Jan 012015
 

So, another year has come and past.  This blog seems to be my annual posting for music in the past year. I will truly attempt to write more this year, as it has been some time. Luckily, all the old stuff is still here and hopefully people find enough there to assist them.  2014 was another year of transition, leaving Force by Design (a great company that swallowed up xLerate three years ago) and now I call Cloud for Good my day home as the VP of Services. Great bunch of people, and working in the nonprofit vertical is quite interesting. And I still listen to music throughout the day, some old, some new. Here’s my picks for this year’s top 10 songs – links to their YouTube video included!

10. Sigur Ros: The Rains of Castamere: So yes, this is from a TV show – and an awesome one at that – but it’s extremely haunting and inspiring all at the same time. Don’t mind at all when this comes on my Spotify playlist.

9. Speedy Ortiz: American Horror: It’s been a while since the indie boom of Boston hit in the late 80s and 90s (think Lemonheads, Blake Babies, Pixies, etc). Speedy Ortiz, from Northampton, seems to bringing back this sound in spades, and in a wonderful wonderful way. This song is just fun to dance around to!

8. Buck 65: Super Pretty Naughty: OK, Buck 65 is a Canadian icon, and is known for very thoughtful raps through his music, and even sometimes the weird and absurd, such as with Zombie Delight. He’s also absolutely amazing live, and I truly hope he makes his way to Bluesfest this year (as I was out of town in November when he slid through Ottawa last time). But Super Pretty Naughty shocked me. At first I thought maybe he had been hit in the head, or decided to make a song in homage to LMFAO or such. But then there’s his lyrics to remind you it’s still him.

7. Mother Mother: Get Out The Way: I’m still on the fence about this band. When they first came out I liked them, then saw them live and hated them, then they put out a new album and the metronome between enjoy and abhor continued on.  On this song though, the needle is all the way towards love. Just love love love this song.

6. Girl Talk: Summer Dress: Continuing with a Canadian flavour (I am sure the CRTC will love me…) is Girl Talk. I missed them when they opened for Billy Talent last year, but looked them up. Figured I was in for another typical girl/boy duo, but gave it a whirl.  To say I was very wrong would be wrong in itself. Between the old school rock, Tom Waits growls, and just absolute joy coming from the airwaves, Girl Talk is now on my must see live list.

5. Slipknot: The Negative One: Yup, Slipknot is still around. And yes, Slipknot is starting to sound more and more like Stone Sour, which isn’t one of my favourite bands. But their last two albums still have gems of metal in there, and the new album has this track, reminding me that they still know how to rock out at times. Try this in the morning with espresso. If it doesn’t kick you up and at them, check for a pulse.

4. Interpol: All The Rage Back Home: So, Interpol is back, as a trio. And hopefully, the previous, self titled album can be thought of as some bad dream that we can all just believe did not exist.  And this release from the new LP gets stuck in your head and just won’t get out. Which isn’t a bad thing in this case, as the song pretty well rocks!

3. St. Vincent: Birth in Reverse: I’m not quite sure what to make of St. Vincent. A former member of the Polyphonic Spree, she has definitely brought back performance art to the live show. And her show at Bluesfest 2014 was certainly interesting – although I must admit I found that some of the performance took away from the music. Her album is one of the best of 2014 though, and this song is one that stands out to me.

2. Cage The Elephant: Come A Little Closer: So, I’ve been waiting for Cage to break out and become one of the biggest bands in rock. Hasn’t happened yet, and not sure if it will. And I am not sure why.  What I do know is that when they opened for the Black Keys here in Ottawa this year, they put the headliners to shame with their opening set. To Shame. Love this track.

1. USS – Yin Tang: And this year’s top track for me? Canada’s own USS, or Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker if you feel like typing out the full name.  I dare you not to be singing this song eight hours after listening to it. Cause I can’t.  And their set at Bluesfest 2014 was one of the marquee shows for the year. The amount of energy and fun they have is unbelievable!

Well, there you go folks. Everyone keep bright and safe in 2015!

