When it comes to enterprise application software - from CRM to collaboration - all the momentum is towards the software-as-a-service model. "The time-to-market with SaaS is very helpful," says Shazia Mian, director of applications systems at Heidrick & Struggles, a Chicago executive recruiting firm that recently deployed popular SaaS offering Salesforce.com and its collaboration tool, Chatter. "There is truly much to be offered out of the box. These applications are pre-built and ready to go, and they meet our business needs. It's much better than starting from scratch and building it out," Mian added. Heidrick & Struggles is running a pilot project with one of its largest global customers that involves integrating Salesforce and Chatter with its strategic account management process. "Where I see Chatter really helping us is connecting people in a quicker fashion and having all of the account information readily accessible. It should improve the way we manage the account globally," Mian says.
Alwin Brunner, senior vice president and CIO at Heidrick & Struggles, says he plans to measure the return that his company sees from its Salesforce and Chatter investment. "By looking at the customer holistically, we should see that we are filling requests faster and increasing our share of the customer staffing by our global customers," Brunner says.
6. Mine your unstructured data for strategic advantage.