Enterprise Social Software Market Shows Significant Gains and Is Quickly Becoming the Main Way to Connect Employees, Data, and Systems
New International Data Corporation (IDC) research shows that enterprise social software adoption has accelerated significantly, finding use cases across almost all industry verticals as it continues to become a critical decision support and worker productivity tool. Many companies are now looking to build and implement an overall social business strategy and the most appropriate enterprise grade social tools will be a critical component of that strategy.
According to IDC, companies are turning to social software in increasing numbers as they look for ways to increase collaboration, improve both business and individual worker productivity, and efficiently manage a growing deluge of content and information. Compartmentalized and specific collaboration is still required by many organizations and traditional collaborative applications providing closed loop and B2B communications will retain their existence in organizations alongside more open social solutions.
IDC's research found that almost all vendors in the market had double-digit growth for 2010–2011, with the top 2 vendors, IBM and Jive, delivering greater than 70% year-over-year growth – almost double the market average. The fastest-growing vendor in the top 20 was Yammer, with a year-over-year growth rate of 132.3%.
Worldwide Spending on Enterprise Application Software to Increase 4.5 Percent in 2012
Worldwide spending on enterprise application software will total $120.4 billion in 2012, a 4.5 percent increase from 2011 spending of $115.2 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. With only limited signs of improvement in the near term, the growth projection for 2012 has been adjusted downward from 5 percent in the previous forecast in 1Q12.
The key enterprise application software market segments in 2012 include business intelligence (BI); content, communications and collaboration; customer relationship management (CRM); digital content creation (DCC); enterprise resource planning (ERP); office suites and personal productivity; project and portfolio management (PPM); and supply chain management (SCM).
ERP is the largest enterprise application software market with revenue projected to reach $24.9 billion in 2012, followed by office suites at $16.5 billion. BI revenue is forecast to reach $13.0 billion, and CRM is on pace to exceed $13.0 billion this year.
Gartner analysts said that cost optimization and shifts in spending from "megasuites" to the automation of processes, will continue to benefit alternative software acquisition models as organizations look for ways to shift spending from capital expenditure to operating expenditure. Because of this, vendors offering SaaS, IT asset management and virtualization capabilities will continue to benefit from organizations looking to shift upfront capital expenses to operational expenses.
An increasing number of organizations are demanding software functionality as a service (infrastructure as a service [IaaS], platform as a service [PaaS] and SaaS) or via cloud-based services rather than on-premises. As a result, vendors are offering more technology as subscription-based solutions and "pay as you go" offerings, positioning them as more cost-effective and as a way to counter the effects of economic belt tightening. SaaS and cloud-based services help vendors to expand revenue growth by making it easier for end users to test and evaluate new types of software, provision new users to current technologies, and migrate users off older versions to newer versions of software.
Collaboration and Transparency Key to Providing the Edge Midmarket CEOs Need to Drive Innovation, According to IBM Study
A new IBM global study of midmarket Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) indicates that nearly twice as many midmarket CEOs see creating a more collaborative work environment with a higher level of openness and transparency as a top priority compared to the findings from the IBM CEO study conducted in 2010.
A total of 45 percent of midmarket CEOs see the need to create a more open business environment, a close to 50 percent jump from two years ago.
Additionally, nearly 70 percent of midmarket CEOs aim to partner extensively with other companies as external relationships will play a more critical role to CEOs’ overall business strategies; 64 percent of midmarket CEOs are focused on creating a more collaborative environment to engage employees with a new way of making faster and better decisions in an increasingly changing business environment; and 71 percent are focused on improving their understanding of individual customer needs.
CEOs also discussed the whirlwind of “social” change they’re witnessing. Facebook, Renren, Twitter, Weibo, Foursquare and other social media upstarts have changed the way products and services are marketed to consumers. Despite the surge in social media adoption around the world, only 15 percent of midmarket CEOs are using social media platforms to connect with the individual consumer today. Three to five years from now, that number is poised to spike to 50 percent.
Market dynamics and technological advances continue to force more organizational change, significantly impacting how midmarket businesses engage with customers and employees and drive innovation. Midmarket CEOs are now looking to technology not only to make them more efficient but also to enable increased collaboration and create relationships – essential connections to fuel creativity.
Rising complexity and escalating competition have also made partnering a core innovation strategy for many organizations. As midmarket businesses become more geographically diverse and interact with other organizations, the importance of sustaining a collaborative business culture will only continue to grow. Those that are perceived to be collaborative often find it easier to partner with other successful companies. In fact, about 50 percent of midmarket CEOs see partnering or collaborating as a way to stay on the path of innovation.
In addition, given the market pressures to operate with greater openness and transparency, CEOs are looking for employees who will thrive in this kind of atmosphere. CEOs are increasingly focused on finding top talent with the ability to constantly reinvent themselves. These employees are comfortable with change; they learn as they go, often from others’ experiences. CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (72 percent), communication (68 percent), creativity (58 percent) and flexibility (66 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment.
Organizations are under intense pressure to respond to not only how customers want products and services delivered, but also when and where. Businesses can profit from unique insights they discover about customers. In fact, 65 percent of midmarket CEOs identify customer insights as the most critical investment area.
