AT&Twilio scores big

BT and Ribbit, Alcatel-Lucent and ProgrammableWeb, Microsoft and Skype. These have been memorable acquisitions in recent years in the telecom space, and the trend points to disruptive web-based tech making a splash — enough for the establishment to cough up millions of dollars to buy out.

Although not a merger or acquisition, Twilio still scores big — in terms of press coverage and spreading its technology — in this partnership with AT&T. Not only did the news of this resale agreement reach telecom channels (NoJitter, Opus Research, Fierce) but also the mainstream technology blogosphere (TechCrunch, GigaOM, ProgrammableWeb). Plus, we’re talking about AT&T here. There’s a reason for the Ma Bell monicker.

Twilio will power the AT&T Advanced Communications Suite (ACS) offering for enterprise customers looking to leverage communications in order to streamline processes and enhance collaboration internally or externally. There will be pre-built voice and SMS-enabled apps made available for purchase on the ACS web portal, or an AT&T customer may decide to create its own app using the Twilio API.

So aside from the high-fives and vigorous handshaking going around in Silicon Valley and Dallas, what does this partnership really tell us?

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Pitfalls in customer experience management

This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

After several years of being kicked to the curb, it looks like the customer is king once again. Previously businesses have focused on slashing costs and implementing technologies to improve efficiencies, but without regard to their customers. It was an era of lowest-bid-wins outsourcing and CRM projects that drag on forever. Maybe it’s karma or just a sign of the times, but companies learned their lessons, refined their methods, and now see the customer as the foundation which their brands and revenues build upon…

That’s not to say that outsourcing and CRM projects are things of the past. Current trends indicate on-shoring of resources and smarter implementation of enterprise CRM systems (thanks to the cloud), but more importantly the basis of such decisions comes back to the customer. There’s the realization that whatever initiative is taken it’d better be centered around the customer experience.

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After Dreamforce 2012

Full disclosure first: I did not attend Dreamforce 2012 which was held in San Francisco last week, but as always I observed from afar with great interest. Who can blame me? Last year’s Dreamforce included Eric Schmidt, will.i.am, Neil Young, MC Hammer, and Metallica as speakers and performers; last week the stage was graced by Gen. Colin Powell, Tony Robbins, Sir Richard Branson, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit next year if we see Marc Benioff and PSY paired up to do Gangnam Style on stage. (This flash mob is nice but it’s no Gangnam Style…)

There’s one thing that rubbed off Benioff during his time at Oracle and that’s Larry Ellison’s showmanship. Ellison made his mark in the competitive yacht racing world when his team won the 2010 America’s Cup. Benioff can be the first CEO to perform the invisible horse dance during an annual conference. Even Ellison would pay to see that!

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Cloud lets IT be IT again

This blog post is sponsored by the CIO Collaboration Network and Avaya.

Do you ever wonder: when did IT stopped being IT?

Do you remember the good ol’ days (when client-server computing first took off) when the IT department set up a LAN (token ring!) for users to login and use WordPerfect? If you ran into problems the IT folks were more than happy to assist, mostly because they liked to show off this new technology. They served the users. The IT department was always helping the business users with a smile.

As decades went by hardware and software and networks became increasingly hairy beasts to tame. IT became inundated with requests to patch operating systems, reset passwords, poke holes in the firewall, and removing malware. Business users weren’t pleased and neither were IT representatives. Fingers pointed at each other. Blame and shame went both ways.

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