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Sigh: Email Isn't Going Anywhere

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Guess what? Email isn't going away. Guess what else? According to Pew Research, email is far more popular than social media and texting. The research also shows email is more important to office workers than the broader Internet itself.

The findings also show that email and the Internet are the most important communications and information tools. Among all online workers surveyed, 61 percent rated email as very important to their jobs and 54 percent said the same of the Internet.

As Merlin Mann, the San Francisco-based writer, speaker and broadcaster, has noted, "Email is such a funny thing."

Turn Sales into Customer Ambassadors: Reward Renewals

A talent manager friend of mine puts it bluntly: “people do what they’re paid to do.” More specifically, she means people do what they’re incented to do — especially through bonuses, commissions and other performance-based compensation. It’s attaining payment for achievement that motivates people, especially when that payment is also accompanied by recognition, promotions and status among one’s peers. Base salary is important – but it’s not all about the base.

10 Things Online Retailers Must Do in 2015

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The 2014 holiday shopping season brought online commerce to new heights, with double-digit growth in US online sales on both on desktops and mobile devices.  Remember that shopping behavior tends to encompass more than one channel — consumers usually hop between brand touch points before they push the buy button. Consider a shopper who adds a product to her shopping cart while browsing on her desktop, then abandons the purchase only to pick up her mobile phone. Retailers must offer a seamless and consistent shopping experience across desktops and mobile devices in order to set their brand apart.

Where Social Collaboration Is Heading

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Social collaboration software has come a long way, both in terms of acceptance in organizations (if not daily usage) and products. Ten years ago social collaboration was mostly thought of as Facebook for the enterprise, an unfortunate tagline that suggested frivolity and not utility. Since then, social collaboration has embraced many different types of technology that help knowledge workers find and share content and ideas. An explosion of new ways to work together gradually coalesced into the form we see today. This process is driving what we can expect in the next year or so.

Don't Be Afraid of SharePoint Customization

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When SharePoint first came on the scene many years ago, Microsoft embraced a broad and deep partner ecosystem, supported all sorts of educational events to train people and placed millions if not billions on marketing events, all focused on showing us how to customize SharePoint.

With the release of SharePoint 2013, we suddenly had Redmond telling everyone to stop customizing SharePoint. A lot of companies are now embarrassed and ashamed to admit that they have customized their SharePoint sites. In less than three years it went from de rigeur to risky and questionable.

The State of B2B Customer-Alignment Maturity

“If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else.” — Yogi Berra

This pretty much sums up the customer-alignment journey of most companies. Companies know their survival depends on aligning strategy, culture, partners and processes to their customers’ lifecycle expectations, but the end state is often fuzzy. And fuzzy mean the path to get there is equally unclear.

Think Your Customer Experience Is Perfect? Test Again

2015-12-January-Test.jpgBusinesses, and the people who power them, easily fall into routines. Once we find a process or program that works, we stick with it. Routines bring predictability and stability, but if they go unexamined or fail to incorporate feedback, they can get in the way of providing exceptional customer experiences.

Outdated routines fail to address the changing business landscape, and assume that what was true in the past remains true today. Customer experiences are rarely perfect. However, by injecting testing into our culture and processes, we get closer to understanding what today’s perfect customer experience may be.

Advertising and Marketing are Broken: How Do We Fix Them?

So much advertising and marketing is based on false promises and exaggeration. This sort of corporate propaganda is facing an increasing backlash. 

Pitfalls of Enterprise Collaboration (and the Solutions)

Collaboration today is critical for any organization’s success. Organizations are becoming more geographically distributed, and though there are some exceptions such as Google and Yahoo, most organizations have no choice in the matter.

Although research claims collaboration works better if teams are all together, there is also the 50 yard rule — anyone over 50 yards from you will collaborate with you in the same way as they would in a distributed office. Architects are working to create more collaborative physical spaces in organizations to maximize casual serendipitous interactions. Yet most organizations have not worked out how to collaborate face to face, let alone distributed collaboration. Let's look at the most common collaboration and distributed collaboration problems, identify a solution and explore specific actions.

Why does collaboration fail so often? It’s simple: people can’t make the mental shift!

That Elusive Data Scientist Might be Right Under Your Nose

Comb through the findings of any recent industry survey on the state of big data and big data analytics projects, and you’ll undoubtedly encounter commentary about the struggle to find a so-called data scientist. Despite being one of the most talked about and sought after roles in IT, and despite increasing desire among new and existing members of the IT workforce to develop into data scientists, there remains a dearth of individuals capable of filling this critical role.

It’s a problem that’s not going away any time soon. Given the growing C-level focus on deriving revenue-generating insights from data and information, the need for that elusive data scientist will only intensify in the year ahead. But the demand far outpaces supply, meaning that but for the fortunate, deep-pocketed few, hiring a data scientist from the outside won't be a viable option any time in the near future.

