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Put Away the Pumpkins: It's Holiday Time for E-Commerce Sites

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It’s October … time for ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night, right? Wrong. Think sleigh bells and shiny objects like holiday lights.

The winter holiday season triggers an exponential growth in online shopping volume. “Many e-commerce sites do 40 percent of their annual transactions during these holidays,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Marketing Group.

If you handle this demand correctly, the season can gift you with a heaping helping of new, year-round customers. If you don’t, you may watch future profits disappear right back up the chimney with the guy in the red suit.

Rackspace CEO: We Screwed Up During Cloud Reboot

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Rackspace's CEO didn't mince words in an email to customers yesterday. He admitted the company made communication mistakes as it worked this week to patch a security vulnerability affecting certain versions of XenServer, a popular open-source hypervisor.

Taylor Rhodes, CEO and president of the San Antonio, Texas-based public and private cloud hosting provider, said the problem ultimately forced a reboot for about a quarter of Rackspace's 200,000 customers.

"In the course of it, we dropped a few balls," Rhodes said. "Some of our reboots, for example, took much longer than they should. And some of our notifications were not as clear as they should have been. We are making changes to address those mistakes. And we welcome your feedback on how we can better serve you." 

The Line Between Creepy and Effective Marketing

2014-01-September-Creepy-Bob.jpgThere's a fine line between effective, personalized marketing and an eerie feeling that “big brother” is watching. Unfortunately, being creepy is one of the most common perils of data-driven marketing. In an online environment, retailers can observe every single nuance of an individual’s shopping experience.

Social Will Not Succeed Without Business Process Integration

2014-01-October-Integration.jpgIt's been said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

We see this theory in action every day within most corporate environments as businesses try to apply the latest technology without understanding how to integrate it into their daily business processes. Information Technology and business groups make this same mistake repeatedly with the same result — lack of adoption and usage across the enterprise resulting in a failed implementation. Users don’t hold onto legacy technology because they fear change: they crave change! But in order to be effective, the technology has to be woven into the user’s daily business processes.

How Many Layers in Oracle's Cloud? #OOW14

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SAN FRANCISCO — The tech pundits here are happy to focus on the soap opera of management shifts including new roles for Oracle founder and chairman — former CEO and current CTO — Larry Ellison and Oracle co-CEOs Mark Hurd and Safra Catz.

But the real story at Oracle OpenWorld here this week is much deeper. Beneath the surface, Oracle has orchestrated a broad and complicated integration of dozens of cloud, web and customer experience technologies.

IT Gets Strategic (Again)

2014-30-September-Check.jpgThe CIO of a global Medical Device manufacturing company recently said to me, "I don't want to have to install another piece of software at this company unless I absolutely have to."

"You want to hear something that will really blow your mind?" he followed.

I was already pretty excited about how forward thinking the conversation was. What comes after putting the entire legacy software industry on notice?

"I could have my entire supply chain being run by Amazon by the end of the year."

These guys don't sell widgets to consumers. They sell respiratory care equipment and supplies for operating rooms to health care providers.

Quantifying the Value of Your Data

Whether it’s the amount of risk in a particular decision or the reason for a problem that impacts the bottom line, the unknown is a scary concept. As businesses continue to generate vast amounts of data, the business value of this information is palpable. However, determining whether or not this data has any economic value is difficult. Armed with advanced tools that produce incredibly huge amounts of data, storage, retrieval and analysis, businesses have taken on a new method to minimize this unknown.

How to Build a Content Marketing Program from Scratch

2014-30-September-Start-Up.jpgA lot can change in a year. One year ago, I was the lone attendee from SAP at Content Marketing World 2013. We were looking for a way to create content that would resonate with our target audience and a strategy that would align with our goals.

Starting a successful content marketing initiative is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming undertaking. There are different ways to go about creating a program and the key is finding what will work best for your business.

Discussion Point: What's the Best Way to Rank Software?

customer experience, Discussion Point: What's the Best Vendor Software Ranking Method?

If you're in the software world — who isn't, right? — you've heard of the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports that rank software vendors.

But they aren't the only ones measuring vendor performance. There are crowdsourcers like these guys and these guys. Other research firms produce reports.

Each ranks software vendors differently. And each never fail to advance industry conversation.

Vendor software rankings come with debate. They even come with lawsuits.

Want Happy Employees? You Gotta Work at It

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Your workforce is changing. But most businesses still don't understand how to motivate, satisfy and retain this increasingly global, diverse and, yes, demanding employee base.

That's one of the findings from a new study by SAP SE, a German software company that has invested in a number human resources-related companies over the last few years. Conducted by Oxford Economics on behalf of SAP, the study shows too many companies are still stuck in the stone age when it comes to everything fro salaries, flexibility and overall abilities to keep top talent.