Finally, mobility is also elevating customer expectations and creating new challenges for CEOs. Midmarket clients have a tremendous opportunity to create value out of immediacy to be ready with relevant services and information in the context of the moment. As mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, companies will need to take advantage of location based services and new forms of commerce in which mobile is integrated into a consumer's multichannel experiences, tailored to the individual, to stay competitive.
Survey Reveals Greater Challenges in Meeting Customer Needs as Consumers Indicate they are Creating More Interactions across More Channels
According to a new survey by NICE, consumers are more empowered than ever before as they are communicating more often and using multiple channels to contact an enterprise. Consumers indicate that on average they are using six different channels for contacting service providers, while 86 percent note that on average, they are communicating more often, or at the same level, with businesses over all channels.
The Web continues to be the most popular and growing self-service channel, while smartphone applications and social networks have grown in popularity with more than 40 percent of respondents noting that they have increased their use of these channels.
Almost half of the respondents noted that if they are unable to accomplish a task on a company website, they will then turn to the contact center to resolve their issue. This is often due to the fact that respondents find complex tasks difficult to complete via the web self-service channel. As self-service channels are more often used for easier tasks, the contact center continues to evolve to "Tier 2" status, for taking care of escalated service requests.
Customer expectations are high as 40 percent of respondents want the live representative to already know about their experience before beginning their conversation in order to bring the issue to a quick and successful conclusion.
Some other key findings:
Within Financial Services, only 50% of customers indicated satisfaction in their interactions with a live phone representative. However, greater satisfaction was reported among respondents in the other verticals – here, 81% expressed satisfaction with the live rep channel.
The use of all interaction channels is growing, especially in the travel/hospitality and insurance sector. The healthcare industry lags behind in multi-channel service, and many of the advanced channels (e.g., social networks, smart phone applications) are still not prevalent. Healthcare customers prefer to use service centers (85%).
The use of smartphone apps and SMS is on the rise (34%), with the strongest growth in the financial services sector (46%) and the travel sector (38%). FSI customers are substantially more successful (52%) and satisfied with smart phone apps than users in other industries (34% use this channel successfully).
The role of IVR remains unclear; survey results indicate a failure to contain interactions and a significant negative impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. One of the biggest motivators to use IVR is to get to a live representative who is aware of their IVR journey, or to use the callback option. Regardless of the vertical, around 60% of the respondents indicated that they try to bypass the IVR to get to a live representative.
10 Mistakes that Lead to Mobile Customer Service Failure
While organizations are judiciously deploying their mobile application strategy, there are 10 major mistakes that cause mobile customer service failure, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said organizations should develop a mobile application strategy that enables them to capitalize on the unique opportunities presented by mobile technology. There are four areas that need to be addressed when developing this strategy:
Demand. What do customers want, what does the business need, what devices and habits do customers have, and what will the competition do?
Supply. Innovation is a major challenge, demanding that organizations go beyond "me too" mobile applications. What staff and skills will be needed to manage external partners, and how will they be obtained? What services and partners should be used?
Control. Who owns and manages the strategy? How will the strategy be managed? What measurements will be used to track it?
Risks/issues. What risks and issues are raised by mobility? What could derail the strategy, what other factors will impact it?
Gartner has identified 10 major mistakes that lead to the failure of an organization's mobile customer service:
1. Violation of the "three-click/tap/press" rule. Applications must not use more than three key strokes to get to the required functionality. Each additional keystroke typically adds complexity and often stops the user from returning to the application.
2. Difficulty with ergonomics, especially text input. Just because your web content fits onto a laptop browser screen, this does not mean it is suitable for a mobile device. Mobile content needs to be simplified and repurposed for each user device.
3. Not reusing learned behaviors — such as soft keys, navigation. Mobile applications need to pick up the user's habits on the phone. For example, if "autocomplete" was switched off on the phone settings then don’t use that option in your mobile application — because the user clearly dislikes that functionality.
4. Violating "security 101." As with laptop and desktop applications, mobile applications need to comply with security requirements. Authentication, encryption and secure login should all be part of any mobile application architecture.
5. Difficulty with navigation. Standard Web pages displayed on a mobile device often have content disappearing to the right and off the bottom of the screen. To navigate, users have to scroll left-right and up-down to try and find basic functionality such as the "back" button. Ensure that navigation buttons can be easily accessible at all times.
6. Burying most important functions. Due to the limited screen real estate, mobile application designers must ensure that the most important functionality is right at the start of the navigation journey, as opposed to layering functionality deep down in the application.
7. Incorrect or illegible display of text or graphics. Many mobile devices are still not smartphones and have limited graphics processing capability. Pushing large graphical images and video text to the mobile device could result in a very poor quality experience for the user.
8. Inability to revise mistakes. Few things are as frustrating on a mobile device as trying to get the cursor to the middle of a word or Web address to correct a typing error. Always have two "back" buttons -- one that erases text and one that does not erase text but will allow the user the opportunity to correct typed mistakes.
9. Content visibility. Sunlight is one of the worst enemies of mobile applications, because it often makes the text on the screen illegible. Employ the best practice of "bolding" the most important pieces of information on the screen.
10. Resource inefficiency -- draining the battery, excessive network round trips. Mobile applications must have a stop-start capability to allow the user to stop an activity or data entry and then return to the same point without having to re-enter all the content. This capability is needed when the device has to be switched off mid way through a transaction -- for example, when flying or when the battery runs out.