Why Every Digital Business Needs a DAM Solution for Effective Data Management

Posted by on November 09, 2017

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You don’t have to look far in most organizations to find a tangle of different technologies in use for Digital Asset Management (DAM). Some people may be storing their files on their desktop (gasp!), while others have them hidden in a multi-level folder structure that makes the pyramids of Giza look like some simple Lego blocks. Still other workers are storing their files in the cloud, on thumb drives, on ftp sites with their vendor . . . you get the picture. Digital asset management is a serious and growing problem for management and marketers alike. People love to engage with multimedia content, but if you can’t find your digital assets this can make the job of marketers that much more difficult. Here’s some best practices for effective data management using a DAM platform for your business.

DAM Defined

Digital Asset Management, or DAM systems, provide a cohesive way to store and access all types of data, often from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This central repository allows you to manage organization, metadata, licensing and distribution of a vast array of information, such as:

  • Images
  • Video
  • PDF, Word and Excel documents
  • Social media posts
  • Audio files
  • Layered graphic layout files
  • XML or HTML files

The beauty of a consolidated DAM is that any authorized individual can add to and access this massive quantity of data, quickly and efficiently without disturbing someone else who may also be using the same information in a different way. A great example is a designer who needs a specific image for a website and a designer in a different department who wants to use an image in a print ad. Instead of both designers purchasing and storing the files, a DAM provides a way to effectively share the digital assets without confusion.

Benefits of a DAM

Aside from allowing colleagues to collaborate, there are many benefits to centralized digital asset management for your organization. With an active DAM and solid standards, you’ll be able to capture detailed metadata — or details about the data — that aid searching and retrieval of your assets. Unlike a hard drive on your computer, digital asset management is infinitely scalable, allowing you to purchase access to a system that is just large enough to meet your immediate needs instead of overspending on storage for the future. As your business needs grow, so can your DAM system requirements. Many asset management systems provide you with tools to migrate from popular cloud-based storage solutions such as Google Drive and Dropbox, which are adequate for smaller businesses but do not include workflow functionality or true DAM capabilities.

Protecting Your Assets

Digital asset management does more than simply store your data, it truly manages the assets that belong to your organization. This means digital rights to manage copyright and licensing terms, and the ability to check assets into and out of the system for access control. As long as you set up permissions properly within your DAM, you can easily invite others to have limited access to files while tracking their usage and assuring that all downloads meet your guidelines. Version control is also available in many DAM systems, so if a file is lost or damaged you’ll have immediate access to a backup solution.

Full Distribution Control

Want to distribute a piece of content, but limit the usage or ensure that it’s fully copyrighted? No problem with a robust DAM solution in place. You’re able to distribute specific assets easily and in a very controlled fashion — even setting an embargo on files until a particular date and time. Automated workflows provide convenience and process control, while speeding content creation and distribution. Some DAM systems even allow file movement from within a mobile app or website, for the ultimate ease of use.

Brand and Creative Control

It’s a marketers nightmare to have an old version of a creative design out in the marketplace, and a powerful DAM helps ensure that only the final and approved versions are available for distribution or use. Brand guidelines are easily stored and consolidated, and leveraged by different departments at the same time. When this type of document is stored centrally, you can assure that designers are always following the right version of brand guidelines and recommendations. Control brand look and maintain uniformity by having one approved version of logos, taglines, templates and letterhead, while archiving older versions for future viewing.

Provide Access to Vendors

Collaboration doesn’t occur only within your building, and many organizations outsource video, design and copywriting to external agencies. This can be challenging if you’re using traditional local storage solutions, especially with large video or audio files. Fortunately, DAM systems allow you to provide partners with limited access to files for read-only access or the ability to drop the latest version into the workflow. You can integrate venders as deeply or as lightly as you desire with a fully-configured DAM system.

Finding the right digital asset management system for your needs can be challenging, especially if you’re not familiar with the technology or how it can be successfully implemented. Partnering with an experienced system integrator can ensure that you find and implement the right solution that’s tailored to your business needs.

To learn more about DAM and how it can benefit your organization, read our e-book, How to Maximize Marketing Productivity and Sales Effectiveness with Digital Asset Management.

Is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Right For My Business?