Your DAM Project's Approved: Now What?

2014-29-September-All-Systems-Go.jpgAt last — your company heard you, all those meetings and presentation are finally paying off. Your DAM project has officially been given a go by the CMO. That day kicks off a long journey: let’s see how to make it easier and feel shorter.

ROI Is the Wrong Tool to Justify Social Investments

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Social media and social networking have become core business tools in the business world. Every major brand has some level of social media account or social engagement with its customers at this point, but the question remains how to measure the value associated with social media and social networking. To do this, companies look for a Social Return on Investment but get hung up in the process. Why does this happen? 

Navigate Customer's Emotions with Content Marketing

2014-29-September-Comedy-Tragedy.jpgIn the world of the B2C retailer, a customer journey can be as simple as “ooh, I like that” followed by a quick virtual dash to click to buy. An experience that is satisfied by a relatively simple content strategy. You put related products they like close to each other, avoid screwing up by showing them a ski mask and black gloves because they bought a baseball bat once for their niece, and watch the uplift. 

OK, maybe it’s not quite as simple as that, but if you are in financial services, B2B or sell cars, your customer journey is not a quick dash, or even a stroll. It’s an emotional hike that consists of considerable debate, talking to peers, making the case, chatting with colleagues, researching online, getting approval and then maybe after all of this, a purchase is made.

Focus on Customer Convenience and Effort, Not Experience or Satisfaction

You’re out of coffee. You have two choices. Ask your neighbor or drive to the local convenience store. Your neighbor, John, is nice but boy does he love to talk. You drive to the convenience store. 

We don’t always want to engage. We don’t always want an experience. Sometimes, we just want to get things done as quickly and easily as possible.

The Metamorphosis of the Social Enterprise

2014-26-September-Change.jpgThe Social Enterprise is dead … but it hasn’t disappeared. Rather, it has been replaced by a remarkably similar concept: the Digital Workplace. According to Gartner, the Digital Workplace "enables new and more effective ways of working, improves employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies."

Dark Data as a Company Asset

2014-26-September-Darth-Data.jpgWe've seen an influx of compliance and data security related stories flood news outlets over the past year. With data breaches at Experian and Home Depot, companies around the globe are facing a heightened demand for data privacy and compliance regulation.

Many of these companies have now invested in data loss prevention and governance, risk and compliance programs to help them identify data that may put them at risk. This is data that often exists across enterprise systems (file shares, SharePoint, social systems, and other enterprise collaboration systems and networks) and is referred to as “dark data” — or data that is not properly understood.  

No More Messaging in the Dark: Get Sales + Marketing on the Same Page

2014-26-September-Flashlight-Reading.jpgGiven the rise of marketing automation software over the past five years, today's B2B sales funnel is half illuminated and half in the dark. Sales and marketing teams have near-perfect visibility into how leads interact in the top half of the funnel and the insights needed to improve the marketing process, yet they remain blind to how content is supporting sales reps in the bottom half.

Avoid These Common Web CMS Implementation Pitfalls

2014-25-September-Wile-E-Coyote.jpgContent Management Systems (CMS) have evolved tremendously in the last decade, maturing into an impressive list of offerings. As these offerings have grown in complexity, so too has implementation. Selecting the right solution for your company and a digital partner can mitigate these challenges, but once your implementation is underway a few common issues can cause havoc on the project.

DAM Experience Starts With User's Expectations

2014-25-September-Waiting-for-Customers.jpg“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations” — Roy H. Williams

The content-driven experience is ultimately the expression of the relationship between a DAM and the user. This dynamic is often overlooked when developing the rules or practices that drive a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. The ability to easily deliver or find the right content, at the right time is the goal of DAM and the cornerstone of delivering positive customer experience internally and externally. The perception of experience, however, is affected by expectations. Understanding and integrating those expectations into the design of the DAM infrastructure is key.

Lost Your Phone? You're Probably a Guy [Infographic]

2014-25-September-battle-of-the-sexes.jpgIn the spirit of everything politically incorrect, let's talk about the superiority of women over men. OK, that's a stretch.

Let's talk about the documented, somewhat scientific finding that men can be much more irresponsible than women when it comes to losing their electronic devices.

That's the conclusion from TeamViewer, a provider of remote control and online meetings software. The company just announced the findings of its airbackup Employee Behavioral Study, which examined the behavior and attitudes of American office workers and how they affect on-the-job data loss.

Based on a sponsored Harris Poll of more than 2,000 American adults last month, men just can't keep their phones in their pockets.

Nearly half of employed men (46 percent) admit to being likely to lose the electronic device they use for work and all the important company files on it, compared to only 27 percent of employed women. And young men are the worst — with a whopping 60 percent of men ages 18 to 34 years-old owning up to likely device loss, compared to 30 percent of women in the same age group.