One reason for CRM failure; The Nature of Contact Information

Most CRM implementations fail.  This is a fact.  Look it up.

In my years in the industry, I’ve worked with many vendors on the consulting side to help reduce the possibility of CRM failure.  While there is a whole host of reason that failure occurs, I have a very unique perspective into one of those reasons.  The Nature of Contact Information.

The nature of contact information is fairly finite (i.e. Company, URL, Name, Title, Email, Phone, Social Network membership, etc). In addition, the concept of contact information is a simple one to grasp. It is so simple, in fact, that if often gets overlooked.

One of the most important concepts in business is “be brilliant at the basics”. If you are brilliant at your basics many more complex processes will fall naturally into place. So how are you treating contact information?

The miss-handling of contact information can lead to dire consequences across your company.

Take the following work flow as an example:
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What is boolean? Is “Boolean Black belt” a good thing? What is Beyond Boolean?

There has been a recent rise of the term “Boolean blackbelt”, while I am not familiar, specifically, with all the people stating to be a a boolean black belt, I wanted to add some perspective.

“Boolean Blackbelt”, may be a great marketing phrase, but it is the equivalent of saying “basic math blackbelt”  or “kindergarden green beret”

Why?  because Boolean is extremely simple.  It is the basis for logic which includes logical operators  AND, OR, NOT, and XOR  (exclusive OR).

I do know some people out there that would qualify as “search string black belts” and what they do is a combination of understanding boolean logic along with the myriad of Internet sources.   They have vast knowledge of the process of search.  The magic they bring is not the boolean, it is the business process and understanding.  What they do is tweak out the special commands allowed by the search engines, like Google, MS Live.  Shally Steckerl and Glenn Gutmacher from Job Machine are examples of masters they are “beyond boolean”.

So please, hold the angry emails, I am not knocking the “black belts” out there,  I think they are actually selling their skills short.  My goal is to add clarity that being good in boolean may take few minutes.  Being good at the complex search commands available in the search engines may take a few days to learn.  To know HOW to apply the search fundamentals means you must understand and live with all the sources of information that are available.  Search engines, blogs, social networks, etc.  To know all that requires total immersion.

What is beyond boolean?  Remember, boolean equates to: AND, OR, NOT, OR.  Some popular search engine commands include: NEAR,  Site,  inURL.

(By the way, I just checked the domain:  beyondBoolean.com is available!).  Who is going to be beyondboolean?

What is beyond boolean?  What is missing?  Here are some that we have developed at Broadlook.  We call it, what else, “broadlean”.  The next major versions of Broadlook product engines will be supporting it (some already do).  I would like to hear from the searchologists (i prefer that term), what else would you like to see in the broadlean specification?

WARNING!!!!! – The rest of this blog is for the tech geeks out there.  If you don’t know your way around a search engine, STOP HERE!

Here are some BROADLEAN commands:

SS:   Same sentance as
SP:   Same paragraph as
SC:  Same concept as
PERSON:
CORP:
DATE:
EVENT:

SS, SP, SC are operators.  PERSON, CORP, DATE, EVENT are what we call entity operators.

example usage:

Project manager”  SS PERSON –  find all pages that mention the term “project manager” in the same sentance as a person.  The  value here is that you don’t have to know the person’s name to succeed with your search.

Google, MS Live, Yahoo are all toys when it comes to weeding through results.  I am excited to see the technology that comes out over the next few years in terms of targeting results.  What fun!

Keyword proximity and keyword extension engines

Keyword proximity and keyword extension engines

Here is an experiment to help develop taxonomies of keywords.

First engine is http://keywords.broadlook.com. The focus of this engine is the keywords and metatags within websites and build a list of (1) keyword extensions of your input. Example: if you type in the word “research”, the engine will return the top results in 1000’s of phrases that start with “research”, like “research and development”, “research papers” and “research triangle”. In addition, engine 1 returns a list of keywords in closest proximity to your input term.

Second engine is http://keywords2.broadlook.com. This engine does the same as engine #1, except it works with the BODY of html pages vs. keywords and meta tags.

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Building a ultra-fast proximity engine with entity recognition could yield some interesting results.

