a country should press hardest to prevent war, in a time of corporate affluence the CIO should grab the multiple reins of the customer experience. Siddartha lived as a beggar and a worker for Kamaswami, experiencing life as did the masses, and through this learned empathy. With whom do you, as a CIO or IT leader emphathise? Marketing? The senior leadership? Sales? Logistics? Shareholders? Or the customer? How are you gaining these experiences? Can you trust them? Have you lived the lives or your various customer types? Do you trust the accuracy of the customer experience data that you are receiving? Are you on the hook to improve the customer experience? Have you seen my Passport and documents? (ok, maybe not that.)

Can you name the companies where the CIO works from the outside in understanding the customer experience and designing processes accordingly? Let’s hear them – we have a long list of our own!



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Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Customer Centric Web Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Strategic Planning     Tags:

The CIO, a VP Marketing and a customer walk into a bar….

by Michael Maoz  |  October 5, 2014  |  2 Comments

Consumers are often frustrated for reasons that the CIO can neither see nor understand. Our consumers are frustrated for reasons that the VP of Marketing cannot see nor understand. If a customer of a business were to sit down with a CIO and give them their point of view, the CIO might find it interesting, though not conclude that it is their job to fix. If the consumer were to then sit down with the VP Marketing, they too would have a friendly conversation, notes would be taken, and little would change. If the CIO, VP Marketing and the consumer were to sit down together, there would be a lot of uncomfortable fidgeting, plenty of commiseration, and notes would be sent to the VP of Customer Service.

The big issue is that we as CIOs, or IT leaders, or Marketing leaders, cannot be everywhere. We need eyes and ears on the ground to tell us what is really happening. We need true feedback to come right at us. When we don’t have a close look at the customer, they stop believing in our slogans and mottoes and marketing hype. The feedback loop for most companies is broken. It is like in Van Morrison’s 1991 Hymns to the Silence album, and the consumer is saying, “I’m not feelin’ it no more, I’m tryin’ to give you the score, just like I did before.” But the lines of business and IT are saying that everything is fine. This is true whether your model is business-to-business or business-to-consumer.

Let’s look at, in pictures, three multinational companies that we interacted with over the past three weeks. Each of these has very high level marketing programs, Business Intelligence software, and high cost IT departments.

First, a car rental company. Returning a car to the airport at 22:46, none of the three shuttle bus drivers of this global company wanted to bring customers to the terminal because their shifts ended at 23:00 and they would only return to the depot a few minutes after 23:00. And the new shift of drivers would not begin until the top of the hour. So customers just stood enjoying the evening air while the employees drank coffee and smoked cigarettes:

Car company for blog

How will anyone in a position to institute change receive this feedback? You might say: complete the survey. Been there and done that: no response.

And then on the airplane moving from Asia to the USA, after intrepid traveler upgraded to Business Class in order to be fresh for work the following day, another global carrier could not be bothered refreshing the rest-rooms during the last hour of the flight. This airline has a massive IT project and Marketing program to win customers:

airplane WC

How about a place to leave feedback right away, or upon landing? (When asked why no WiFi, the crew answered: we can’t because we are over water…).

And the final example, a global bank with operations in over 100 countries. They are in the midst of an IT transformation, introducing Cloud computing for their business applications and using analytics to understand customer trends. But in the branch on any afternoon, over 50 customers mill about in multiple queues, holding onto chits of paper awaiting their turns to be called. Mountains of paper lie on every customer service desktop. It is basically like a liquidation sale right as the doors opened. Neither the CIO nor the VP of Marketing will know that the bad set of processes in the branch is a far more serious issue than IT modernization or the mobile banking campaign.

Bank for blog

The point? As we launch our Gartner IT Symposium in Orlando, FL (sold out: http://www.gartner.com/technology/symposium/orlando/ ),#GartnerSym this week, let’s look for ways for the CIO and the head of Marketing to reach all of the way down to where the consumer lives in their day to day interactions – at the moments of truth. Each of the businesses above have highly qualified IT leaders, as well as marketing leaders who are passionate about their brand, and have a concern for their customers. The fact that this passion does not manifest itself in the customer experience is understandable: these IT and Marketing leaders do not ‘own’ the customer experience. They own parts of the experience. Form follows function: IT does its best and Marketing does its best. Neither team has the brief, “Ensure that we are a customer centric company, and use direct feedback from the customer to inform our view. Let’s be transparent internally and externally to show where we stand, and how we have improved.” We need better feedback loops and a unified team including the CIO, VP of Customer Support, Customer Experience, and VP Marketing – a team that is measured and whose compensation is impacted by the resulting improvements or lack of improvements in customer experience.

