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Improving the Customer Support Experience

How do you know your customers are getting their problems solved quickly and easily? This is a question that has challenged many support websites. The traditional approach has tended to involve customer satisfaction and visitor volume metrics. 

Reach Out and Touch for Better Collaboration, Customer Experiences

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From repeated assurances that "your call is very important to us" to an anonymized stream of corporate communications … Isn't there anything that can put some humanity back into collaboration and communications? The quantified self – breaking down human behavior into data sets – could help companies inject some personality into their customer service.

Working in Pajamas: The Downside of Telecommuting

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Working from home is the best job ever … as long as you're willing to tether yourself to technology, produce twice as much as you would in an office, blur every possible work-life boundary and have the discipline to bite your tongue when someone asks you if you ever plan to get a "real" job.

Telecommuting is a disaster for anyone who is unmotivated, disorganized, thin-skinned or has fantasies about working in pajamas. Trust me. I'm speaking from experience.

And remember this: it's the wrong choice if you expect to have regular lunch or coffee breaks (a blessing in disguise, actually, because you often won't have time to avail yourself of the restroom, either.) Your boss will call the minute you step away from your desk, creating suspicion about whether you're working at all. Differences in time zones mean calls at almost any hour of the day (or night).

No wonder those spoiled, entitled, forever-whining tech-obsessed millennials (aka Gen Y) are just so over this whole telecommuting thing. And guess what? They aren't alone.

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending Machines

The Salvation for Snack Attacks: Smart Vending MachinesI don’t know about you, but when I walk by a vending machine and see one of my favorite snacks, I immediately have a snack attack. Often times these attacks go unanswered because I typically don’t carry cash in my pocket, or for the times when I do, the machine is broken.

Well, enter smart vending — and the answer to my vending machine woes!

The End of the InfoPath Era

The End of the InfoPath EraEver since the release of Office 2013 there has been speculation about the future of the information worker toolset, specifically InfoPath and SharePoint Designer. In SharePoint 2010, the go-to tools for information workers trying to build solutions within SharePoint were the browser, Office Applications, SharePoint Designer and InfoPath. Using a combination of these tools we could easily create no code solutions that allowed us to help impact the use of technology within the organization.

Today, some big news from Microsoft clearly states its position on the future of InfoPath. Lets look at some answers to many of the questions we have had about the future of InfoPath in the last year and how we should be using it now.

Google, IBM and the Battle for Automated Customer Experience

Google has pinned its acquisition strategy on data, analytics, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). IBM is very focused in data analysis and levering its own AI technology, Watson, into other areas. All signs point to a looming battle between these two technology giants.

IBM Looks Forward to Next Generation Computing #IBMConnect

Each year, the IBM faithful gather in Orlando Florida for IBM Connect, previously Lotusphere. This year, IBM combined it with the Kenexa World Conference as well, leading to an interesting mélange of IBM Notes administrators, Domino developers, human resources practitioners and social business strategists. The program was a similar gumbo of topics cutting across several IBM initiatives and product lines. It would be fair to say that, if you wanted to stretch beyond your usual topics, it would be easy at IBM Connect 2014. 

We Know What You'll Be Eating During the Super Bowl [Infographic]

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Hunches are good, but data is better, so says best-selling author Dan Pink. And in a world of big data and sophisticated analytics, why would you even want to go on a hunch, especially when there’s so much great data available?

Maybe because, in this day and age, huge volumes of variable data come at you with such great velocity that it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of what it’s telling you. Especially if it’s all loaded into a spreadsheet.

And, even if you’re OK with jockeying spreadsheets, chances are the people with whom you want to have conversations and collaborate about the data are not. When they see you coming at them with an Excel file, they’ll run the other way. Send the e-mail with an .xls attachment and they may “accidentally” delete without reading …

 

The 2 Biggest Time Sucks in Corporate America

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"Please shoot me now! I can't do it anymore! Why does everything have to be so slow and painful? There has got to be a better way!" Does this sound familiar? Although it may have been a while since you heard or muttered any of these phrases at work, I would be surprised if you have not heard some similar sense of frustration at your job.

Let's take a look at the greatest "Time Sucks" in corporate America …

4 Ways to Follow Through on Business Goals

4 Ways to Follow Through on Business GoalsSetting goals is a common undertaking, but it can be useless unless you understand action steps. As a recruiter I usually ask my clients two questions: “What are your goals for this position? What are the actions you are going to take to achieve your goals?” Most of my clients can easily describe their goals but many have trouble articulating the action steps necessary for achieving those goals.

