April 20th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Just five percent of large companies are on track with IT transformation, according to a study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group on behalf of Dell EMC.

95 percent of survey respondents reported that their organizations are at risk of falling behind when it comes to transforming their IT infrastructures, processes, and delivery methods to achieve their goals of becoming digital businesses. More specifically, many organizations still measure application cycle times in months or years and rely on siloed infrastructures and legacy architectures.

Businesses realize the importance of digital transformation to continued success, with the majority—71 percent—agreeing that IT transformation is essential to maintaining ongoing business competitiveness. Furthermore, 85 percent of companies that have succeeded at IT transformation reported that they are in a “strong” or “very strong” position to compete and succeed in their market over the next few years.

“These findings mirror how the vast majority of customers are telling us they need to optimize their existing infrastructures to take advantage of digital-age opportunities,” David Goulden, president of Dell EMC, said in a statement. “However, the research shows that most respondents are falling behind a small and elite set of competitors who have cracked the IT Transformation code, and they’re competing more vigorously because of it. As organizations progress in their IT Transformation investments, they can overcome the conflict between legacy IT and digital business initiatives to realize their goals, speed time to market and increase competitiveness.”

April 17th, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Social media management platform provider Hootsuite has been on something of a shopping spree in recent months. In February, the vendor acquired AdEspresso, a startup that aims to help companies better advertise on Facebook and Instagram; later that same month, it bought LiftMetrix, whose solution is designed to give users insights into ROI from their social media marketing campaigns. Then, in March, it picked up Naritiv, for its expertise in Snapchat analytics.

Earlier this month, Hootsuite’s CMO Penny Wilson stopped by CRM magazine’s New York office to elaborate on the changing nature of the social media landscape. Wilson explains that the acquisitions come at a time vendor has been expanding its focus beyond marketing, into social selling, social customer support, and employee advocacy. While Hootsuite has built out a partner ecosystem ,consisting of more than 250 offerings (including from CRM notables Salesforce.com and Marketo), acquisitions allow for tighter integrations. And “more and more organizations [are] seeing the value of social across their entire customer journey,” she says. 

Social media has given the customer more control, so companies have to be in “receive and respond” mode, Wilson says. Now, “it’s not just relegated to a marketing team; it becomes the domain of everyone who’s customer-facing in the organization, whether it’s your sales organization, your customer service organization, or if you so choose, all of your employees.”

“I think [this transformation is] something we’ve been seeing for a couple of years,” Wilson adds. “That was sort of the dawn of the chief digital officer, the chief experience office, the chief customer officer–people who are really analyzing ways to listen and communicate and build relationships with customers on a more consistent basis.”

And, naturally, some companies are farther ahead with their efforts than others.

One example is AccorHotels, a French chain responsible for overseeing more than 4,000 properties in 92 countries. The outfit had a central social media group, but realized that it needed to cultivate relationships that started before their guests stay in one of their hotels, and extended beyond the check-out date. AccorHotels estimated that 50% of Facebook traffic is driven by people “talking about where they’re traveling to, where they want to travel to, or where they’ve just been and what they thought about it,” Wilson says. “So they realized that social was an enormous opportunity for them.”

The company created what it calls the “Accor Social Desk,” which allowed managers, and other employees in local hotels, to maintain authentic lines of communication with their guests, while working with one tool. The result is that these professionals can assist clients when they are looking for specific help regarding activities or needs in a particular area; they could also directly address their complaints. Wilson says this not only improved customer relationships, but increased the company’s access to guests by 600%.

“One of our big aims over the next 12 months is to increase social media maturity across all departments,” Arnaud de Broves, digital marketing manager at AccorHotels, said in a February interview with Hootsuite. “By bringing everyone to a similar level with training, consistent content, and social management, we can offer a consistent experience across 4,000 hotels globally.”

The hospitality industry has obvious opportunities, but Wilson states that other industries such as financial services and government also stand to benefit from involving more departments on social. Financial service organizations, for instance, can empower their reps to share vetted content with customers at crucial moments. “They can listen to their customers and see–maybe their customer bought a new home, or is looking for refinancing on their mortgage,” or something similar, Wilson says. “It gives them that one-to-one relationship they couldn’t really have otherwise.”

