Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Google - Your Next Enterprise Portal?

I was not a big fan of Google Apps until yesterday. But, this innovative offering from Cordys-Google partnership changed my perception. If you have been thinking Google Apps are a bunch of applications that can just manage unstructured content, think again!. Google Apps is slowly but surely emerging as an office business application platform.

Cordys delivers structured workflow capabilities to Google Apps suite. It provides a Hosted environment for building business process applications in the cloud. Sure! - There are hundreds of vendors providing Cloud-based BPM solutions. But,the Cordys solution has been exclusively designed to support Google Apps.

Don't miss to checkout the process demo!. I am impressed with the demo that shows the way in which workflow solutions can be designed, deployed and accessed from Google Portal. The Workflow solutions have been built around Google Apps tools such as Word, Excel documents.

The demo workflow not only integrates with unstructured content like Google Apps, but also with structured sources like The icing on the cake is that - like Google public portal, where users can drag and drop widgets into their personalized portal - the enterprise users would get the same experience as the public Internet Google portal. The Enterprise user can have a personalized dashboard that presents the Inbox [that lists the action items], Google Charts, Google Maps Widgets!.

If a user-friendly business process solution can be designed and deployed in a Portal-like environment at a rate of $50 per user per year, Would you still need those expensive Enterprise Portals?. Atleast, for those least-critical, simple workflows that were built, hosted and supported in expensive data centers?. I strongly believe the time has arrived to re-look at the entire IT landscape within a company and challenge their TCO.

In this offering, the kind of applications that can be built are situational, process-centric mashup applications like Budget Approval, Change Control. With this capability, organizations of any size can mix-and-match existing on-premise services with live services on the web to compose busienss process based solutions.

Would this be a starting point for considering Google Apps as an Enterprise Portal? Would this be the beginning of Google Apps emerging as the tough competitor for Microsoft Office's future vision - the vision of evolving Office as a Business Applications platform?.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Digital Body Language!

This is impressive!. It's a new term that is floating in the Internet for quite sometime. One of my colleagues was recently discussing with me about eCommerce merchandising trends. And When I had to do little bit of research in that context, I came across this book.

Digital Body Language is defined as the art and science that revolves around detecting and understanding prospective buyer's signals and intentions to better communicate with them. Here, we are referring to buyers signals that are made online. But, wait a min - Aren't we used to this idea before?. Is it just an old idea just re-incarnated with new name?. How is it different from clickstream analysis, deep personalization, user profiling and segmentation?.

In the conventional sales cycle, the sales executive meets the prospect and tries to read his body language to derive insights on the need, timing, authority or any concerns. Now, with the DBD, these traditional techniques are not just adequate, for the simple reason being that buyer have become much more smarter. Buyer has access to information, intelligence and fellow customers' network like never before. Before venturing into a purchase, buyer performs a significant research online and forms a opinion about the product. Does the sales executive has enough clues on the prospect's signals?. Digital Body Language is the new set of concepts, tools/techniques to decipher the propspects interests and act accordingly.

For the first time, I am seeing somebody seeking to understand a customer's behavior far more deeper in a specific business context, correlating real-word experiences. The approach itself is so humane! And that's where it impresses!. The conventional techie approach - eCommerce COTS products/tools - typically address the marketing needs by providing pointed solutions. And that usually works only when those prospects visit "your" site, and not when they visit "other" sites.

In this case, the concept has been applied for Sales and Marketing. But, I see this as the beginning of period where the businesses try to understand and carve-out a 'Digital Persona' of a prospect. The very thought of understanding the 'persona'of an Internet user is exciting!. Here, the 'persona' is constructed as a synthesis of prospect's signals and intentions registered across a wide array of channels/websites.

In the case of sales/marketing, I look forward to see sophisticated internet tools that enable capturing and deciphering digital body language. In the long term, I strongly believe DBD has huge potential to be applied across business functions, not just sales/marketing.