Posted by on November 03, 2017

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What is a Digital Experience Platform?

You may have heard the term “digital experience platform,” or DXP, thrown around before — either by a vendor, tech consulting company, or just by discussing how to effectively manage the customer’s online experience. There are a lot of convoluted explanations of what a DXP actually is, but we would like offer our own definition up and change that. This article will seek to define and provide examples of DXPs, as well as discuss how to know if investing in a DXP is the right move for your business.

Note: DXP is also sometimes referred to as a UXP, or user experience platform, but they’re the same thing. 

Simply put, a digital experience platform is a set of tools that allows a business to manage not only the customer’s experience, but the experience of partners, vendors, employees, suppliers, and more. It can be a software bundle, such as a suite, or a single piece of software, depending on the DXP itself. That being said, the platforms typically include software for the following:

  • Content management
  • Social media
  • Mobile website integration
  • Portal or gateway
  • Search functionality
  • Rich Internet Application tools (RIA)
  • Collaboration and meetings
  • Analytics
  • Backend management

DXPs aren’t limited to the items listed above, though. Many DXPs will include tools unique to that particular platform. Some include customizable forms, video editing, product management, and more.

It’s important to understand that a DXP is not a prepackaged platform — it’s actually the opposite. It’s a platform that allows the building and customization of meaningful applications for managing and enriching your customer’s online experience. Think of it like a massive customizable collaboration suite: it gives you the tools to customize and build it to fit your company and brand. From there, it allows management of the user experience through the company’s website and the mobile rendition of it, as well as through other channels, like email, social media, and so forth. Building a new rendition of any of those channels for the company’s employees or vendor is tied into the functionality, and each channel is managed in various backend systems as well.

The portal portion of the DXP is a “self-service” portal that allows users to sign in and manage their own set of tools and software. For example, employees could sign into their portal and find their email, CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool), documents and files, analytics, and more — all in one spot. They can also customize their portal to their heart’s desire, building it out to suit their particular needs and preferences. Each user can also be assigned a role (administrator, manager, sales, etc.), within the portal system, which tightens security and control.

Many DXPs also have the functionality to link multiple pieces of data from within the DXP together to pull analytics, increasing its capability and usefulness tenfold.

Is a DXP the Right Fit For My Business?

Now that you have a good idea of what a DXP is and what it can do, we’ll discuss deciding if investing in one is the right move for your company.

Ask the following questions at your next meeting:

  • Is your company the right size for such an extensive platform?DXPs are typically associated with larger businesses (enterprise level), but can be the right fit for medium-sized businesses under certain circumstances.
  • Does your company need a way to tie the full user experience together, giving users a way to create and customize their own portals?If you have multiple channels within your company, both from the front end and the back end (i.e., vendors, partners, customers, and multiple employee roles), a DXP might be the right fit for your company.
  • Does your company have a need to tighten analytics and span them across platforms?The analytics component of DXPs often span CRMs, social media, the company’s website, and more.

Furthermore, there are three key components to deciding if a DXP is the right move for your company. We discuss them below.

Technology Environment

The right technology fit is all about deciding what platform is the best in terms of the language the platform was programmed in. If your in-house developers are not trained in the specific language or languages the platform was developed in, they will struggle managing it. It’s wise to check and double-check this component when deciding on the right technological fit. Many DXPs are based on Java, PHP or Microsoft stacks. The language will most likely be different on the front-end, or website end, though. Many DXPs are compatible with JavaScript, CSS and HTML on the front-end, which reduces that portion of the developmental impact.

Functionality 

Even though we’ve discussed the different functionalities of DXPs, we haven’t yet touched upon how they’re typically grouped. There are three different types of DXPs, including:

  • CMS-heritage DXPs
  • Portal-heritage DXPs
  • Commerce-heritage DXPs

The best fit for the company will ultimately fall under one of these categories.

CMS-heritage DXPs are based upon just that: customizing all of the company’s online content. These platforms focus on marketing and analytics, social media, and the website across all devices. Generating interest in the company’s offerings, targeting the right audiences, and creating campaigns are the highlights of CMS-heritage DXPs. They are best suited for B2C companies with short transactions. Some offer user portals, some do not; this component can typically be an add-on cost or can be excluded.

