HOT TOPICS: Customer Experience Marketing Automation Social Business SharePoint 2013 Document Management Big Data Mobile DAM

Week in Review: Collaboration Tools + Inside MS Spartan

Meet the Chief Data Officer
It's not for the faint of heart.

Take that, Microsoft
Google's CRM salvo at Microsoft.

These Tools Don't Cut It
Everything's wrong with social collaboration tools.

The Most Important Collaboration Tool
Focus on community management.

What's the Deal with Spartan?
A look at Microsoft's new browser.

You Love Dropbox and Office
Why you'll stay.

Why Implement a Voice of the Customer (VoC) Program? 
Customer experience: The great differentiator

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The CMO's Job: It's Complicated

We asked CMOs how their role has changed in the last few years. And while the answers we received came in many different shapes and sizes, the long and short of it came down to — it's complicated.

If you don't believe us, do a search for "CMO struggle" and see how many results come back.

During our "Defining 2015's CMO" Tweet Jam the participants reached consensus on accountability, where technology fits in the CMO's toolbox and that strategy comes first. And while the rate of change may seem insurmountable, it can be managed with a clear vision and a strong team.

A Look at Gartner's Data Management Analytics Leaders

It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago Hadoopers were running around declaring that data warehouses were dying.

They argued that the proprietary hardware and software they required was too expensive … that the amount and kinds of data that existing data technologies could handle was too limited … and that solutions based on commodity hardware and open source software would rule.

Fast-forward to 2015 and you’ll see that the naysayers were at least partly wrong.

Data Warehouses aren’t going anywhere. Instead they’re being augmented to support new data structures and new data types like XML, text, documents, geospatial and access to externally managed file systems.

In its Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse and Data Management Solutions for Analytics, Gartner analysts Mark A. Beyer and Roxane Edjlali suggest that enterprises should embrace hybrid technology platforms.

These platforms need to expand beyond the logical data warehouse and leverage multiple repository strategies, whether from multiple vendors or just one.

Customer Service Success Starts at the Source

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It feels like customer service — or rather, the lack thereof — is making headlines on a daily basis lately.

Comcast is one example of a company that has faced service misstep after misstep. And these blunders are having a lasting impact on Comcast’s brand. A recent report from SurveyMonkey found that Comcast’s customer service woes have left the company ranking lowest among cable providers when it comes to customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Comcast isn’t the only company struggling due to customer service crises. Other major brands like Walmart, American Airlines and Bank of America have all suffered from the crippling backlash of poor service departments. It’s no secret that poor customer service can negatively affect a brand’s popularity, if not permanently tarnish its reputation.

So how can businesses prevent these Comcast-sized service blunders? Recognize that customer service success starts at the source.

Here's a Portrait of Your Typical Mobile Microsoft User

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The typical mobile user of Microsoft's collaboration tools — Office 365, SharePoint, Yammer and OneDrive — isn’t a social media maven, according to a survey of user habits. But he can't live without document access.

While that may not be much of a surprise (Microsoft is the platform for the serious office worker, after all) the following finding is: iOS is the dominant mobile browser by far for accessing documents and collaborating with Microsoft tools in the enterprise.

That's an eye-opening factoid given the number of Android phones in general in circulation and the only relatively recent inroads Apple has made in the enterprise, David Lavenda, VP of product strategy at harmon.ie, told CMSWire. 

Is Adobe Building A Productivity Cloud?

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It’s been a busy week in the document management space. Adobe let loose its Document Cloud, Accusoft and EMC teamed up on a release, and Microsoft shared some new releases and promises of things to come.

Apttus Embraces Its Salesforce Connection #AccelerateQTC

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It's no surprise that Salesforce had a prominent role at the the Apttus Accelerate 2015 conference in San Francisco this week.

In February, the San Francisco-based cloud software company led a $41 million investment round for Apttus, which makes Quote-to-Cash software on the Salesforce1 platform. That followed first-round funding of $37 million in September 2013 that Salesforce also led.

Salesforce CIO Ross Meyercord took the stage Wednesday to talk about speed, innovation and customer engagement. He also explained how Salesforce is leveraging Salesforce1 mobile-ready apps like Apttus.

