I was looking at our Amazon credit card statement. I expected plenty of Whole Foods charges after I told my wife we get another 5% off if she used the card, but I was taken aback by the number of charges from a vendor called “AMAZON MKTPLACE PMTS”. Turns out we are not unique. Amazon has started sharing stats about its marketplace including “they sell half the products that Amazon customers buy, and more than 140,000 small and medium-sized businesses surpassed $100,000 in sales on Amazon in 2017.”
Turns out marketplaces are a thriving global phenomenon. Sameer Patel, CEO of Kahuna who has pivoted his company to sell SaaS solutions to such marketplaces says much of his traction is outside the US to vertical marketplaces. His customers include Mudah, the largest shopping marketplace in Malaysia and Restorando, a dining marketplace in Brazil and Argentina. His team demoed me insights that they provide marketplaces to balance interests of sellers and buyers and continue to generate vibrancy that keeps them coming back.
While these marketplaces attract businesses who want to leverage their commerce and fulfillment engines, vendors like NetSuite have been strengthening their own commerce engines for businesses who don’t want to become over-dependent on a marketplace channel. Former CEO Zach Nelson, for years, argued that CRM was poorly defined, since it left out customer-facing transactional systems.
Zach is right and CRM vendors are increasingly welcome to tackle other customer facing transaction areas – order to cash, with unique pricing/promotion and mass customization needs, and vertical billing, claims processing and other areas. Some of that functionality was delivered by ERP vendors decades ago, and they have not exactly kept them up, opening up significant new opportunities.
On a recent visit to Uptake, I saw a brochure which said “Machines don’t have to break”. Such a simple statement, yet such a dramatic impact on field service. Analysis of customer data from railroads, utilities and other businesses with complex assets, and their recent acquisition of APT with its vast library of equipment failure modes, they are moving maintenance away from traditional break-fix and scheduled visits to much more predictive work. Think of the impact that has on crew scheduling, employee skills and maintenance business models. Its no longer just old CRM service functionality.
More HCM/CRM integration – SAP’s acquisition of Callidus takes it into the sales compensation space, and adds configure-price-quote (CPQ) applications to its hybris commerce engine. ServiceNow is hosting its user conference, Knowledge18 next week. I am impressed how many HCM analysts are attending. In fact, I think they outnumber CRM centric analysts. LinkedIn, which used to be a recruiting tool has under Microsoft, increasingly become a CRM tool. Digital assistants like Amazon Alexa and Amelia are joining the services workplace.
Nearly a century ago, John Wanamaker, a marketing pioneer famously said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Today’s CMO would get fired for even thinking that. Google, Facebook, even Accenture (with the slew of digital agencies they have acquired) have changed marketing in the last decade. We are about to see another road bump as GDPR and other privacy related legislation kick in.
I was briefed a couple of months ago by WorkSpan. Their tag line is “Alliances have a solution to call their own.” It is surprising, given how many businesses go to market through channels and partners, that CRM has not evolved much earlier to include PRM for Partners. More CRM evolution.
People snickered when Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP recently said “..we know the world needs a next generation CRM concept….” Other people roll their eyes when they see Oracle has been branding its Sales, Service, Marketing and Commerce products under the moniker of MCX or Modern Customer Experience. Both vendors could see their ERP product functionality cannibalized by next-gen CRM. But both are pointing to how CRM has been morphing and extending into a whole bunch of new areas. As I wrote after a recent Oracle MCX event, we are not in Kansas anymore.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)