 Posted by at 10:35 pm
Oct 162014
 

So, it’s Dreamforce again. That big ball of crazy that is 145,000 people invading downtown San Francisco for four days of deep immersion into all things Salesforce. Sales Cloud to Heroku, Exact Target to the Internet of Things … There’s a little bit of everything here from the Hilton to the Palace Hotels.

Day 1 kicked off with the Community Keynote; a staple of Dreamforce for me since 2009. Once again filled to capacity, this keynote, led by the ever awesome Erica Kuhl, goes over what’s happened in the community over the past year, and some of the new features being rolled out for the success site in the coming months.

If you’ve been to a community keynote, you’ve likely seen me doing my thing, helping people who are late find seats, passing around swag, and just generally walking so that my ADD doesn’t make me fidget in a seat for an hour. But one thing that caught my eye was one of the employees who help scan people in and such.

As I said, I’ve been at the community keynote since 2009, and one lady who once again manned the doors for it looked very familiar. I went up at a quiet time, and introduced myself and said “I apologize but you look really familiar; how many community keynotes have you been to?”.

The poor lady’s eyes teared up, and said “it’s so nice that you remember me. I remember you and so many other people here. I’ve been working the community keynote since 2009. You guys are just so nice, I just keep wanting to come back”. She then gave me a hug, and quickly got herself back to the door.

After the session ended, I introduced her to a couple of people on their way out, and when she was helping to clean up some of the extra beach balls (yes, we had beach balls…make sure you come next year to see what crazy we do!!!), I made sure to introduce her to Erica, and once again I could tell that I was slightly embarrassing her.

Later on in the day, I went back just to say hi again, and apologize if I had put her on the spot at all (I am Canadian, after all). She gave me a big hug, and told me she always asked to be on the community keynote just because “you people are all so nice”. And that made my day.

Donna’s request, and my long experience at Dreamforce (I’ve now run out of fingers to measure my attendance) just solidify to me what Dreamforce truly is. While yes, it’s a technology conference overall, the people who flock to San Francisco to attend (and those who work to make sure it goes smoothly) are hands down some of the nicest, most caring people on the planet. And it’s my pleasure to call you all colleagues.

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 Posted by at 3:39 pm
Jan 092014
 

Well, it’s a week late, but I am going to blame Salesforce starting their 2014 conference season early with the Salesforce1 Tour in January this year!  😉 2013 is behind us, and it was a great year for many, but for my blog, as I said in my Christmas note, it was not a good year.  I plan on making this a regular stop for myself this year, and hopefully can pass along some information that you readers can find helpful, humourous or just a great filler of time.  But…as I do every year, I have my picks for the Top 10 songs of 2013. So, without further ado….

11. Pheonix – Trying To Be Cool: Yes, I have 11 songs in my top 10. Get over it.  I couldn’t drop one of these songs, and this song was a great song from an album that did not sell nearly as many albums as it should have.

10. Mindless Self Indulgence – Witness: This New York band I must admit I know more for their guitarist working with My Chemical Romance on their last album (as Dr. Death Defying). However I kept hearing this song, and I just fell in love with it.  It also is very NSFW…so please, put your headphones on!

9. Kanye West – Black Skinhead: OK, so some of you may be going WHAAAA???? as I’m not in any way that big of a fan. In fact, I enjoyed the James Franco and Seth Rogan remake, as well as his ‘appearance’ on South Park’s finale this year.  But this song is just awesome.  You like a beat? This song is a beat, both with the drums, and with his hammering rap style. So minimal and yet so epic.

8. New Politics – Harlem: So the trio from Copenhagen that moved to New York City and put out their first full length album this year.  While I found it a little too polished (one thing I liked about their sound on the EP was the raw nature of the power pop rock). But their first single Harlem had all the elements I liked about the band.  Definitely want to see them live this year!

