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CIOs: The Not-So-Hidden Secret to Smarter Cloud Adoption

Posted by | CRM Consulting | No Comments

080116_TS_BLOG_CIO_CLOUDArmed with the unique position of being involved in both the IT side of a business and the C-suite leadership sector, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has the cross-department tools and insider knowledge required to move a company successfully into an enterprise-wide digital strategy. One major element in this initiative that can especially benefit from more hands-on CIO involvement: the adoption of cloud computing.

Heralded as an innovative, cost-cutting alternative to traditional, on-premise legacy systems, the cloud is enticing business leaders across industries to make the move, migrating data and processes away from in-house hardware and onto digital, third-party-controlled virtual platforms. Yet, many are failing to realize the depth and breadth of benefits promised by such a transformative shift, and for one primary reason—a lack of cohesion and coordination among teams as they each learn to adapt to the new, cloud-based environment. Possessing both a deep understanding of the processes and best practices that keep a company turning, as well as a position of executive leadership and authority, the CIO is perfectly positioned to bridge this gap and help fuel a more seamless—and successful—path to cloud adoption. Read More

Small Business Marketing Trends: How CRM and Marketing Automation are Shaping the Landscape in 2016 and Beyond

Posted by | CRM Consulting, Marketing Automation | No Comments

While creative and substantive marketing is required to sustain almost any business for the long term, it’s especially important for small businesses, for whom traffic and conversion is a critical feature of their livelihood and a deciding factor of their longevity. As technology continues to permeate virtually every aspect of a company’s communication and collaboration processes, it comes as no surprise that digital tools and automation are emerging as key players in the small business space, heralded for their ability to make marketing simpler, more effective, and more streamlined across a variety of online channels. The capacity to leverage these tools is quickly becoming a market differentiator, helping companies across the industry stand out from the competition and work more effectively, turning technology integration from a “nice-to-have” feature into one indispensable for addressing the myriad challenges and opportunities the small business sector routinely encounters.

An Industry Outlook: Marketing Pain Points and CRM Possibilities

A recent report conducted by several industry software providers found that out of 1,000 small business owners from across the U.S., nearly half (47 percent) handle marketing efforts on their own, yet approximately the same number (48.5 percent) of owners don’t know if their marketing efforts are effective, while almost 14 percent know for certain they aren’t. Read More

Clearing the Air: The Current and Projected State of Public Cloud Computing Adoption

Posted by | CRM Consulting | No Comments

071116_TS_BLOG_CLOUDVSONPREMISE_COSTOver the last few weeks, we’ve taken a look at several of the key differentiators that distinguish on-premise CRM systems from their cloud-based counterparts, delving into some of the major elements—including infrastructure, scaling, and cost requirements—characterizing each scenario, helping executives drive more informed decision-making before making a final investment.

While there are concrete advantages to moving operations to the cloud—opportunities leveraged by some of the top brands around the world—there is also significant hesitation to pull software applications completely away from legacy data centers and onto a public cloud computing model, where they’re managed by a third-party cloud provider. Indicative of this reluctance, a recent Morgan Stanley survey of 100 chief information officers revealed that more than half of those surveyed (53 percent) said their companies did not leverage any public cloud infrastructure at all, a number they expect to drop significantly lower—to only 9 percent—in the next three years. Read More

Cloud vs. On-Premise CRM: A Look at Costs and How They Compare

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071116_TS_BLOG_CLOUDVSONPREMISE_COSTAs we wrap up our series on the major differentiators between cloud-based and on-premise CRM software, today we’re taking a look at one of the most critical—and sometimes polarizing—aspects of the debate: cost comparisons. Investing in any enterprise-wide solution can be a significant financial undertaking, and to this end it’s important to take into account all aspects of a given scenario to ensure maximum long-term ROI and sustainability. While it can be difficult to pinpoint exact, total CRM costs for cloud-based and on-premise solutions due to the inclusion of multiple “soft costs” (e.g. the price of downtime, hardware depreciation, etc.) that make an apples-to-apples comparison nearly impossible, there are major differences between the two operational environments that can help drive a more informed financial decision-making process. Let’s take a look at some of the major factors to consider when thinking about making an investment: Read More

