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Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation

2014-30-July-Long-Road.jpgThe rise of social and collaborative networks has changed the nature of the business interaction. The inbox and the Rolodex have become foreign to us. We expect instant access, constant updates and alerts, and data about every aspect of our lives to be readily available. We expect common business activities to be automated, streamlined, easy. Many of our measurements for success in business (certainly from the information worker's standpoint) revolve around the quality of the user experience we receive — or create for our customers.  

When surrounded by a team of people, it is easy enough get the necessary help from others to work through a complex or confusing business process. However, as an employee in a remote office, most of your daily information worker activities are likely self-driven. Many of the interactions that require involvement from others, who may be located in another time zone, can take time and reduce your productivity while you are waiting. Suddenly it is not just about identifying the right person for an approval or feedback but about balancing their availability against your project and time constraints.

Make the Most of Customer Journey Mapping

2014-29-July-Pins-US-Map.jpgWith the rise of customer experience as a corporate function, customer journey mapping is taking its place as a vital component of any program or process focused on enhancing customer centricity. Here are a few insights on how to get the most value out of your customer journey mapping efforts.

Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration

2014-29-July-Puget-Sound.jpg2014 was the year that we were supposed to get back to basics. We’re now more than halfway done, back-to-school shopping season is upon us and many of us are probably thinking about returning to the work focus after taking advantage of the lazy hot days of summer (on the other hand, who’s up for a sunset sail around the bay?). I’d like to take this time to do a midyear checkup on enterprise collaboration and technology goals.

Advance From Multichannel to Omnichannel Strategy

2014-29-July-Hopscotch.jpgComScore recently reported that 67 percent of consumers start shopping on one device, but complete the purchase elsewhere. In another survey conducted by TapAd and Forrester, more than 70 percent of consumers reported using three or more devices during their purchase journey.

In a world where consumers have so many choices and access to endless information, marketers must organize brand experiences so that they are tailored to the omnichannel customer.

Digital Asset Innovation

2014-29-July-Dutch-Architecture.jpg"Without change, there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” — William Pollard

Innovation, an active process of introducing something “new” or “different,” involves a commitment to looking at the world differently and making the conscious effort to change. The decision to implement a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can be an innovative moment in gaining operational and intellectual control of your digital assets.

DAM brings with it great responsibility for how the organization’s assets will be efficiently and effectively managed and is essential to growth. Any successful DAM implementation requires more than just new technology; DAM requires a foundation for digital strategy. Creating the whole DAM solution — and connecting it throughout your ecosystem — means that your digital assets can be part of this innovation by generating revenue, increasing efficiencies and enhancing your ability to meet new and emerging market opportunities for your users.

Design Information Systems with SharePoint in Mind

Any company that stores information on a computer is storing knowledge. But not all companies have an effective knowledge management system in place to manage that information. That depends on how the system was planned and how it is managed on an ongoing basis.

Whether you have a new system or an existing one that encompasses several different platforms, it's important to assess whether it is delivering all that it can for your organization. How can you do that? An (enterprise content management) ECM Reference Architecture can help you understand gaps and redundancies from a platform perspective.

Reimagine Retail Inventory to Remove Customer Hurdles

2014-28-July-Vintage-Sneakers.jpgThe retail industry is at a crossroad. We've discussed omnichannel behavior for some time now — both from a consumer and organizational perspective — but we need to turn that discussion into strategy and action. Retailers are now challenged to use insight from data created across these channels to drive better business performance and meet customer expectations. Technology is they key to enabling this.

Nowhere has the explosion of omnichannel been felt more deeply than retail inventory. Monitoring, moving and replenishing stock was relatively simple when the only end point was the physical store network. But consumers now discover, browse and buy from retailers through a variety of channels — physical, mobile, online — through marketplaces and from Drop Ship Vendors (DSVs), which is creating more range, storage and fulfillment options than ever before.

Discussion Point: How Will the IoT Change Our Lives?

Thumbnail image for discussion-pointYou can't escape the buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT). From ubiquitous sensors and constant connectivity to wearable tech and appliances that seemingly think autonomously, the potential is limitless.

We're rapidly developing a digital nerve system as sophisticated and complex as anything in the human body.

Proponents boast that the IoT will shape our futures and transform the ways we work, live and play. But will it — and, if so, how? To find out, we turned to four industry experts, including two that rank on Appinions list of the IoT's top 10 movers and shakers. (Appinions is an influence marketing platform designed to help B2B businesses identify, manage and measure the people and ideas that impact companies and their products.)

Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments

2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges — more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

One Web CMS Is Never Enough

2014-28-July-Recycling-Mountain.jpgWeb CMS is not a new technology by any stretch of imagination so why do so many still struggle with content management: on a personal basis, as a small-to-medium business or a large corporation? The cause of the struggle more times than not are the content silos and multiple Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS) used within one organization. We know these content silos suck up both time and money, but we still continue to create them.