Portal-heritage DXPs are based upon creating that unique experience for each and every user (front-end, back-end), and giving them each a log-in portal. These platforms fulfill the need for bringing the customer back after the sale and giving the salespeople what they need to keep making the sale. It allows employees to see what they need to do to maximize customer retention. It can also help with issue resolution and helpdesk scenarios.

Commerce-heritage DXPs are based almost solely upon shopping needs in an online retail environment. It is based primarily on inventory management, payment systems, and the full user shopping experience.

Budget & Cost

It goes without saying that this will be a category that the company will have to analyze forwards and backwards before jumping on board with a DXP. When talking with DXP providers, discuss costs associated with both one-time integration and set-up fees as well as ongoing licensing and operational costs. Also analyze the costs associated with possibly expanding your IT and development team, or outsourcing this component. Keep in mind that some DXPs are more affordable than others, namely open source vs. non-open source. Liferay is an example of an open source DXP, but several DXPs should be analyzed at length before choosing the right financial fit for the company.

Digital Experience Platforms: Consulting and Integration

Need more help deciding which DXP is right for your company? Give us a call. We can not only help you decide which DXP is the right fit for your company, but help you build, integrate and optimize your DXP after you decide. We have experience with industry-leading open source DXP and CMS software such as Liferay and Crafter CMS.

Streamline Customer Engagement with Digital Experiences That Deliver “Wow!”

Posted by on October 25, 2017

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Creating a “Wow!” customer experience may be the Holy Grail for marketers, but it truly is achievable when you have the right strategy and tools in place. Customers and employees today have incredibly high expectations, and if your digital marketing isn’t living up to their standards then it’s time to make a shift. The first step in exceeding your customer’s dreams is to work on internal functionality and ensure that your digital strategy and platforms are in alignment. You’re much more likely to have delighted customers when your employees are able to be effective at their daily tasks — something that can be difficult with a variety of disparate systems and legacy technology. See how pulling everything together will help you get to “Wow!” experiences for every customer.

Digital Customer Experience

How can you create an exceptional digital customer experience if you’re not aware of the various facets involved in customer satisfaction? Each time a customer interacts with your brand, they expect consistency of message, offer and interaction. This means that someone visiting your Facebook page, Twitter account and website should all see an offer that’s logical for that particular delivery method — and the same goes for customers calling your establishment. Imagine the confusion if you’re a customer who clicks through a Facebook ad that has a specific offer, yet the link sends the customer to the website homepage and the offer they wanted is nowhere in sight. This is a simple example of a poor digital experience, and one that customers are likely to repeat to their friends and family. In some instances, customers will even take to Google, Yelp, your Facebook page or tag your Twitter account in an effort to get the offer that they wanted. If the individuals responding on each channel are inconsistent in their followup messaging, it’s not inconceivable that you could lose a customer for life. There are simply too many alternatives for most businesses to take a chance on providing a poor customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategy

When you assign a strategic focus at a high level of the organization, you’re more likely to raise awareness of executives and mid-level managers or directions. When you engage at all levels of the business, it’s clear that leadership is serious about improving the overall experience for customers. With a mashup of legacy systems that may or may not work well together, IT leaders need to have a firm understanding of where the business needs to go at a strategic level before introducing additional systems. No digital strategies are the same, but many consultants recommend starting with what you can sunset: perhaps there are systems that only serve a small subset of employees or customers, or systems that are taking more time and effort to maintain with each patch that is applied. These are the low-hanging fruit that can be identified for deprecation while you look for other logical opportunities for consolidation.

Critical Execution

Even the best strategy cannot create remarkable customer experiences if execution is not there. It takes the right people in the right places — and the right partnerships — to take full advantage of the benefits that digital strategy can bring to your organization. While there may be a movement within the business to take things slowly and bring on only a small adjustment at a time, change leaders argue that transformational change happens when the organization as a whole is onboard and focused on how to drive improvements in each customer interaction. As you move through execution, monitor the change through effective monitoring of quality and remediation of any deficits.

