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Taking CRM to the Next Level with the Internet of Things

With all of the talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s easy to get lost in the possibilities of the future. But right now, as you’re reading this article, you should already be devising a plan to integrate connected devices into your business processes.

5 Ways to Handle Real Time Content Demands

5 Ways to Handle Real Time Content DemandsBetween social channels, knowledge bases, blog comments, blog posts and the many other ways to interact with customers, how do you stay “on” in real time, even nights and weekends? Users are online all the time. Article comments, support questions and social posts appear around the clock. And as we have seen time and again, customers are more than willing to take action when companies don’t reply quickly enough.

Distributed Collaboration is Rapidly Evolving

One of the biggest disruptors of the last few years has been the distributed nature of work. People can now work pretty much anywhere, anytime, with anyone, on any content. And though content still plays a critical part, I am starting to see context as more critical for any type of collaboration. Without a common context it is hard for two or more people to work together.

Tools like email can work for one to many interactions (if you cc the whole organization), but not many to many. Web conferencing also falls under the one to many umbrella. And though a common context is required in those instances, they do not require the deeper knowledge of context that many to many interactions do, as we see in distributed teams.

4 Key Concepts Driving Digital Transformation

Organizations from large enterprises to one-man shops are in the midst of a digital transformation. Some gladly embrace the change. Others resist while still more are so busy keeping up with demand and duty that they risk missing it all together.

Nevertheless, it is happening and business leaders need to know what is happening and what to do about it.  

Social ROI = Return on Insanity

Social ROI = Return on InsanityThere’s no way to put this delicately, so I’ll be blunt: quantifying the financial benefits of an enterprise social network is turning your company — and the entire social technology industry — into a three ring circus.  

The ongoing demands of individual executives, archaic software evaluation processes and an obsessive focus on employees as productivity centers instead of human beings have turned collaboration into chaos, and social analytics into a spectator sport. As vendors, consultants and analysts vie for customers and relevancy in the enterprise social networking space, we’ve become elephants that do tricks for peanuts, or tigers that jump through flaming hoops when the ringmaster says it shall be so.

These 8 Vendors Lead the ECM Market

Even though the enterprise content management (ECM) market is a mature one, vendors still struggle to meet rapidly changing business and worker needs. The rise of mobility, demands for easy collaboration and the push to provide better customer experiences are all emerging as market drivers.

Enterprises, meanwhile, continue to look to ECM to put content into the applications where it is most needed. According to new data from Nucleus Research, this is pushing vendors to develop strategies that are based around simplification and integration, wider user adoption as well as mobile and sharing capabilities.

Why the Marketing Technology Industry is Like Polygamy

customer experience, Why the Marketing Technology Industry is Like Polygamy

Staying faithful in any marriage is (we hope) one of the primary goals. Staying faithful to one marketing technology provider means divorce.

In this marketing technology world, you see, it's more like Big Love than it was with Rob and Laura Petrie (living-room dancing at left).

One marketing provider? Doesn't seem to happen today.

Will one vendor ever be the be-all, end-all for companies deploying marketing technology?

"No," said Forrester Research analyst Cory Munchbach. "There's too much innovation happening too quickly for any digital marketer to reduce their technology stack to one platform. They may use one as a hub or a backbone for all the rest of the technology to plug into, but there will always be more than one capability than what a single platform provides."

Search Has A Future

It is easy to become despondent about the state of enterprise search. Only 11 percent of organizations reported very high satisfaction with search in the latest The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization report, which shows there has been little change over the last eight years. However, from April 29-30, while I was acting as the Chairman of the Enterprise Search Europe 2014 conference in London, despondency was certainly not on the agenda.

Understanding the Financial Implications of a SaaS DAM

Understanding the Financial Implications of a SaaS DAMYou have spent the time gathering requirements and fully understand the needs of your organization and have determined that a SaaS DAM solution is the right fit for your company.

Before you sign that contract you may want to make a trip down to the accounting department to fully understand the financial implications of a SaaS DAM solution. And you should be prepared to make a strong argument for adding budget to your operating budget.

The Learning Organization as Social Business

McKinsey has repeatedly published very aggressive outlooks for the value that could be created from companies progressing to the social business. In a 2012 report, the research firm estimated that social business technologies could improve productivity across the value chain as much as $1.3 trillion annually, just for the enterprise sectors of professional services, CPG, advanced manufacturing and retail financial services. According to McKinsey, two-thirds of that forecast value aligns with improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises.

But for such value to be achieved from transformative collaboration, enterprises must change culturally, operationally and strategically to accommodate new ways of learning, sharing and applying knowledge that benefit individual and organizational performance. Only through cultures conducive to widespread collaboration and knowledge sharing can enterprises find their way to the competitive strength of the Learning Organization.

Helping the Insurance Industry Serve Customers

2014-06-May-To-Serve-Customers.jpgIn an iconic Twilight Zone episode, aliens arrive on planet earth. They bring with them a book entitled To Serve Man, from which we earthlings infer that the alien mission is "to perform a service for humanity." At the end of the story, the alien book is revealed to be a cookbook, whose main ingredient was humans.  

