First Coffee for 26 May 2006: Radio KCRM, Agile and Acer's PLM Deal, Does CRM Make Money?, Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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First Coffee for 26 May 2006: Radio KCRM, Agile and Acer's PLM Deal, Does CRM Make Money?, Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs

By David Sims

And welcome back my friends, both of you, to the show that ends, as well as the rest of the best here on 98.6 KCRM, the pride of beautiful crime-free South Central LA, where you get the news as of the first – but just the first – sixteen-ounce iced coffee this morning and if you want to play air guitar along with ol’ Primo Java here you just slip The Allman Brothers’ Hittin’ The Note, a much, much better album than anybody had a right to expect from this band in 2003 in the CD changer, might have to take out the Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Dixie Chicks or The Mozart Effect CDs to do so, but remember: Those Learn Japanese While You Sleep! CDs don’t work, but if you ever bought X-Ray Spex as a kid you’ll probably fall for that too:

First up to bat today we have… Johnny Damon, and folks, wear those “Looks Like Jesus, Acts Like Judas, Throws Like Mary” t-shirts proudly except when passing Greg Galitzine’s door, then second we have the Agile Software Corporation, a vendor of product lifecycle management products, telling us that Acer, the folks who made that PC you’re using right now, has selected Agile PLM as its global PLM product standard.

A global IT firm, Acer will use Agile Product Collaboration and Agile Product Portfolio Management to “accelerate getting products to market, as well as to improve and streamline the visibility, management and collaboration of new and changing product record information across its worldwide operations and extended supply chain,” according to company officials.

After looking over the PLM market, Acer selected Agile, so it says on the cue cards, “because of its robust, industry best practice products, and its excellent reputation as the PLM market leader in the electronics and high tech industry.”

Richard Lai, Acer’s chief quality officer, quality and services business unit expressed ye fond hope that Agile would “help us streamline our outsourced manufacturing capabilities by providing visibility into our complex product portfolio across our global manufacturing and supply partners. This visibility will enable us to better collaborate with our partners and optimize our product development investments.”

Sounds like Mr. Lai could do with a change of windshield wipers or X-Ray Spex, but there you have it, campers, a basic tenet of CRM: It’s all about the visibility. Hey if you can’t see ‘em you prolly ain’t gettin’ your money’s worth out of ‘em, can I get an amen?

With headquarters in Taiwan Acer makes more than just PCs, oh my yes, there are servers and storage devices, LCD monitors and high-definition TVs, peripherals, and e-business products for business, government, education, and home users. In time-honored American tradition the company outsources the majority of its manufacturing responsibilities, evidently “Made In Taiwan” is now “Made In China.”

It’s coming up on the top of the hour here at KCRM, the pride of Pitcairn Island, and the question asks – sorry guys, no Pamela Anderson before’n’afters here, that’s a different silicon site and have your credit card handy – in a good piece by industry observer Ron Condon, is can CRM help you make money in the mid-market?


Moving right along, next up here on KCRM we have… okay okay, the blow-by-blow. Herr Condon recounts that two years ago, a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit of 370 businesses of all sizes revealed that only 15 per cent of them had derived any real value from their customer relationship management implementations.

Of course… your company wouldn’t be in that Pitiful Percentage, would it? You wouldn’t be listening to KCRM, the pride of Idaho’s potatos… potatoes… Martha, get Dan on line two, never can remember how to spell that – if it were, right?

The study, which Condon reminds us all was funded by IBM, concluded: “To the chagrin of many companies – from those with double-digit billion dollar annual revenues and up to $100 billion in assets, to small businesses with less than $50 million in annual revenue – CRM has yet to achieve the promised return on investment goals that made it so appealing in the first place. Furthermore, in many cases, customers have yet to notice a decisive difference.”

We’ll take dissenting calls right after this short commercial break – Come on businesses, know how to save! Cut your costs with… Burma Shave! – but methinks FC remembers hearing something about the whole point of CRM being to, well, make money. Whassup?

Rod Street, partner with IBM Consulting Services, tells Condon that in many cases – present company excepted, no doubt – “people were not clear about what they were trying to achieve. They didn’t identify the levers of business they wanted to improve and focus on them… the most successful ones were those who managed their budget and tracked the benefits against business goals.”

Here’s the kind of business success story First Coffee likes: Condon points to Heineken as an example of CRM success, where the company MADE A BETTER BEER set out with a specific set of goals – to MAKE BETTER BEER THAN MILLER OR BUDWEISER, WHICH REALLY WASN’T SO DAMN HARD NOW, WAS IT? prioritize more important customers, achieve better penetration for the Heineken brand and BLIND SIDE-BY-SIDE TASTE TESTS SHOW THAT BLINDFOLDED PEOPLE SPILL A LOT OF BEER, BUT THAT ONCE YOU HAND THEM THE GLASS THEY LIKE HEINEKEN BETTER! improve service standards.

And friends, Romans, brewers, make a better product. That goes a long, long way too, y’know. We’re not saying it has to be Sam Adams or Urquell Pilsner, but at least increase the quality lipstick on the pig, y’know, Maybelline or something like that.

Street told Condon, who told Cindy, who told Ethel, who told Mrs. Huntsicker who swears she heard from Elaine at the hair salon that “they used Siebel but they would always describe it as ‘improving service’ or ‘altering the way we handle different customer groups.’ The better focus yielded a 14 per cent growth in market share.”

Because here’s the clincher: “The aim of any CRM project should be to cut the cost of handling customers, while delivering better service. CRM should allow you to identify your most profitable customers, and should streamline business processes to deliver them a smoother and more efficient service. In short, it should increase profits.”

What, no world peace, free lunch and good five-cent cigar in there? Want fries with that too? Hey what’s this old cup here… “Passover Seder, Jerusalem, Upper Room, 32 A.D., This Cup Is Presented In Recognition Of Three Years Outstanding Small-Team Leadership By John, Peter, Bartholomew…”

Lots of examples in the Condon piece, itself worth a read. Basically he says sure, SMBs can get value from CRM. He quotes Jason Nash, CRM manager for noted SMB outfit Microsoft UK, saying “for some people,” and presumably he’s not addressing his friends back in Redmond here, “my advice is to think small. Think about having a clean database with all your contacts in there, and the ability to track meetings and e-mails against them. For a first phase, that might give them huge benefits from where they are today.”

Basically, Condon says, anybody can remember what their customers buy and suggest similar products for purchase. Anybody can upsell, anybody can cross-sell, anything you can do, I can do better.

That about wraps up the show in Saran Wrap for fresher podcasting here at KCRM, the pride of the Greater East Slingshot, Vermont Metro Area, but first, pace Dave Barry, First Coffee swears he’s not making this up, but National Review has printed a list of the Top 50 Conservative Rock Songs. The top ten:

10. “20th Century Man,” by The Kinks

9. “Don’t Tread On Me,” by Metallica

8. “Bodies,” by the Sex Pistols

7. “Revolution,” by The Beatles

6. “Gloria,” by U2

5. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys

4. “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (wussy SpellCheck...)

3. “Sympathy For The Devil,” by the Rolling Stones

2. “Taxman,” by The Beatles

1. “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” by The Who

Huh? Where’s Bob Dylan’s “Union Sundown?” And no “Louie Louie?” Come on, guys.

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