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Are You a Cost Center or a Profit Center?

2014-17-September-Cash-Register.jpgNo matter what your role or function in your organization, it boils down to this: are you a cost center or a profit center? That is, do you cost the company money or do you make the company money?

Connect the Content Marketing Pieces with Taxonomy

2014-17-September-Bricklayers.jpgHas your company embraced content marketing? Have you migrated your team of copywriters to writers, your press releases to blog posts? Are you in the process of forming exploratory committees and trying to decipher a series of magic quadrants about cloud data systems? Has someone in upper management asked you about “Personalization"?

Don't Skip the Proof Of Concept

2014-17-September-Proof-of-Concept.jpgGenerally speaking, the larger the purchase, the more time and research we put into the decision before shelling out our hard-earned bucks. You don’t buy a car without test driving it, or a new couch without sitting on it. You probably don’t even buy shoes without walking around in them first.

Unfortunately, sometimes major technology purchases go unvetted and buyer’s remorse sets in hard, evident in the state of Oregon’s recent lawsuit (pdf) against Oracle for the failed deployment of its Cover Oregon healthcare exchange website.

This case reflects a dated IT evaluation process that’s all too common: businesses buying software based on RFPs and product demos, while failing to make vendors go through a proof-of-concept process. It’s a huge mistake that’s very easy to avoid.

Mobile Devices are the Gateway to the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about devices: how we interact with them and the data they produce. 

One key piece of the IoT that is often overlooked is our mobile device. On the day Apple releases its iOS 8, there's no better time to point out that mobile devices are really our gateway to the IoT.  

As we move around from location to location our mobile device, which is packed with sensors and numerous wireless radios, helps us seamlessly communicate with various other devices. Some of these devices might be in our homes, some our offices, some in our cars or the stores we shop in.  Still others, we wear on our bodies. 

Hackers for Hire: Bootcamp Grads Can Help Staff Dev Teams

2014-17-September-collaborative-programming.jpgAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for software developers is projected to grow 22 percent through 2022 – much faster than the average job growth rate of 11 percent – due to the major increase in demand for computer software.

Programming bootcamps have been cropping up across the country to help meet this demand, as well as close the skills gap that many claim exists between recent college graduates and workers with real-world skills.

With intense coding curriculum designed to enhance the skills of experienced coders and jumpstart those with little coding background, these coding programs could offer a real solution to companies in need of programming talent or for those looking to develop their current staff.

5 Dangerous Ideas for Corporate American Leaders #velocityconf

2014-16-September-Dangerous-Idea.jpgSome people lead with the idea that some things are certain and absolute. Others assume nothing, besides change, is certain and lead from the idea that the ground beneath them is in a constant state of flux. John Allspaw, SVP of technical operations at Etsy.com, spoke in depth about this topic in his session, "PostMortem Facilitation: Theory and Practice of 'New View' Debriefings," at Velocity NY yesterday.

Why History (and the Enterprise) Will Be Kind to Steve Ballmer

2014-16-September-Ballmer.jpgWe hear a lot about Microsoft’s new direction, and we hear a lot about SharePoint. We haven’t heard a lot about how the one impacts the other, but if you’re buying into collaboration (and odds are that you are) then you ought to be thinking about it. And if you think about it just a little, you’ll realize that Steve Ballmer mapped all of this out years ago. We just weren’t listening.

Content Is the Foundation of the Buyer's Journey

2014-16-September-Toward-Los-Angeles.jpgCompanies that are serious about the user experience on their website should already be thinking about buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, two of the most important components of website strategy.

Search Moves Up the Corporate Agenda

2014-16-September-Climb.jpgWe're gradually reaching a solid understanding of the state of enterprise search. Findwise started its Findability Survey in 2010 and the 2014 report will have been released by the time you read this. AIIM released its first survey for search implementation today. And while hurdles remain, search's prospects in the enterprise are finally looking up.

Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle

2014-15-September-Rock-Paper-Scissors.jpgWhile pointless debate continues in organizations as to who “owns” the customer experience (the customer, of course!), the responsibility for nurturing and shepherding the continuous customer experience belongs to all teams that impact customers. At the core, much of the work should be accomplished by strong, continuously evolving collaborations between marketing and sales. Unfortunately in many companies there are still ridiculous and harmful walls between sales and marketing — and a lot of political nonsense, mainly tied to the "blame game" when forecasts aren’t met and deals aren’t closed.

In reality marketing and sales have intertwined roles for engendering positive outcomes from customer journeys, whether they realize it or not.