And yesterday, Meredith Schmidt, senior vice president of Global Revenue Operations at Salesforce, spoke enthusiastically about the Apttus platform during a morning keynote.

Apttus is built on top of the Salesforce platform.

It automates the second half of the sales cycle involving quotes, contracts and collecting the money. That's critical, because automation is the key to optimal customer experience, Schmidt said during her talk on the second day of the three-day conference.

What's more, she said, the platform is helping Salesforce delight its own sales representatives.

Shadow IT Isn't Going Away - and That's a Good Thing

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There's a new public enemy number one in the land of information management — shadow IT.

The name alone sounds ominous, as if the “The Imperial March” from "Star Wars" should play in the background when you say it. It portends rogue employees, covert operations and malicious attempts to undermine the good work of corporate IT. The negative hype surrounding shadow IT has reached fever pitch — which means that it's grossly overblown.

While shadow IT has its share of drawbacks, the overwhelmingly negative connotation attached to it is unwarranted, and the notion that organizations need to destroy it is false.

Shadow IT is not going away. Not now, not in the future. In fact, the formation of shadow IT groups will only grow larger as the data landscape and thirst for analytics continues to expand. More important than its staying power, however, is something no one wants to acknowledge: shadow IT is a good thing.  

Yes, Marketers: You Still Need Email for Digital CX

Marketers often debate about which media to use in a campaign. But their sentiment about using email to engage customers is unanimous.

An email campaign can be valuable because a list of subscribers forms a captive audience. These are people who have actively expressed a willingness for engagement. They've opted-in to your marketing efforts.

But how to do you measure efforts your efforts to build on this list — and transform it to a meaningful customer experience?

Metric choices are not trivial. Email provides a bridge between branding strategy and direct sales. An analytic solution linked to an email campaign provides a means of understanding customer preferences for offers, discounts, a white paper or a general follow up.

Although many channels to engage customers exist, many companies still rely on basic email campaigns. Surveys show email is still used regularly for marketing in 2015 and mobile-only viewership of email is climbing.

With these email trends in mind, let’s examine how a web analytics solution and email solution connects your marketing strengths to your market.

Your Brand is Only as Good as Its Reputation

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Ask Karen Spiegel to define a brand — and she'll tell you that it's only as good as its reputation and the people who work there.

Spiegel knows a lot about brands. She's been working in advertising, marketing and digital agencies for nearly two decades, in roles as diverse as creating public relations strategies for client engagements and large corporate events to overseeing social media, thought leadership and internal communications initiatives.

She said her experience has imbued her with a strong understanding of the role technology and digital media play, along with a global perspective. "Personally," she said, "I am passionate about the intersection of how design helps simplify complexity and technology magically expands what is possible."

Hello Nano: Your Guide to Microsoft's New Server

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To quite possibly no one’s surprise Wednesday, Microsoft made it official that its “dramatically refactored” Windows Server operating system will be entitled Nano Server. It further acknowledged a preview edition would be made available to testers within a few weeks.

Nano Server will be Microsoft’s minimalistic approach to serving applications, stripped down to the bare essence.

In itself, it's certainly not Windows because it will not have windows, mouse pointers, menu bars or anything else related to a graphical environment.

It's a back-end system and nothing else — a concession, at long last, to the fact that the only thing a server needs to do is manage its share of the workload.

Why You'll Stay Loyal to Dropbox and MS Office

Microsoft and Dropbox have one big thing in common. They both own their audiences where productivity tools are concerned.

Think about it. When you go to create a document, you think Word. To create a spreadsheet, you think Excel. To create a presentation, it’s PowerPoint.

But where will you save your creations if you want to share them or store them in the cloud? Most people think Dropbox rather than OneDrive.

'We Rule B2B Marketing Automation, We're Salesforce'

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Salesforce officials are confident about their marketing technology.

"The thing that distinguishes us most is that we're Salesforce," said Adam Blitzer, senior vice president and general manager for Salesforce Pardot.

When you work on the massive CRM platform that is Salesforce, it's OK to be a little confident.

Salesforce integrates its CRM technology with its Pardot marketing automation. It acquired that technology with its $2.5 billion ExactTarget package.

The San Francisco-based provider today released what it calls "the next generation of Sales Cloud B2B marketing automation."

