Posts Tagged 'astadia consulting'

“Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud.” Lingo, unleashed


By Christie Turner – Director of Marketing – Astadia Consulting

Mike Lingo, the CTO at Astadia, travels the globe helping companies use the Cloud to transform their businesses. A Silicon Valley veteran and long time tech exec, he’s seen it all: Freewheeling disasters, crazed, defensive stakeholders, clean project roadmaps sullied by labyrinthine development models, and even ahead-of-schedule, under-budget implementations. Now, in his new book, “Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud”, he tells all, and charts how the Cloud will profoundly affect the people, processes, security, infrastructure – and bottom line – of your business.

“People ask me, Mike, why the Cloud? Why now? And I tell them it’s about having the horsepower they’ve always wanted, with fewer trips to the gas pump and very little wallop to your wallet. I tell them the Cloud has a higher safety rating than standard computing, and you get that safety without compromising on what you can wring out of this baby on the curves in your contact center, or on slick surfaces like you find on the executive floors. I tell them that you don’t even have to own anything, you just rent, and if you don’t like the model you’ve chosen, you bring it back and they give you another one to try out. Like a test drive, but all the time. There’s never been a better time to get behind the wheel.” —From the Foreword

“What Mike has done in this manifesto is to strip things back to the essentials and provide a plain-spoken view of where the strategic opportunities to leverage the Cloud exist for IT folks, the CxO crowd, and business line managers. The book charts a path not fraught with traditional IT peril, but one that unlocks the innovative juices of your team. Likely your CEO is demanding a strategy, so see what all the fuss is. And make it actionable.”—Doug Menefee, CIO, Schumacher Group

Click here to download a sample chapter of Mike’s forthcoming book about cloud computing.

 

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SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference – Notes from an SVP


By John McDowell – SVP of Global Sales for Astadia Consulting

I was half tempted to title this blog post “Notes from an SVP on a Small Island”! Yes, I’m in the UK visiting our EMEA team and as luck would have it I’ve chosen the coldest October week on record – what joy! Along with running from warm cab to rainy street and back again I was also invited to attend the SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference at London’s Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, as a speaker for one of the panels. The conference is attended by executives from ISVs, SaaS, Web and Enterprise companies from across Europe, gathered to explore, debate and discuss all aspects of SaaS and Cloud Computing.

The overriding theme of the conference was that SaaS and Cloud Computing are here to stay and will continue to change the way we consume IT services in the future. However, with this change, Systems Integrators (SI) are faced with an ever-changing environment in which to grow, gain business and profit. My panel slot discussed how SIs can achieve this and what customers should be looking for when selecting an SI for a SaaS or Cloud-based project.

The ‘big boys’, the likes of Cap Gemini, Steria, Accenture and Deloitte, still reign king at the top of the tree, but what is becoming increasing apparent is the growth of new, smaller, more specialist SIs with real expertise in the SaaS and Cloud market space. In my role as Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Astadia Consulting, I have learnt there is more to being a profitable SI in today’s hi-tech market than we traditionally thought. Here’s a snippet from some of the panel questions and what my thoughts were:

Q: Why do you think there has been such growth in the smaller SIs for Cloud & Saas?

In todays cloud space it’s about being focused on one area of business; for Astadia we like to see ourselves as our customer’s first port of call for all things cloud. So when a company looks to step into the cloud space, we can help with the initial move and then look at what additional infrastructure can be leveraged once they’ve made the first step. Astadia are Salesforce.com largest implementation partner worldwide. Why has Salesforce taken off at such speed? Because, traditionally CRM is the easiest place to start the migration of your application infrastructure into the cloud; the nice part about Salesforce is the license model, as well as the integrated bolt-ons that are part of the Salesforce AppExchange.

The sheer nature of smaller SIs makes them more adept at partnering with the many cloud vendors in order to provide holistic solutions for the Cloud. A nice example of this is the Astadia Front-Office; where customers can quickly leverage a package of applications that help with Marketing Automation, lead generation and lead nurture through to Salesforce Automation, targeting and commission structures.

Q: What advice would you give to smaller start ups in this market?

You can’t be half-hearted in your approach to the Cloud. That’s why so many smaller SIs are making such big changes and growth spurts in this game; they focus solely on the Cloud. They are experts in their fields who have a range of applications, technical expertise and best practise knowledge designed specifically for the Cloud. That really is Astadia’s strong point.

You should also realise that one size SaaS vendor does not fit all. Certain products will fit well in some cases and not in others; the successful SI will be the one that knows how to place these products specifically for the customer’s requirements.

SIs also need to focus on what they want to achieve. Astadia is a Services company, not a product company. We don’t compete on selling products; we compete on the services we provide from an industry best practice standpoint.

Q: What industry verticals do you see growing the most in this market?

So far the fast movers have been the Telcos, Media, Not-for-Profit and Financial Services sectors. The laggards are healthcare and the public sector, which I’m sure, will change as they have the most to benefit from SaaS and Cloud computing. Particularly from a cost saving point-of-view; which I see is at the forefront of the British Government’s agenda of late; I was looking at the news this morning re the pending government cost cuts.

Q: How much of the work to migrate to the Cloud requires integration – Getting the data into one place?

As far as we see it, all projects start and end with data. This underpins the success of any Cloud project and that’s why we partner with a number of integration providers. There’s no point having a whiz-popping Cloud application that can be used mobile, at home, offline and so on, if it doesn’t have the relevant data stored in it. Data drives end user adoption and buy in; without this your project is doomed.