So, the next time that the CIO, a VP Marketing and a customer walk into a bar, are you confident that they will toast one another…


Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Strategic Planning symposium Uncategorized     Tags:

As CIOs look out at Wearables, what is it that they see?

by Michael Maoz  |  September 9, 2014  |  1 Comment

 Think back over the past 20 years at the innovative technologies that you have absorbed into your life. That first Nokia 3210 back in 1999. Or that Motorola RAZR2 in 2006, or that dreamy iPhone that made you give up your Blackberry. No! Not the Blackberry, they’ll never pry it from my cold, dying hands. And then the next minute: who needs it. In Latin, ironically, one would say mobile vulgus – the public is fickle.  Regardless, add that mobile phone to ‘You’ve got mail,’ and then your first Facebook posts just ten years ago. And now it is Pinterest and Instagram and Snapchat.

What do they have in common? No one had to tell you that you wanted them. Without much fanfare, and with no convincing, you fell into them in an intoxicating stupor that you could hardly explain. Suddenly we were calling one another, and texting, messaging, poking, a lot of BFFs and LOLs, connections, links, infectious and inane games that caused the kids in the back seat to forget the traffic jam or the long plane ride.

And now ask yourself: is this the same feeling as wearables? Jawbone UP fitness trackers and Google Glass and a dozen other wearable devices usually land on the same Uber-wrists. The fit and the well-to-do and the educated on the US East and West Coasts, or I’m Right coast v the Best coast. As incredible as the new wearable technologies are, and without underestimating the enormous potential for monitoring health, is there the same fervor? Is there a mad rush to wearables, or is there a phenomenal amount of hype pushing people towards it?

A litmus test is to look at high school and university students. In the past, they were my early indicators. They don’t appear to want to have their lives run more efficiently. Was Angry Birds about efficiency and time saving? Hagel, Seely, Brown models might be great, but they aren’t the models younger demographics have in mind. The point is: as CIO or IT leader, trying to gauge the enthusiasm for wearables, the implications of turning employees and customers to ‘nodes on networks’ – versus other pressing initiatives like basic data about the state of the customer across multiple channels and their likelihood to buy your product or leave you for a competitor – where or where does a wearable go in the planning cycle?

NET: we have a period of IT euphoria for wearables ahead that taps into the overall Internet of Things. Eventually – and that eventually is more in line with IP telephony’s emergence than Facebook’s emergence – wearables will likely have a killer set of applications. In the meantime, now is the time to stage your investments in wearable technologies and applications, a time to build use cases, a time to measure a series of small tactical projects for specific users. Watch carefully for when that ‘eventually’ becomes today so that you are not caught flat footed (there’s an app for that), all of the while slotting in wearables in their proper place.

We may be way off on this – just speak up and say it! I have my Azumio and Strava set up, so I will know if you’ve rattled me.


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Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications CIO Cloud Customer Centric Web Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

The Selfie Marshall McLuhan anticipated 50 years ago, but as CIO you might miss.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 25, 2014  |  1 Comment

Here are five places where anyone could have observed a Selfie being taken or viewed in any major US city this week: Waiting in line at the DMV, driving a car, checking out at the supermarket, picking up tickets for a film, crossing a busy street. These were the more interesting answers given at a party Saturday night. Interesting in the sense that a sane person once might have asked: ‘isn’t that dangerous? Or silly?’ but today that same person would not ask, as posing the query would draw more of a stare than a Neanderthal on the East Green in Central Park.

Statistics that claim to tally channel usage by consumers are laughable. Dig into them and they are either focused on an industry, a geographic area, a specific demographic or market segment. The variety, depth, and style of using engagement channels and social media channels around the globe by people of various ages, educational and economic levels, and location make averages useless.

What is important is studying your own circumstance, aware of what is happening out there. What is 100% clear is that when Marshall McLuhan wrote Understanding Media – The extensions of man in 1964, he was onto something profound. This is not the first time his name comes up here. Re-read him. Try this line:

“Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man– the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media.”

We are deeply into the extension of consciousness into social media. Many of us no longer retain information, just a mental bookmark or social link to where the information can be retrieved – we are truly outsourcing our brains. To an extent we are also outsourcing our taste and judgment, preferring to let the crowd comment on an activity, a relationship, an idea, before we firm-up our own thought process. And all of the while we feel comfortable that each of us is in charge and acting entirely on our own. The only highly differentiated ‘me’ left is the me in social ‘me-‘dia.

