Hello, and welcome to the first Consona CRM Products and Technology blog post, where I will be your host. To get started, I thought I would first tell you a bit about myself. Then I’ll discuss the current plan of topics which I intend to discuss over the next year or so. Finally, I will preview my first topic, which is “What is CRM?”
First, let me introduce myself. My name is (obviously) Tim Hines, and I work for Consona Corporation as the head of product management. I live in Frisco, Texas, with my wonderful wife, my two daughters (2 and 6 years old), two dogs and two cats. Having a young family, I spend most of my free time running to birthday parties or going to some newly-released cartoon or Disney musical movie, where I spend most of my time saying "Shhhh…" or running back and forth from the concession stand to the restroom and back to my seat. When I get just a few minutes of spare time, I like to golf, ride my bike, and be active in my church.
Career wise, my first real job was answering the phone at AOL, where I troubleshooted Windows 3.1 modem connectivity to AOL, so they could charge by the hour (which is how they operated at that time). By the way, I met my wife there at AOL, who was on the other side of the contact center answering complaints about the hourly billing rates that I helped customers ultimately rack up. After AOL, I spent time at Andersen Consulting (before they were Accenture) helping internal employees connect to Lotus Notes and utilize internal resources. At Accenture, I eventually moved into a part of IT that did software technology and vendor evaluation and helped them choose things like ticketing systems, workforce management and other technologies. After experiencing the evaluation side of things, I decided to go work for a software vendor, and have been at companies ranging from marketing applications to e-Service solutions ever since (five of them actually). Most recently I have been at Onyx, and have just celebrated my seven-year anniversary with the company. When I first came to Onyx, I was actually presented with an opportunity to go work for either Onyx or a rival (of that time). It was a difficult decision, but after one look at Onyx’s underlying technology (namely the dispatch object model and customer data model), I knew which technology was ultimately superior - and therefore made the pivotal choice of coming to Onyx. After several years as a sales engineer, I now lead the product management and strategy for all of Consona's CRM products which primarily (and currently) includes the two main code bases of Onyx and KNOVA.
Now that you know a bit about me, I hope you gathered that I have been in CRM and leveraging CRM-related technologies most of my professional career. I have literally seen hundreds of implementations and practices of CRM and, hopefully over the years, have gathered a unique, grassroots view on CRM products and technology overall. I have seen technology that works, and technology that doesn't work. I have seen technology that is great in some environments and horrible in others. I have represented products that get tossed out because the users can't stand the UI, and I have replaced products because the users can't stand the UI. Ultimately, this blog is to introduce my views and opinions on different topics related to CRM, and hopefully spur debate amongst the readers … which selfishly we can then turn into useful technology for our customers. That is the mark of a good blog isn't it? One that serves the blogger just as much as his readers? The topics over the next year that I want to explore are vast. They cover many aspects of CRM and CRM technology in general, and it is my goal (even though this blog is a corporate blog), not to slant it too much toward our products. I do not intend for this blog to become a sales pitch. I am not a very good sales guy, and as the head of product management it's my job to both love and hate elements of our offerings in order to make them better, so this goal is actually very easy and natural for me. But back to the list of topics. I have identified the below topics that I intend to be discussing and debating over the next year or so. I use the word “intend” on purpose, in that I hope some of you, via your comments and posts, will pull the discussion in one direction or another.
But so far, the topics are as follows:
- What is CRM?
- Customer master: Does it matter?
- Technology integration 2008 and beyond
- Data Quality: Who has the time and is it worth it?
- SaaS, On-Premise, Hosted Services, Managed Services, Hybrid Approaches - What does it all mean?
- Configuration vs. Customization
- Why do I pay maintenance?
- Emerging technologies in CRM
- Customer Management vs. Customer Experience - Is there a difference?
- What is knowledge and what is knowledge management?
- CRM marketing solutions
- CTI, VoIP, ACD, XYZ and PDQ
So, next week we will start with our initial topic: “What is CRM?” As a preview to that topic, there are literally thousands of vendors who all claim to be CRM technology providers. But, I am interested in talking about this from your prospective. I plan to explore it as a practice, as a technology, and as a term in general. Hopefully you will find it beneficial and thought-provoking, especially in this economic environment where most companies are looking to cut costs, especially in customer service and support and IT.
Thanks for reading, and welcome.