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Should You Enable 'Big' Social Business or Team Collaboration?

There are few business decisions more critical than determining how to provide an enabling environment for a workforce to operate efficiently and effectively. Yet the key levers of the modern digital workplace are still relatively unfamiliar to most executives.

Just as challenging is the technology space, which is complex enough — and certainly fragmented enough — that most corporate leaders are forced to assume they either have enough enabling collaboration technology already, or that someone, most likely in IT, is already working on an improvement plan.

Unfortunately, having worked with top corporate leaders around the world on collaboration improvement for most of this century, I find that these assumptions aren't usually true. 

Worse, by defaulting the decisions to those who almost certainly don't have as clear a sense of business objectives, this stance ensures collaboration becomes a mostly tactical, and not a strategic activity in the organization.

Is Advertising Losing Its Appeal?

Are we reaching a point in society where advertising is being superseded by search engines and social media? 

Forget ESNs, Give Me a Digital Workplace

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Experiencing dèjá vu?

If the title of this article sounds vaguely familiar, you would be right.

Laurence Hart's recent post, “Forget Intranets, Give Me an ESN,” deserved a rebuttal. And here it is.

Moving Your Information Governance to the Cloud

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In spite of frequent reports about the uptick in cloud adoption — with a recent IDC report predicting an additional 11 percent shift of IT budget away from in-house IT delivery towards different cloud models by 2016 — some businesses are still hesitating. To them, maintaining tight control of corporate information means keeping it on-premises.

However, moving data to the cloud does not have to equal loss of control over data, or a decrease in its security, governance and privacy.

So how do you navigate the pillars of cloud data governance?

Analytics, Big Data and ... Hocus Pocus?

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Businesses that are scrambling to keep up with the quickly changing e-commerce world are turning to big data and analytics as important, if not primary tools. Collect enough data and apply complex analytical methods to it, the story goes, and you will find the answers you need to understand today and plan for tomorrow.

We’ve given these tools catchy names. Big Data Analytics (BDA) has an authoritative ring — but the underlying disciplines haven’t changed in decades. Whatever we call it, analysis involves sampling what’s happening now and using statistical methods to derive trends that allow us to make changes to improve our results. If it doesn’t do that, it isn’t worth much.

In a BDA world, you grab every piece of data you can from your commerce, Web-based and otherwise, and then apply statistical techniques to it to tell you why your customers behave as they do and what they are likely to do if you change your approach.

What could be the problem? 

Todd Klindt: Cool Things I've Learned About Windows 10 Preview

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Man I talk a lot. But anyone who listens to my weekly podcasts already knows that.

For those of you who don't know me, I've been a professional computer nerd about 15 years. I've focused on SharePoint about the past eight.

My weekly SharePoint Podcasts air Mondays at 8:30 PM CT. They're brought to you by the folks at Rackspace.

You can find out about all the great SharePoint things we do at Rackspace, which happens to be my employer, by going to sharepoint.rackspace.com.

Anyway, I work from my home in Ames, Iowa, and I don't get a lot of adult interaction during the day. So I've made friends with some of the other tech nerds here in town. Once in a while, we go out and have lunch.

A month or so ago we're all having lunch and one of the guys starts talking about how I should get transcripts for my podcasts. And I'm like, "That's not valuable at all for anybody."

Mobile Is Changing Your Social Collaboration Apps

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Social collaboration applications have been in a race since their inception to see which could be the most feature laden. It was an arms race of sorts, with each side adding more ways to communicate and collaborate and — in the process — becoming more monolithic.

Applications that started as simple activity feeds and corporate microblogging platforms blossomed into much bigger software systems. Modern enterprise social networks, for example, allow end-users to share all manner of content including files and audio. Some allow sharing of business objects which encapsulate data and actions associated with a business process.

Even basic lightweight task management — a specialty feature just a few years ago — has morphed into sophisticated workflows with metadata driven program logic and is available in the majority of social collaboration tools.  

Collaboration in the New Age of Intranets

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Intranets held such promise in the early days of the Internet. Then they became the butt of many a joke in the enterprise.

Q: Where does useful information go to die?
A: Our intranet.

But in the past two years we’ve seen an intranet resurgence, driven by the technology and the traction user experience has gained in the enterprise.

Metadata Maturity Helps You Maintain Business Relevance

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“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers" — Calvin Coolidge

Any organization looking to manage and exploit its knowledge more effectively can't afford to ignore metadata creation. Metadata's application, however, can't stop at creation. Organizations must continually update, manage and exploit it in order to provide optimal content and knowledge management opportunities.

Applying the metadata maturity model to content management initiatives provides an agnostic framework through which to understand the current state of metadata, and prioritize its use and management into the future. The model outlines five maturity levels as benchmarks that provide an opportunity to discuss ongoing metadata development and improvement. 

Reading the Patterns in the Collaboration Tool Landscape

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Have you ever been asked, "Why can't you just tell me what's the best tool to collaborate with?”

If you are feeling challenged by the number of collaboration solutions and options available, you're not alone. Working as both a consultant and practitioner over the last 15 years, I can testify that the collaboration software landscape's complexity has grown exponentially over that time.