7. Franz Ferdinand – Right Action: These guys are just awesome. Period. I remember seeing them and Death Cab for Cutie in Montreal…I could have died that night, and died a happy man.  Their new album shows they just put out the songs and sounds they want.  Right Action, a throw back to their first album, and completely out of whack with everything else on the airwaves these days was just damn fun. Try not to dance along to the video with this one.

6. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young: OK, moving on with this choice, I tried not to put this song in here, just because it is so hipster it’s ridiculous.  But you know what, I am starting to be ok in being a hipster band fan (especially seeing that most hipsters likely say they hate this song and secretly listen to it on their iPhone while saying it’s something else…once again, just a song you can’t stop singing along to.

5. Nine Inch Nails – Copy of A: So Trent Reznor surprised us all with a new Nine Inch Nails song, and I really really like it. The whole album a feel of growth, while still being a great NIN album. Is he ready to kill himself like 20 years ago? No – but as this song shows, he certainly still has angst that he’s attempting to deal with. Also, one of the best shows from 2013!

4. Muse: 2nd Law (Unsustainable): Yes, this album was released in 2012, but to be honest I had such a hard time letting myself listen to the album after being so jaded after hearing Madness that it took until 2013 for me to really listen to it. And this song shows Muse in all their excess…an orchestra, choir, and BBC anchor is the backdrop to an EDM infused guitar solo. Yes, that is Muse…and once I let myself listen, I remember why I love them so (even if I do skip over Madness…).

3. Fatboy Slim – Eat Sleep Rave Repeat: What is their to say…just sheer fun to listen to. And who doesn’t remember a night (or being told about a night) like the lad is chatting about. Once again, NSFW…

2. Queens of the Stone Age – Smooth Sailing: This song stands out from the album just because it seems to be the one that caught everyone’s eye when it first came out, including my friend Scott, and my son. Just an awesome and surprising rock song that kicks ass. And who doesn’t like a song with the lyric “Got my own theme music…plays wherever I are.”.

1. Alice in Chains – Stone: Oh my oh my oh my how this song makes me happy that Jerry Cantrell reformed AiC and continues to make music. This is one of the best songs of the decade so far. If you haven’t purchased The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and you like rock, you may want to pick it up. I find it funny that Jerry Cantrell cutting his hair off caused more concern for people then the awesomeness of the album!

 

 Posted by at 11:50 pm
Dec 232013
 

Well, here we sit at the end of another year…2013 has but a week and a bit left.  It’s been a crazy busy year, and unfortunately my blog took the hit this year.  I really do miss writing for it though, so in 2014, starting with the annual Top 10 of 2013 you will see me here much more often.  However, the time for that is later…right now is the time for taking stock of all that is good in the world – good friends, good community, good family.  And for this, I have written a little poem, just for you all.  And no matter your religion, beliefs or location, this is the holiday season, and I wish each and every one of you a safe and wonderful Happy Holidays! See you all very soon!

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – A Cloudy Redo

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for my mouse.
It was frantically clicking inside Salesforce 1.
I’d a wonderful idea and it had to get done.

A few custom fields and a validation rule
Is all that remained before I enjoyed the Yule
When all of a sudden the screen showed an error.
“Object References maxed out!!!” I screamed out in terror.

I looked through my fields checking for an unneeded one
But they were all very required. The removal count was none.
I started to sweat in disbelief of what I knew.
“I need to write a trigger, and I don’t know what to do!”

Then a moment of clarity came across like a bell.
I know what to do…The community URL!

I opened a new tab for the idea that had donned;
I typed in success, and then Salesforce and then com.
I looked up my issue, my fingers were racy,
In hopes that others had asked it – just maybe!

The search came back quick, but not what I hoped.
It was time to move on, so in questions I wrote…
“Now Joshua and Brad, Anjit and SteveMo…
I’m hoping the answer to my question you’ll know.”

I next wrote the question with a prayer and a hope.
“If no one does answer, just how will i cope?”
I sat silly with my optimism needing refresh.
“I really need you people, or my App  just won’t mesh!”

