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Discussion Point News & Analysis

Discussion Point: Security Experts Respond to the State of the Union Address

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Cybersecurity wasn't even the stuff of dreams when George Washington delivered the first State of the Union message to Congress on Jan. 8, 1790. But fast forward to 2015 and there it was, playing a prominent role in Barack Obama's annual address to the nation.

Obama called for better cybersecurity in his televised address last night, urging Congress to pass legislation that will improve computer protection. “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” he said.

Discussion Point: Are Trade Shows Worth the Cost?

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They're crowded, noisy, informative, exhausting and sometimes fun and profitable. But trade shows are also very expensive at a time CMOs need to show a strong return on investment (ROI) on every marketing dollar.

Once they were the place where vendors launched their latest products and business managers came to write big checks.

Today, most product launches take place outside of trade shows, digital marketing drives year-round conversions and marketers buy qualified leads as a commodity.

Discussion Point: What Can We Expect from the Cloud in 2015?

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Oracle CEO Mark Hurd doesn't hide his enthusiasm for cloud computing. In a LinkedIn post this week, he said "Cloud computing is triggering a stunning shift in how businesses operate. Modern SaaS applications for marketing, HR and (enterprise resource planning) ERP are allowing companies to accelerate operations and engage more intimately with their customers thanks to heretofore unseen heroes in their ranks."

And he's not the only one who thinks the cloud is revolutionizing the way business is done. A new report from Dublin-based Research and Markets concurs that developments in the field of enterprise mobility and cloud computing has transformed the way enterprises undertake their operations.

It notes that the adoption of hybrid cloud solutions are gaining momentum among enterprises, and that this cloud delivery model will go mainstream in the coming years. Already, with market shares of 13.5 percent, 10.8 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, the retail, healthcare and government sectors have already invested significantly in cloud computing solutions in recent years.

Even the future of SharePoint is in the cloud.

So what developments, evolutions and innovations can we expect in cloud computing this year?

Discussion Point: What's Most Important in Web CMS?

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Nothing stirs a good tech conversation like Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS).

Some think it's time to get back to basics. Everyone has a say on who has the best CMS out there. And people watch this industry pretty closely -- especially on merger and acquisition talks.

But this is a technology. And enterprises need it to do their jobs better -- and make websites look fabulous while managing content.

So what is the most important feature in a Web CMS? We put this question out to some Web CMS veterans today in our latest Discussion Point.

By the way, this closes out our 2014 season of Discussion Point pieces. Check out prior ones. Got a great topic for 2015? Tweet us @cmswire.

Discussion Point: To Cross-Post or Not to Cross-Post on Social Channels

Discussion-Point-640x480.jpgMarketers are falling short when it comes to building real social relationships with their customers.

This from the recent Forrester report, "Social Relationship Strategies That Work," which suggests that more often than not, the carefully crafted messages they post on social media essentially go off into space. Customers either miss them or ignore them. “Top brands Facebook and Twitter posts reach only about 2 percent of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1 percent of fans and followers interact with each post,” according to the report.

It's a crowded field and businesses are looking for effective strategies to engage with customers on social media.

This means answering more detailed questions about how, when and what to post. To save time, some marketers cross-post content on social channels -- is this a good or a bad idea?

Discussion Point: Helping Employees with Targeted Content

Thumbnail image for Discussion-Point-640x480.jpgIt's a double edged sword, this glut of information that companies have at their disposal.

It's a source of revenue and potential driver of innovation. It's also a source of frustration, lost time, lost productivity and lost revenue. The problem isn't new, though it grows in complexity as more sources of information are introduced.

To mitigate the information chaos, companies have turned to targeted content delivery, which presents relevant information for an employee's context. While evidence of this tactic can be seen in the targeted messages marketers deliver to customers, the practice isn't as evident behind the firewall. In theory it's possible, but in practice? It's a different story.

Discussion Point: Omnichannel Marketing in the 2014 Holiday Season

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Marketing technology vendors love to preach the value of sending consumers personalized offers on the device they're using at just the right moment.

Though we're only emerging from the developmental infancy of omnichannel marketing, several companies offer software and services that promise to do just that. Chief marketing officers at major retailers are spending more of their budgets on collecting data, analyzing actions and monitoring social media -- all with an eye toward increasing sales in their hyper-competitive sector.

Discussion Point: Creating Long Distance Collaboration and Teams

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You may not like everyone who works in your physical office. But at least you know people well enough to have reasons to dislike them. After all, you spend eight or more hours together every day.

Not so in the virtual world, where the lack of serendipitous encounters and chance conversations make it all the more difficult to forge connections — and increase the ease of developing biased perceptions.

Sometimes even the warmest and most considerate people sound cold and abrasive on the phone. A shy person can be misconstrued as cool and aloof. And, curiously, someone suffering from massive insecurities can seem narcissistic and egotistical because he insists on hiding behind a wall of faux achievements.

So in the age of remote workforces, when employees are increasingly connected by technology rather than shared desk space, how do we make lofty concepts like collaboration and cooperation a daily reality?

