• April 1, 2009

Feedback: April 2009

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The Flaws of Business Intelligence
I read your article online (“The 9 Fatal Flaws of Business Intelligence,” Nov. 28, 2008, http://sn.im/0409feed1) and it sounds like we agree on a lot of things.
With all of the business intelligence (BI) marketers selling canned solutions, what do you think it will take (or is it even possible) for senior management to realize that the intelligence is not in the machine? Many years ago I recall creating some graphs in the oldest version of Lotus (think hammer and chisel). A senior executive looked over my shoulder and said, “I’ve got to learn how to use that!”—thinking that, with only a few simple keystrokes, the machine would produce the insights for her. D’oh! When will they ever learn?

Charlie Pearlman

Great article. If I may add my two cents: The path to effective business intelligence can be summarized as follows:

  1. Establish clear business goals, objectives, and/or initiatives.
  2. Identify and prioritize the metrics and measures that are linked to each goal, objective, and/or initiative.
  3. Map specific individuals or teams to the measurements and metrics being monitored, and ensure they’re empowered to influence each one.
  4. Monitor the data for next actions, progress, and intended results.

However simple and understated the path above may seem, it clearly and concisely outlines the keys to successful BI. The process requires the participation of management and staff as well as technology to help collect, organize, and present the identified measures and metrics.

David Baier

The Social Scene
This magic quadrant (“No Leaders Yet in Gartner’s Social Software Magic Quadrant,” Nov. 24, 2008, http://sn.im/0409feed2) excludes any products that enhance social computing in a larger platform. NewsGator’s Social Sites product adds tagging, communities, RSS aggregation, social network building and visualization, and much more to SharePoint. But it’s not listed since it’s not a standalone product.

Brian Kellner
Vice president, products, NewsGator

There are two markets in here, with different profiles: outside the enterprise, where there are fewer big players, and inside, where consolidation and competition are more fierce and there is a bigger focus on integration with Microsoft and IBM, the big players there.

Eric Sauve
Cofounder, CEO

I’m surprised that neither Ning nor Kickapps.com is listed by Gartner. Each of them has a huge number of users. Is this a question of definition or something else?

Petri Salonen

We were pleased to be included as one of Forrester Research’s nine leading online community vendors (“Forrester Waves to the Top Providers of Community Platforms,) Jan. 14, 2009, http://sn.im/0409feed6). We think the Wave report offers the opportunity to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each of us, and to focus in on the areas that are most important. We’re thrilled, too, that the report hails LiveWorld as a “premier services firm” and demonstrates that we are a strong community partner for brands.

Forrester’s Wave is based on LiveWorld’s Community Center product as of July 2008—and while we don’t agree with the characterization of our product as mediocre, we also recognized during the Wave process that we needed to make some improvements. Since then, we’ve done just that, rolling out several user-interface enhancements and content-integration widgets.

Bryan Person
Social media evangelist

Customer Focus, Customer Feedback
We’ve tried for several years now to get prospective clients to recognize that the Total Customer Experience is complex, and that they need to evolve if they truly want to understand customers. It’s a tough battle. My feelings are that such change comes through only inspiration or desperation. I’m guessing that, at Xerox seven years ago, it was desperation (“Why It’s So Hard to Focus on Customer Focus,” Nov. 21, 2008, http://sn.im/0409feed3). With today’s economic conditions I would expect more willingness to change, but I’m not seeing it yet. Am I looking in the wrong places?

Doug Pruden

The answers to the “modern-day Internet marketing” questions posed by this story (“Speak with Your Customers,” Oct. 6, 2008, http://sn.im/0409feed4) provide an interesting context for the direct input gathered from customer conversations. Some marketing applications help to gather this information and, more important, establish a process to ensure that the prospect information you gather from all sources makes it back to the sales reps—often a missing crucial step in customer- and market-research efforts.

Jon Miller

The Evolution of Enterprise 2.0
Enterprise 2.0 involves intelligently connecting existing desktop tools to the rest of the enterprise (“The 7 Evolutionary Phases of Enterprise 2.0,” Nov. 7, 2008, http://sn.im/0409feed5). This means taking the common spreadsheet and making it collaborative—not asking users to do all their work in a Web form connected to the cloud.

J.B. Kuppe

Being new to the world of healthcare, I was interested to hear more about how the financial services and healthcare sectors are ahead of the curve with the use of Web 2.0 strategies. I’m not really seeing that in my current healthcare role and was curious of the facts supporting this statement.

Mark Rothwell

SaaS and Satisfaction
The findings by Gartner on software-as-a-service (SaaS), referred to in your online article (“Software-as-a-Service Gets Strong Loyalty Marks,” Dec. 5, 2008), echo the results of a survey (http://sn.im/saassurge) conducted by ThinkStrategies, in conjunction with Cutter Consortium, which found that more than 90 percent of organizations using SaaS solutions are satisfied, plan to renew and expand their use of SaaS, and would recommend SaaS solutions to their peers.

Jeff Kaplan

Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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