Then my mobile vibrated! Then again – I don’t lie!
Not one and not two, but three wondrous replies!!!
I read the responses and to my delight
They answered my query so my app could take flight!

I rushed into my Org and quickly config’d
To finish my app, while I danced a great jig.
I beta’d the app,it surely was done.
It even worked great on mobile; Hey… It’s Salesforce 1!

Then I looked out the window and I did scream aloud;
There was SaaSy outside, just floating on a cloud.
Then SaaSy and the cloud said as they drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Happy Holidays everyone, and a safe, prosperous and wonderful 2014!

Jan 012013
 

Hello all,

As I look at my blog, I realize how extremely bad I have been at posting to this site on a regular basis.  I see that after Dreamforce life once again went crazy, and this site suffered first.  I always make the same resolution every year – I resolve to see January 1 of the next year – but I will aim to post at least twice a month here…

And the first post for this year will be a look back at music.  While life is busy, there is always room for music.  Here is my top ten songs from the year that was 2012!

10. Jack White – Sixteen Saltines: So, he’s gone solo now, and the music is just too fun not to listen to.  Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the frak this song or video is about, other than copious amounts of drugs and alcohol…

9. Of Monsters and Men – Mountain Sound: Last year it was Mumford and Sons who brought over a folksy kind of vibe we all seemed to like (although their sophomore album did not remotely come close to making me want to buy it).  This year it is Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men that makes me dance!

8. Dada Life – Kick Out The Epic Motherf*cker: If this song doesn’t make you stand up and want to jump and dance, you need to check for a pulse or ensure that your broken bones blocking you from dancing heal soon. BANANA!

7. Metric – Youth Without Youth: Canadian rockers Metric released a new album, Synthetica, and while not their best album in my eyes, the first single was awesome.  That and Emily Haines becomes hotter with each passing day.

6. The Lumineers – Hey Ho: More from the folk rock fun vault, Denver trio The Lumineers got everything right with this song.  Simple, short and sweet…and it sticks in your head.

5. Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis: Thrift Shop: Yup, it’s a guilty pleasure song. But it gets stuck in your head something fierce.  And I want that jacket.  I really want that jacket!

4. Black Keys – Lonely Boy: This was really hard to put down, cause I really don’t like most things that come out of Dan Auerbach’s mouth when he speaks publicly. But this song was just sheer awesome, and the video was brilliant!

3. Deadmau5 featuring Gerard Way – Professional Griefers: So, Deadmau5 has made more news this year for his choice of wife (the notorious Kat Von D) but also released an awesome album, and this video.  The whole album is great, by the way! And Professor Meowingtons is on Twitter!

2. Billy Talent – Viking Death March: Politically charged would be an understatement with this song.  But I agree with it whole heartedly.  The song is rocking as well!

1. The Shins – Simple Song: Everything about this song makes me quiver. My favourite song of the year!

So, there it is…here’s to looking forward to some amazing music in 2013!

Aug 302012
 

Well, the countdown is officially on – Dreamforce ’12 is in it’s final motions…as I write this the counter tells me it is just 18 days away.  And if you are like me, you are getting giddy with anticipation.  This year looks to be a blazing amazing time, with the Keynote, Jeff Immelt, Gen. Colin Powell, Angela Ahrendts (whom I am absolutely glad she is back – she was a wonderful speaker at Dreamforce ’11), Tony Robbins, Sir Richard Branson, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and hundreds of breakout sessions, along with a tonne of networking (and I would be loathe to forget the after party networking!).  By the way, if you are going to Dreamforce, and would love to meet, feel free to follow me in the Dreamforce org and send me a message!