April 6th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

Nearly 40 percent of marketers either don’t use marketing automation or use it only at the most basic level, according to a report from GetResponse and SmartInsights.com. More than 2,500 marketers representing both B2B and B2C organizations worldwide were polled for the study, which yielded several additional insights regarding the use of marketing automation technology.

Securing budget, data quality, and technical expertise are the three biggest barriers to entry when it comes to marketing automation, cited respectively by 36 percent, 35 percent, and 35 percent of respondents. Additionally, email message automation, profile-based targeting, and personalization via dynamic content are the top three usage areas for marketing automation at 65 percent, 32 percent, and 25 percent respectively.

These results indicate that many organizations have substantial room for improvement when it comes to the adoption of marketing automation technology. Even those already employing the technology could stand to utilize it for more sophisticated use cases. Furthermore, there may be an opportunity to align marketing automation and content marketing more closely, with 40 percent of marketers reporting that they “source content on an ad-hoc basis,” and just 23 percent saying that they “prioritize the use of content marketing” to plan and deliver relevant content to target audiences.

April 3rd, 2017 by Oren Smilansky

Organizations from all industries, and of all sizes, have been investing in digital experiences, but a study from IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) indicates that many customers aren’t interested in engaging with companies via cutting edge methods and channels.

The study, titled “The Experience Revolution: Digital Disappointment–Why Some Consumers Aren’t Fans,” surveyed 600 executives in a range of industries, and compared their responses with those of 6,000 consumers. The findings suggest that, though executives are eager to roll out new tools and services, customers are, on the whole, more interested in getting fast, easy, and affordable results any way they can get them.  

70 percent of customers who tried to shop for new products using virtual reality, used interactive digital displays in physical stores, or interacted with a business with voice commands, found those experiences “disappointing.” The result is that they simply haven’t adopted them on an ongoing basis.

But executives, meanwhile, are failing to understand what it takes to get customers on board with innovation–notably, they are not factoring in generational differences and preferences. Only 38 percent of executives  thought that age would have an impact on how quickly customers would take to new digital experiences. But, while 24 percent of Millennials surveyed said they use mobile apps to locate products while shopping, for instance, only 8 percent of Baby Boomers said the same. Further, 70-80 percent of Boomers said that, thought they were aware of new CX initiatives, they hadn’t tried them because they simply were not interested.

“Companies have an opportunity to win and lose customers solely based on the quality of the experience they provide,” Robert Schwartz, global leader of strategy and design at  IBM iX, said in a statement. “It’s not enough to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies need to provide personalized and individualized experiences in order to authentically build their brands. With customers of certain demographics, this already matters far more than branded communications.”

To ensure that digital CX initiatives are welcomed by buyers, IBM’s IBV recommends:

  • Creating digital experiences to meet customer expectations (not those of the company);
  • Analyzing “root” motivations, desires, and pain points;
  • Making utility and simplicity the core values of digital CX transformation, and;
  • Designing marketing strategies to address specific customer needs.
March 30th, 2017 by Sam Del Rowe

More than 30 percent of IT professionals are prioritizing the modernization of legacy systems in 2017, according to a survey from PowWow Mobile in partnership with Enterprise Mobility Exchange. More specifically, they are looking to make their systems mobile-friendly, with 72 percent of IT executives believing that mobile-enabling employees can yield upwards of 30 percent in costs being saved.

However, organizations looking to update their systems for a mobile environment face a number of challenges. Insufficient time, insufficient budget, and lack of developers were all cited by 46 percent of respondents as the primary challenges in delivering mobile apps to the workforce. Furthermore, 82 percent of enterprises reported that designing and deploying a single mobile app takes an average of six and a half months. Nevertheless, the study found that adoption of rapid mobile app development (RMAD) is increasing, with 33 percent of IT professionals saying that they have considered low-code solutions to mobilize their workforce.

“The results of this survey validate that while fragmentation is a problem, IT professionals recognize the need for a scalable solution to extend their legacy applications out to mobile users,” Kristen H. Rachels, vice president of marketing and communications at PowWow Mobile, said in a statement. “With the use of low-code RMAD solutions, organizations have the opportunity to quickly, simply and cost-effectively leverage their existing investments in the systems they use every day to support their business, while managing their growing project backlogs, without needing an army of developers or specialized skillsets; and at the speed and economics that Line of Business expects.”


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