What do we do with this eerie pattern? As IT professionals we admit that this is outside of our expertise. There are social scientists and evolutionary psychologists and ethnographers who we can tap into. There are universities around the world such as Stanford, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge where cutting edge research is available. (well, not exactly today in England – another Bank Holiday)

Tapping into the Zeitgeist is harder than we think. Technologies are abundant, while understanding is in short supply. Ask for help, look for allies, and look for the logic and the data to support hypotheses. It is an ultra-exciting time, though by no means a simple time.

Most companies are holding onto more cash than ever before. Rather than pass it into a marketing fog, the CIO needs to be vocal about the need to run small experiments to understand the implications of the media-saturated customer. Just get started. Maybe hold off on taking that Selfie at your next staff meeting, though.

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Category: Analytics for Social CRM Business Intelligence CIO CRM Gamification Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership Social CRM Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags:

CIOs start to taste the meringue and unload those pesky humans.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 19, 2014  |  3 Comments

It has been three and a half years since IBM’s multi-billion dollar Watson, an array of  supercomputing power, won the US television show Jeapordy. Despite some really funny errors, it did manage the very clever response to the answer: “A long, tiresome speech delivered by a frothy pie topping.” Its question, which it was the first to give, is now famous: “What is meringue-harangue?” Well before Watson we began to see contextual, semantic search improve, and rapid information tagging and retrieval. and new big-data approaches, we began to automate. But with Google’s Spanner RDBMS, Snappy, BigTable,  and other tools dribbling down into commercial applications, the world of self service will explode.

Everyone has a million personal examples of why most human jobs have to go. In the 1990’s world of call center outsourcing, we used to tell clients that this was an interesting intermediate step, but the true end point for most interactions was self-service. Outsourcing was simply whistling past the graveyard and buying time. On Sunday I was in an office supply superstore, because it was the last minute and I needed many things for one of my children who is soon to leave for school, and, of course, I needed them right away. Who goes in these stores otherwise, unless you are caught in the rain or overheated? I had been sent an in-store promotion that gave me a very nice discount. The marketing image was cute: “fill this bag and get an x-percent discount on everything!”

Well, as the offer was sitting on my iPhone and was to be scanned at the counter, why worry about the silly bag? To the store we went, filled the shopping baskets, and got to the register. There we met Keith. Keith, it would appear, is a stoner. Or pretends to be. Yet here we are with Keith, in seeming slow-motion, scanning each and every item. And we are not talking about listening to The Band playing for Max Fischer and Miss Cross at the end of Rushmore. Then again, CIOs should listen to the words: “I wish I knew then what I know now.” And then at the end I present my coupon from my iPhone and Keith looks up. “I’m sorry sir, but we are all out of those bags, so we can’t honor the discount.”

My daughter, suddenly enlightened as to the meaning of my Zen koan “Stay in school!” is baffled and can’t help blurting out, “Keith, dude, it’s a metaphor, its symbolic, its just an idea – we don’t actually NEED the bag. We don’t want a bag, only a discount.”

“Michelle, can you come help me at the front,” Keith speaks into the mouthpiece around his neck.

“What is it, Keith?” And he blithely relates our story about the bag for the promotion.

“Keith, they don’t actually need the bag, just give them the promotion.”

More of this unfolded, but I will save you, except the final crescendo: Keith is out of cash-register paper. The receipt won’t print. I tell him it is OK, it comes directly to me by email. What he says next now sets us into uncontrolled laughter, though he was not joking. When he realizes he is out of paper, but feels he MUST print the receipt, he stops dead in his already-glacial tracks and says, “I am out of paper. I am not physically or emotionally prepared to go through this.”

So here is the deal: let us scan it. Let us pay for it. Let us find the items with a kiosk. Let’s talk about uptime: your old landline was available 99.999%. Cloud apps are usually available 99.9+%. Robots are available all but 4000+ hours per year. Human are unavailable 6,880 hours of every 8,760 hours. And some work 20 years and then collect pensions for another 30+ years or more. And we like computers, and kiosks, and Google+ and search, and swiping, gesturing, and all around being in charge.

So, yes, we have made a good start at transitioning from carbon-based (humans) to silicon-based (computers), yet there is still 75% of the savings and improvements ahead of us. Are you inventorying everything that you can digitize? Move to the Cloud? Move to self service? Are you measuring the benefit versus the threat? Are you sharing it from the CEO and board all of the way to your line-workers? Automation will happen at a faster pace, and you don’t want pie in your face when you are questioned about how you have readied the enterprise.