From salesforce.com Flikr site

However, if you have never been to San Francisco or Dreamforce before, I will tell you right now that the craziness of Dreamforce can be scary and overwhelming.  The area where the Moscone Center is in San Francisco is right downtown in between Union Square, the Financial District and SoMA sections of the city.  Add in the thousands of people that are walking from various hotels to Moscone and if you are not used to the hustle and bustle of a large city (think Times Square, New York City) it can be overwhelming.  So, what do you do if you find yourself ready to flip out?  First and foremost, a tip: you will notice many people walking around San Francisco with lanyards, ninety percent of which have very happy, cordial faces (and the other ten percent likely have coffee cups in front of their tired faces!).  If you at any time feel lost, scared, overwhelmed or otherwise needing assistance, ASK!  One of the things I love about Dreamforce is the high level of civility, friendliness and compassion each and every attendee has.  As a point,  I and many others I know spend plenty of time walking Howard, 4th and Mission Streets looking for people who have the Dreamforce bag or lanyard and have a look of fear and trepidation look, to see if I can help them get to where they want to go.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post – where do you go when your at Dreamforce and you need to just get away from it all, but don’t want to head to your hotel room?  Well, here’s five places + 1 that you can clamour over towards to get away from the hustle and bustle….

1) Yerba Buena Gardens: While the Gardens have become busier and busier each year, it is still a place where there is a quieter feel to it (last year you got to relax along to some music thrown out by some of the partner luncheons going on).  The gardens is located just behind Moscone North – quickest way to get there is up the stairs on the west side of Moscone North.

2) Alcove between Moscone North and Novellus Theatre: Also right by the Moscone Center is a walkway that runs between Howard and Mission in between Moscone North and the Novellus Theatre.  While you can still here the hustle and bustle of the roads, it is a walkway that is not often used and as such can be a little bit of fresh air during the conference. To get there, just turn west along Mission and you’ll see it just past the Moscone North building.

3) Children’s Creativity Carousel: Located on the other side of the street by Moscone South and the Children’s Creativity Carousel.  When you’re walking towards the Moscone North/South for keynotes or sessions you’ll see it up on the hill.  What some don’t know is that there is a small park located right beside the carousel with some trees and a children’s playground.  During the day it CAN get busy with children (not always), but if you don’t mind the sound of playing children (I have two hooligans, so it is actually a welcomed sound to me) it is a great place just to get away from 50,000 people for a moment.

4) Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Market Street and 4th: San Francisco has many, MANY coffee houses….I do believe that there is a Starbucks within spitting distance no matter where you go downtown!  However, the line ups and crowds, especially at the Starbucks Marriott Marquis, or 4th Street are CRAZY.  Just on the other side of the Marquis (across from another usually packed Starbucks…see what I mean?) is the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Co, which I find to be pleasantly busy – no huge lineups, and they aren’t pounding the latest song  from Michael Kiwanuka or Jack White (two of the favourites right now at my local Starbucks).  It’s pretty decent coffee, with a pretty laid back atmosphere.  If the inside is too busy, there is another walkway just west of the shoppe which will, if you follow it south, take you right back to Yerba Buena Gardens and the stairs you walked up to get there from hideout number 1!

5) Lapu-Laput Street Gardens: This is a find that I made three years ago, and was happy that I did.  Although it is a little further than the first three, it is a nice play to just relax for 15 minutes or more.  Nestled in beside condos and an office building is a small garden on Lapu-Lapu Street, that I can guarantee will have very few people around.  Lapu-Lapu is a side road of a side road off of Folsom, so there is little traffic.  And the only people I have ever ran into there were people who were tending to the garden itself.  I ended up speaking with one lady who loved her flowers and just chatted for a good twenty minutes once.  I would recommend this place if you find yourself really needing to get away but not wanting to hide in your hotel room.  To get there, walk south on 4th Street.  Just past Folsom, you’ll see Pacific Bicycles on your left side of the road.  Cut down the road beside the store, and when you get to the right turn, you’ll see the garden on your left.

So, there you have it – 5 places to hopefully grab a moment of zen within short walking distance of the Moscone Centre if you need to just unwind.  I truly hope you don’t need it too much, but it’s always great to diffuse after the hustle and bustle.  For those who are returnees to Dreamforce, any ones I missed?  I’d love to hear of them!

See you in 18 days!