Fix Your Retail Site to Curb Abandoned Cart Syndrome

2014-15-September-Abandoned-Cart.jpgPicture this: You walk into your favorite store and the aisles are clogged with half-full carts. Miscellaneous items clutter the shelves. There are a handful of shoppers, far fewer than you would expect in this mess. They mosey through linens, picking up then replacing every throw pillow that sparkles, debating the merits of each sequined atrocity but never reaching checkout. This scene begs the question — are the owners selling anything?

This is the scene that many online retailers face. Though many elements separate online and in-store shopping experiences, shopping cart abandonment has a particularly large effect on e-retailers. Whereas brick-and-mortar shoppers are unlikely to become distracted and leave the store, online shoppers can and do switch stores with just a couple clicks. Comparison tools make e-shopping around even more tempting to consumers.

The Accidental Analyst

2014-15-September-Double-Vision.jpgIt’s no secret that the use of data analysis as a means to improve decision making is increasingly becoming a requirement for companies that want to remain competitive and employees that want to remain relevant. With that in mind, let's take a look at your most popular, most overworked and quite possibly, most important co-worker — the accidental analyst.

Productivity is Not a Soft Cost

There is a huge blind spot when it comes to the management of the time of knowledge workers. Basically, their time is not managed. 

5 Ways to Get Personal with Real Time Marketing Tools

2014-12-September-Nose.jpgDigital marketers have an evolving arsenal of tools and technologies at their disposal to glean business intelligence, create targeted messages and produce stellar digital experiences — whether online or in a retail outlet.

Biometric facial recognition, digital signage and customized displayed information are being used to better define the needs of customers, personalize the customer experience and increase brand awareness, loyalty and sales.

Gartner Names Wise Choices for Workplace Social Software

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In the market for social software? Gartner included 17 vendors in this year’s Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace. 

Like all of the other Garter Magic Quadrants, it's quite difficult to make the list. And squeezing into the Leaders quadrant is especially challenging. In this case, only Microsoft, IBM, Jive, Salesforce and Tibco managed to earn a spot. 

However, Gartner points out that Challengers offer solutions that have a strong market presence, and adds that these vendors have the market position and resources to become Leaders down the line. VMWare, Atlassian and Sitrion earned spots in this quadrant.

Drive Social Adoption with SharePoint and Yammer Analytics

With the advent of SharePoint 2013 and Yammer integration, companies have struggled to monitor and manage the integration, adoption and usage of the collaboration platforms deployed across the enterprise. SharePoint Administrators are having a difficult time gathering meaningful metrics on SharePoint and Yammer usage and adoption. Community managers, IT managers and business leaders need metrics that show who is using the platform, how it’s being used, and how far the reach of social collaboration has extended into the enterprise. These measurements are key to ensuring that collaboration is being integrated into business processes.

The Consumer Journey: Content as Compass

2014-12-September-Blindfold.jpgContent marketing, when done right, should guide consumers based on their specific needs, buying preferences and online behavior. Much has been said about the quality of today’s content, but not enough has been said about how well you understand the consumer compass — a specific interest combined with level of intent. Only then can you determine what content to serve, how to serve it and when.

Lessons From the Classroom for Community Managers

2014-11-September-Classroom.jpgAt my daughter's “back to school night,” I had the opportunity to follow her exact sequence of classes, from first period homeroom, through seventh period. A slogan on the board of her homeroom class read, “Our classroom is a community.” Mr. Braxton, her homeroom teacher, introduced himself to the assembled parents and started to speak about community.

“In life, we’re surrounded by communities,” he said. “From the classroom to our neighborhoods, we’re a part of many different communities.”

Caveat Emptor: Are You Buying a Solution or a Science Project?

2014-11-September-Large-Hadron-Collider.jpgMost enterprise software is more like undertaking a science project than buying a product that solves a problem. Organizations buy a “platform” and have their IT departments build the “solution” on it.

A platform is essentially an Erector set with very poor instructions. Sure — go ahead and build a motorized crane. If you a. know what a crane is and should do and b. know what parts need to be assembled in what order to do it. Otherwise, you’re just trying stuff.  

Your first few cranes won’t work very well. People will likely use something (anything) else they can until you have built a better crane. You have on your hands a Science Project.

5 Things Salesforce Users Should Know About Malware Attack

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The malware is coming! The malware is coming!

Yep, it's a dreaded reality of life in the software industry. Technology does cool things for us, but it can bite us at any minute.

We reported this week that CRM giant Salesforce warned its users they could be targeted by a malware attack that usually hits customers of large, well-known financial institutions. Salesforce released a statement Sept. 3 that one of its security partners concluded that the Dyre malware (also known as Dyreza) "may now also target some Salesforce users."

The questions now are: What can Salesforce users do, and what should they know? CMSWire caught up with Zulfikar Ramzan, chief technology officer for San Jose, Calif.-based Elastica, to discuss.