The Role of Content in Self-Service Design

Quality content plays a critical role in self-service design. Often a small change in a link, heading or sentence, can lead to dramatically higher task completion. 

What it Takes to Provide a Seamless Customer Experience

At the heart of creating a unified conversation across all digital channels are three core technology areas: web content management, e-commerce and mobile platforms. Each of these areas has its own nuances, but it’s the aggregate — the integration of all three — that will determine a brand’s ability to prosper in the age of the customer.

CMOs and CTOs are being asked to work together like never before to solve the technology integration riddle in order to achieve high levels of engagement, personalization and loyalty.

3 Things You Probably Forgot in Your Mobile Strategy

2014-25-July-Water-Test.jpgMobile has moved beyond a “channel” and become a behavior. A verb. A necessity. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t moved to mobile in some form — advertising, app, responsive name, you name it — you've fallen way behind. So I’m going to assume we’re all on the same page and have at least dipped our toe in the mobile waters.

Mobile is now the dominant channel in online advertising. And while many companies at least have a mobile site, most are missing that clear strategy for mobile customer acquisition.

SAP Jam's Approach to Social: It's All in the Work Patterns

2014-25-July-Loom.jpgThe social adoption and ROI discussions are getting louder as more and more enterprises implement social collaboration solutions and struggle to find success. Adoption and ROI are difficult areas to define, measure and implement. The Altimeter Group released a report on The Evolution of Social Business detailing how organizations that have implemented social have created technology silos and lack clear focus or strategy in how it should be deployed across the enterprise.

As social has become mainstream over the past few years, we have seen major software vendors across vertical markets and solution types integrate social into the fabric of their core products. Dion Hinchcliffe highlighted this trend in 2011 in his blog post “Putting Social to Work,” where he described the integration of social with ERP suites like Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP.

I recently spoke with SAP's Social Software Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sameer Patel about social adoption and ROI. We discussed how SAP views these issues and how it developed the SAP Jam platform to address them. Its an interesting approach that's worth exploring in more depth.

Dealing with the Reality and Myths of Omnichannel

2014-25-July-Solstice-Brazil.jpg

If you sell stuff in your and your partners’ stores and via e-commerce, you have probably heard today’s buzzword — “omnichannel” — meaning that your customers should be able to use any part of your commerce chain as if it were a single entity: find and buy anywhere, pick up anywhere, return anywhere, all of this working seamlessly for the customer and integrated so that transactions anywhere are recorded and available everywhere.

You’re being told that your customers want and will soon demand this kind of transparency, and that if you aren't there now, you had better get cracking. You’re also hearing that getting there will take time, a lot of it — Macy’s started in 2008 and is just now beginning to reap the benefits — and will be a complex, expensive and “significant technology integration challenge.” By this time, you may be feeling that rush of panic as you contemplate how you can possibly keep up with this brave new world of real and virtual commerce.

You’re not alone.

Retailers Face Challenges, But With Effort Comes Rewards

2014-24-July-Pittsburgh-Bicycle-Challenge.jpgThe term “channel” in a retail context has as many meanings as the disparate paths between merchant and consumer. As the variety of channels continues to grow — online, offline, mobile, kiosk, call center, website, store — retailers are challenged with meeting the expectations of consumers who pick and choose channels as their needs demand. Retailers want to provide these consumers with a consistent and seamless experience — many explicitly claiming strategies to enable an "omnichannel experience" — but converting the intention into crisp execution has significant challenges.

The Mobile Enterprise Exists, But Successes Are Few and Far Between

Mobile Enterprise, 2014-24-July-Marbles.jpgThe mobile enterprise has some roadblocks standing in the way from moving from an ideal to a reality. I recently wrote about how a lack of enterprise mobile apps will prolong the realization of the anytime, anywhere workplace. But the dearth of apps is only one reason for the delay. Another reason is a lack of clearly defined business use cases for mobile devices. Organizations are sailing in uncharted mobile enterprise waters today, with few proven successes to emulate.

The bulk of use cases that have surfaced emphasize generic mobile device capabilities, but do not demonstrate clear return on investment (ROI). Some examples include enabling executives to access documents or videoconference with colleagues when away from their desks, and enabling mobile employees to "connect" from coffee shops or from home.

One Consultant's Approach to a Small SharePoint Cleanup

A pilot SharePoint cleanup project is straightforward. A consultant facilitating a small project to clean up a company’s SharePoint intranet can reach the lessons learned phase with a few basic tools.

Recall the mantra: simple is elegant.

Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and — of course — bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform — the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

What Television Can Teach Us About Digital Innovation

2014-23-July-Kevin-Spacey.jpgOn June 25, Aereo lost a huge battle in the Supreme Court which pitted established broadcast networks against the online streaming start-up.

A quick recap: Aereo is a company that lets consumers stream live TV over the internet. The Supreme Court shut them down for copyright infringement, saying Aereo antennas were redistributing private content without permission. The media is calling it the death of technological innovation in the television industry.

But here’s the thing: they're wrong.