Mar 232012
 

So, I thought I’d pass along this hint for Salesforce – I am not sure if it saves you time if you just live with the issue, but it certainly saves you time if you wanted to send templated emails without needing to know HTML!  Of course, many use email templates during their day to day use.  However, the HTML body size is locked to 550 pixels when you’ve set up a template using the HTML (using Letterhead).  This works fine if you create your letterhead to fit to 550 pixels or less.  What happens if you have a letterhead where the footer is longer than the body size though?  Your email ends up looking cut, and not quite great looking.

The text does not stretch to the full space of the header...

So, how can we get around this? With four quick steps, you can actually stretch the HTML size within this template.

1) Create an image: With this step, you can use your favourite online image editor – I personally use Online Image Editor. If you use this site, simply use the Create Canvas section to create a new image.  The width should be the same width as your header or footer (in this instance it is 700 pixels), and the width you can make as 5 pixels.  And finally, ensure that the colour matches the background colour of your email template (the body section of the email template).  Click the Create Canvas button, and then save your custom made image (don’t worry – you can’t see it that well, especially if it is white!) to your local computer.

2) Store your image in the Documents folder:  Now, in Salesforce you are going to go into the Documents folder, and store the image you just made as a file.  Store it in a shared folder, and ensure it is marked off as an externally available image.

3) Edit your Email template: Now, for the final step.  Go into the email template you made, and go to the bottom of the HTML body area (the area where your email body is written).  Click the image button on your HTML toolbar.  Add the image you just created to the end of your email template (in this case, I called the file white space filler).

So, now you’ve stretched your email body so that it is the same length as the header you utilized was.

Now, while there is some steps involved with this ‘timesaver’, it does allow you to reuse the filler image you have added in future templates, and of course lets you utilize the ease of the HTML (using Letterhead) template type, instead of having to use the Custom HTML template type, in which you need to know how to write HTML code.  Hope this helps some of you out there!

Mar 012012
 

So today is March 1st – and for me it is starting off as a lion.  A smaller post today, as the past month has been a whirlwind of activities, meetings and announcements.  Today the xLerate I started up four years ago with a small amount of savings and a dream is now being put out to pasture, as we have merged with the company Force By Design, based out of San Francisco.  Force By Design was started by a good friend of mine (and now colleague) Micaiah Filkins around the same time as xLerate.  They have made one hell of a splash, becoming a well known and respected partner in the Salesforce community, and highly respected for their work efforts.

This is a good thing all around me thinks. It’s a win for Force By Design, expanding from their offices in San Francisco and Lansing, Michigan to an highly undiscovered market – Canada.  It’s a win for clients of xLerate – not much really changes for them, except maybe for seeing my face a little less in the coming months, and seeing other resources.  And it’s a win for me personally – it allows me to move my career to the next step. And I still keep and use my entrepreneurial spirit and drive in tact; it may not be my own baby that I watched grow up, more like the couple that my baby grew into.

But, more soon – it’s a busy week!  Oh…my new title is “Managing Director – Canadian Operations”.  More to come in the near future….

 Posted by at 9:13 am
Feb 172012
 

So, Winter Spring ’12 is out and one of the new features released is Cross Object Workflow.  This has been a long time idea on the IdeaExchange, and put a big old smile one my face.  With this release you are able to perform cross-object field updates on:

  • Custom Object to Custom Object (children of the custom object to the master of the relationship)
  • Custom Object to Standard Object (children of the custom object to the standard object)
  • Some Standard Object to Standard Object, being:
    • Case Comments Updating Cases
    • Email Updating Case
    • Opportunity Product Updating Opportunities
    • Opportunity Updating Accounts

Now, there is one main standard to standard object missing, and that is Cases Updating Accounts, but I hope that this will be something that comes in a future release (and is likely more complex due to cases being connected to contacts as well). However, with what has been released, your life just got a little easier thanks to Salesforce.

