• September 1, 2009
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

The Best of the Rest

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For the rest of the September 2009 issue of CRM magazine please click here.


Memo from the desk of Marshall Lager, September’s Chief Recognition Officer Emeritus:

September, a month whose dreaded name the editors of CRM magazine utter only in a whisper, even though the work appearing here — the Market Awards — was completed long ago. That effort’s past, so it’s time to turn elsewhere.

Then again, maybe not. There are a lot of noteworthy things happening in the world, and even a publication as sterling as this can’t properly address them all. No, that’s what I’m here for — to address these achievements improperly, the way only I can.

Achievement in Contact Center Technology:
Late-breaking news has delivered this award into the hands (or paws) of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. These enterprising scientists have genetically altered their lab mice to possess the human version of the FOXP2 gene, one of the main controllers of verbal communication. While we won’t be hearing a real, live Mickey Mouse just yet — the gene is one of many involved in speech — the fuzzy critters are already squeaking differently, so maybe talking rodents aren’t that far away. The significance to the contact center? Staffing, my dear readers: Instead of treating customer service reps as if they were vermin, we can simply hire actual vermin.

Best Snowjob:
There’s only one possible “winner” in this category: the now-defunct Entellium. You may remember the company, headed by Paul Johnston, taking home a Leader award for sales force automation last year; you’re more likely to recall the indictment and conviction of Johnston and his finance chief, Parrish Jones, for wire fraud, after it was revealed they had massively inflated the company’s sales figures. It’s something most of us would rather forget, but I can’t let it go because I was a strong supporter of Entellium’s technology and approach. Everybody was fooled, but I was the most vocal fool at CRM. If anybody wants to tell Paul and Parrish they’ve won another industry award, visiting hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays.

Best Mobile CRM Device You Won’t Buy:
Again, the latest announcement gets pride of place. The much-anticipated Palm Pre arrived in June with a ton of features ideal for salespeople and execs on the go. Early reviews dinged the Pre on its battery life and relatively limited memory, but it’s got much to offer that Apple’s iPhone doesn’t: a real keyboard, the ability to run multiple applications, better service-plan options, and all the expected bells and whistles of an iPhone Killer. The bad news? Practically everybody already has an iPhone. Those who don’t are either Palm diehards (like CRM’s managing editor), or drooling over iPhone price cuts that Palm hasn’t yet matched. Only a perfect smartphone would stand a chance — and the Pre ain’t perfect. Apple’s marketing machine is gonna steamroll the Pre into that circle of hell reserved for Betamax and the Commodore 64.

Best Blooper That Became Public:
At least I hope it’s a blooper. In response to the painfully ubiquitous “cloud” buzzword, supporters of on-premises software coined a new term for the model: the Private Cloud. Honestly, I don’t know what they were thinking. The most charitable image this term conjures is Charlie Brown walking all alone, with his own personal rain cloud overhead. Being far cruder than Charles M. Schulz’s worst nightmares, I instead came up with the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles. I believe there’s as much room for on-premises applications as there used to be, but — especially to my mind — the Private Cloud stinks.

Marshall Lager is the managing principal and founder of Third Idea Consulting. He can be reached at marshall@3rd-idea.com, or on Twitter at @Lager.


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