Raising the Bar for the Enterprise Software User Experience

Raising the Bar for the Enterprise Software User ExperienceIn December, The Wall Street Journal reported that Avon Products, Inc. had spent 4 years and $125 million with SAP on a major software project that was being terminated. Apparently, Avon discovered that “users — the company’s sales force — found the new system so burdensome and disruptive to their daily routine that many left Avon.” Avon paid dearly in money and time, as well as employees, for a poor user experience. In this case, that cost has been quantified.

What's the Customer Experience when Everything and Everyone Is Connected?

What's the Customer Experience when Everything and Everyone Is Connected?

As humans, we yearn for connection — and while our tools will always change, the principles and desires that drive us stay the same. As our communications tools improved, the radius of our connections increased — until the whole world was at our fingertips. Now, we are moving into a time when our connected devices are helping us connect to the world around us, in ways we couldn't dream of.

Hey, Marketer: Stop Thinking About Vendors First

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Crash Davis in Bull Durham gave the best advice to a pitcher on a baseball mound: Don't think. "You just got lesson number one," the veteran Minor League catcher (played by Kevin Costner) told his rookie pitcher. "Don't think. It can only hurt the ball club."

It's kinda like that for marketers today facing the giant 947-vendor-plus marketing technology landscape aptly documented by Scott Brinker. Don't think about them.

"Stop thinking about vendors and products," said Gerry Brown, senior analyst for customer engagement and marketing technology at Ovum Research. "Think about the business requirement. The products should be treated as a solution to a business need, rather than an end in their own right."

We complete our series today examining ways to approach the thickly-settled marketing software vendor space. Last week, we discussed avoiding the vendor hype and finding your IT champion.

Internet of Things Delivers Context Just in Time

Internet of Things Makes it Just in TimeOver the past several years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been making the rounds in tech circles as the next big thing. The plethora of data to come from all of these devices has been part of the big data push. The sheer mass of data to be generated by the IoT is mind boggling given all the sensors we are seeing in our formerly “dumb” machines. Theoretically, with all of that data, impressive predictions can be made based upon tracking trends and behaviors.

For some, the benefits will come from the opposite direction. IoT will provide situational context to everything that we do, enabling systems to provide the information we need exactly when we need it.

Why Agility is the New Marketing Mandate

Why Agility is the New Marketing MandateMarketers today find themselves needing to keep up with an abundance of new opportunities for creating, distributing and accessing content via new technologies, devices and touchpoints. With brand dialogues taking place in real time, expectations are high for marketers to be faster than ever before, relying on new technology to implement timely campaigns and responding to customers on the right medium at the right time.

To be successful in this rapidly evolving landscape, there is a new skill that content marketers should work to develop in 2014 — agility.

E-Commerce, Content and Closing the Gaps: A Look at Sitecore

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Over the past two days, we have looked at different approaches to bridging the gap between content management and e-commerce. In the first part, we saw that e-Spirit has adopted a best-of-breed approach. Yesterday we saw how Elastic Path is using e-commerce APIs to integrate content.

In the final piece today, we look at Sitecore, which has put customers at the heart of the retail process by providing personalized content and user experiences.

The Internet of Things is Knocking on Your Door

outsideyourdoor.jpgRFID tags are cheap. Sensors are dropping in price. Many factors are aligning to usher in the Internet of Things.

Content Strategies Built for Revenue

Content Strategies Built for RevenueIt’s only the start of a new year, and already there is quite a bit of chatter about content and how it can affect the success of a business. There are debates about the continued effectiveness of content marketing as a strategy, and arguments over whether technology can actually fix anything.

But as we look at marketing — and how the use of content plays into that — one of the drivers we have to examine is changing the way we think of success. Rather than looking at “more engagement” — whether it be “visitors,” “likes” or “followers” — we should start to examine how content can be tied together to generate revenue.

Is There a Theme to Google's Latest Acquisition Binge?

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Boston Dynamics, Nest and DeepMind. In the past month, Google has gone on yet another acquisition binge, spending at least $4 billion on a trio of startups that seem only loosely connected — robotics, home automation and artificial intelligence, respectively. Is there a central strategy, and what does it mean to the future of Google, the Internet of Things and Customer Experience?

Reflections on Strategic Risks: What's in a Name?

risk.jpgSurveys say people are paying more attention to so-called “strategic risk.”