Measuring Success

A key challenge that many customers face is ensuring that they’re using the right yardstick to measure success. With the plethora of metrics and data points available, it’s more important than ever to select actionable metrics that will improve customer engagement and happiness when they’re shifted. These analytical measures are different for each organization, but many companies find that metrics such as bounce rates, time on site and pages viewed are effective measures to optimize a website, while time on call or purchase size are good measures for call centers. However, it’s important to note that a low time on a call isn’t necessarily a good thing — this could indicate that customers are not being nurtured in the way that they could be. Each metric should be considered along with others instead of in a vacuum. It may surprise you how many organizations find that different business units are using completely different measures of success for essentially the same metric.

A trusted vendor partner can help you stay accountable to your strategy, maintaining execution timelines and helping solve for the unexpected complexities that will occur throughout the life of the project. At Rivet Logic Corporation, we target all steps leading up to customer experience to help define excellence in each interaction. Contact us to learn more.

How Digital Experience Management Differs from Content Management

Posted by on October 12, 2017

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When considering Digital Experience Management and Content Management, it’s best to have a concrete definition of both terms to fully understand how they differ.

What is digital experience?

Digital experience includes a number of things, including communications, processes and products from every digital aspect that engages an audience. This includes wearables, use of the web and mobile devices, beacons and recognition. The information gathered is analyzed to provide insight into customer relationships, identity, and intentions as they interact with businesses and organizations. This helps determine how companies deliver these digital experiences for their customers for future success.

What is content management?

Content management is also known as CM or CMS. It involves the collection, acquisition, editing, tracking, access and delivery of both structured and unstructured digital information. This content includes business records, financial data, customer service data, images, video, marketing information and other digital information.

With content management, you create and manage content, finding ways to generate awareness across multiple channels to reach more people. While having content is good, it’s more about offering the entire “experience” to the user that will give them more enhanced, enriched engagement. Content Management Systems have continuously evolved, integrating contextual digital experiences. This requires a comprehensive and effective strategy, the right tools, the right approach, and most of all, the right technology. An optimal digital experience embraces all these elements to provide personalized, responsive, and consistent experiences for every user you engage.

How is this done?

Digital experience (DX) management works in conjunction with content management, but is more comprehensive and fulfilling to the user. Think about the different outlets that engage customers – websites, social media, microsites, text messages, mobile apps and more. All these elements offer a complete digital experience. The processes and technology that provide these customized, consistent experiences is the management of it all.

One of the best ways they differ is that in digital experience management, the distribution channels all have objectives to follow and limitations. These help drive specific requirements for content and how to manage it. For instance, your tone and CTA will be different based on the digital platform you use. Additionally, when interacting with content, users want personalized experiences based on analytics you have determined appropriate for that channel. This allows them to seamlessly interact within that experience.

Web publishing used to be the first line of engagement, but not anymore There are too many channels users interact with that require ways in which publishers can gather feedback to quickly adjust their content. Without this management model in place, the system will not work.

Tools of the trade

There are a number of tools and systems to manage the digital experience. There are options for advanced analytics, to enhanced marketing tools that manage content based on channel. There’s also an emerging breed of Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), which provide businesses with an architecture for delivering consistent and connected customer experiences across channels, while gathering valuable insight and digitizing business operations.

When you have systems that work well together, being able to track successes becomes easier. When determining which tools will work best, you may want to start with product mapping. As a basis, the digital experience tool should include a combination of inbound marketing automation, analytics, and content management. Getting a system developed to meet all your needs is key.

As different avenues of engagement now drive the customer experience rather than the web, delivering a comprehensive and holistic experience is key. The digital experience is more complete, diverse and authentic – future thinking, while integrating content is how it should be done.

Machine Learning is State-of-the-Art AI, and It Can Help Enhance the Customer Experience

Posted by on October 05, 2017

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Is artificial intelligence the same as machine learning? Machine learning is really a subset of artificial intelligence, and a more precise way to view it is that it is state-of-the-art AI. Machine learning is a “current application of AI” and is centered around the notion that “we should…give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.” There is no limit to that data (or Big Data).  The challenge is harnessing it for useful purposes.

In his Forbes Magazine piece, contributor Bernard Marr, describes AI as the “broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way we would consider ‘smart.’” So, AI is any technique that allows computers to imitate human intelligence through logic, “if-then” rules, decisions trees and its crucial component, machine learning.  Machine learning, as an application of AI, employs abstruse (i.e., difficult to understand) statistical techniques, which improve machine performance through exposure to Big Data.