Examples:

-Who are the top 10 people on the web that are mentioned in closest proximity to Bill Gates or Barack Obama? How does that compare to the month previous?

-What are the top 10 companies mentioned near Broadlook or Salesforce.com?

-Who are the top 10 people mentioned in conjuntion with an event, company or date?

The combinations are endless. What applications can be developed from this type of information? I can think of many in the research and analytics space. The 2 main components are the entity recognition and proximity indexing. For questions about the engines email to donato dot diorio at gmail com with subject “keyword engine”

Please keep in mind that this is pure research and we are not even sure ourselves of the uses of the core technology.

Enjoy!

Seamless voice recognition; recruiters get ready

I was recently speaking with my friend Ami Givertz and he asked me about technology that excites me. With this question, I realized that technology does not excite me; its the changes and possibilities that technology brings that excites me. In addition, I’m less excited the day I release a new product, than the day it was conceived. The discovery, the chase, the debate; this is bliss. By the time it is realized, I’m already building something else.

So what is on the next peak? What is just far enough over the horizon that people aren’t really talking about yet? What is going to shake the world and transform it like the Internet did?

Seamless voice recognition (SVR).

Now for those critics out there. I am not picking a date, but I am drafting out a vision of some things that will be reality, once this goal is attained.

I am not a speech recognition expert, however, I do attend the conferences and am a recipient of Speech Technology Magazine.  I’ve been using speech recognition for about 10 years now.  So what I do have, is some perspective and I am planning products to take advantage of the Speech Recognition technology backbone.

What I mean by seamless voice recognition is simply that it works. Right now, it is rather kludgy. I bought a Lexus a few years back. Press the voice control button and say “Tune to 90.7 FM” (National public radio in Wisconsin) and I have an equal chance of burning my ass by the seat heater, turning the radio off, or navigating to the nearest 7-11 convenient store via the GPS. Not seamless.

Fast forward to 2008.

I have a TomTom GPS that I can talk to.  Looks silly having a $200 GPS sitting on the dashboard of a Luxury sedan that has a built in GPS. But it works. Nearly seamless.

Fast forward … a few years.

Based on standard advances in technology, everything we will need for SVR will be on a single chip. Then that chip will get smaller and smaller. Does this trend sound familiar? Eventually that chip will be so small and so cheap that it will be as ubiquitous as chips that power USB ports or basic video displays. This is where the fun starts. Had a great conversation with some people at Intel Corporation today…made me think of chips.

Ever see a 20 year old come face to face with a rotary phone? It’s comical; they press the buttons. The inefficient action of dialing is not intuitive. Our children may look at keyboards in the same way.

Seamless voice recognition will let us talk to our computers, or cars, yes, even the Microsoft Windows powered toaster may be voice controlled. This is the stuff that is commonly thought of.

However, I like the uncommon. Think implantable sub-audible interfaces. Replace a tooth to a microphone embedded denture. Talk in sub-audible levels and control your car, iPhone, toaster, etc with voice commands that no one else can hear. No one will hear you doing it. Query wikipedia while having a beer with a friend…find out who really won the 1986 world series (Go Mets!) and have the answer delivered directly to your bluetooth (or whatever replaces it) earpiece.

Forget facebook and myspace. With seamless voice recognition, you will see websites that will store every living word a person speaks. A diary from first word to death. This is for the voyeurs and historians. Pick a good hobby, there will be so much media in the future that most people will be watchers and not doers.

Web 3.0 will have living history sites that will be data-mined for all those words. Based on laws of processing, disk storage, and memory, storing this stuff will be easy. Search engines like Google (or whatever replaces it) will index these sites. Recruiting software like Broadlook’s tools will mine it, extract it, and dump it in your ATS or terabyte thumdrive, whichever you prefer.

Recruiters will have a field day. Data mining sites with the text of a software engineers heated debates may give you insight into the logical nature of their mind and how well they solve problems. To make this happen, you would need to index and search conceptually versus a mob-rule index like google. Perhaps Dave Copps company, Pure Discovery, will replace google.

Lastly, no matter what recruiting technology is created, I’ve always known that the best way to pick a great software engineer is to have a beer with them.