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Information Architecture: The Engine that Drives Retail

2014-22-July-Steam-Locomotive.jpgUnder pressure from pure play e-Tailers such as Amazon and eBay, brick and mortar retailers are scrambling to defend their businesses. To stay competitive, most have now added an e-Commerce channel. The challenge for many legacy retailers is that e-Commerce has involved a long learning curve and now mobile and web channels have become part of core functionality rather than a cutting edge addition to the brand.  Add to this that many traditional retailers still lack a core competency in the technical nuances necessary to compete effectively with the Amazons and eBays.

Dusting Off Intranet Metadata and Search

2014-22-July-Antiques.jpgSome people assume that if a concept is old, it's no longer relevant. Since we looked at the continued relevancy of the quaint old fashioned concept of information publishing on intranets in last month's post, I thought we'd take on a few more of those dusty relics of days gone by today: metadata and intranet search. The concepts are interrelated in that the success of communicating content on a one to many basis — or an n to m basis, as you may have a small body of publishers or content creators putting out information to the company — relies on findability.

CX: It's Not Rocket Science But it's Still Hard

2014-22-July-Kennedy-Space-Center-Rocket.jpgThink customer service is a synonym for customer experience? Think again, suggests Alpharetta, Ga.-based customer experience (CX) consultant Jim Bass. "Customer service happens after the sale. Customer experience starts before the sale," he explained.

Bass stirred a lot of interest on LinkedIn recently with a post that explored the importance of pre-sale processes. The story got more than 15,000 views and 1,674 shares on LinkedIn.

This week, Bass talked with CMSWire to share more insights on CX — including the things companies tend to get wrong and the reasons why so many customer interactions are still so bad.

Nope, CX isn't rocket science. But it's not easy to get right, either.

Why SaaS Saw Its Biggest Revenue Gain Since Recession

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Software companies led by entrepreneurs with experience in building successful software-as-a-service (SaaS) organizations are thriving. They as much as double revenue growth year-over-year, a new software industry report finds.

In other words, those in their second or third rodeos in SaaS software fare well.

The findings are reported in this month's 2014 Software & SaaS Financial Benchmarking Industry Report, the eighth annual study produced by Boston-based OPEXEngine in conjunction with the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

"Far more well-funded, venture-backed, companies are hitting their stride with growth rates of 50 percent to 100 percent year over year, than ever before," Lauren Kelley, CEO and founder of OPEXEngine, told CMSWire. "Many of these companies are being established by entrepreneurs who have already built one or two, sometimes three, SaaS companies before, and managed by executives with equivalent experience. These executives can get a new company up and running far faster than five or 10 years ago when SaaS was a new management discipline." 

Yahoo Buys Flurry to Personalize the Mobile Experience

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is intent on becoming a mobile-first company and when it comes to advertising revenue, let’s just say there’s room for improvement. Last week the company reported discouraging earnings of $1.08 billion in revenues, 4 percent less than for the same quarter last year. Display revenue, which Mayer hoped to raise, actually fell 8 percent.

And while companies in Yahoo’s position sometimes look for ways to solve their problems from within, Mayer prefers to shop. In slightly more than two years at the helm of the Internet pioneer, she has purchased blogging site Tumblr, social web startup RockMelt, social diary company Wander and technical recruiting firm Distill. Earlier this month, she bought RayV, which streams  high-quality video to computers and mobile devices

How’s that strategy working for you, Marissa? In any case, let’s hope that today’s purchase is a charm.

Apple's IBM Play Isn't Only About Selling More iDevices

Apple wants a seat at the enterprise table and IBM will soon be rolling out the red carpet that leads to the boardroom. Sure, Big Blue’s CEO Ginni Rommety might have to help Apple Chief Tim Cook tie his tie and polish his shoes first, but it’s a fair trade.  He might have to tell her the difference between an application and an app. Other than a few small hurdles like those, the earliest days of the IBM and Apple relationship should run smooth.

After all, without needing to sacrifice turf, Rommety’s 103-year-old monolith could be perceived to be cool and forward thinking again. Not only to the old guard that holds IBM Research, with its track record of pushing the boundaries of science, technology and business to make the world work better place, in high regard, but also to the fast tracked execs of the digital generation who have tremendous respect for old guys who get it.

Yes, for IBM the Apple partnership has the potential of doing what Watson hasn’t been able to do —namely making it relevant to Gen Y and the millennials.

Not only that, but Rommety’s slowly sinking ship will be buoyed by consulting fees earned through helping enterprises roll out Mobile in a safe and compliant way.

Could Russia Be Starting a Software/Hardware Cold War?

Russia is considering giving preference to its own hardware and software organizations in a current legislative bill, reducing its reliance on foreign suppliers, Bloomberg reported today

Does this mean a major hit for companies that do business in the country — such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Cisco and Oracle? 

Not really.

"In this day and age, every customer is valuable," said Alan Tonelson, an independent policy analyst who blogs at RealityChek. "But total Russia losses seem easily absorbable."

Originate Buys Applied Intelligence Group

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Originate has acquired the professional services company Applied Intelligence Group, which makes digital platform solutions.

The deal gives Originate, a San Francisco-based venture and enterprise development firm, a foothold in the Boston area where Applied Intelligence is based. The two firms have worked together since 2012.  Originate already has seven other branches.

"Opening an Originate office in Boston also brings us closer to some of the country’s premier enterprises and institutions,”  Rob Meadows, CEO of Originate, said in a statement. He said Applied Intelligence adds " unparalleled talent" to solve client problems.

Master Customer Experience in the New Age of Retail

2014-21-July-Sales.jpgProviding a high quality customer experience is critical for retailers, no matter the sector or audience. Delivering on this goal means more success in sales and more repeat business.

But our ideas around what constitutes a high level customer experience have changed in recent years. In the pre-internet days, it generally meant attentive sales people available to help with in store requests. But in today’s connected world, it’s more often associated with quick page loads, easily navigable sites and rich media.

How Free Puppy Syndrome Can Ruin Your ECM Strategy

2014-21-July-Bathtub-Full-Of-Puppies.jpgWhen it comes to selecting and deploying enterprise software solutions, including enterprise content management (ECM), many IT departments face pressure to control costs, decrease time-to-benefits and give end users what they want.

However, IT departments that fail to challenge this kind of short-term thinking are taking a risk — and that may be surprising news to many organizations. Conventional wisdom tells you to choose the software that produces the quickest win for the least amount of money that the end users like best and will quickly adopt. How could you go wrong with a choice like that?

Discussion Point: Where Does HR Go From Here?

Thumbnail image for discussion-pointAnother day, another disruption. 

Or at least that's how it must feel for most every department in organizations today. The repercussions of the combined digital, social, mobile trifecta radiate throughout the organization. But if you mix in economic factors, shifting skill requirements, distributed workforces and new expectations of those entering the workplace, then I think you know which department specifically we're talking about: Human Resources.

Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014 (pdf) report identified the most urgent trends that HR professionals face today. Number one? Leadership development. Number two? Seventy-nine percent answered retention and engagement. Yet only 16 percent felt ready to tackle these and the challenges they face. 

A fundamental rethinking of the HR department is required to meet these demands.

Clickability Acquires a Patent for Visitor Testing

Upland Software, a web content management provider for B2B and B2C, has received a patent for its Clickability platform's ability to test web visitor segmentation and profiling.

This is the company's fourth patent for its website personalization and targeting solution, called Website Marketing Acceleration (WMA). In the tests covered by the new patent, marketers can try out their messages with specific site visitors on the actual site, such was whether the right content is being presented at the right point in the buying process. But WMA allows such testing without polluting the site analytics data.

