Simon Cowell Left American Idol to Launch CRM Idol. But He Did Not Make the Final Cut.

Paul Greenberg did.  Simon is off doing X-Factor instead Smile

Paul Simon Greenberg Cowell 1

Joke apart,  if you are in the CRM business, or interested in CRM, or even just social software, chances are you’ve heard of Paul Greenberg. Simply said, he is the Godfather of CRM. And Godfathers get to make decisions.  If you follow Paul’s annual CRM Watchlist series it’ll be obvious that Paul keeps on expanding the horizon for CRM, covering lots of vendors not traditionally thought of being in the CRM space.  Now he invites even more CRM-Social-yourfavoritetermhere small companies (“small” < $12M revenue) to the podium offering otherwise hard-to-achieve exposure.  Paul assembled an amazing team of Judges, and I am humbled to be on his Team.  Talk about Judges… just like on the other Idol, you don’t have to “win” to win. Smile

CRM Idol 2011: The Open Season is here – see Paul’s full announcement below.

(PG Note: The post you see below represents the “official” launch of CRM Idol 2011 and is one that all eight primary judges endorse. For me personally, this is my “angelic” side – the side of me that wants to support an industry that has been good to me. On my more edgy side, some of the reason that this was hatched was because of PR agents who basically don’t do their homework and pitch me all day long without an inkling about me as an actual human. They think I’m an influential CRM cyborg. Dealing with that from the other side, Brent Leary and I will be launching a music video in a few months from Playaz Productions. Heh. Heh.

But the side of me that’s grateful to an industry and friends and those companies that actually have honored me by listening to me blather all these years, is enthralled by the idea that we may be able to give back to all of you through CRM Idol. So, thank you for everything over the years and welcome to CRM Idol 2011: the Open Season!!)

Okay, everyone this is the big one. CRM Idol 2011: The Open Seasonis here and we’re ready to take your companies and find out which one of you in the Americas and which one of you in EMEA is not the next CRM Idol but the FIRST CRM Idol.

The Idea

Most of what we’re trying to do was outlined in the pre-announcement announcement of CRM Idol last week. But it bears some repeating:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


The Master of Guerilla Marketing Turns Microsoft’s Prank Around

CloudAve readers know I am a fan of edgy marketing.  Now it’s time to update my recently compiled inventory of software marketing pranks.  A major show like’s DreamForce would not even be real without some guerilla marketing activity – except the players seemed to have traded places this year.  Guerilla Marketing is normally David’s weapon, but this year Goliath – Holy Microsoft – came down to us earthlings running around on Segways handing out MS Dynamics CRM discount coupons:

Image credit: Centernetworks

I did not get Forced

On a side-note…

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


Did 37Signals Increase BaseCamp Price or Not? The Backdoor Experiment.

There’s a debate going on about 37Signal’s “hidden” “unannounced” price increase of their popular Basecamp service.

Apparently most of the uproar wasn’t so much due to the price hike itself, but the fact that it happened without any announcement.

Cinovate Cloud Inn.Cinovate Cinovate Cloud Inn.

Why did 37 Signal’s Basecamp price double unannounced? Contact Cinovate for a based Basecamp killer app.

Canada Tech Eqentia

canadatechnews Canada Tech Eqentia

Why did 37 Signal’s Basecamp price double unannounced?


TechvibesTO TechvibesTO

Why did 37 Signal’s Basecamp price double unannounced?

22 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Not everyone agrees:

Ben Kepes@benkepes Ben Kepes

If people have a problem with #BaseCamp #37Signals pricing they have two options, shut up or move on. No big deal cc/ @jasonfried

Hm. I guess STFU is an answer, too.  On the other hand, competitors are ready to take advantage of the situation:

Mike Erickson

mikeerickson Mike Erickson

If you dont like the #basecamp price hike, check out #teambox!


bluecamroo BlueCamroo

Don’t like #basecamp price rise? Try #BlueCamroo. Project Management and Social CRM with Twitter from $24.99 p.m.