AI has broad applications…

Companies around the world use AI in information technology, marketing, finance and accounting, and customer service. According to  a Harvard Business Review article, IT garners the lion’s share of popularity in AI activities, ranging in applications that detect and deflect security intrusions, to automating production management work. Beyond security and industry, AI has broad applications in improving customer experiences with automatic ticketing, voice- and face-activated chat bots, and much more.

Machine learning is data analysis on steroids…

AI’s subset, machine learning, automates its own model building. Programmers design and use algorithms that are iterative, in that the models learn by repeated exposure to data. As the models encounter new data, they adapt and learn from previous computations. The repeatable decisions and results are based on experience, and the learning grows exponentially.

The return of machine learning

Having experienced somewhat of a slump in popularity, AI and machine learning have, according to one software industry commentator, Jnan Dash, seen “a sudden rise” in their deployment. Dash points to an acceleration in AI/machine learning technology and a market value jump “from $8B this year to $47B by 2020.”

Machine learning, according to one Baidu scientist will be the “new electricity,” which will transform technology. In other words, AI and machine learning will be to our future economy what electricity was to 20th century industry.

The big players are pushing AI and machine learning. Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and social media giants Facebook and Twitter are accelerating promoting machine learning. One Google spokesman, for example, recognizes machine learning as “a core transformative way in which we are rethinking everything we are doing.”

How Machine learning has transformed General Electric…

A striking example of how AI and machine learning are transforming one of the oldest American industries, General Electric, is highlighted in this Forbes piece. Fueled by the power of Big Data, GE has leveraged AI and machine learning in a remarkable—and ongoing—migration from an industrial, consumer products, and financial services firm “to a ‘digital industrial’ company” focusing on the “Industrial Internet.” As a result, GE realized $7 billion in software sales in 2016.

GE cashed in on data analytics and AI “to make sense of the massive volumes of Big Data” captured by its own industrial devices.  Their insights on how the “Internet of Things” and machine connectivity were only the first steps in digital transformation led them to the realization that “making machines smarter required embedding AI into the machines and devices.”

After acquiring the necessary start-up expertise, GE figured out the best ways to collect all that data, analyze it, and generate the insights to make equipment run more efficiently. That, in turn, optimized every operation from supply chain to consumers.

5 ways machine learning can also enhance the customer experience…

Machine learning can integrate business data to achieve big savings and efficiency to enhance customer experiences, by:

  1. Reading a customer’s note and figure out whether the note is a complaint or a compliment
  2. Aggregating the customer’s personal and census information to predict buying preferences
  3. Evaluating a customer’s online shopping history or social media participation and place a new product offering in an email, webpage visit, or social media activity
  4. Intuitively segmenting customers through mass customer data gathering, grouping, and targeting ads for each customer segment
  5. Automating customer contact points with voice- or face-activated “chat bots”

How Rivet Logic can make you future-ready and customer friendly

Your business may be nowhere near the size of General Electric. You do, however, have a level playing field when it comes to leveraging Big Data and machine learning products to a winning strategy. What we do is help you plan that strategy by:

  • Aligning your business goals with technology—What are the sources of your own data and how can they harness the power of NoSQL databases, for example?
  • Designing your user experience—What do you need? A custom user interface, or a mobile app with intuitively simple user interfaces?

We can do that and much more. Contact us and we’ll help make your business future-ready to collect, harvest, and leverage all the great things you are doing now.

Building Brand Advocates: Customer Experience Strategies that Work

Posted by on September 19, 2017

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Simply providing customers with reasonable access to your information and a way to purchase your products or services is no longer “good enough”. Today’s consumer is incredibly savvy and has high expectations, so if you’re expecting them to become brand advocates without some optimization on your part to create a superior customer experience you are in for a nasty shock. Think about the brands that you recommend to your friends and family members. Are they the brands that put barriers between you and the product, or do they provide an intuitive and friendly experience that leaves you with a good feeling about the brand? If you’ve wondered what that special sauce is that keeps customers coming back for more, keep reading to see how you can empower your fans and turn them into raving brand advocates.