As always, share your examples. We love the examples of self service and automation that you have sent over the past two years.

By the way, if you are trying to engineer the next generation Customer Service Center, I just published (for Gartner clients) the “Gartner Customer Engagement Center RFP Toolkit” to make it easy for you to find the right tools and vendors. (if you are a client, it is here: http://www.gartner.com/document/2822321 )




Category: Applications Business Intelligence CIO Cloud CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise Leadership SaaS and Cloud Computing Sales Force Automation Social CRM Strategic Planning     Tags:

Looking for the Demand-Side CIO

by Michael Maoz  |  August 6, 2014  |  1 Comment

The spectacular CIO you suss out in about 90 seconds. She/he comes into the room (and 85% of the time it is a ‘he’ with CIOs) and there is no condescending, no need to mark the trees and bushes before sitting down. The CIOs one usually meets have been around for a while, and 3/4 of the time do not have a business degree or MBA. The CIO that is devoted to making a difference in the business is inclusive and likes people in the room who are as smart or smarter than themselves. There is some easy joking. The others are not afraid of the arbitrary or rule by fiat.

Meetings start with the normal scuttlebutt*, but in a good way – what is happening? How are people feeling? What is working and not working? Where are we seeing roadblocks or potential problems?

Then the difference between the good CIO and spectacular CIO kicks in: the direction and tenure of the conversation. There will always be the conversations about security, outages, bandwidth, costs, urgent network and website and tools issues – and they are there on the table but they are not the order of the day. The true direction of the meetings and the agenda overall is around what an economist would think of as the ‘demand-side’ of the business. It would look at the CEOs core goals to grow the business, and it would look at the IT projects around people, process and technology that relate to these goals.

“How are we doing on our customer-facing initiatives?

How do you know?

Which customers?

Do we have the right people in place?

Looking at our key metrics for success in reaching a new audience, deepening profitable relationships and retaining customers, how are we doing with each of these?

What are the urgent technology initiatives that we have overlooked?

That we have not invested enough time or thought or money in?

How are our key competitors responding to these same opportunities and threats?”

Do these questions sound familiar? If they do, you are very fortunate, because this is IT harnessed to business success and you are at the center of great things. If instead you are sitting listening to a grumpy autocrat scrapping for turf, polish up your skills and LinkedIn connections. Unless you have closet masochistic tendencies, in which case consider yourself at home.

(* If you sail or are into nautical references, scuttlebutt is a term that came from sailors on larger ships who would put holes [they 'scuttled/cut holes in] in a cask [AKA a 'butt]of fresh water to access it more easily. The cask, or butt, was a logical place to gather and exchange gossip – like a watercooler in the ’60s-’70s)

CEOs and Boards of Director are looking to shift away from the old CIO type who has a ‘supply-side’ mentality and are actively recruiting for the ‘demand-side mindest’ in every key industry, including Government and Higher Education.

When you find one of these dynamic CIOs, talk them up! They are a part of the great things happening with CRM projects, Big Data initiatives, and the move to value-based relationships with customers and shareholders.

Thanks for sharing your insights about the great CIOs you are seeing!

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Category: CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership     Tags:

Data Analytics’ splendid isolation from the customer reality.

by Michael Maoz  |  August 3, 2014  |  4 Comments

Empirical data, AKA ‘stuff that happens to us as ordinary consumers’ is a decent way to capture the state of BI, Data Analytics and Predictive Analytics across industries and continents. In the past six months our team members have been on business trips and vacation on five continents and 18 countries and 12 US States. Some of us added a credit card, had a child prepare to leave home, rented cars, bought furniture, sporting equipment, electronics gear, entered the market for a new car, and had changes to our medical insurance. From hundreds of transactions there was zero perceived contribution from BI, Data Analytics and Predictive Analytics tools in any part of any process.

Some examples: While adding a Credit Card, one of us shifted about $3,600 in monthly spending from one card to another. This is after 12 years of consistent, and very frequent, use of the charge facility.  After eight months the original credit card company has failed to acknowledge in any way the 85% drop in monthly charges. Neither the retailer whose compromised security system, nor the Credit Card provider who failed to inform or advise in time and caused the move to another Credit Card made a move, sent a notification, attempted to explain/reach out/persuade in any way.

