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DAM Shopping? Use These Criteria to Find the Right Vendor

2014-07-November-Filters.jpgThe number of DAM vendors on the market can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of DAM vendors, many of which provide very good solutions, which can make it hard to choose the right vendor for your organization. Start by developing the project goals and the key problems to be solved and then filter, filter, filter.

Technology Can Help Humans Sound Human

2014-07-November-Free-Hugs.jpgIs it too much to ask a customer service rep to sound human and, more importantly, to treat the person on the other end of the line as a fellow human?

It may sound like a simple request, but too often the forces in the customer service universe can easily undermine an organization’s efforts to deliver an exceptional, personalized experience.

IBM or Twitter: Who Needed the Deal More?

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IBM posted disappointing quarterly revenues last month. Twitter hasn't found a way to make good money.

They needed a boost, and they hope it's each other.

But who needed who more?

"That’s arguable. Both need to can some lightning," said Tony Baer, principal analyst at Ovum Research.

"For Twitter it's the need for another path to market where they don’t have to compete with the Facebook colossus head-on. For IBM, this is entirely consistent with directions such as Watson where it is striving to establish cognitive computing as the new de facto enterprise solutions building block."

3 Lessons from the Marketing Festival #mktfest

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Organizers of last weekend's Marketing Festival in the Czech Republic analyzed 500 conferences from around the world before choosing 18 promising speakers.

Having soaked up their collective wisdom, I found three lectures gave me the most to think about and I've summarized them here.

Attention Retailers: It's Time to Plug Those Data Leaks

The birth of e-commerce dates to August 11, 1994 — the date when what was likely the first secure transaction over the World Wide Web occurred in Nashua, N.H.

Someone purchased Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales CD from Noteworthy Music’s website.

While this transaction wasn't scalable, it leveraged the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) algorithm and demonstrated the Internet was open for business. It would take several years before a critical mass of sales was reached, but the doors of e-commerce were officially open.

Has Office 365 Brought Back Microsoft's Swagger?

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A few years ago I came to scary realization that I am now old enough to look back — and “reflect.”

I'm still not sure that with age comes wisdom, but I am sure that I can see repeating patterns. The new becomes old and all the old becomes new again. My kids’ music selection includes a smattering of re-makes that are Top 40 material today, just as the originals were when I was my kids’ age.

I’ve now witnessed clothing come in and out fashion multiple times (although I sincerely hope bell-bottoms do not return). And this may be just me, but it seems like every other movie that comes out is a re-make.

They say art imitates life. But I'll take that one step further and say technology imitates many of the patterns I have observed over time.

Getting Personal with Big Machines

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When we think of personalization of service through analytics, the first thought that likely comes to mind is retail applications or consumer goods.

But what about industrial equipment, especially heavy equipment? The way we service big machines is undergoing a renaissance, thanks to the same technology we use to enhance the consumer experience.

How Big Data Can Make You a Better Marketer

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Big data is everywhere these days. Among other things, it's created some big expectations for marketing — especially when it comes to mining information. And while it may have the potential to change the game when it comes to data driven marketing, the reality is that it has yet to fully deliver due to a myriad of marketing methodologies clogging the funnel.

What does this mean?

Let’s back up for a minute. Before we can tap the results of big data, we need to examine the perspectives that are used to fill the funnel — growth and sales — and think about some of the fundamental shifts that are taking place. Then we’ll more clearly understand how big data fits in.

An Experience Design Primer - Service Design, UX, CX, DevOps

2014-05-November-Volcanoes.jpgA small eruption emerged on Twitter in response to my article that covered the Adaptive Path acquisition. At the root of it was a conversation about the differences and overlaps between user experience (UX) and service design. Patrick Quattlebaum, managing director at Adaptive Path and esteemed former colleague sat down with me to see if we could suss out the overlaps and distinctions between each approach.

The Danger of Believing in a 360-Degree Customer View

2014-04-November-Out-To-Sea.jpgWhen you’re at sea, you take navigation very seriously. The 360-degree arc of the compass is the tool by which you take a bearing and understand where you are going, especially when you’re out of sight of land. It’s a constant number that relates to the compass — both the magnetic and gyroscopic compasses, if you’re on a ship.

It also refers to the way lookouts report the things they see — always in relation to the ship, with the bow of the ship representing 0 degrees/360 degrees. Having a 360-degree view of what’s out at sea with you is critical to avoiding hazards, collisions and other unfortunate events.

In the context of CRM, that metaphor is frequently employed. Every vendor likes to claim that its application provides a 360-degree view of the customer, implying that no bit of customer information affecting selling, loyalty, support or marketing is not captured.

That metaphor is imperfect at best. And I’m not saying that because I spent six years at sea as a bosun’s mate.

Democrats Tweet, Republicans Like and Other Fun Election Facts

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To hear big data master Nate Silver tell it in his FiveThirtyEight column in the New York Times, today's mid-term election is a done deal.

Republicans are favored to win the Senate, he writes, putting their chances of doing so at 76 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Senate forecast, which is principally based on an analysis of the polls in each state and the historical accuracy of Senate polling. (Pointed reminder Silver makes in his post: FiveThirtyEight called the 2012 election with its finding that President Obama had about a 90 percent chance of being reelected in 2012, Democrats had a 95 percent chance of keeping the Senate that year).