Here is my story about ways to better serve customers in the insurance industry. And to be clear, I mean it in the naive earthling sense — practices that improve how insurers perform a service for their customers.

My Future of Work, Collaboration and Relating

For the past eight years I’ve been boots-on-the-ground either as a practitioner or in support of practitioners who were trying to bring about change within their organizations, often from a tech first perspective. They’d identified connection, collaboration, engagement and productivity efficiencies as the rationale for these efforts. Some talked to tech analysts, pundits, consultants. They’d read books and case studies. Some even got brave enough to talk to their employees and customers about what they needed and fought through the corporate mechanisms to try to answer a piece of that call.

We chanted encouragement in the background, patted each other on the back and commiserated when the behaviors didn’t change. How could they when we were simply talking about technology? Those bemoaning their 20 percent adoption rates chalked it up to a bad integration, feature set, project management or worse, let our cynicism take over and insist change will never come, that we are doomed to dysfunction — or even worse, that it’s just tools. It really doesn’t matter if they use them or not, as long as the paycheck comes on time.

Making the Right Case for Social Business

Making the Right Case for Social BusinessIn spite of a rash of vendors flooding the markets in recent years to help us "socialize" the business, many enterprise buyers still feel skeptical that an investment in social technology will deliver a sufficient return.

Our mandate at 451 Research is to analyze the impact of innovative and disruptive enterprise technologies. We look at social business in all its forms — be it team collaboration, file sync and share, workforce management, etc.

Though we see a lot of innovation, we are not seeing that much disruption — there is clearly a distance between enterprise buyers and technology vendors right now. It's a gap that we believe can be bridged in a number of ways, but will require work from both buyers and sellers alike.

Cloud Storage, Shadow IT and the Real Question to Ask

The battle for file sharing and storage has been happening for a while, but things started heating up when Microsoft decided to offer OneDrive for Business as a standalone service — it took a direct hit at Box and Dropbox. The question is, does it really have an advantage?

Want to Succeed in Social Business? Invest in It.

This year’s State of Community Management research is the culmination of five years of defining, helping to develop and documenting the discipline of community management — a critical enabler of social business. This year’s research surveyed objective artifacts of community management maturity and enabled us to compare programs across industries and use cases.

The good news is that 76 percent of communities have approved strategies. This is a great indication that organizations and executives can now envision the value communities will contribute to their business and suggests a maturing market.

The bad news? Only 35 percent communities have approved and resourced roadmaps.  

Revenge of the Brochureware Billboard Designers

Organizations can’t resist broadcasting when customers just want to get something done. 

The Elephant in the Room: Evolving Work Styles

The Elephant in the Room: Evolving Work StylesWith all that has been studied, written about, developed and tweaked in the area of the social enterprise, why are some of the world's leading organizations still struggling with their social initiatives? Is there something that all of the pundits are missing?

The answer is the elephant in the room. We can discuss solutions until we’re blue in the face, but the answer lies within the evolving dynamics of work styles that we’re seeing across the board at business and enterprises.

Write Like a Journalist: Tips for Content Marketers

Write Like a Journalist: Tips for Content MarketersMarketing language is sometimes designed to "make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” George Orwell, the author of dystopian novel 1984, was talking about political speech when he wrote those words in 1946. Yet his words are just as apt when it comes to what can go wrong with content marketing: jargon or poorly crafted prose, cliches, ambiguity, empty phrases and other clutter.

That’s not necessary. As content marketing eclipses more traditional marketing and advertising copy, there’s something to be learned from writers and journalists. Delivering a story people want to read means spending time to create something they want to know about, and respecting readers by not peddling sensationalist or annoying pitches.

Yes, you are writing with a point-of-view. No, it’s not investigative journalism. But marketers will do well to read (and apply) much of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics to build the kind of trust and attention they want associated with their brand. It’s not just about what’s right. It's what works.

Why Gwyneth Paltrow is the Most Brilliant Content Marketer - EVER

Why Gwyneth Paltrow is the Most Brilliant Content Marketer EVERAlong with the now tedious conversation about content shock, we also have to define (in the world of content marketing) content marketing at the enterprise vs. content marketing campaigns. This is all very fascinating, particularly since we still seem to be fighting about what content marketing is.

However, I find it even more interesting to look for those doing content marketing well and use those test cases to help us arrive at a universal understanding of content marketing. Let’s take a look at Gwyneth Paltrow, and her lifestyle brand, goop.

Where the Differences Lie in Enterprise Social Networks

Where the Differences Lie in Enterprise Social NetworksAs more companies look to enterprise social networks to help boost collaboration, taking the first step can be difficult. Deploy the wrong enterprise social network and no one will use it, providing little to no value. Get it right and barriers between functional silos will fall and teams will operate with greater efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness.

The difficulties that companies have had in deploying enterprise social often start right at the beginning. It’s not hard to understand why choosing a product can be tough since most enterprise social networks look almost identical. All the basics are there in just about every product including microblogging and conversations, groups, and document, file, and content sharing. Security and other major enterprise deployment factors are also similar across vendors and products. On the surface, all enterprise social networks look the same. The path to value, however, lies in some key differences.