The Intelligent Engagement Studio and Sales Cloud Engage will deliver adaptive lead nurturing, visualized campaign testing and mobile marketing tools, the company boasted.

Don't Let Your Personas Get Stuck

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If case you haven’t noticed, personas are a pretty big deal these days. Marketers plant relevant, engaging content throughout digital experiences on multiple channels to try and move the business forward. And that content must be relevant and individualized.

But marketers face a growing challenge. Yes, yet another one.

Harness the Power of Intent Data for Predictive Marketing

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We are in the middle of a marketing revolution. With technology that makes it possible to get insight from all different types of data, it’s no longer about being just a modern marketer — it’s about being a predictive marketer.

As marketers, we can put data science to work to better predict which prospects and customers are most likely to buy, and when, to target the best prospects with powerful, personalized messages.

But not all data is created equal.

Todd Klindt: Tell Me You Like Me & We'll Party at Ignite

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Microsoft Ignite is less than a month away in Chicago. There's going to be a ton of things going on.

But one of the things you never want to miss when you go to these big conferences is the AvePoint RED Party. They have it every year and it's always crazy, over-the-top. Those AvePoint folks have never thrown a reasonable party in their lives!

There was one that I was at — a lot of them blur together and a lot of them have included things that I just can't speak about publicly — but one of them had a fire dancer — this woman, she had things that were on fire like batons and rings and all kinds of stuff.

I thought it was gonna be dumb. And then I saw it — and it was not dumb.

But anyway, AvePoint is doing it again on Tuesday, May 5 at Chicago Union Station.

So now you may be thinking, "This sounds amazing. How does one get into such a thing?" And I'm going to tell you — even though you may have heard it was sold out.

Ex-Ektron Pres Tim McKinnon Now Sonian CEO

Tim McKinnon — the man who steered Ektron through its merger with EPiServer before leaving the company himself — started a new job this week. And he said he couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to take the helm of a small but growing company.

The former Ektron president is now president and CEO of Sonian, a Dedham, Mass-based provider of cloud-based archiving. Founded in 2007, the company helps businesses preserve, retrieve and "bring meaning to their vast expanse of data," McKinnon claims.

"It's a perfect fit," McKinnon told CMSWire today. "It matches what I like to do with what the company needs."

LinkedIn's $1.5B Plan to Update Your Workplace Skill Set

LinkedIn and online education website lynda.com are on a mission to raise —  or at least update — the US workforce's skill set.

That, at least, is the raison d'etra provided for LinkedIn's $1.5 billion stock-and-cash acquisition of lynda.com. Presumably given the numbers involved – this is the largest acquisition to date for the professional social networking site – the deal will also give a much-needed boost to LinkedIn's revenues. 

Tools, Schmools: It's Really About Community Management

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“What we really need is our own private company Instagram, or maybe a chat-app just for employees” said no reasonable manager ever. So why is it that we’re seeing those very tools pop up in the enterprise market?

Modern enterprise collaboration leaders are on the hunt for mobile technology solutions that empower employees on the go. As knowledge workers spend less time at their desks, companies are scrambling to stay ahead in a BYOD, socially-fueled, cloud-based environment.

But as the enterprise seeks out the newest technology, we should take a step back and realize that the right tools are already here — enterprise social networks.

What's New for You This April in Open Source CMS

WordPress is the world's largest open source CMS. So it's really not surprising that it's also a prime target for hackers worldwide.

Just this week, the US FBI issued an alert about the potential danger of individuals sympathetic to Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists abusing vulnerabilities in the WordPress platform.

"Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities could result in an attacker gaining unauthorized access, bypassing security restrictions, injecting scripts, and stealing cookies from computer systems or network servers. An attacker could install malicious software; manipulate data; or create new accounts with full user privileges for future Web site exploitation," the alert explains.

The FBI noted that the perpetrators of the attacks against WordPress are not terrorists themselves. Rather, they are hackers "using relatively unsophisticated methods to exploit technical vulnerabilities" in the name of the terrorist group "to gain more notoriety than the underlying attack would have otherwise garnered," the FBI maintains.

In any event, the FBI recommends any site running WordPress use some reasonable precautions:

Now let's move on to more pleasant open source CMS news.