Which conference did you visit in the last two weeks?

Our contributors have been on the go the last few weeks, reporting back from the GigaOm Data Conference in New York, the New Zealand SharePoint Conference, South By Southwest and the Microsoft Project Conference. Data ran through all of these conferences: how to capitalize on it, how to preserve it, how to make it accessible for employees.

In other articles, one contributor went from anti-gamification skeptic to convert in two easy steps (and has a clean house as a result), another gave hints how to keep the customer on your side and we heard about the ROI on inter office Snookie talk.

Read on.

Use the Data

Customer Experience Optimization: A Custom Website for Every Customer

Mark Simpson (@markj_simpson): A truly personalized online customer experience -- what essentially amounts to a custom website for every customer -- has been the Holy Grail of Marketing for over a decade.

After all, consider the great lengths web marketers go to in order to collect data about their website visitors, not to mention all the time they spend poring over it in effort to predict what their customers look like, what they want, and how to best give it to them. Now think about how little they actually do with this information.

Data is the New Oil

Virginia Backaitis: If you haven’t yet heard anyone say that “data is the new oil,” then you will pretty soon. Companies as varied as PayPal, Human Genome Sciences, IBM and Match.com are all drilling down into their data stores, refining and analyzing what they find, and then leveraging their insights to create new products or add value to those that already exist. They are literally turning data into dollars.

People and Processes in CXM: Don’t Make Your Customers Hate You

Edward Smith (@DAMgeek): I’m not going to name any names, but some companies have horrible customer service.

They’ve automated, streamlined and right-sized customer touch points to the point where I dread any form of interaction with them. It is a personal pet peeve of mine because my entire career has involved heavy interaction with customers -- technical support, customer service, training, consulting and product marketing. I just can’t stand to see it done wrong.

High quality customer experience is a great differentiator and essential for customer retention.

Organize the Data

Data Sustainability: Ensuring the Future of Your Content

Jes Breslaw: As technology evolves, the amount of data being generated across industry is growing exponentially. The introduction of cloud-based applications and rapid rise of smart mobile devices has added complexity to this, opening up a raft of challenges for businesses around storing, managing and using information in real time both today and in the future.

SaaS-Based Content Management: Is the SMB Market Ready?

Abdallah Al-Hakim (@readyportal): Consumers are responding to data overload by turning to online content management services. The success of tools like Dropbox and Evernote is largely attributed to their distribution via the software-as-a-service business (SaaS) model, which leads to the following question:

Is the enterprise community, especially small and medium businesses, (SMBs) ready to adopt a SaaS model for their content management?

In our opinion, the simple answer is yes.

Managing Records in SharePoint 2010: An ARMA Report Review

Mimi Dionne (@cawprhyd): Bruce Miller has threatened for years to write a book amalgamating his decades of experience in electronic records management. This publication feels like a preview.

The Author and the Report

In ARMA International’s Managing Records in Microsoft® SharePoint 2010, Mr. Miller offers a mix of theoretical advice, practical application, metrics and project management guidance. Information Management and Technology matrix teams rejoice: this work is for you.

Aligning Business Objectives with SharePoint #NZSPC

Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet): While attending the 4th annual New Zealand SharePoint Conference (#NZSPC) in Auckland this week, I was able to attend a session by fellow presenter Paul Culmsee (@paulculmsee), a principal of Seven Sigma in Perth, Australia. Paul's session "Aligning Business Objectives with SharePoint" provided great examples of the need for consensus and shared understanding around the business problems for which SharePoint is being deployed.

Focus on Your Employees' Experience

Using Taxonomies to Drive Intranet User Adoption

Mike Doane (@mikedoane): Many companies face the challenge of getting their customers the right product at the right time. And many companies employ a taxonomy to help drive product sales and improve findability on consumer-facing public websites.

Check out wine.com or bestbuy.com to see some good examples of taxonomies used to improve the overall customer experience. 

Video Blog: Leveraging Office 365 for Project Collaboration -- Mobile Document Editing  

Pamela Flora (@puckish222): We're in the middle of a series showing how to create a streamlined, standardized project management system with Office 365. In last week's post we created a document library on a project site accessible by all team members. Today we'll see how to add your document library to your team’s Outlook clients.

The Art of SharePoint Success: Architecture -- Intranet & Collaboration Services

Symon Garfield (@symon_garfield): The sun is shining and spring is in the air. What better way to spend the warmest day of the year in the UK than penning the latest episode of the Art of SharePoint Success?

In our last outing I introduced the idea of deploying SharePoint as a set of business services. Each service supports a different way for people to work together, has its own value proposition and can be implemented within a discreet project or phase. In this gripping installment we’re going to take a deeper look at the idea of services, and think about how we could actually implement them in SharePoint.

Social Employees Add Enterprise Value #DataConf

Virginia Backaitis: True or False? Talking about the Jersey Shore over your company’s social network adds value to the enterprise.

To many, this might seem like a ridiculous question. How could trading IMs with a colleague about Snookie’s latest tirade possibly add to a company’s bottom line? It would more likely hurt it, some would even argue.

But pose the same query to the members of the “Enterprise Next — How Social Data Will Shape the Enterprise” panel at GigaOm’s Structure Conference held in New York City last week, and you might get a different answer. 

Focus on the User Experience for Enterprise Mobile Solutions

James Dellow (@chieftech): Mobile computing is definitely at the forefront of the Consumerization of IT (CoIT) trend. The evidence? Look around you and employees are literally voting with their devices, showing a preference for designed-for-the-consumer tools like the iPhone and those that have been inspired by Apple’s leadership in this space. These often feature beautiful interfaces for accessing and sharing information like Flipboard, Path and Instagram. 

Tasks and Games

Conversion of a Gamification Skeptic: CRM Adoption and a Clean House

Chris Bucholtz (@bucholtz): The cynical technology journalist in me comes out when the topic of gamification is raised. First of all, “gamification” is a silly, made-up word. When I see it, I want to reach for my red editor’s pencil.

The other aspect of it that makes me look on the concept with a jaundiced eye is the way it’s being applied seemingly willy-nilly, often in exactly the wrong way.

CXM UK Councils Embrace Top Tasks Approach

Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern): Top Tasks Management involves continuously improving the top tasks of your customers.

"Two years ago we introduced the concept of top tasks," the Socitm Better Connected 2012 report on UK websites states. "Last year we tested it out. This year we have made a full commitment to a new methodology for assessing council websites."

Thanks for checking in once again. Please check in next week for more insights from our experts!