What are you waiting for??? Just click this link and you’ll be in business. You only have Till COB on Friday so don’t procrastinate!
You’ll be happy you voted.
All year, it seems like, we’ve been running CRM Idol, the contest started by Paul Greenberg to identify hot emerging companies in the greater CRM space. We are now down to voting for finalists and this is where you finally get the chance to make your ideas known. Time to vote.
This year’s crop of contestants, and especially the finalists, was exceptionally strong. These companies are all well deserving of the venture capital that they’ve already raised as well as what will be showered on them after the voting is over. We could tell right away that this year’s crop was a cut above last year’s — and they were pretty special, too. But the companies in this year’s contest really, really get it. They are laser focused on social and its many tentacles into CRM.
But social is not the only thing on the menu. We’ve seen an impressive array of automation that goes from various forms of analysis to clever virtual agents. So, when you vote think about all that and also think about how three of the seven finalists come from parts outside of Norte America. That’s right, this is a global event these days.
So let’s get to it. To vote go to the CRM Idol site here and please, s’il vous plait, por favor, puhleeze! watch the video that each company made to describe to you the business problem they solve, how they do it and what customers think of it. Then read our judges reviews of each company. Figure you need to spend about 30 minutes to do this job right and we need you to be conscientious about it.
Don’t worry if you can’t get it all done in one sitting, we know what it’s like to live in these distracted times. But come back if you need to, make some notes to yourself. Rule some out before making your final selection if it helps (just like taking the SATs).
So, go vote, it will do you some good. It will show you where the market is moving. It will also help some very talented emerging companies to sharpen their ideas and offers. Most importantly, I’ve come to see Idol as the premiere community building activity in the front office. You don’t see ERP vendors doing this, or HCM or any other branch of software (OK, maybe gamers have something equivalent but that’s not business, it’s entertainment). It’s one of those things — like Dreamforce — that makes CRM such a hip and vibrant place to hang your hat. Click here to get going.
Thanks! Gracias! Prego! Much obliged, pardner.
I read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in college (yes, in Middle English and no, it wasn’t that long ago) and now every April brings me back to the opening verses about spring time and renewal. This April was especially memorable in our industry and as the month has just passed I wanted to take a moment to discuss some of the things I witnessed.
Mostly, for me, there was an unmistakable sense of renewal in CRM and in the tech sector more generally. Facebook continued to primp for its assumed to be historic IPO and bought Instagram, a company with an application for mobile devices and not much more than a website otherwise. Facebook paid a billion bucks for Instagram, no doubt a sign of the future. Marketo heading for its own IPO at some point bought Crowd Factory combining marketing solutions into a suite that will offer modern and ultra modern marketing.
Thankfully, there was more innovation than just the M&A variety. I went to a couple of analyst briefing sessions that were interesting for different reasons and I will have to assume that the events I couldn’t fit in were much the same. Oracle held a deep briefing to show off progress on all fronts. The event made me a believer that they have a plan or plans that merge into a powerful vision of engineered systems and software that meets some of the challenges of the social/mobile/analytic/big data world we’re moving into at light speed.
SugarCRM raised the bar and showed the world that it is growing rapidly and that its open source approach to business is very much in the mainstream along with operating system, server and database open source projects that support, in one way or another, the innovations in the rest of the industry. It looks to me like Sugar is becoming the go to CRM that everyone has to include on the shopping list. Open source might not be for everybody, but then again Sugar’s growth numbers and recent capital round indicate they just might be.
Salesforce announced its Government Cloud in an effort to capture some of the new business likely to come out of local, state and federal initiatives to cut IT costs and improve constituent service. When government becomes an adopter of a new technology like cloud computing it’s safe to say that it’s not a radical departure anymore.
But that doesn’t mean we stop innovating. As the Salesforce announcement made clear, the big issue for government will be security and, I would add, up time. So I look for a new era of innovation around both security and fault tolerance as cloud computing works to measure up to a nine nines reliability standard found in other utilities.
Finally, sneaking in just under the wire, on April 30, Paul Greenberg announced the second season of CRM Idol, the competition that seeks to discover hot emerging companies with great technology ideas in our space. Full disclosure, I am Paul’s friend, but that category includes about half the world. Last year, Idol’s first, was a great learning experiment. As one of the founding primary judges (others in the U.S. are Brent Leary, Esteban Kolsky, Jesus Hoyos) I was present for all of it and I can say we learned a lot.
We got a stellar crop of finalists last year (both in the U.S. and Europe) including Crowd Factory, Stone Cobra, Assistly and Get Satisfaction, which won the contest. Two of the four were bought — Assistly mid-way through the competition and Crowd Factory last month.
We are expecting big things from this year’s group of contestants too. The announcement by Greenberg on Monday is the opening of the season and companies interested in participating should visit the Idol website for details. There are a few rules that make this a real competition among emerging companies — you can’t be too old or too rich for example — so check it out.
Being a software entrepreneur is not easy. While you might think that venture funding has eased many of the burdens, raising capital is not easy though it can be insightful. VC’s look not just for new companies or new solutions but new categories. And what looked hot last year may no longer be attractive. They’re always looking for something that has never been seen before that nonetheless sparks interest and fills a need. CRM Idol is like that. The companies that do best are those that don’t conform to a pattern but instead break new ground.
If you pay attention to Idol you might get an idea of the future of CRM and possibly other things. Just looking at the Instagram deal tells me potentially that the hottest new companies might be those writing for the smartphone market. That, of course, would be a significant finding — the kind of thing that will make future Aprils so interesting.