Can we force people on opposite coasts to actually like each other? Or, failing that, can we just get everyone to respect each other enough to embrace a common culture?

Discussion Point: Is the Cloud Really Secure?

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Cloud computing is on the rise, but with it comes new fears about data security. Cybercriminals are always looking for an in, so cloud services constantly need to stay ahead of potential vulnerabilities.

Nothing has driven that point home more than a flurry of recent high-profile breaches. But because cloud computing comes with many advantages, including cost, ease and convenience, companies have an incentive to find security solutions. But it’s a daunting challenge.

In this week’s Discussion Point we ask experts to weigh in about the risks versus benefits of the cloud. Is true cloud security an unattainable dream?

Discussion Point: Who'll Win the Digital Marketing Arms Race?

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Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert caught our attention last month when he claimed the "arms race" among 1,000-plus digital marketing vendors is hurting the industry.

"Frankly, I think it's getting absurd," he told the crowd at his company's annual symposium in Las Vegas. "Marketing technology is starting to fail the marketer."

His argument was that the smaller players only operate on the channel they serve. Seifert believes Sitecore's comprehensive approach puts it among the marketing cloud superpowers -- like Oracle and Adobe -- that will thrive while smaller players fade away.

Discussion Point: What's the Big Problem With Big Data? [Video]

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Ask 100 people to define big data and you'll get 100 answers, including no answers at all. In theory, big data can help organizations make decisions faster, easier and more accurately. But in practice, faster and easier is just an unrealized goal — and creating business value is often even more elusive.

Riddled with hype and inflated expectations, big data has been nothing more than a nebulous concept for many organizations. 

Rather than successfully analyze a complex set of datasets to discover information that could help teams make better decisions or find new patterns, floods of data often overwhelm the people struggling to make sense of it.

Discussion Point: Will We Still Use Twitter in 10 Years?

discussion-point-1.jpgTechnology tastes change quickly. Things can be hot today, gone tomorrow.

Anybody remember Pointcast? Once the software app of the moment, it was quickly tossed into the rubbish bin of technology history.

That brings us to Twitter, one of the apps du jour. It's amazing how swiftly it has penetrated into the public consciousness. We now see the tweets of public figures scrolling across TV screens during International sporting events.

Founded in 2006,  Twitter has gone public and amassed a $31 billion market cap in less than 10 years.

But will we still tweet 10 years from now? After all, it's just a text message. There's not really any rocket science here. And it's been proven that new social apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp can swoop in and grab the fickle-fancy of teens in a heartbeat.

A decade is an eon in tech terms. When you think of Moore's Law, whereby computer speed and capacity doubles every two years, it makes 10-year old technology look lame.

No app is safe in the zeitgeist of mobile culture.

Discussion Point: Is Work Interfering With Our Personal Lives?

discussion-pointPut down your phone, please — you can call your cousin in a minute. And hold off updating your Facebook status or tweeting about the fantastic mocha latte you had an hour ago or watching the YouTube video du jour.

We've got work to do.

But results of new Ricoh Americas Corp. survey, released just today, confirm what many of us have long suspected: namely, that technology could be sapping our workplace productivity — and enabling workers to do a lot of things other than work.

Terrie Campbell, Vice President, Strategic Marketing at Ricoh Americas Corp., said businesses of all sizes are facing a connectivity conundrum. “We need to be connected to electronic resources for our work, which gives us a tremendous ability to achieve great things. But the flip-side is we’re a click away from alluring distractions like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Hollywood gossip and Angry Birds,” she said.

Discussion Point: Why are We Still Stuck on Email?

discussion-pointEmail: productivity's favorite punching bag. The complaints against email are well known. It's a time suck and ineffective for large scale communication, yet most of us still turn to it on a daily, if not hourly basis to communicate with others (with some notable exceptions succeeding without).

Some companies are experimenting with banning email communication during non-work hours while others have banned internal email

If email is truly the scourge that it is painted out to be, what explains its holding power? 

Discussion Point: Will the CMO Replace the CIO?

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You've heard it at technology conferences, you've read it in research reports, maybe you've even shared it at the water cooler.

CMOs drive technology decisions today. The CIO's job is obsolete. Soon we won't need CIOs.

It's not a new debate. By now, the topic is covered regularly in the media, including CMSWire. Take a look at headlines like "Goodbye CIO? Why the Role May Ultimately Disappear" and "Should the CIO Report to the CMO?"  Sometimes, it's a plea for survival: "Hey, CMO! Hey, CIO! Work Together or Lose Everything."

Yes, today's CMOs are expected to be technology-savvy managers with a hunger for big data, digital asset management, marketing automation and predictive analysis. They will own revenue goals and formulate sales projections for the CFO based on dashboards they monitor by the hour. 

But, honestly, do they even want to take on the responsibilities of an enterprise CIO? We decided to put the question before four experts who deal with this issue every day -- two technologists and two marketers. 

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