So! Now that that is settled, let's move on to other data points that are less universally known — but still telling about the US populace and the industry's data-gathering prowess.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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Imagine Facebook without selfies, Instagram without videos or Amazon without product images. You can’t, can you? In this digital-first world we live in, data overload is a menacing reality, and a picture is not just “worth a thousand words” … it is priceless.

The right visual element can attract our attention, make complex concepts clearer and assist in our decision making process.

Top 7 Characteristics of Great Digital Workplace Leaders

2014-04-November-Follow-the-Leader.jpgIn the 1980s, management theorists popularized a new term, “Management By Walking Around” (MBWA). This was a pithy way of describing one of the “arts of leadership” — strolling through the offices, warehouses and factories, and chatting to staff.

Iconic CEOs of the time, such as John Akers of IBM, could demonstrate their accessibility and connection to the day-to-day workings of their organizations purely by leaving the executive floors and touring the IBM locations in the US and worldwide.

The modern CEO and the leadership cadre of large organizations can only look back with nostalgia to such a time when the ideal methods of leading were so straightforward. Today, the C-suite has two large and unique challenges that have never before been faced by leaders (particularly CEOs).

Not only is there a physical workplace to lead (as there always has been) but now there is a digital workplace that requires constant attention as well. The workforce is working within both physical and virtual environments and, therefore, even MBWA leadership now means “walking around" in the digital as well as the physical world. 

SaaS Support Best Practices: Passive, Proactive and Predictive

2014-03-November-Help.jpgAn essential part of creating a truly integrated and comprehensive SaaS customer support program is developing the capability to provide customers with the type of support experience they need, when they need it. Because of the nature of the SaaS service — customers constantly interacting with the SaaS provider’s software solution to accomplish often mission-critical and time-sensitive tasks — the SaaS vendor should be able to provide three types of support: passive, proactive and predictive.

Personalized Customer Service From an Unexpected Source

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Everybody likes to beat up on the airlines for customer service. Bad food was replaced with no food and reclining your seat may get you arrested. And yet it is airlines that have made some of the greatest advancements in customer service. They’ve done so across multiple channels by reducing the friction along the way.

Creating Governance Solutions for Hybrid SharePoint Environments

2014-03-November-Air-Ground.jpgWhat are the differences between SharePoint governance in online versus on-premises deployments? This question comes up regularly at conferences and events — administrators and business owners alike want to know if their organizations need to change their administration activities for the cloud. With many organizations either planning a move to the cloud or developing those plans, they need to know whether there are differences in what you can manage and how SharePoint is managed in the cloud.

Are there differences? Yes. Will these differences impact your existing governance policies and procedures? Most definitely.

Customer Satisfaction Is Not a Good Indicator of Customer Behavior

People are very bad at telling you what they do or why they do it. 

Getting to the Center of Customer Experience

2014-31-October-Center-of-the-Universe.jpgThink of the last time you had dinner at a four-star restaurant. Was the food well-presented, the wine pairings appropriate and the dessert tray enticing? Did you receive professional and attentive service? Was the ambience elegant, pleasant and soothing? And — most importantly — would you go back?

Your customers ask themselves the same sorts of questions after using your website or app, and your CMS — how you manage and deliver content to your customer — lays at the heart of their experience. It should be the core of your customer experience management (CXM) strategy. By placing the CMS in the keystone position, you can assemble information from multiple back office and third party sources to deliver compelling customer experiences across devices and platforms. And that's the whole game, right there. 

Why Can't Enterprises Get User Experience Right?

2014-31-October-Ford-Factory.jpgA leading analyst recently said to me, “If enterprises cared about the user experience, SAP and Oracle might not still be in business.” Not to pick on those vendors — they produce technologies that drive value in the enterprise — but it’s no secret that the enterprise has lagged far behind the consumer world in terms of the user experience (UX). It’s bad. In enterprises we’re usually asking workers to accomplish tasks that are significantly more complicated than just booking an airline ticket. Arguably, those tasks drive greater revenue — or cost savings — than ticket booking for that travel website.

Each of us can chronicle bad experiences with the technology tools we use every day — and if you’re in the enterprise, your pain may be even more excruciating than consumers. Not only are the experiences worse for you, but they are often ones that you do repetitively, so that pain piles up into long-term frustration and general dread. (Are you familiar with the term “Sunday blues”?)

Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger: The Future of Big Data

2014-31-October-Big-Foot-Bionic-Man.jpg[W]e can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.

One of the most popular TV shows in the mid '70s was the Six Million Dollar Man, which told the story of astronaut Steve Austin, who after an accident was rebuilt as a superhuman cyborg, combining the best of the human mind and robotic enhancements. This "Better. Stronger. Faster." has become a foundational theme in describing the benefits of technology. Whether you prefer the wording of the 1970's version or the 2007 Daft Punk "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," the basic themes resonate with organizations that want to improve the value and power of their technologies.

Big data is no exception. Although we have used the three Vs of Volume, Variety and Velocity as a basis for defining big data for over a decade, the truth is that each of these Vs is solved through different technologies — there is no one solution to solve all of these problems. This conflation of big data characteristics has only become confusing since the phrase "big data" truly took off in 2011.