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Rethink Your Redesign Strategies to Hit Your Targets

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The central message of 2014 for digital marketers couldn't be much clearer:  give customers the information they need on whatever devices they're using.

That theme surfaced again Tuesday in a CMSWire webinar sponsored by Ektron, "Website Redesign: Strategy First, Tactics Second." Two Ektron executives, CEO Bill Rogers and CMO Lou Jordano, provided a roadmap they said will help marketers attract more business from different types of customers. You can watch the webinar here or at the end of this story.

"It's tactics that win marketing battles, but strategy that wins wars," said Jordano, who led the first part of the presentation. "You have to have your website strategy clearly in mind before kicking off any redesign or rebranding project." 

Is Teradata Buying its Way into Big Data Leadership?

Teradata is serious about big data. In fact, when it comes to Hadoop, it wants to be the one-stop shop for its large customer base. Aside from making its existing products more powerful and more capable, it recently strengthened its support partnerships with independent Hadoop distro providers MapR and Cloudera, and signaled a continued commitment to Hortonworks, which in now publicly traded as Nasdaq:HDP.

Today the company announced that it has purchase RainStor, a provider of patented Enterprise archiving solutions around Hadoop.

Is Gmail Google's Way to the Future?

Google wants you to keep your files on Google Drive and for you to spend more time in Gmail. So it's raising its game and your experience to help make that happen.

And this is no small deal for Google. The internet sweetheart is suddenly being squeezed by competition on all sides. On one end, it seems that more and more people are going straight to Amazon when searching for products (ComScore says that Amazon’s desktop search queries were up 47 percent between September 2013 and September 2014), which is hurting Google’s core ad search business. And, on the other end, Facebook is not only beginning to woo mobile marketing dollars away, but it may also be in a better position to leverage video in its News Feed.

In the Future, We Will Still Need to Work

A lot has been written about the future of work. The tenor of some recent discussions resemble the social media hype from five years ago: lots of pretty pictures with little research or data behind the pictures. While there is valuable research and qualified researchers working in this area, the noise in the system is extreme. It takes effort and commitment to quality to conduct research, analyze results and it takes experience to understand the impact.

I wish I could simply state — "here I am, an expert, ready to set the record straight" — but that isn't the case. But I can call BS on specific points that have been written and are simply wrong. You can't talk about the future while ignoring facts, history and experience. Yes, the technology is changing rapidly and the human response to these changes is complex, but guesswork will not help us get through the evolution.

Private or Public: Different Stories from Dell, HubSpot

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How's Dell doing after going private a little more than a year ago?

We don't know. It's private. The PC giant took the private route in an historic $24.9 billion buyout last year called the biggest in tech since the Great Recession.

But it's not being all hush-hush, of course. It has plans, we're told, to shake up the big data and analytics markets.

Going private only helps, it claims.

"We can make changes swiftly to parts of our business and, ultimately, that helps our customers," Suresh Vaswani, president of Dell Services, told CMSWire about going private. "We were constrained by financial reporting previously and that has now freed up more time for our customers and to devote to innovating our business."

Salesforce Connects to SharePoint with Universal File Sharing

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After more than a year in development — and the inking of a strategic partnership between two companies that never had a lot of nice things to say to each other before last May — Salesforce.com announced the release of Salesforce Files Connect.

The new centralized, universal file-sharing solution offers access to SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2010 and 2013. It will add access to OneDrive for Business in February before moving on to connect with other services.

21st Century Fox Buys true[x] for Ad Engagement

Do you think there's a need for better engagement models with digital advertising? 21st Century Fox agrees with you. Today the company announced it is buying true[x] media, a digital advertising company focused on driving more consumer engagement with advertising.

Although the terms of the deal were not announced the Wall Street Journal reported the deal size at $200 million.

The deal shows that despite the plethora of advertising formats and technologies, media markers and consumers are still not fully satisfied with the digital advertising experience. Concerned about the metrics and engagement levels ads are delivering, media companies are looking for better advertising solutions, especially those that can prove more value for their customers. 

A Year of Employee Engagement Advice, Minus the BS

2014-17-December-Employee-of-Month.jpgHow a bold but simple act of respect helped turn one organization around.

Employee engagement matters. 2014 sent us a barrage of “5 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement” and “7 Things Great Leaders Do” posts, and many of them had some good nuggets. We get it. You get it.

There have been studies and data that most employees aren't engaged and those that are drive a remarkable profit. Their customers are happier and so are their bottom lines.

Microsoft Pushes Yammer Deeper Into Enterprises

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer deeper into the enterprise with the addition of Yammer to the Office 365 K1 plan. It’s a small step forward, but gives users who don’t have desks access to it where they didn’t have access before.

Microsoft doesn’t say whether it has changed its mind and decided to offer Yammer to users who previously lacked access, except to say that it wants to give it to workers that have no fixed abode.

Open Source Has Won: Now What's Your Strategy?

2014-17-December-World-Domination.jpgMany years ago, a friend who is a partner at McKinsey related a story from his years in grad school. He was at an AT&T presentation on Unix, held in a room full of bearded, jean-clad engineers and coders to hear about the wonders of Unix. He was standing in the back of the room in a jacket and tie, next to the other few coat-and-tie-attired attendees, who my friend characterized as IT managers from Fortune 100 companies.

During a break in the talk, one of the F100 folks leaned to another and whispered “I like everything I’ve seen about Unix — except the people in this room.”

Jump ahead 30 years. Have you ever been to an ApacheCon? It’s like living in the 70s all over again.

