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Chuck Schaeffer CRM Industry Month End Review—For July 2012

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Here's What Happened in the CRM Software Industry During July 2012

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CRM Idol, Kana, Gamification and a CRM Bus Tour Lead The Month's News & Events
CRM Industry Review The most touted events occurring in the CRM industry during July 2012 included the kick-off of CRM Idol season 2, the Kana acquisition of Sword Ciboodle, the advancement from concept to solution for a relatively new disruptive technology called gamification and a never before done CRM educational road trip called The CRM Bus Tour.


CRM industry highlights for July 2012:

  • In what may be the single most talked about CRM event of 2012, the CRM Idol second season has culminated with 60 finalists. Following the success of last year’s competition, this year the competition is going a bit more global by including candidates from the Asia and Australia regions, in addition to the Americas and EMEA. This competition seeks out the best emerging CRM technology companies out there. As we all know, these young companies often have great solutions, but struggle to get their message out and attract the visibility necessary to grow their businesses. The contest submission period closed on May 25th, the first pass of contestants were announced on June 1st, and after a thorough and exhaustive reference checking process, the official list of the top 60 contenders is complete. Coaching sessions are underway and briefing and software demonstrations have just begun. The Americas semi-finalists will be announced in August and the rest of the world semi-finalists will be announced in September. The contest runs through December 5th, when winners from the competing regions will be awarded. More information is available at – and we’ll certainly be providing CRM Idol updates on the website and in upcoming CRM industry Month End Reviews.

  • In M&A news, Kana has acquired Sword-Ciboodle. The move is intended to strengthen the market position for customer service solutions across agent, web, social and mobile experiences. It’s a combination of Kana’s deep web customer service technology and Sword-Ciboodle’s deep contact center application. In fact if you review the Gartner 2011 Magic Quadrants, Kana was positioned in the Leaders quadrant in the category of CRM Web Customer Service, but not included in the CRM Customer Service Contact Centers, while in an inverse scenario, Sword Ciboodle was included in the CRM Contact Centers MQ but not in the CRM Web Customer Service. Together they should be able to expand their market opportunity into tangential compliments. The global CRM market reached just over $18 billion in 2011, an 11.2% year over year growth, and Kana believes that with its newest acquisition, that its addressable market is about one-third of that, or a market equal to about $5.8 billion in technology spend.

  • There’s a relatively new idea called gamification that’s getting increased attention and is worth exploring. Gamification is the use of game design, techniques and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts. The concept is rapidly being applied to business processes and applications in an effort to achieve business objectives.

    Gamification works by making processes or applications more engaging, by encouraging people to participate in desired behaviors, by illustrating a path to mastery or accomplishment, and by taking advantage of humans' psychological predisposition to join competitive play. When properly constructed, gamification can bring motivation and competition to otherwise monotonous, repetitive or rote processes, thereby increasing such behaviors as participation, interest, attention and timeliness. Gamified apps provide reward mechanisms in the forms of points, scores, badges, leaderboards, expert designation, progress bars or other visual enticements which exemplify accomplishment or permit redemption for tangible or intangible incentives.

    Several CRM software vendors are at the forefront in piloting and releasing gamification apps. SAP Labs has been piloting gamification apps of many types, and has gone further to create a Gamification Platform, built on HANA, that offers a Gamification Administrative Console which permits the creation of flexible team incentives and offers displays which share point values, steps needed to reach a next level, featured challenges, overall team standings and supporting analytics.’s recent acquisition of Rypple and its subsequent rebranding as Successforce is a solution intended to use gamification for employee performance and HR objectives. Rypple has transitioned the traditional process of employee performance reviews from an often stale and neglected process to one which is more dynamic with real-time feedback, coaching and recognition of both success and under-performance. Several other CRM vendors are also in the early stages. It’s not hard to vision the benefits. Applying game mechanics to sales processes can motivate sales people to make more sales calls, enter more complete activities in the CRM system, or update their opportunities and pipeline more frequently. Applying game mechanics to customer service can stimulate agents or Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to deliver superior service, close incidents faster, increase team work, raise loyalty measures or achieve higher customer satisfaction scores.

    Here’s the top 3 take-away points for champions considering gamification.

    First, gamification is yet another example of the morphing of business and social technologies, or what’s often called the consumerization of IT. Just as social apps, personal mobile devices and more rewarding consumer-oriented presentation layers have made their way into the enterprise, so to will gamification.

    Second, if you’re looking to brainstorm or create a gamified application for staff or customers, I suggest you begin with Gartner’s Four Principles of Gamification, which act as cornerstones in gamification design, and include accelerated feedback cycles, clear goals and rules of play, a compelling narrative, and tasks that are challenging but achievable. Also, while there’s no specific role that’s required in the creative thinking and design process, the best results I’ve seen so far have all been produced where there are User Interface/User Experience designers and engineers on the team. From talking to the people who are showing results, it’s been my experience that User Experience pros are particularly well versed in using patterns, mechanics and heuristics in creating designs that don’t just look good, but use software to solve business problems.

    Third, gamification is still seen by many as a gimmick and without staying power. The name itself is a bit of a self-sabotaging descriptor likely to get immediate rejection by a C-suite that doesn’t initially see the link between what sounds like game playing, and employee productivity. For proponents of gamification, its critical to initially set expectations, and even educate that gamification is not about employees playing games with business applications. It's about leveraging specific business objectives within the context of roles, tasks and goals while further aligning people preferences of self-expression, mental stimulation, a little competition and peer acknowledgement. Once the education and expectations are in play, champions can then match the gamification opportunity to existing business problems, such as sub-optimal staff productivity, and align gamification with existing business objectives.

  • Finally, for this month’s recommendation, I suggest you check out the CRM Bus Tour at It’s a never before done CRM educational tour and promotion which crosses four European cities over a two week period, beginning October 15th. If you’re in Europe you might check out the sessions in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Madrid and Lisbon, or if you’re not in Europe you can follow the conversation online at the event’s website, blog or social channels.

  • If I've missed anything, please let me know at chuckschaeffer[at]crmsearch[dot]com. Thanks! End

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Gamification is yet another example of the morphing of business and social technologies, or what’s often called the consumerization of IT. Just as social apps, personal mobile devices and more rewarding consumer-oriented presentation layers have made their way into the enterprise, so to will gamification.



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