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Discussion Point News & Analysis

Discussion Point: How Can You Solve Your IT Talent Gap?

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Consider it a classic Catch-22: Your company has plenty of open IT positions to fill, and too few qualified candidates to fill them. Now what do you do?

By all accounts, 2015 will be a spectacular year for IT workers as the unemployment rate continues to plummet, salaries increase and organizations double down on retention and engagement strategies. The challenge is finding the right candidates.

Another report from CompTIA, called Cyberstates 2015: The Definitive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. Tech Industry (registration required) also showed that job positing in technology jumped by more than 11 percent over the previous year and some 650,000 job openings were listed in the fourth quarter of 2014. And many of those jobs remain unfilled, month after month.

How many? The White House estimates some 500,000 jobs that require various levels of tech skills sit open nationwide in the US. Just last month, the Obama administration took steps to address that talent shortage with a new $100 million TechHire Initiative.

TechHire is a new campaign to get more Americans rapidly trained for well-paying technology jobs — and simultaneously convince local governments, businesses and potential workers that a four-year degree is no longer the only way to gain the tech skills they need.

The IT talent shortage is real. Can creative and innovative hiring strategies help you address it?

Discussion Point: How Can Your Company Innovate Faster?

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Every business dreams of doing things things differently, uniquely, innovatively. But how can businesses best achieve innovation?

Some prescribe a culture of innovation. Some want to teach innovation in schools. Some suggest hiring innovators. Still others link innovation to agility. And they all may be right.

However, in a competitive world where everyone is trying to innovate, it's also critical to innovate faster than the competition.

Discussion Point: Will File Sharing Replace Your ECM Solution?

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Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) is a disruptive technology that burst into the information management space a few years ago.

Workers worldwide were quick converts because they were tired of the big, difficult-to-use proprietary enterprise content management systems (ECM).

As more workers started using EFSS, more and more analysts and vendors began to discuss the possible demise of ECM.

But is that really possible? Compared to ECM systems, EFSS has relatively little functionality.

Discussion Point: Can Marketing Technology Grow Any Bigger?

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Scott Brinker did the heavy lifting. The rest of us jumped on the bandwagon and began to weigh in.

Brinker's yearly marketing technology supergraphic hit the streets in January. It featured 100 percent growth in the number of vendors in this space, climbing to 1,876.

People are frightened. People are excited. People love this MarTech stuff. It's all over the place -- marketing technology ads on Pandora, FM radio and of course all the rage in trade shows.

But is it an unprecedented tech landscape? Has this kind of explosion ever happened before? We thought this would make for another good discussion this week.

Discussion Point: Who Has the Best Digital Marketing Hub?

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Ask someone to define a digital marketing hub and you're likely to get a broad range of answers.

Gartner defines it as "software that spans multiple digital marketing domains (mobile, social and multichannel) to provide integrated access to applications and workflows, adding capabilities such as collaboration, data integration and common analytics."

Against those parameters, you're likely to think of legacy vendors most commonly associated with marketing clouds – Adobe, Salesforce.com and Oracle. In fact, in Gartner Research’s first-ever Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs (registration required), those three vendors are rated as Leaders for their “completeness of vision” and “ability to execute.”

But this is an evolving technology, and Gartner expects the eventual convergence of ad tech, marketing tech and customer relationship management. So if you look past the three leaders as well as the two challengers — IBM and Marketo — things start to get a little more interesting.

The visionaries quadrant includes a mishmash of expertise. There's Sitecore, best known for its content management system (CMS). And then there's four programmatic ad tech firms: IgnitionOne, Neustar, Rocket Fuel and Turn.

Which one of these five visionaries offers the best digital marketing hub? We decided to go to the sources.

Discussion Point: Should Work Related Email Stay at Work?

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German Labor Minister Andrea Nahles has floated the idea of "anti-stress regulation" in which companies would take steps to reduce workplace tension. Chief among these measures would be a ban on employers contacting employees after hours, by phone or email.

Nahles even commissioned Germany's Federal Institute for Health and Safety at Work last year to come up with a report on the feasibility of a possible law to protect workers from stress caused by smartphones and constant contact with their bosses.

The report could generate legislation that would ban employers from contacting workers after office hours. But the report is only expected to be released next year, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nahles' boss, has already discouraged the idea of a contact after-hours ban.

So for now the idea remains just that — only an idea.

But it was an idea heard around the world. And as workers in the US continue to struggle with their increasingly muddled work and personal lives, smartphones at their sides and visions of email dancing in their heads, we wondered … is it such a crazy idea, after all?

Discussion Point: Should Digital Marketers Rethink Print?

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In the midst of the current digital marketing age continues a debate that seems as old as Gutenberg’s press: Is print dead?

While those who agree with this statement cite the benefits of digital, such as lower distribution costs, longer reach and convenience, among others, the pro-print camp seems to be getting more support these days.

According to CMI’s 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America, 37 percent of B2B marketers still use print magazines to distribute content, and 52 percent used print or another offline method for paid advertising.

Print has also made marketing prediction listings, including Altura Solution’s What’s in Store for B2B Digital Marketing in 2015?

“Print, especially trade publications, will regain their importance because they have a targeted audience: your end-customers,” reads the article.

And — get ready for it — J.C. Penney has brought back its “Big Book” catalog.

To get the real scoop on the death of print, or find out if it really ever died in the first place, we consulted the experts.

Discussion Point: Is Video Marketing the Next Big Thing?

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Gartner is bullish on video. In fact, the analyst company predicts large companies will stream more than 16 hours of video per worker, per month — by next year. Forrester Research is enthusiastic, too. In fact, an oft-quoted statistic that Forrester analyst James McQuivey made way back in 2008 suggests one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

As marketers, that latter number is real food for thought. What do you think is easier: getting a customer to read a million words or watch a one minute video?

Video marketing isn't new — it’s been a part of consumer life since the earliest television commercials were released. However, how that video is used as a marketing tool has drastically changed with the onset of social media and digital marketing, research shows. Today, marketers not only make videos to promote products, but also offer instructional videos. And some hold video chats with company officials or customer service representatives, all in the name of better customer experience.

Some 3 billion videos are played on YouTube every day and 100 hours of content are uploaded every minute. If you keep an HDMI cable stashed in your office drawer to connect your laptop to a big screen, then you're probably hooked — and understand the ease, convenience and value of video.

As McQuivey stated in his report, "Alexander Graham Bell famously doubted that the phone would be useful in the home except for calling doctors to emergencies. He was very wrong, failing to recognize that a technology that facilitates our human drive to communicate will spread rapidly. The phone did, as did email. Now it's video's turn because if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words."

But still, we had to ask. Is video marketing here to stay or a passing fad?

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.

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