An easy (and broad) example would be the Account type field.  In my experience, this field is planned for and has high expectations at the beginning of a company’s use with Salesforce, but usually falls flat, as many don’t update this field.  Why?  Well, after an opportunity is won, an account with the type of Prospect should be moved to Customer.  However, this is on a different record, and after you’ve closed the Opportunity happily, many don’t go to the Account, and edit the field.  But, with cross-object workflow, this can be done automatically.  How to do this?

1. Create a new workflow rule.  Set evaluation to ‘When a record is created, or when a record is edited and did not previously meet the rule criteria’, and your Rule Criteria should be Opportunity: Stage EQUALS Closed Won AND Account: Type EQUALS Prospect(and any other Account types that you may use to denote a non-customer).

2. For the Action, create a Field Update.  The Field to Update is Account:Type, and the new field value is Customer (or whatever you deem your current clients to be).

3. Activate the Cross Object workflow rule, and voila!  You’re good to go!

Now, as I said, that is a very simple example, but it could be very powerful for you.  Now you can create a list view and now that if a customer is listed as a customer, they have been set due to the fact that you and your company has closed an opportunity! So, how will use cross object workflows?  Let me know any cool and nifty ways you’ll be using them!

Dec 302011
 

So, today I happened to make mention of a peeve of mine – businesses that use Twitter not to engage or be personal with the masses, but who use it as a way to throw out the latest sale, offering, or blank “Come visit us ’cause we’re awesome” tweet.  Of course, after quickly typing it, is it really their fault? Or has the current environment for business locked them into such a practice?  What do I mean?  Well, I will use CRM to explain my thoughts…

It’s a known fact that CRM implementations have a failure rate of around 50% for the past decade.   It’s also a common belief that a CRM system requires three main components for both use and success; people, process and technology.  What are these elements required in detail?

  • People: These are the users, the you and me of the system, right from data entry people to CEO’s…from implementation project managers to the day to day implementation managers.  And over the years, the people model has changed quite a bit.  Sure, we are all still human (mostly…), with a brain and a heart and such.  But the baseline of employees has changed substantially in the past decades.  How so?  Well, just watch an episode of Mad Men to see the difference.  Employees aren’t mindless drones doing whatever the ‘man’ asks….well, at least at the successful companies.  The employee, and their thoughts, desires and needs are an integral part of the model now.  But, more importantly, the people are much more saavy and understanding now as well.  I truly believe that most people understand (even if they don’t feel respected or appreciated) how their piece fits into the corporate puzzle, and how it makes a difference.
  • Technology: This is, of course, the application used with CRM.  Has technology changed over the past few decades?  Let me think on that question while I write this on my iPad from a Starbucks while streaming music from a station I like in Oslo and reading tweets letting me know what is happening in San Francisco, Budapest or Syria.  Uh – yeah, the technology changes so quickly that you’re old hat after three tweets and a like on Facebook.
  • Process: Ah the business process.  Wikipedia defines business process as a “is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers.” And we all know that the millions of business books available at Amazon or Indigo every single year tell us how much business has changed in the past one, two or three hundred years, right?  WRONG! Those best practices and processes and philosophies we have that run our enterprises have not changed since Adam Smith wrote Capitalism. We can spin doctor it, or have Malcolm Gladwell et al write a new face or point of view on our capitalistic foundation, but it is still the same old foundation.
And here is where the issue is.  We, as a collective race of humans have changed, and continue to change each and every moment of every single day.  And technology is evolving at an astronomical pace.  Yet, we still base our companies around functional practices that have been used since the industrial revolution, measure the success of a company (and many have stocks and RSP’s that measure their personal financial success) around their stock price, and still monitor and regulate our enterprise with laws either written in the era of our great-grandfathers or through people who are seemingly as old as our great-grandfathers. We have locked ourselves to mold our lives and our processes and our self around an economic theory that is centuries old and currently faltering.
So, can I blame companies who use Twitter to send out a blank advert like they’ve hit the marketing lottery for free advertising?  Not when the foundation of the economic system we try and work with is stuck in that era.  Does something have to give?  Good lord, yes – but how we do it without deconstructing the very essence of our lives is yet unknown.