5 Technology Skills Every Marketer Needs Today

Marketers today are at a serious crossroads. Take this recent Gartner report, which shows that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017. Few marketers are technologists or IT specialists, but technology is changing everything about what they do and how they do it. The 21st century marketing landscape requires a whole new way of thinking about interacting with customers, adapting to technologies and translating insights into a return on investment for the entire organization. How can marketing professionals supplement their existing skill sets and get up to speed quickly and dynamically?

True or False: Social Media Marketing Works

As someone who earns a living helping B2B marketers make social media work, I was surprised by a recent claim from Forrester Research. Marketers use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers and prospects, Forrester noted. But then it added: it’s not working.

That's not the case, based on my experience.

Reading the Office 365 Tea Leaves

Every year around this time “experts” sit around and make predictions about all sorts of things. In some spaces like world politics, this is truly a guessing game. When it comes to Microsoft, it involves more of trying “to read the tea leaves.” Even with the breathtaking pace of change, there are still pretty good signs of where the technology is going.

What to Expect in E-Discovery and Information Governance in 2015

The e-discovery market continued its maturation in 2014, with last year’s hot trends like predictive coding and early case assessment becoming more mainstream and new initiatives around information governance, big data and BYOD/social media emerging as important issues. Electronic information disciplines, such as records management, cyber security and corporate compliance, continued to become more intertwined in the e-discovery process, and the group of stakeholders touching e-discovery has begun to transform its focus into the broader Information Governance (IG) spectrum.

But the transformation remains challenging. Many organizations are only just beginning to treat e-discovery as a standard business process that can be leveraged in larger IG practices.

DAM's Roadmap for 2015 and Beyond: Interoperability, Analytics

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A number of vendors in the DAM industry were asked one question, "What innovative new features and technologies will you offer in 2015?" And while the DAM and MAM industry is diverse, four clear trends emerged. We covered the plans for reimagined user interfaces and approaches to making video more accessible yesterday, which leaves us with the question of interoperability between systems and vendor's efforts to meet the demand for built in business intelligence and analytics. 

Push for Strategic Governance in Information Management

In the middle of last year I moved roles from the corporate intranet team to my current role as Director of Technology Strategy and KM for Legal, Corporate and Compliance Group.

Though the roles are quite different, there's one word that links the two together — governance. 

The Year B2B Marketing Stops Playing Second Fiddle to Sales

2015-07-January-Honkytonk.jpgAs a career-long B2B marketer, I notice and appreciate the way consumer brands speak to (or attempt to) speak to me. It’s easy as B2B marketers to get caught up in our own world, our own language, our internal nuances and what we “feel” will resonate with audiences. And often, the pressure to sell more or drive leads takes precedence over doing our research and really nailing the message.

Which is why, with every company I join, the first place I start is the story. Who are we talking to? Are we speaking their language? What do they really care about? And what challenges are we going to help them overcome? The bottom line: you’re never going to pass the class if you don’t first do your homework. So as we embark on another year, here a few reminders of B2B marketing strategies you can’t afford to leave on the table.

Good Cloud, Bad Cloud. Why Cloud?

Confused about the cloud? You're not alone.

Adoption is projected to grow at double digits despite plentiful guidance on why we should fear the cloud. Pundits tell us, “If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind.” Yet it is easy to feel the cloud is just beyond our grasp. To quote Jason Segel, as Jay in the comedy Sex Tape — Nobody understands the cloud. It’s a [expletive deleted] mystery.

So let's kick off 2015 with a look at some real-life use cases from sectors that are leading the way in enterprise adoption of the cloud.

A Sneak Peek at DAM's Roadmap for 2015 and Beyond

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It’s that time of year when we look back at the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to the possibilities the future holds. This post started with a simple question asked of more than a dozen vendors: What innovative new features and technologies will you offer in 2015? The response was overwhelming. Vendors walked me through their 2015 technology roadmaps and shared their visions of where the digital asset management (DAM) and Media Asset Management (MAM) industry is heading beyond 2015.

Build Better Knowledge Management

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Long before Google Glass wearers made the news (and became pariahs within San Francisco-area coffee houses and restaurants), research projects at huge companies like IBM and Microsoft sought to bridge the gap between the capture and storage of corporate knowledge and intellectual property, and the difficult-to-archive individual narrative that attempted to make sense of this important, yet mostly disconnected content.

The effort of transcribing a personal experience or individual learning in context to our projects, business initiatives and other corporate artifacts (e.g., presentations, documents, spreadsheets) is incredibly difficult to accomplish in a way that can then be utilized by our knowledge management systems.

The problem with knowledge management (KM) is not a matter of data infrastructure — whether your data resides on premises, in servers that you manage versus out in the cloud is irrelevant (to some degree) to the argument — but with a user experience that fails to align the needs of the complex, non-linear playback mechanisms of the human brain with our systems of record.