Zoho (longtime CloudAve sponsor) even offered a conversion tool: BUMP. (not to be mixed up with the iPhone / Android BUMP)

But 37Signals Founder Jason Fried came back with a surprising statement:

This isn’t accurate. We have not raised prices. Our prices have been steady for years. Max is still $149. Premium is still $99. Plus is still $49. Basic is still $24. Free is still free. Same prices as last week, last month, last quarter, last year, two years before that, etc. Each plan has the exact same levels and features and projects and disk space as before.

So who is right?  And more importantly, where is the $24 Basic Plan?

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


Software Marketing Pranks

I envy software marketing types.  They get to stay kids forever: pull pranks and even get paid for it.:-)

Today’s example comes courtesy of TechCrunch: PayPal competitor WePay dropped a 600lbs ice block at the entrance of the Paypal developer conference.  They got chased away and Moscone security removed the ice block.   My question: who gets the money?  Those are real dollar bills in the ice…

But don’t for a minute think it’s only at startup-land where 20-somethings rule.. the enterprise gray-hairs like pranks, too.  Below are some gems from the past.

NetSuite raining on Sage‘s parade conference:

NetSuite is quite a regular at competitor conferences, see their trucks at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE conference:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


Who Says Enterprise Software Isn’t Sexy? Ok, Just Cool…

Or at least customers using SAP are making cool things… :-)

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve » Zoli Erdos)


SAP Business ByDesign Video – Plain and Simple, Making Fun of …Wow, ERP!

We’re just having an intense internal debate in the Enterprise Irregulars group whether SAP’s Business ByDesign (ByD) is late to the market and what it all means, when hot off the press here’s a promotional video, that’s not so much ByD advertising but a SMB / SME SaaS 101, and a very good one at that (now, that was a mouthful of acronyms).

Ironically, the video makes fun of the Big Ugly Beast, ERP – which happens to be SAP’s bread and butter. (Hey, I’ve long been saying SAP should have copied a chapter from Larry Ellison’s book, invest in a SMB Startup and let it grow independently…)

Hat tip for the video: Timo Elliot.

See our (more serious) Business ByDesign coverage here.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Samsung Galaxy S vs. Samsung Galaxy S

The title is not a typo, I’m really comparing the Galaxy S to the Galaxy S.  Join me.  Here’s the version many of us have seen, and I held in my hands (salivating with desire, I might add) at the Google I/O Conference:

Samsung-Galaxy-S front

And here’s the Samsung Captivate, announced by At&T today, and heralded as AT&T’s brand for the Samsung Galaxy S.

Something does not compute ( and I don’t mean the phones, these babies are blazing fast).  But either they are not both the Samsung Galaxy S, or this name refers to an entire family of devices, not just one specific model.  The latter does not make too much sense to me: Samsung Galaxy can be a family name, without the “S”.  Case in point: Samsung Galaxy Tab .

What gives?  Does anyone have an explanation?  Samsung, feel free to chime in.   Oh, and please release this baby while I am still within the 30-day period of my HTC EVO 🙂

Related posts:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


NetSuite vs SAP … Round #n. A Game Changer?

elephant-flea In my recent Suites post I said there were exactly 1.5 (one and a half) integrated full business solutions (SaaS Suite, SaaS All-In-One, SaaS ERP, SaaS SMB ERP – take your pick or  create a new one) offered as a service.   The one in that equation was NetSuite, and the half is SAP’s Business ByDesign.

The half is getting close to becoming full, bringing the total number of solutions to two.   SAP’s ByD, originally launched in 2007 was a functionally rich solution already at launch – in fact I called it the most complete SaaS Suite not available customers. And therein lies the rub.  Functionally rich, but a phantom product that only a few selected early customers could get their hands on.  And it wasn’t simply a marketing / segmentation blunder as some analyst thought, it was all about architecture: SAP missed out on the economics of multi-tenancy, and realized they could not profitably operate and scale what they referred to as “mega-tenancy” – so they went back re-architecting ByDesign.

The lost 2 1/2 years were a gift to competitor NetSuite, and they milked it every possible way.  SAP announced entry to the SaaS SMB space validated their market, and their own delay was an open invitation to NetSuite. As CEO Zach Nelson said at their recent earnings conference:

I’d like to thank SAP for being our IBM.