Businesses Committed to SharePoint, Despite Stalled Deployments

Since Microsoft unveiled SharePoint back in 2001, it has been one of the fastest growing products in the software giant's history. Along with billions of dollars in revenue, the platform now boasts 125 million users and counting.

Businesses first deployed SharePoint as a point solution for document sharing amongst project teams and as a stand in to files-shares. SharePoint proved a capable solution for these challenges and Microsoft has continually added to its capabilities.

But despite its scope, and as with many types of software, it suffers from a perceived lack of user commitment.

Big Data Gets Big Money for Big Reasons

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Companies have been throwing money hand over fist into the predictive analytics, data management and business intelligence world over the last few weeks. And while it would be easy to toss all of these under the "Big Data" umbrella, it's more interesting to look at these deals in light of the challenges that each will solve.

Let's take a quick look at five transactions: $225 million total to Birst, Health Catalyst, Localytics and Ayasdi as well as Apple's recent acquisition of FoundationDB.

Looking at these deals helps show existing analytic and data challenges and where new competitors are coming into the market to partner with and challenge traditional players like Oracle, Teradata, IBM, SAP and Microsoft.

Strategic Leadership Sets CMOs Apart from Heads of Marketing

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The celebration was surely muted when Forrester Research predicted that in 2015, the average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) would reach five years. That’s not long, but it’s nearly double the average reported as recently as 2006.

Why are CMOs still being replaced so quickly?

It’s because many still aren’t acting like CMOs, but rather as heads of marketing departments. What’s the difference? Plenty.

Are You Ready for Market Consolidation and MarTech Spending?

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Foundation Capital General Partner Ashu Garg predicts that over the next 10 years, marketers will spend 10 times what they currently spend on marketing technology. Specifically, he wrote in “MarTech and the Decade of the CMO,” that the $12 billion that CMOs currently spend on martech will grow to $120 billion by 2025.

For CMOs, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. We all know that the need for organizations to drive superior customer experiences is greater than ever. Brands need to be personal and contextual, while at the same time being efficient and finding new ways to innovate and differentiate.

Why Choose? Mix and Match Tools to Fit Your Digital Workplace Needs

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Traditional intranets, dominated by top-down corporate communications, are seen as outdated, no longer fit for modern, networked organizations. ESNs, so their champions say, are the way of the future — enabling conversation in a way that’s flexible and responsive, aligned with modern ways of doing business. 

But what the debate should really boil down to is what does it take to create a productive digital workplace?

The CMO's Roadmap for Content Marketing Success

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Almost every marketing leader will tell you that content is essential to sparking meaningful engagement with prospects and customers. But content marketing as a practice is still evolving — marketing teams don’t have a clear blueprint for how much investment to make or how to determine the ROI.

Success takes exploration, dedication and continuous testing. Content marketing is challenging. It takes time to grow your program into a steady and predictable growth engine.

The CMO plays a critical role in content marketing. We need to guide our teams to adopt an analytical approach and help them determine which topics, types, formats and delivery methods will be most effective. We can help content producers and program managers turn ideas into powerful audience-building campaigns.

Here’s how you can lead your team to success.

Simplicity Must Be the Mantra of the Digital Workplace

Employees are reaching a breaking point. They are exhausted and overwhelmed, alienated and disengaged. They are cynical and distrustful. 

What's the Sweet Spot Between Intranets and ESNs?

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A speaker at a recent intranet conference declared “Intranets will be dead within five years.” He waited for the horrified gasp, but none came.

In fact the seasoned audience seemed to agree, at least in the sense that we were all trying to push intranets on from the top-down, publishing paradigm of old. Enterprise social networks (ESNs) have sometimes been positioned as being ideologically at odds with intranets, but in practice most organizations have embraced both (see, for example Jane McConnell’s annual survey).

The more pragmatic question then, is what is the right balance point? 

A Data-Driven Look at the Open Source E-Commerce Market

Retail businesses are moving online in growing numbers. 

Compared to Q4 2013, last quarter’s US online sales rose 14.6 percent to a staggering $79.6 billion dollars. This accounted for 6.7 percent of the total US retail sales market. Major trends fueling this growth include the proliferation of mobile devices, faster online checkout flows and improved fulfillment practices.

The availability of open source e-commerce platforms is helping some offline business with the move online. Much like WordPress provides free, customizable CMS solutions, popular open source e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and PrestaShop offer a variety of pre-built templates and plugins that DIY retailers can customize to build and grow an online business from scratch.

To get a feel for the size of this trend, here’s a current snapshot of the top providers and number of websites they power.

Sales: A Star Player on the CMO's Team

2015-27-March-High-Five.jpgMarketing has changed — we all know that. But the business goals remain the same: to acquire and retain customers.

Well into 2015, marketers are more than ever contributing to that goal by discovering new prospects, filling sales pipelines and driving revenue. Part of accomplishing goals and objectives means all departments within the organization work as a joined force. Most importantly, CMOs must ensure marketing is in lockstep with sales.