• January 1, 2009

Feedback: January 2009

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Home Is Where It’s At
Though the article “There’s No Place Like Home” (October 2008, http://snurl.com/1008musico) is quite informative from an agent’s perspective about the opportunity to balance personal life with work life, what’s missing is the analysis from the company and customer perspectives.

Agreed, the agents enjoy the advantage of working flexible hours, and attending to their kids, but there is no mention as to what adequate care is taken to sustain (if not enhance) the customer experience. It’s a great thing to generate employment for the physically challenged, but will the customer take the sound of a television running/ kid crying or yelling in the background as he seeks assistance from an agent? Similarly, just like customer experience, it is equally important to evaluate the data-security issue: It would be very difficult to manage security once the data is already being accessed from the agent’s residence, and it would be nearly impossible to monitor data-theft problems. “Work-at-home agent” sounds good, but an effort to delve more deeply into the above-mentioned areas would go a long way toward making this article even more informative.

Ashutosh Thatte

Editorial Assistant Christopher Musico responds: Thanks for your insights. Regarding data security, I agree that it’s an integral concern for work-at-home agents (WAHAs). In fact, we did a story back in June (http://snurl.com/4khc4) about agent-desktop security. The reason I didn’t include security in the magazine feature is because the piece focused on the journey of becoming a WAHA—and security just didn’t have a place, given that theme.

You’re also absolutely right about the potential damage to credibility if a customer hears children crying or yelling in the background. That’s an important aspect of working from home—so much so that I included some of the strategies used by the profiled WAHAs, as well as the stringent vetting procedures that vendors use before approving any new workers. Thanks again for taking the time to read the piece, and to respond to it.

(Don’t) Pump Up the Volume
David Myron’s article “These Marketing Messages Go to 11” (Front Office, October 2008, http://snurl.com/1008fo) triggers a pet peeve of mine, too. Playing in bands years ago, I routinely wore ear plugs to reduce the damage to my ears and I never stood in front of the bass player’s amp during a gig. Competing for my attention by turning up the volume is offensive and not effective. If anything, it drives me away.
Too bad most marketers have forgotten the “moment of softness” commercials from some years back. They were visually appealing, inoffensive, and allowed you to hear (rather than lip-read) your conversation with the person sitting next to you.
Even more to the point, the article reminded me of the old joke about how to speak a foreign language: In South or Central America you add “o” to most words; in Italy you add the “o”—and yell.
Recently I heard that two of the fastest-growing markets for the 25-to-35-year-old age bracket were chiropracty (as a result of the odd walking motion required to retain one’s trousers above the kneecap) and hearing aids, thanks to movies and car stereos that were played too loud.

Bill Galbreath
Multi Business Systems

Breeding New CRM Consultants
I thought “The New Breed of CRM Consultant” (October 2008, http://snurl.com/1008mckay) was great! As an ex-PricewaterhouseCoopers/IBMer who has implemented some of the most complex SAP/Oracle CRM implementations around, I think you’re right on the money: Today, a good software-as-a-service (SaaS) CRM consultant—and consultancy—is far less about the technology and all about the specific business process and industry extensions that can fit on the SaaS product framework. Think Salesforce.com and its AppExchange, NetSuite and its recent OpenAir acquisition.

David Boulanger
Research Dir., Customer Management Strategies, Aberdeen Group

Building a Better Business Architect
Regarding your recent online story (“The Buzz Around Business Architecture,” October 27, http://snurl.com/Jan09feedback1), Forrester’s reports are nice, but fundamentally flawed in understanding the business part of business architecture (BA). Business architect is not an IT role. The fact that it’s seen as one has been the problem. Interestingly, Forrester and Gartner have been absent at the major forums and discussion groups trying to better define the BA space.

Greg Suddreth

Business architecture should be discussed without hardly ever mentioning information technology. When the primary goal for a BA is “to improve alignment between IT and the business” then the resulting BA will almost surely be tainted because it will be developed with a bias for IT. Obviously a BA can be used to improve IT (primarily as one of the four architectures that constitute an enterprise architecture), but it should be equally useful as a tool to all other parts of the organization—just as valuable in “improving alignment” between HR and the business or marketing and the business. A BA will be IT-biased whenever IT is frequently mentioned but other units are not. BAs should be truly of and for the entire enterprise, in which IT is just one of many functional units, no less or greater than any of the others.

Dean Larson

Letters may be edited for length or clarity.

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