Know Your Audience (and Target Your Message)

The first step in building brand advocates is fully understanding your audience. Do you know who your best customers are — those that come back repeatedly even when you’re not having a sale? The one-off buyers that only come around when you’re having a sale are not your target market, as they’re likely shopping around your competitors looking for sales as well. However, the individuals who are willing to purchase at full price are the ones who should be your first market. Offer them incentives to spread the word about your brand by providing them with VIP status: early access to new offerings or sales, make them part of an elite focus group or other non-monetary incentives. Targeting a specific message to these loyal customers can help them turn the corner into true brand advocates who amplify your marketing message.

Empower Your Service Team

No one likes being put on hold to be transferred to another department, especially because you’re generally a bit upset already at having to make a phone call for service. The situation becomes worse when a customer is required to repeat their needs . . . each time they’re transferred! Ensure that your customer service staff is fully empowered to solve customer problems the first time whenever possible and within set parameters. However, there are times that they’ll need to pull in a colleague. When this happens, be sure that the customer does not have to repeat their story — this causes a negative feeling and doesn’t build customer loyalty because of the disconnected feel of their experience.

Put a Face to Your Brand

This could mean a variety of things, but be sure that your brand has personality. Whenever possible, respond to requests as a human, with a name and face attached, instead of responding as a remote brand. Humans crave relationships and engagements with other people, and providing that type of interaction ensures your customer has a memorable experience. Take a cue from the CEO of Zappos who treats long call times as a benefit that cannot be overstated, and a useful tool in building brand loyalty. Treat people like individuals, and make marketing emails and interactions more of a personal experience instead of a stuffy, remote corporate response.

. . . But Don’t be Creepy

Overdoing personalization can be much worse than not addressing your audience as individuals, so always be aware that there’s a fine line between friendly and creepy. If you want to know more about your customers to enhance their experience, simply ask them for details! This can often be the best way to determine which of your products and services is the ideal fit for their needs. Few organizations have the deep pockets of Amazon or Netflix to form the type of recommendation engines that seem to know what you need before you even need it (and deliver that information to you regardless of where you’re browsing!), but asking a few simple questions and tailoring your responses doesn’t have to be expensive. Numerous personal goods companies request your favorite colors, design choices, and sizes to offer you the options that will interest you the most.

Add Value to Your Conversations

Some brands seem to be reading a marketing manual that states they must put out a certain number of content pieces per day, regardless of the value of that content. Don’t waste your audience’s time by sifting through low-quality information. Instead, strive to provide unique value when you offer information. Re-posting great content from the past isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. With the cyclical nature of social media, you’re unlikely to hit the same people in your audience twice — even if you try!

While measuring engagement can be important, be sure you’re measuring the right pieces of data to determine the impact of your customer experience strategies. There’s a mental shift to be made from impressions to engagements for ads, for instance. While impressions are great and help build brand awareness, true advocacy comes from customers sharing the ideas and resources that you put forth.

At Rivet Logic, we help brands understand their audiences and deliver riveting digital experiences that surprise and delight customers. Learn more about our Customer Experience Management solutions.

Approaching the C-Suite Regarding Digital Transformation

Posted by on September 06, 2017

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Even though digital transformation may be the next necessary step for a business, it can often be difficult to get the entire c-suite on board. It’s easy to understand why: on the surface, a digital transformation can appear to be a business disruption. It can seem both costly and unnecessary to those who aren’t aware of the technology that is now available to them… and it can be a difficult pitch to a board of investors. Nevertheless, digital transformation is absolutely critical to a thriving enterprise.

Understanding the Major Reservations Regarding Digital Transformation

Though it can seem as though the c-suite is being stubborn about transitioning to new technology, it’s understandable why a complete transformation of digital infrastructure may cause them to hesitate. There are generally a few major reservations regarding digital transformation:

  • Cost. Any investment in software is likely to be an unscheduled expense for the business. Just a decade or two ago, digital transformation could be incredibly costly, necessitating new hardware, licenses, IT training, and more. Most of the c-suite will still remember the days when a digital transformation meant dramatically revamping the entirety of the technology of an office, from telephones to personal computers.
  • Disruption. Likewise, digital transformation has historically been the source of significant disruption. Changing over both a hardware and software infrastructure leads to confusion and a loss of productivity, which can lasts anywhere from days to months. It’s the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If the c-suite doesn’t see problems with current operations, they are going to be very hesitant to change anything.
  • Productivity. Employees aren’t the only ones hesitant to train in new technology. C-suite members themselves often don’t want to have to learn new technology; they may feel as though it’s going to damage their productivity and that they aren’t going to have access to the tools that they want to use.
  • Future needs. Finally, the c-suite may be hesitant to advance technology because they know that they’re going to have to advance technology again in the future; in other words, they may not want to upgrade now, because “we will just have to upgrade later.” Though there is a flaw in this logic, it can still present significant hesitation.

Of these concerns, the cost and potential disruption to the business are usually the primary concerns. Addressing these two major concerns is usually the best way to bring them on your side.

Addressing Concerns Related to Cost and Business Interruption

  • Break down the costs. New digital transformation technologies, such as cloud-based systems, are not as expensive to upgrade to as a physical infrastructure would be. When breaking down costs, additionally show the c-suite how much money this would save in the long run.
  • Focus on pain points. To show the value of a digital transformation, you should first show the problems that the business is currently facing and the areas in which technology could improve them. The c-suite needs to be shown that this upgrade is necessary and useful.
  • Demonstrate the solutions. Many of these solutions are easier and more intuitive than the c-suite could otherwise expect. Showing the c-suite the software solutions and familiarizing them will give them a better picture of the software’s benefits.
  • Create a roadmap for the future. The c-suite should be aware that many of these digital transformation solutions have their own future-proofing built-in, which means they will iteratively upgrade rather than having to engage in transformation again and again.

Getting the c-suite on board with digital transformation is simply a matter of showing and proving value. It is the c-suite’s responsibility to protect the business and its bottom line at all costs. What may seem like reluctance to evolve are simply well-intentioned reservations that need to be countered with facts, statistics, and a clear plan for change. Once these pieces fall into place, the c-suite will be able to see the true value of digital transformation.

Improving Customer Relationships Through Mobile Strategy

Posted by on August 29, 2017

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As more consumers move towards using their mobile devices as their first and often only method of interaction, it becomes necessary for businesses to engage in a clear and comprehensive mobile strategy. Mobile strategies encompass new, innovative ways of engaging with customers, in addition to ways of measuring mobile accessibility and the success of a mobile campaign. Customer relationships can be vastly improved through the heightened connectivity of the mobile age — and companies that aren’t paying attention to this could easily be left behind.

Choosing Between Native and Web Applications

The first decision your business is likely to make is whether it’s going to invest in either native or web-based applications. Native applications are applications directly installed on a user’s device. It requires further engagement to convince a user to install a native application, but the native application is more likely to be effective — the user is going to see and interact with it more often, and it will have advanced engagement features such as push notifications. Web applications, on the other hand, are really just responsively designed websites, and though they can be accessed through a mobile device, they do not give additional functionality on the device itself. On the other hand, web applications are more affordable and more likely to be accessed.

Understanding the Customer Benefits to Mobile Accessibility

Customers today are looking for certain features through mobile devices. It is these features that a company will need to provide if they are to develop a solid and successful mobile strategy:

  • Self-servicing through a mobile app. Most customers today prefer to be able to find information themselves rather than having to work through a customer service representative — and this is advantageous both to the business and its customers.
  • Fast purchasing and check out. Being able to complete an e-commerce transaction on-the-fly is what draws many customers to purchasing apps. Companies need to be aware that the faster the ordering is, the more likely the customer is to commit; this is why “one-click” ordering features have become so successful.
  • Ease of contact through multiple channels. Customers want to be able to email, instant message, or call a company quickly through their mobile application. Different customers and different situations require different venues of contact, so having these choices is important.

Of course, mobile strategies are also changing and customers are starting to desire even more from their devices. Leading companies are creating instant mobile chats run by artificially intelligent bots, for example, which can offer even better self service. Companies need to keep on top of these changes to remain competitive.