Using Benchmark Reporting In Google Analytics

Any coach of a sports team at the start of a season will tell you that he wants his team to reach the championship. Reaching that pinnacle means benchmarking your team’s performance.

In the digital marketing world, managers who use Google Analytics are starting to feel a bit more like a sports coach. In September Google introduced a new benchmark reporting feature for its Google Analytics solution.

This benchmark reporting enhances decision making on analytics results.

Harmon.ie Makes It Easier to Track Activity in the Cloud

Harmon.ie today addressed one of the biggest issues in cloud computing: how to track everything that happens in the services you are using. It's solution, Collage, pulls together enterprise cloud services onto a single screen and lets users know what’s happening across the cloud ecosystem in which they operate.

The result is a 360-degree view across enterprise cloud services providing workers with a contextual, single-screen activity stream or what Harmon.ie calls a work stream.

Wrike's Work Management Platform Wrinkle: Customization

Wrike claims it got the tricky part of enterprise project management and collaboration right with its release this week.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based provider revealed its Dynamic Platform, which it describes as a major update that adds the key function of customization "at every level of the product for every user."

"Before today, customers usually had one of two choices — go for a user-friendly product that also wasn’t customizable and was really cookie-cutter," said Wrike CEO Andrew Filev, whose seven-year-old startup now has 150 employees. "Or you could go with an enterprise project management tool that will cost you an arm and a leg but then leaves the customization in the hands of IT. So there's a big lag there."

Get Your Hands Dirty with Microsoft's New Office App

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Microsoft Office is about as sexy as _____. You fill in the blank. And you’ll probably have to strain your brain to think of something that’s dull enough. “Cardboard” comes to mind.

If there’s any good news around that, it’s that Microsoft gets it, and they seem to be thinking rather carefully about what to do about it.

Making big changes to Word or Excel could be disruptive, and in a bad way, because if we were asked to work with something radically different, we’d be likely to check-out non-Microsoft options too.

But what about PowerPoint? Do our presentations provide the same exceptional, modern experiences as tools like Prezi do? Are they as easy and enjoyable to use? Can we create and consume them equally as effectively on PC’s, tablets, phones?

Janrain Acquires Real Time Social Experience Provider

Janrain, a customer identity management provider, today announced it acquired a real time social curation and engagement provider that brings "an integrated customer identity and customer engagement solution to the market."

Portland, Ore.-based Janrain scooped up Arktan but did not disclose the terms. Gartner has had its eye on Janrain as a cool social marketing shop, and so have investors: it obtained $20 million of funding about two years ago.

Now Janrain is the investor, putting its faith into a product that adds, according to Janrain CEO Larry Drebes, "dozens of new products for customer engagement, and dramatically expands the amount of customer data we collect, store and manage."

A Look at Product Management Tools [Infographic]

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Like their sales and marketing colleagues, product managers are searching for new tools to help them use data better, particularly in order to create more customer-focused products, states a new field guide and infographic by SiriusDecisions.

The infographic – Product Management Tools and Technology Study 2015 – gives a snapshot of the tools and technologies product managers are using today, while the field guide – Product Planning, Prioritization and Roadmapping 2015 – provides businesses with criteria they should consider when evaluating product management tools, as well as profiles 11 leading vendors against those criteria. 

“Product managers see their colleagues in sales and marketing becoming much more automated,” said Lisa Singer, research director for SiriusDecisions.

“They’re keeping their ears to the ground for tools that are going to help them understand the data, too. These tools allow them to grab hold of the data like their colleagues to better understand their customers, better understand their users, and better understand the ecosystems their products are working in.” 

How to Use Twitter to Influence People and Make Sales

Ever wonder what top sales people tweet about? Is it all business all the time — or do they spice up the conversations with tidbits about their personal lives? What information do they share — and why?

If you're eager to know the answers to those questions and more, you can reference a new report called, appropriately enough, How Sales Leaders Engage on Twitter (registration required), a collaboration between Leadtail and Hoovers.

Who Will Pay for Your Digital Analytics Program Next Year?

Central marketing or digital organizations are not necessarily funding digital analytics programs anymore. At least this is what I see with our clients and in a sampling of digital analytics programs.

Instead, funds are coming from the potential consumers of the data, reports, dashboards, analyses and recommendations that compose the typical digital analytics program product and service set.

And this has significant implications:

  1. You need to be customer focused…not simply focused on analytics for the sake of analytics
  2. You need to make multiple business cases to continue to do the work you want to do
  3. You need to sell the value that analytics has to business units that may be comfortable with using their existing methods and vendors (wrong as this may seem)
  4. You need to compete for tight budgets against other service competencies in your organization or agencies from the outside

2015 Forecast: The Sun is Out for Cloud Computing

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The cloud space continues to evolve at an astounding pace. As recently as 12 months ago, we were still educating many clients about what they could achieve with cloud computing.

We tirelessly explained the differences and benefits of options such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). We also debated the suitability of various architectural alternatives, like private, public or hybrid cloud.

While there continues to be some mystique around the use of the cloud, it’s safe to say that many enterprises have successfully adopted it.

CDOs, CIOs and the Shared Goal of Agile Customer Experience

There’s been quite a bit of discussion lately of the rise of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). In fact, research firm IDC recently made headlines by predicting the CDO would supplant two-thirds of CIOs at global companies by 2020.

The rationale seems to be that CDOs will deliver the technology driven products and services, as well as leverage their experience in setting strategy, spurring innovation and developing relationships. Other than the pure semantic differences – and an attempt at a controversial headline — there is an important question buried in this research.

How can marketing and technology — or CDOs and CIOs — work in sync to provide the most agile powerful customer experiences?