One of us reserved a car for a Sunday morning in Paris this July from a global Car Rental company, let us give them the name der Schmerz. Despite being high on their Loyalty Program and a 20 year customer, and despite confirmations by phone to their global office, they cancelled the reservation because we were not at their downtown site within two hours of the window allowed. A long, long story, but after renting at least 100 times previously, and despite a perfect record of picking up cars, there was no notification, no reminder of the 2 hour rule, no mention of the rule in the phone conversations or in the reservation reminder email. And despite having cars available would only provide a car at an 80% premium over the quoted rate. And the customer was to blame for being ‘late’ though they were unawares.

The automobile example is equally interesting: owning five cars from the same manufacturer over 15 years, we are again on the market. Multiple generic promotions are mailed to the house. None recognize what might be of interest NEXT. No pattern detected, no hints as to what might the next best approach: Lease? Purchase? Finance purchase? Features? Timing? Gornisht.

Whether it is financial advice for a student, retirement savings for an adult, government services, telephone/internet advice on best bundle, consumer electronics, pick an area and you will perceive as a consumer an absolute lack of understanding of customer intent. No traction, no engagement, no anticipation, no concierged service that rings of: “We are looking out for you!”

The reasons are legion – Marketing is interested in the ‘top of the funnel’ and the job of customer support is keeping you happy though you have a problem. Sales wants new money. BI wants to understand what is happening. But whose job is it to provide the actual mechanism to anticipate the customer’s needs, value, and corporate real-time response? We need a Dalai Lama of Business Execution, someone to enforce the coda: If you want your customer to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. I know his Holiness will excuse the mangling of ideas, but the message is: who is in the line of fire to guarantee that customers are treated correctly? That all of the rhetoric about customer experience and customer blah blah blah finally comes together in a systematic set of processes of mutual value exchange? (in simple words: the customer hands over their money because they really perceive the value at each step in the CRM process.)

The interlocking corporate team members from across BI, CIO, and Lines of Business either hang together or the customer relationships hang separately.

Do you know of any companies (and do NOT say Amazon or Nordstrom or Sephora again, please) that can carry out genuine, predictive and proactive analysis on behalf of the customer to offer them germane offers and services that engender trust? Let’s hear about them – name names! And tell us who is running the initiative!


Category: Analytics for Social CRM Applications Business Intelligence CIO CRM Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Strategic Planning     Tags:

Fooling ourselves with an Internet of Things.

by Michael Maoz  |  June 30, 2014  |  3 Comments

In the northern hemisphere it is summer, and vacation travel in the United States and Europe has gotten into mid-gear. It is a time when there is an accelerated feeling of just how out of synch the “Internet of Things” and “Social Media” and “Digital Enterprise” have gotten from many real issues. Roads are still crumbling. Highways are no different than they were in the 1950s. Over 99% of homes are about as primitive as they were when they were built. Airplanes still can’t take off or land in fog, and when they do take to the air, the overall travel time has not changed since the mid-1960s.

There has been a change in the nature of service. Now no one does anything for you. The job of customer service has been outsourced back to the customer. You want to find a product, YOU find the product. You want to pay, you establish your credentials, enter your information, and track the transaction. Want to fly? Stay in a hotel? Borrow an apartment? Rent a car? Book a place in a restaurant? (the list goes on and on and on) – don’t expect a human. And when you do, if you do, they will be less informed than you are, and not as commited or motivated to help.

What are CIOs working on? Are we, as IT leaders, finding ways to better engage customers, make their lives better, relate to them where they are, as they are, for whom they are? Even the term, “Internet of Things” focuses on the anonymity of the transaction: take in signal, compute signal, respond to signal. Antiseptic, clinical. If one were to say an ‘Internet of Engagement,’ then it might show that the intention is not to digitize everything, but to exploit the power of digitisation to drive better understanding of the customer, prospect, and partner to improve business results.

Internet of Things is not a bad start. Not a great start, but not a bad start. It is time to move past ‘things’ and into business outcomes, into deeper engagement with the customer or more intelligent work on behalf of the customer. Drones delivering pizza or gifts and driverless cars and a hundred other initiatives are wonderful academic experiments with serious potential to improve the supply chain. But for the average business, and the average customer, are you sure that you have found the best value in an internet of things, or is it time to look at an internet of engagement?


Category: Business Intelligence CIO Cloud Innovation and Customer Experience Intent Driven Enterprise IT Governance Leadership Social Networking Social Software Strategic Planning     Tags: