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Getting to the Center of Customer Experience

2014-31-October-Center-of-the-Universe.jpgThink of the last time you had dinner at a four-star restaurant. Was the food well-presented, the wine pairings appropriate and the dessert tray enticing? Did you receive professional and attentive service? Was the ambience elegant, pleasant and soothing? And — most importantly — would you go back?

Your customers ask themselves the same sorts of questions after using your website or app, and your CMS — how you manage and deliver content to your customer — lays at the heart of their experience. It should be the core of your customer experience management (CXM) strategy. By placing the CMS in the keystone position, you can assemble information from multiple back office and third party sources to deliver compelling customer experiences across devices and platforms. And that's the whole game, right there. 

Why Can't Enterprises Get User Experience Right?

2014-31-October-Ford-Factory.jpgA leading analyst recently said to me, “If enterprises cared about the user experience, SAP and Oracle might not still be in business.” Not to pick on those vendors — they produce technologies that drive value in the enterprise — but it’s no secret that the enterprise has lagged far behind the consumer world in terms of the user experience (UX). It’s bad. In enterprises we’re usually asking workers to accomplish tasks that are significantly more complicated than just booking an airline ticket. Arguably, those tasks drive greater revenue — or cost savings — than ticket booking for that travel website.

Each of us can chronicle bad experiences with the technology tools we use every day — and if you’re in the enterprise, your pain may be even more excruciating than consumers. Not only are the experiences worse for you, but they are often ones that you do repetitively, so that pain piles up into long-term frustration and general dread. (Are you familiar with the term “Sunday blues”?)

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger: The Future of Big Data

2014-31-October-Big-Foot-Bionic-Man.jpg[W]e can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.

One of the most popular TV shows in the mid '70s was the Six Million Dollar Man, which told the story of astronaut Steve Austin, who after an accident was rebuilt as a superhuman cyborg, combining the best of the human mind and robotic enhancements. This "Better. Stronger. Faster." has become a foundational theme in describing the benefits of technology. Whether you prefer the wording of the 1970's version or the 2007 Daft Punk "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," the basic themes resonate with organizations that want to improve the value and power of their technologies.

Big data is no exception. Although we have used the three Vs of Volume, Variety and Velocity as a basis for defining big data for over a decade, the truth is that each of these Vs is solved through different technologies — there is no one solution to solve all of these problems. This conflation of big data characteristics has only become confusing since the phrase "big data" truly took off in 2011.

How Documize and ThreadKM Approach Knowledge Management

2014-30-October-Potter-Toolkit.jpgIt's a good time to be in knowledge management. With the push to consumerization, new tools are released on a regular basis which simplify and help solve business problems, without negating the value of previous technological investments. Let's take a look at a couple newer releases that might fit nicely into your KM tool box.

Law firms and internal law departments have a well understood definition of the term "Knowledge Management." ThreadKM is a new legal focused KM tool that was launched earlier this month.

We've previously discussed the many intranet use cases that remain for simple web publishing of text based information. Good information sharing is the basis of a knowledge management strategy. Documize is a very different tool from ThreadKM, blending lightweight, templates-based structured authoring with a wiki based approach. Documize is in late beta and will be released soon.

Big Data Projects: Taking Care of the Foundation

2014-30-October-Building-Blocks.jpgAll programs need a foundation, and big data programs are no different. Preparing an organization for big data requires a lot of the same capabilities for small data, content management and other information management and access programs. The challenge lies in making it real for the organization and paying for long term capabilities with short term benefits.

Cleaning Up File Shares: Bloody Footprints and Zombie Projects

2014-30-October-Zombie-Response.jpgFile share projects don’t culminate in casual review of file extensions. The fun is just beginning. The next steps should include “easy deletes,” baseline statistical capture and thoughtful project management.

Breaking Down Big Data: The Value in Metadata

2014-29-October-Searching.jpg

I never met a data that I didn’t like.” — Internet Meme

As a Partner at Optimity Advisors, my role is to work with clients to make data likeable: identifiable, discoverable, usable and ultimately, valuable. Companies are struggling to manage big data in a landscape of rapidly increasing production and diverse formats. The ability to collect and analyze internal and external data can dictate how well an organization will generate knowledge, and ultimately value. How can you start planning for this value?

Let's Get the WCM out of the ECM

2014-29-October-Split-Wood.jpgFor years now, it's been obvious to many web professionals that Web Content Management (WCM) requires a Content Management System (CMS) designed specifically for managing web content. The evolution of WCM systems has been rapid and has grown, forcing a change in terminology to include “experience” in the vendor’s preferred Three Letter Acronym (TLA).

In the meantime, the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) space is fighting to maintain its relevance as the end-all, be-all of content management. The all or nothing approach worked well a decade ago but people are demanding changes from software at a rate that large ECM vendors cannot deliver. Rather than make the changes that need to be made to their offerings, these vendors are holding onto old mindsets. The industry needs to realize that ECM and WCM have gone in different directions and need to permanently sever their bonds.

Why Customer Success Will Fail

2014-29-October-Success-Sleeps.jpgI’ve seen customer success transform businesses that bring it in as part of their culture. So when I saw a post titled “Customer Success is a Failure,” I was a bit horrified at what I was about to read.

But when I read it, it turns out Noreen Seebacher, the author of the post, is in many ways spot-on … though I do take issue with a couple of things she said.

When an Enterprise Social Network Gives More Tricks than Treats

2014-28-October-Groucho-Glasses.jpgIt’s that time of year when employees come to work dressed up in Halloween costumes of all types. On October 31, you’ll inevitably see zombie bosses, animals galore and a myriad of other getups meant to bring a bit of adult fun to a favorite childhood holiday.

But what if I told you that I knew the secret to changing your workplace identity the other 364 days of the year? What if I told you that I can help you create a costume so convincing that, even without doing much work, you will appear to be a Corporate Rockstar — Mr. Popular or Ms. Helpful? It’s time to share the secrets of gaming your enterprise social network this Halloween.

There are many social technology vendors who offer data and analytics tools (either native or add-on) that claim to measure meaningful activity inside your community. Legend has it that this data can be used to find influencers, popular topics, important details and even experts. So in the spirit of Halloween — and with a ghoulish grin — I’d like to offer three easy steps to building an enterprise disguise by manipulating your activity inside an enterprise social network.

Marketing to the Segment of One is Closer Than it Seems

2014-28-October-Alone-in-Bleachers.jpgAs mass marketing dwindles in popularity and effectiveness, the “segmentation of one” is the future. Businesses must be able to market to customers at an individual level to remain competitive and relevant. However, without customer analytics technologies — such as modelling, forecasting and segmentation — marketing to this degree of detail can’t be done efficiently.

The Darker Side of Data Mining? Ask Your Doctor

2014-28-October-Say-Ah.jpgI’m a digital marketer. We mine data from the Internet all day long in order to sell more shoes. I have no problem with that. People like shoes, they want shoes. If they spend so much money on shoes and can’t pay their rent because of a campaign I designed, that’s perfectly OK with me. It’s called a free market.

What digital marketing does well is collect (mine) all the data floating around the Internet — things like tweets, likes, shares, webpage visits, downloads, shopping cart activity and purchases — in order to find out what experiences with the brand drive the most desired outcomes. We call it “actionable insight” — data that reveals how we might drive better outcomes. The outcomes we drive are always one of two things: reduced cost or increased revenue. 

But here’s a conversation I had with my sister recently about the way data mining is used now in medicine that I found disturbing.

5 Ways Pitch Perfect Should Inform Your Content Strategy

After nine months spent writing a book about content, content marketing and content strategy, I felt brain dead. My husband lovingly suggested we take our family away to the beach so I could “recover” for a few days.

While buying the usual sunscreen and other beach necessities, I noticed the DVD of the movie Pitch Perfect. I had watched the movie on a girls’ movie night, and thought it was super cute. Having two girls, ages 10 and 7, I thought it would be the perfect movie to while away the time we spent driving to the beach.

SaaS Support Best Practices: The Transparent Model

2014-27-October-Boost.jpgAs technology vendors respond to a changing marketplace by creating Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, their relationship to their customers must change. Satisfying customers by creating a great product that garners positive reviews, and soliciting customer feedback for future upgrades simply isn’t enough.

When a company hands over control of its mission-critical software environment to a SaaS provider, the SaaS customer support organization essentially functions as an extension of the customer’s IT department. To take this step, a customer must trust that they will receive the constant, professional and hands-on support they need. Generating this trust requires that the Customer Support team be transparent and always available.

Connecting Workers to Information in the Digital Workplace

2014-27-October-Information-Booth.jpgTwo billion jobs will be lost by 2030 … and that’s a good thing?

So says Paul Miller, author of the newly released book "The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering Digital Workplace Fit for the Future." Miller is quick to point out those lost jobs are menial, routine jobs which will be eliminated through automation technology. At the same time, new, more satisfying jobs will replace the lost ones.

This is no far-off prediction. According to Gartner Research, 60 percent of today’s US jobs are non-routine, up from 40 percent in 1975. And automation of routine work is already changing the nature of how "stuff" gets done. For example, in the 2012 book "Race Against the Machine," MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee show how the automation of transportation provided by driverless cars will soon eliminate 4.5 million jobs.

Getting Closer to Customers Drives Web Success

Being successful today means being with the customer. The closer you are to the customer the more power and influence you have. 

Workplace Lessons From a Beehive

2014-24-October-Beekeepers.jpgWhat could a company learn from a beehive? After my first three months as a beekeeper and seven years in the CMS industry, I've found out the answer — quite a bit.

Consumer Packaged Goods: Stay Ahead of the Digital Marketing Curve

2014-24-October-Serpentine-Benches.jpgFor many years, consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers didn't have much need to be on the cutting edge of digital innovation. But this is no longer the case, as the CPG industry now leverages digital technology to its full capacity. In areas such as mobile commerce and mobile measurement, it’s even ahead of the curve. And we’re continuing to move in the right direction: eMarketer projects that US CPG digital ad spending will top $4 billion in 2014 — proof that the package goods industry has recognized the competitive edge entering the digital age gives marketers.

Sold! 5 Salesforce Apps to Transform Your Sales Team

2014-24-October-Auction.jpgAs a testament to Salesforce’s popularity, more than 100,000 sales professionals traveled to San Francisco for Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference for customers and end users. A diverse group of business leaders, politicians and artists gave keynotes, but the focus for most attendees was how to make their own operation better by using Salesforce.com and the tools and applications that can be integrated with the system.

The Truth About Competitive Analysis

2014-23-October-Pitch.jpgAs I write this, the World Series is about to get underway, which reminds me of a famous quote by Satchel Paige, one of the greatest baseball pitchers in history:

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

And think about how a runner on first base can disrupt the pitcher’s concentration from throwing a strike to a batter.

The result in both cases? Distraction from what you’re trying to accomplish.

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