From Intranet to Net-Work: The Rise of the Digital Bridge Builder

As an intranet professional, your career is about collaboration: Of systems and processes, not just people. The web is a network and those who thrive on the web network, connect and collaborate. It’s the same with the intra-net, where the lines are increasingly blurred between what is "internal" and what is "external." 

Who Will Become a Gartner MQ EFSS Challenger in 2015?

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When Gartner released its inaugural Magic Quadrant for the Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) market, it predicted that by 2017 less than 10 percent of today's destination vendors would offer stand-alone products. That means that as many as 80 of those who are offering services today (there are well over 120), will have been absorbed into adjacent markets, such as collaboration, enterprise content management (ECM), mobility and storage.

What it didn’t articulate as clearly, as we see it, is how quickly the vendors mentioned in the study are raising their games, we reported on four different instances of this in the past week alone.

Who will succeed? Who will be acquired? And who will fade away? 

Thank You, Apple-IBM? Why Mega Deal is Good for Microsoft

mobile enterprise, Thank You, Apple-IBM? Why Mega Deal is Good for MicrosoftApple and IBM announce a mega deal that changes the mobile enterprise as we know it — during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference.

Microsoft lays off 18,000 the same week at its conference, about 14 percent of its workforce.

And there's actually a silver lining for Microsoft?

Yes, says Richard Edwards, principal analyst for Enterprise IT at London-based Ovum Research.

"It’s no coincidence that the announcement came as Microsoft was holding its Worldwide Partner Conference," Edwards told CMSWire, "but I actually think the IBM/Apple hook-up will benefit Microsoft in the long run."

Real Estate Firm Scales Up Its Global Marketing Efforts

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By 1985, two years after Gary Keller and Joe Williams set up their first realty office, it was already the largest brokerage in Texas. Today, Keller Williams is going global, raising significant technology challenges in marketing, business process management and governance.

At the center of that tornado is Cary Sylvester, the company's Austin-based vice president of technology, communication and innovation — a long, but accurate title considering everything on her plate as the company expands to six far-flung locales: Vietnam, Turkey, UK, Indonesia, South Africa and Germany.

"You can tell there's no specific region we've targeted," she explained. "Once we find the right people, and if their culture is one that will really embrace and adapt to our models, and they want our models, that's the country we'll go into."

Here are the IoT Top 10 Movers and Shakers

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Earlier in the week we identified the most influential companies working on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Using the same research from the marketing influence platform provider Appinions, let’s take a look at the top ten movers and shakers. Just like the list of top 10 companies, this also holds some surprises — not least of which is the influence of two of the top dogs from HP and BlackBerry.

Getting Comfortable with Google Analytics

Not everyone is destined to be a Google Analytics expert, but armed with a little knowledge and access to a few standard reports you can learn more about your audience, their interests and how they engage with your brand.

This Week: Apple, IBM Partnership + Forrester's Fast Track to Apps

CXM's Mobile Dependency
Customer experience programs lacking mobile emphasis are destined for failure.

Forrester: Get Moving on Apps
Need faster app development? Forrester cites a process that gets it done. 

What Really Matters in Web CMS 
In web CMS, it’s not what the product is written in, but how it’s written that guides flexibility.

Apple and IBM. Yes, Indeed
The powerhouses announced a partnership that's shaking the mobile enterprise.

Social Business Works
There is value after all in making collaboration a priority.

Microsoft's World Cup Perfection
Find out how Microsoft’s Cortana was 15-for-15 in FIFA World Cup play.

4 Key Factors to Consider to Take Your eCommerce Global
Localizing, logistics, barriers and customer support.
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Mine Competitor's Data to Improve Your Online Marketing

2014-18-July-Eavesdropping.jpgIn the dynamic world of online marketing, it's important to have a solid and current understanding of your position in the competitive landscape. When you know your competitors' efforts in Pay Per Clicks (PPC) and SEO you can use that information to inform your online strategies. Let's take a look at the tools and strategies that can help improve your online marketing efforts with competitive intelligence.