Possible Change of Dates for Cloudforce London 2010


CLOUDFORCE LONDON – POSSIBLE CHANGE TO  WEDNESDAY 8TH

Due to planned tube strikes in the capital set to commence on Monday 6th September, Salesforce.com have the difficult decision to make of whether they should move the date for their Cloudforce 2010 tour to Wednesday 8th September.

The last thing any Marketing department wants on the eve of a Bank Holiday weekend is to start the mammoth task of changing plans for a conference the size of Cloudforce. However as news broke that Rail unions the RMT and TSSA would be commencing a 24 hour strike starting Monday 6th September at 17:00 until Tuesday 7th September 17:00, this was precisely the task that lay ahead of the Salesforce team and all its partners.

Similar action also set to start at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28, which will no doubt bring the capital to a grinding halt yet again.

Members of both unions voted in favour of strike action over 800 proposed job cuts and reduced ticket office opening hours. Most of the proposed job losses are among ticket office staff, although 50 management and administrative posts could also be axed.

Safe to save, Salesforce and their partner network are resilient – The conference is still set to go ahead and whether it’s Tuesday 7th or Wednesday 8th we’ll still be there! To register to meet the Astadia team – Simply visit this site.

We know and understand the difficulty this late change may bring to anyone who was planning to attend, but we’ll still be there whether it’s the 7th or the 8th and we hope to see many you out in force.

Chatter – Adoption is the Key!


By Ron Goldman – Service Cloud Director

I read an interesting blog recently from Sam Diaz from ZD Net about Salesforce’s Chatter application.

As far as I see, adoption is the key to unlocking the Power of Chatter. It’s a different way of thinking about collaborating in the enterprise; not forgetting that you’re also replacing a deeply ingrained tool, email!

I run Astadia’s line of business focused on implementing cloud computing for the contact centre and as part of that role; I’ve been using Chatter since April of this year. I use Chatter to communicate the availability of new sales tools, industry trends and product updates. I’ve had great success in getting our 20+ person sales team and our management team to follow me on chatter, meaning they’re getting live updates from me throughout the day. I’ve gotten valuable feedback from the team through Chatter to refine and update my materials. They see value, I see value and so adoption is happening naturally. I also follow sales opportunities for my line of the business so I get immediate updates whenever something changes on the opportunity.

I also realized that it would be great to selectively post some of the materials I was sharing internally to Astadia’s external communities on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I had our development team put together a solution framework called ChatterConnect that is like a TweetDeck for Chatter so you can bi-directionally post between Chatter, Twitter and Facebook. You can also post to LinkedIn (their API is limited to only receiving posts). Bottom line is that we are finding Chatter extremely useful in its out-of-the-box state and even more powerful with the extensions we are building for our clients.

If you’d like to reach out to me directly please do at rgoldman@astadia.com. Thanks for reading, Ron Goldman!

Register NOW to Meet the Astadia Team at Cloudforce London 2010


Just a quick note to let you all know you can book now to meet with the Astadia Team at Cloudforce London 2010.

Cloudforce, hosted by Salesforce, is the industry’s leading Cloud expo and Astadia Consulting,  Salesforce’s #1 implementation partner worldwide will also be there. So, if you’re already operating in the Cloud or want to learn more about the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud or custom application development for the Cloud this is the event to visit.

Register here to book your personal 30 minute meeting with one of our consultants at the event.

Why poor call centre customer service isn’t always the agents fault


By Jonathan Grant – CEO of NewVoiceMedia

Jonathan Grant - CEO of NewVoiceMediaI can hear the groans already, but it’s true, poor customer service from call centre staff isn’t always the agents fault. Hard to believe I know!

We’ve all been on the end of one of those calls when your query just isn’t being dealt with and you’re getting more and more frustrated. I know it’s hard to believe but this isn’t always the fault of the agent, it’s the systems they use and the information they have to hand that is to blame.

There is one thing I will say however, before I start picking holes in todays call centres; the concept itself is a fantastic innvovation that has dramatically changed the shape of how we communicate today.

Think about it, how did we communicate with companies before the call centre existed? Hard to remember, isn’t it? Yet the first automatic call distribution systems went live only 30 years ago, and were not widely used until the mid-1990s.

Since then the call centre has become one of the most important touch points between a business and its customers. However, unfortunately, call centres have been slow to change. Inbound callers are highly critical of poor customer service, long queues and automated systems. This is painfully apparent when you consider that only 30 per cent of staff in UK based call centres have the relevant customer information in front of them when taking calls. Hence we’re back to the problem – The concept is great but the execution is poor.

From my perspective, as a consumer who regularly calls into contact centres and as the CEO of NewVoiceMedia, it seems preposterous that this should be the case. There are cost-effective, flexible solutions available, which mean that business shouldn’t be providing below par customer service.

For example, we work closely with Salesforce.com and have created a truly integrated telephony solution with the Salesforce CRM system. The solution seamlessly transforms the way contacts and customers are handled when they interact with an organisation. In a nut shell,  agents have access to a single central source of information for all customer communication, sharing valuable contact data across an organisation. Inbound calls are announced to the agent with a link to the caller’s details and customer data held in Salesforce. This dramatically improves efficiency and helps to improve the overall caller experience. Everything the agent needs to provide the highest level of customer service is right at their fingers tips.

For me, this should be a standard element of any call centre. How can managers expect their agents to provide a superior level of service if they don’t provide them with the correct information?

What have your experiences been – either as a consumer or within business? I’d be very interested to hear your experiences.

You could also join a webinar we are jointly hosting with Astadia “The Six Reasons to move your contact centre to the Cloud” on Thursday 29th July at 12 noon.  The webinar will include best practice for successful contact centres, based on customer experience.

Click to register


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