I am finally replacing my old website and merge my personal Blog that resided on Blogger.com since 2005 with my Social Relationship blog I recently started.
Why “End of Automation”?
No I don’t envision moving back to caves or living in trees (nice idea though) – No, I’m taking tangible business results. I’m talking about the consequences we suffer from an overly automated business relationship development.
Since 2003 I’m on LinkedIn, blog since 2005, tweet since 2007 and do this all while running a business as a CEO. I’m neither a blogger nor a twitterholic. But what I learned from the past experience of 5 years social media – businesses alienated their most important assets: CUSTOMERS – through total automation.
The day we may tell our family: “Sorry I can’t go on vacation but I outsourced my role as father and here is a friendly guy joining you…” that day I trust is the right time to outsource your customer engagement to call centers, automated voice systems, email blasts….
I’m the first to admit I’m as guilty as everybody else. The only difference, I had the opportunity to learn for the past 5 years how much different and at the same time more effective it is to stop automation and find smart ways to personally engage with an even larger number of people.
So under the new umbrella
The end of Automation – The beginning or Relationships
I will continue to post about thoughts, experience and my vision on Social CRM, Social Relationship Management and Customer Experience.
After focusing my blogging on Xeequa and lately on Social Media Academy I decided to to do some personal blogging once in a while. And as such I revitalize this blog here at Blogger.
With the beginning of the new year and changes in the blog software I’m experimenting with a new Blog for Xeequa and updating this blog. The new software for Blogger is pretty cool – B U T as I converted it to the new format I guess I lost a lot of the old customizations such as the Technorati Links, Feedburner Links etc. Oh well…
Please visit also my new blog which is http://Xeequa.blogspot.com
Wow – 2 month through the US from coast to coast. Yes, this was a very educational, interesting and relaxing tour. Never in my live I had 2 month off – and yes it is hard to get back into business mode. On the other hand this was so helpful to better understand the country, the diverse cultures, peoples, challenges and opportunities. We came back thinking “California is an island”.
Software as a Service is big – in California. But in the rest of the US? We talked probably to more than 100 different folks in Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, Gas Stations, Supermarkets, in Parks or elsewhere – not a single person had an idea what Software as a Service is. Hmmm – so how are we doing in terms of SaaS marketing?
We visited computer stores: “What is hot these days?” “Multimedia in any way or shape.” Videos, photos, MP3… Any business around Internet? Cable Modems, better screens, faster machines, a laptop for grandpa. On software? Antivirus programs. Microsoft? Hmm don’t know nothing hot.
Now we are back and totally recharged
After 25 years in indirect business – growing channels for Rockwell International, building my own global distribution organization (Computer 2000), today part of Tech Data, successfully growing yet a new channel during the DotCom boom (Infinigate) – while the saying went “The internet eliminates the middleman”, then building a new category of Channel CRM Software as founder and CEO of BlueRoads and lately helping the SaaS industry to create a whole new channel structure, I decided to write a book about “Channel Excellence”.
I’m pretty far and plan to publish it in about 12 weeks. In the meantime I will interview channel chiefs, channel workers and people who helped shape the indirect channels in the high tech industry. Any inputs are very welcome!
To support that project I created a separate blog ay http://www.channelexcellence.com
Much is written about how Software as a Service will kill the indirect channel. SaaS vendors flip a switch and the application is live. It seams that the 250,000+ US based VARs and resellers go out of business any soon. But wasn’t that the story when the Internet came into existence? Or earlier when CDW opened their doors? Or… 1850 when the industrial revolution started?
N O – the channel isn’t going to die!
I recently talked to a few executives in medium and larger size organizations. And there was 1 single question that makes it so obvious what role a channel needs to play in SaaS: “Who has the capability to help us put it all together” – “Who can help me composing my new IT world which may consist of multiple vendors for different jobs i.e. Sales, HR, Expense Management and so forth”. The channel business simply hasn’t really started yet. But here are already several cases with great success stories.
B U T – the new industry needs a new type of channel.
There is no need for a warehouse, for technicians to install and configure software. The new world needs business savvy and business process aware people. There is no margin to be made from reselling but money from consulting, implementation, integration and ongoing maintenance. Feel free to download my whitepaper at Tanooma.
SaaS is not only no danger for the channel – it may actually be the biggest business opportunity in IT history. About 1 Million early adopter started with SaaS so far. About 750 Million will join the party in the next 10 years or so. That requires 1 – 5 Million Channel partners to act as catalysts for that new industry; it may turn out an even bigger channel than in the traditional IT industry.
One of the innovations I was working on the last few years was a better way of getting sales leads to resellers. Rather than pushing them out and hoping somebody will follow up, I developed a pull methodology where Partners can pull them from a pool to make sure that the lead will have a follow up. Several rules, a well thought out process flow and an automatic tracking made it work. I applied for a patent which was awarded patent number 09,514,997 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office last week.