NetSuite never shied away from aggressive marketing (I guess that’s the Oracle blood in their veins), starting from pranks like the SAP for the Rest of Us Party during SAPPHIRE 2006 to staging a shootout at the anti-SAP Conference or releasing edgy videos a’la Mac vs Windows.  But the biggest coup, one with definite gains was the Business ByNetsuite program which we covered here:

The aptly named Business ByNetsuite program guarantees at least 50% savings to current SAP R/3 customers relative to  – watch this! – the annual maintenance fees they are now paying to SAP.  Yes, it’s not a price-to-price comparison.  With the perpetual licence model customers pay upfront, but are still forced to pay annual maintenance fees – with SaaS there is only a subscription fee, and now NetSuite proves it can be half of only the maintenance component of traditional software’s TCO.

Yes, NetSuite took deals from SAP and of course amidst all the chest-thumping they did not particularly emphasize the fact that that these were often divisional deals:  smaller divisions of large companies, often replacing legacy systems as a result of an acquisition with the parent company running SAP.  NetSuite even developed  NetSuite-to-SAP connectors for enterprise reporting, fully recognizing they won’t be replacing SAP on the corporate level.

Now of course these were relatively easy wins when NetSuite was the only game in town – and that’s about to change, as SAP is getting ready for General Availability of a new Business ByDesign in July.  And SAP CEO Bill McDermott fired a few salvos over to NetSuite in his announcement, as quoted by Reuters:

McDermott said he believes Business by Design’s sales will be able to quickly surpass those of NetSuite, which last year posted $167 million in revenue.

“When Business by Design is coming at them like a 99-mile-an-hour fastball, let’s see how tough they are,” McDermott said of NetSuite.

Winning against SAP when they had no relevant SaaS offering was one thing, going up against a functionally strong product will be another.  NetSuite is changing tone, comparing the two offerings, as show by this slide I received from NetSuite:

NetSuite SAP

This must be the first time SAP finds themselves on the wrong side of the David vs. Goliath equation (or is it the elephant vs flea?  – but who is the elephant and who is the flea in the long run?).   I have an issue specifically re. the functional shootout, which was rigged at best.

As for the rest of the comparisons, a fair summary is that neither side is a newcomer.   SAP is the granddaddy of business processes with 30 years of experience, but they are new to operating / scaling a cloud environment – something NetSuite has a head start on them.

I have reasons to believe (more on that in another post) ByD will not be a failure this time around, and NetSuite will have to adopt to competing with a real product vs. a phantom.  It will be a healthy change, with customers now having a choice of (at least) two well integrated SaaS offerings.  In the end, customers win.

(Keep an eye open for the next post on ByD and beyond…)

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


Phaeton: Audi in a Volkswagen Skin

2011 volkswagen-phaeton-facelift-preview-rendering Half a decade ago I labeled the Volkswagen Phaeton a fiasco.  A great car coupled with a marketing disaster:

The car is perfect. In fact it’s a technological marvel full of luxuries.  It only has one problem:  the wrong badge. Volkswagen happens to mean “people’s car”, but that’s beyond the point. What matters is that VW’s are perceived as good middle-class cars, not more.  At $80K people buy luxury cars, not just in terms of performance, but image, too.  What were VW thinking ,when they have their own upscale brand, Audi?   This car is clearly an Audi, mistakenly branded Volkswagen.

There is a reason why Honda created Acura, Toyota created Lexus … but I guess VW slept through that class in Marketing.

The 2011 revamped version has just been revealed at the Beijing Auto Show. Hm… if you ask me, this looks more “plain Volkswagen” than the first, failed version.  The company hopes to sell more in China, where Volkswagen enjoys a more upscale reputation, and there is still talk of re-introducing it to the US Market.   It will be interesting to see this.  The Phaeton has lately become popular in Europe, but let’s remember that’s where people buy luxury Honda’s without the need to re-label them as Acura :-) 

Although the new Phaeton is rumored to sell at a lower price then the original (think $60K range vs. $80K+), I still think it will be a tough sell in the US.  Here the folks who want to spend that much on a car don’t want a Volks car – they are clearly in the Audi range.


Edgy Marketing: Great Plains and SAP Guy vs. NetSuite Guy (Mac vs PC)

You’ve seen Great Plains and SAP, now in the Grand Finale they come together to match up against Mac .. I mean the NetSuite Guy:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)