Cloud vs. On-Premise CRM: Key Business Drivers to Review for Each Scenario

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070616_TS_BLOG_CLOUDVSONPREMISE_BUSINESS_DRIVERSAs we continue our blog series on considerations to keep in mind when evaluating cloud-based versus on-premise CRM software solutions, today we’re taking a look at some of the main business drivers associated with each scenario, including both pros and cons, to help direct a more thorough analysis. Mapping each business driver to the unique use cases and operational environments of your company can help ensure that the model chosen is appropriately fitted for optimization, adoption, and success across the enterprise. Read More

Cloud vs. On-Premise CRM: Key Considerations to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Path

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062716_TS_BLOG_CLOUDVSONPREMISE_INTERNALDECISIONSRarely does a business solution exist that meets the needs of all organizations, applies to every use case scenario, and fits every specific workforce, labor, and operational requirement. To this end, the decision to invest in a specific technology option, in this case a cloud-based or on-premise CRM software solution, is entirely unique to each company, and the path to implementation will look different for each executive, though the end goal may be universal—to streamline and simplify customer relationship data across the enterprise. Before investing, it can be helpful to take a look internally at current (and future) infrastructure goals, resource availability, and other factors and considerations that can help steer your decision. Let’s take a look at some of the major points to consider when deciding which model is right for your company: Read More

Cloud vs. On-Premise CRM: Defining the Basics and Framing the Discussion

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062116_TS_BLOG_CLOUDVSONPREMISE_BASICSA critical step in making the move to an enterprise-wide CRM deployment is the initial planning and evaluation stage—reviewing the software solutions on the market and mapping their features and capabilities to the specific end goals each organization hopes to accomplish with cleaner and more organized customer data. Yet, with so many models on the market today, it can be difficult to distinguish exactly which is the “best fit,” and between industry buzzwords and technology acronyms, simply decoding the jargon can be one of the more challenging aspects of getting started. This is especially true when deciding between a cloud-based or on-premise CRM deployment, and while our discussion on the advantages and drawbacks of each solution will follow in subsequent blogs, it’s helpful to start at the beginning with a “primer on the basics”—an overview of the top terms in this space—to help frame the discourse and provide a basic understanding against which a more complex analysis can be accomplished. To this end, let’s take a look at some key terms that define the cloud vs. on-premise CRM conversation: Read More

CRM and Management: Improving Customer Understanding for Stronger Executive Insight

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051716_TS_BLOG_CRM_MGMT_HEADERAs senior executives seek to address their strategic challenges and organize their operational priorities, new trends and technologies are emerging every day that promise to boost the bottom line, improve employee efficiency, and expedite success. Yet, while innovations are emerging (many of which hold promise and potential), there is often a core group of solutions and tools proven over time to deliver the results that management teams need to keep up with the pace of competition, globalization, and myriad other issues threatening long-term stability. Read More

Smarter Shopping: Digital Tech in the Retail and Distribution Industry and the Role of CRM

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051016_TS_BLOG_SMARTERSHOPPINGIt’s no secret that today’s shopper is empowered. In addition to providing access to myriad brands at the touch of a button (or swipe of a screen), the Internet of Things (IoT) also enables nearly instant feedback and gratification, and as such, consumers expect the same timeliness from the retail companies they love, and for the few that miss the mark, there is an entire virtual ecosystem of competitors with access to faster delivery times, quicker turnarounds, and swifter rollouts.

To this end, retail companies looking to stand out in the digital space are making strategic investments in digital technology that can not only get them closer to the customers they serve, but can help them secure their loyalty and long-term business through enabling the type of efficient distribution systems and supply chains required to fulfill their demands. Read More

Closing the Loop: How CRM Helps Retailers Boost Long-Term Customer Engagement and Retention

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Knowing your customer base is undoubtedly an essential first step in any retail operation. Without a deep and multifaceted understanding of exactly who comprises your audience, what drives their purchasing decisions, and what they’re looking for out of a brand, it can be next to impossible to see long-term and sustainable business growth. However, while much effort is focused—for good reason—on researching this cause, identification is only the first step in a successful (and profitable) customer relationship.

In its 20152 CRM/Unified Commerce Survey, retail consulting firm Boston Retail Partners (BRP) detailed the foundation of a “closed-loop system” that begins with customer identification, then segues seamlessly into customer engagement, analysis, and retention. However, the process is far from linear. Rather than stopping at retention, retailers are urged to perform consistent research into customer understanding and identification, enabling retailers to build upon each relationship by repeating the four steps. In a similar vein, top North American retailers are taking a similar approach to their CRM investments, prioritizing the actions that drive this cycle, and planning ahead to ensure steps are in place to keep it spinning for years to come. Read More