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Poll – Do you use Social Media e.g. Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin for business / professional purposes? May 12, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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Well do you?




New challenges……but a few thoughts on the old……. February 22, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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So last month I resigned from my current position within a global commercial real estate consultancy.  I’ve been in the Real Estate sector for just over 2 ½ years and I have found it very interesting but more importantly very frustrating!

Overall in this sector, I believe that there has been a massive under investment within technology (with no sign of it changing).  Most of my time I have found it frustrating as the business streams know that they need something, but not quite sure why.  They know that they need to have the right tools in place to make them more efficient, but not willing to spend the money.  A large challenge in this sector is people understanding the value in IT.  I have spent endless hours trying to explain the benefits of implementing CRM as a process for example. 

Just over 12 months ago, we selected the tool of choice Salesforce.com (SFDC) and initiated a pilot.  To date after many people including 3rd party consultants helping out, the company still asks “what is CRM?”.  I once heard from a senior CRM Director – “ we have never had to develop our customers – the money was just rolling in, so why do it”.  Well recession hit and everybody is and continues to be in trouble.  Maybe developing your clients for the long term, things may have been a bit better?  Basic principles of opportunity management as part of the CRM process continues to be a mystery for the majority of the company.  Continuing my theme of change, I implore the people I have been working with to be open to doing things differently and look at things from another perspective.  Research client development within other sectors and work together on how you could adapt other methods within your own company.  Be open to the change CRM can bring and the many many benefits it will bring to the company and eventually you.  Whilst working through the pilot, I could strongly sense that staff were worried about being more exposed to what they actually do on a day to day basic.  I would suggest that they should embrace that with opportunity and work out how that could benefit you within your role.  New people from other sectors and other organisations are being brought in to try and manage CRM as a process.  It has been interesting to watch them and see the same frustrations grow.  I just wonder how long it will take to get the company thinking differently?  In my view, what it needed is for remuneration(s) to be harmonised and structured differently.  Ensure that there is benefit from cross selling and that people are remunerated accordingly to their activity with the clients.  Make people accountable at all stages and at all levels.  Make the staff aware that they are actually selling services (once got a quote from another CRM manager that the company did not sell, but focused on the relationships).  When we started the deployment of SFDC, I spoke with a very large laptop provider who introduced SFDC.  They had a very big stick approach to the implementation – if it’s not in SFDC you won’t be paid for it.  After a few months of people dodging the system, after this big stick directive was sent out via email, usage went up 98% literally overnight.  I like this approach – harsh but it works.

From speaking with all levels of people in my company, through man and boy they have been in the real estate sector.  Is this a good thing?  For specialising in their industry yes.  For running a company like a business – in my view no.  Senior guys are struggling to run the business as a business.  Not once have I ever seen a business case for any investment made.  Not once has anybody and I mean anybody tell me the profit margin for XYZ client.  The guys always talk about revenue.  It has been very rare for me to come across someone to actually understands profit!  Why – well I would think it is because the way they are remunerated.  Again this needs to change if companies like this are to survive in the new world.  Not a good business model when one of the biggest pitches of the year to a major global UK based bank is going to cost them money.  All done just to save face within the sector.  Not good.com!

Anyway all of that behind me.  I really do wish them the best of luck.  With a complete new senior management team on board from a different sector after another 18 months or so, I think change will be made.

Going forward.  I am starting with Xerox as an IT Relationship Manager for their Developing Markets.  I am looking forward to that very much.  Change to me personally and I am really looking forward to the change and challenges it will bring.  Really looking forward to being part of a major global organisation again………

Continuing to change….. January 7, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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So in the summer of last year, I wrote about how change is good and how I came back from holiday to find my boss to have moved away from my current employer by “mutual agreement”.  Between the summer and present-day, the management team have got on with things, which has been interesting and slightly challenging.  Though saying that, with the company being as it is i.e. no investment in technology etc, a CIO wasn’t really needed.  I can see that looking back, which has been interesting and has given me good insight.

Looking forward though, going forward, I have a new CIO joining on the 18 January.  This will bring more change to my role.  Good or bad it is change and I am sure I will learn from the experience.  Being open minded to it I am however very aware of new management coming in and doing his own thing.

So plan B?  Well I am trying to think of a decent name of a company for myself.  I find doing such things very hard, I suppose I’m just not creative enough.  Will need to do some research for that.  But the reason why?  Well one day I actually quite fancy doing stuff for myself and running my own business.  I have never done that before and I am intrigued by it.  Something to aim for!!!!

Roll on the 18 Jan and lets see what change that will bring.  Will I continue in the role for another 2 1/2 yrs or will I be working for someone new, or will I do my own thing……

Lets see…..

Returning to work to find it’s all change…. August 7, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Business, Personal.
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So coming back to work after 3 weeks off visiting family in California, to find my boss has “mutually” agreed to leave the company.  Now this is a very interesting move since the whole Exec of my firm has been changed and they are all bringing in their trusted soldiers from their last employer.  This time though it has direct impact on my good self!!!

I like change.  It keeps you on your toes.  It keeps you top of your game so to speak.  If you can accept change, ride the wave, go with the flo what ever phrase you wish to use, I think it is a good thing.

It allows you to be ready for when you are made redundant, which in the current markets can be anytime or if you personal life for what ever reason takes a turn good or bad, you are more prepared for it and can deal with the more difficult complex situations life throws at you.

I struggle to understand people who are long time employees of a firm.  They have usually done about 5 or 6 different jobs within their organisation, but over time and as they become near the end of their working life, I tend to find them quite cynical and generally unhappy.  I’m sure there are happy people out there, I’ve just not came across them that’s all.

Although I don’t believe in job hopping all the time, I do believe working in different environments and industry sectors, your experience can grow and you become a better person all round due to your experiences.  Being able to apply your professional experiences at work can help ensure win win scenarios, which is always good right?

So the purpose of this blog?  Well to really get my message across that change is good.  Be prepared in this ever changing world and don’t be afraid of what life throws at you.

Change in my work life is great, though I appreciate it might not work out for me, I’m not scared!  Who knows I may also “mutually” agree to move on……..

Implementing Global CRM….a challenging task…… June 16, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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OK, I’m working in a sector where technology is not embraced in any great way, in fact, I would say that compared to other Professional Services firms, it is about 10-15yrs behind the game.  This can be massively frustrating, but also present itself with great opportunity, a real chance of getting ahead of the game (well competitors)….

Currently I’m trying to start a pilot of Salesforce.com.  Whilst the company I work for are fantastic in relationship management, CRM as a process in my view isn’t really understood. 

Long sessions in discussing basic principles such as opportunity management, which can turn into your pipeline and eventually help with your fee forecasting.

Big questions like, what is the definition of a client?  Someone (or organisation) we interact with or someone who we have billed within x amount of time?  What about clients you have billed over x amount of time, but not recently and you still want to keep in touch.  Are they clients or opportunities?

Another massive challenge which is never to be under estimated is the cultural challenge of organisations which have not invested or embrace technology.

The struggle continues.  I am seeing glimmer of hope with a few “new bloods” within my organisation, but it remains a struggle.  Very much up against the cultural barrier.  People in my sector are slow to change, but the slower they get, the more our competitors gain traction and over take!