• Trend watch columns

    Learn about trends in the call center market from Donna Fluss, a thought leader and innovator in contact center and real-time analytics with more than 23 years of experience. In Donna's monthly column for, she covers all aspects of call center and real-time analytics. Catch up on recent columns here.

  • Schools

    Schools are comprehensive collections of targeted multimedia learning resources that provide in-depth instruction.

  • Business Case

    It's important to understand the business drivers behind before embarking on an IT project. In this ROI series, experts will explain the benefits of various kinds of software and the options for using the technology in your organization.

  • Bookshelf

  • SearchCRM Cloud Guide

    CRM systems running in the cloud, or on-demand or Software as a Service (SaaS), as it’s known, are becoming more popular as more companies consider these alternatives to full on-premises systems.

    Typically available through subscription fees, cloud CRM leaves much of the overhead (such as servers and data maintenance) to the company hosting the infrastructure. Companies are more likely to consider a SaaS or cloud CRM system, thanks to the potential for lower costs in areas such as the contact center.

    The relatively quick implementation time (as little as a few weeks), is another reason companies consider SaaS CRM software.

    That said, not every company will realize cost and time savings with SaaS. For example, companies may find that comparing on-premises and on-demand CRM applications is a bit tricky.

    "[Some SaaS vendors] do not allow you to dial down the number of users," said Rob Desisto, an analyst with Gartner. "Not only are you committed, in many cases you've paid up from the anniversary of year one."

  • Dreamforce '11 Special Report

    Most recent news coverage:

    CEO Benioff outlines priorities for
    Marc Benioff, chairman of, met with dozens of reporters and analysts at the company’s annual Dreamforce conference this week and fielded a wide range of questions, from clarifying plans for its marketing cloud (it will happen) to expressing opinions on the U.S. economy (what recession?). Benioff stayed on message, promoting the cloud and his plans for the social enterprise throughout this exchange. The following is a selection of questions and answers:

    You showed the napkin on which you mapped out Burberry Ltd.'s strategy for a social enterprise and talked about other big-name customers highlighting's work to help them create social enterprise strategies. How do you help everyone else?

    Marc Benioff: We have 100,000 napkins (laughs). We have come up with a template. The Burberry template [is based on] things that are important to them, their brand and the feelings associated with their brand, which is important to them, but if you look at that napkin and compare it to the Toyota template, the Coca-Cola template, they're all very similar. We sent 300 executives out to 1,000 customers [this year], and they are building a catalogue by industry, and we will have hundreds of these [templates] within a year. This is a huge shift for us and for our sales organization.

    Read the rest of the story here.

  • Customer Experience Exchange

    This bi-monthly e-zine offers insights into and tips about the customer experience. We will be covering customer engagement and loyalty, analytics, social and customer-facing initiatives, cross-organizational communication and how companies are maintaining a single view of the customer.

  • Business applications cloud computing mega-guide

    In this guide collection, find answers to commonly asked questions about SAP, Oracle, CRM and manufacturing/ERP cloud computing.

  • CRM user interface guide

    Get a feel for the user interfaces of several CRM applications -- sales dashboards, mobile and Outlook integration – from the major CRM vendors. User interfaces (UIs) are critical to the success of a CRM implementation. It’s widely understood that for a CRM implementation to be a success, users must not only be willing to use the software, but actively embrace it. This is particularly critical for sales force automation (SFA). Salespeople are often the stubbornest, pickiest users in an organization. If they’re not entering information around sales calls, prospects and leads, or worse, entering bad data, they can cripple the CRM system. In response, major CRM vendors have changed their UIs to make them more intuitive and easy to use. This guide presents the screenshots of the UIs from the major CRM vendors across three critical areas for any sales rep: the sales dashboard; Outlook integration; and the CRM UI for mobile devices. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive overview of every screen in the major CRM vendors’ toolset. Rather, readers can compare the user interfaces of the leading CRM software to get a look and feel for the applications.

  • Customer Experience Exchange Ezine Archive

    Customer Experience Exchange Ezine offers insights into and tips about the customer experience. Catch up on past issues focused on customer engagement and loyalty, CRM analytics, social and customer-facing initiatives, cross-organizational communication, how companies are maintaining a single view of the customer and more.

  • Dreamforce 2012 conference coverage

    Dreamforce 2012 bills itself as the largest enterprise technology and cloud computing event ever. With 70,000 people expected to attend – and another 30,000 predicted to watch online – the four-day event could very well solidify the reputation of as one of the leading software vendors.

    Held in San Francisco, Dreamforce intends to showcase the company's strengths in connecting businesses with customers through social applications. Burberry, Virgin Atlantic, Toyota and General Electric are just a few of the companies that will talk about how Salesforce has improved their cloud and CRM platforms.

    Dreamforce will also feature the unveiling of new products, including – the rebranded and redeveloped Rypple, the human resources software company acquired earlier this year. And will introduce Touch, which an executive hinted will be the entire Salesforce platform on an iPad.

    If that's not enough, Gen. Colin Powell, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and other well-known figures will give keynote talks that will probably tie motivation and cloud computing. And The Red Hot Chili Peppers – which has a tweeting bassist and drummer – will perform a show for attendees in the shadow of San Francisco City Hall.

    Adam Riglian of, Albert Mckeon of and Barney Beal, a TechTarget senior executive editor, will be at Dreamforce following all the buzz, so check out this page daily.

  • Special Report: Microsoft Convergence 2013

    The premier networking event for the Microsoft Dynamics community, Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 is the place for Dynamics CRM users to come together and find ways to extend the value of Dynamics CRM throughout their organizations. Attendees will see demonstrations of new and upcoming products and get a chance to talk to one another about CRM best practices -- and SearchCRM is there to bring you the latest coverage.

    Microsoft executives are tight lipped in public about what they'll unveil at the four-day conference, starting March 18. But customers and industry pundits expect them to highlight plans for Marketing Pilot, a marketing and advertising technology company that Microsoft bought last year. Microsoft has yet to explain how Marketing Pilot fits into the company scheme, but analysts expect it to be integrated with the Dynamics CRM platform.

    Industry insiders report that Bob Stutz, vice president of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product line, is expected to detail his plans for future of Dynamics CRM. Those plans may include evolving the platform into a series of specialized and ready-to-use products, as opposed to a product that partners have to configure, customize or bolster with add-on solutions to meet customers' needs.

    The four-day event, to be held in New Orleans, will also feature ample product release news from company officials, workshop sessions for users and keynote speeches delivered by Kirill Tatarinov, president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Division, and Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General.

    Albert McKeon, site editor of, will be at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 following all the buzz, so visit this page daily for all the latest.

  • Guide to call center operations

    The onslaught of social media has been a game changer for the customer service industry. Consumers now have forums to publicly sing the praises of -- or vent frustrations against -- companies, and companies are listening. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become the forums in which the fates of many organizations are now being weighed.

    However, social media is not the only thing changing the face of customer service. Call center operations are also facing challenges such as new metrics, new technologies and how to integrate them. But these challenges are also opportunities to improve customer relations, and organizations are taking advantage of them.