Developing Your Metrics for Success

The goal of a mobile strategy is to increase engagement, customer acquisition, customer retention, and overall sales. In order to track the success of a mobile strategy, a business must fist settle on identifiable metrics that will define whether or not the mobile strategy is truly working. Metrics may include metrics on the strategy itself, such as how many installations a corporate app has achieved, or metrics on the overall performance of the business, such as improved ROI since the mobile strategy was first conceived. Regardless, the metrics must remain consistent across reporting to identify any potential strategies for optimization.

Improving customer relationships through a comprehensive mobile strategy is about more than simply providing mobile features — it’s about developing these features in a way that they are attractive to customers and that they ultimately fulfill the customer’s needs. With that in mind, it becomes exceptionally important to test out these features and optimize them over time. Mobile strategies are accelerating and evolving as they become more important to the core operations of many businesses.

Top 10 New Features of Liferay DXP

Posted by on August 24, 2017

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With so many choices for today’s consumers a click or swipe away, the companies that stand out will be those who deliver highly personalized experiences in the channels of their customer’s choosing. That’s why Liferay has redesigned the next evolution of it’s platform, the Digital Experience Platform (DXP), with new functionality to equip businesses with the tools to create, manage and deliver end-to-end digital experiences across all digital channels.

In this post, we’ll share some of our favorite new features in Liferay DXP…

Modularity

Liferay DXP’s new modular architecture empowers businesses to build powerful, adaptable, lightweight and innovative systems for the digital world. This functionality has been distributed into hundreds of modules, allowing you to use only what you need for your project. Built using a framework that allows for modular deployment of applications, portlets and libraries, Liferay DXP’s modular architecture gives businesses extensibility unthinkable until now and an elegant development model.

Audience Targeting

The new version of Audience Targeting contains advanced segmentation of audiences with new segmentation rules. Visitor segments can be created based on user profile custom fields, user language, IP address, sign up date and last login date. A report builder is available to generate reports for segments and campaigns. Additional reporting capabilities include the ability to view and download the list of users of each segment. Finally, targeted assets can be filtered in the Asset Publisher using advanced filtering settings.

New Mobile Experience Features

Liferay’s updated mobile tools enable you to create applications for collaboration and social, while ensuring that the information on your phone remains completely secure. New features include:

  • A new set of screenlets for Liferay Screens, including Image Gallery, Blogs, Comments, Ratings, Generic Asset Display, PDF Display, Video Display, Audio Display and Image Display.
  • Improved support for structured web content in the Web Content Screenlet.

Elasticsearch

The default search engine in Liferay DXP is now Elasticsearch for improved monitoring, tuning and clustering. Subscribers have the option to extend Liferay Support with support for Elasticsearch installations.

Media Selector & Inline Image Editor

The ability to upload a picture, select an uploaded file, and even take a picture or video to add to your content is now easy with Liferay’s new media selector. This feature is also highly extensible so that new sources of media (e.g., Google, Flickr, YouTube) can be added to any application using the selector.

In addition, the new image editor allows for simple image editing directly from within Liferay, eliminating the need for an external tool while creating content. Easily resize, crop and make color adjustments to any image uploaded to Documents and Media from within blogs or any other application that uses an item selector. The image editor is easy to customize and allows developers to create and deploy tools that modify images.

Single Page Applications

Thanks to Liferay’s own Senna.js project, all applications (even custom ones) are automatically configured as Single Page Applications (SPAs). Only the pieces of a page that are necessary are loaded, leading to reduced bandwidth usage, load times and rendering time in the browser. This means users will perceive faster loading and performance on the new Liferay platform.

Improved Collaboration Features

The changes Liferay has made to collaboration features give users more ways to communicate and share information, helping to eliminate departmental silos and foster better collaboration. Some of the improvements include:

  • Blogs experience – Improvements to the blog experience include the ability to set cover images and more convenient and reliable image uploading and sharing, along with additional features for RSS support, threaded user and guest comments, tags and labels, social bookmarking links, email notifications of blog replies and an entry rating system.
  • Social Collaboration Apps - Microblogs, contact center, announcements, ability to invite members and other social collaboration features are now available out-of-the-box through multiple dedicated apps.
  • User Mentions - Users can now @mention another user within blogs and comments. Mentioned users will receive a notification that they have been mentioned in that particular asset.

Modern, Fast Site Creation

A series of improvements for creating dynamic and visually stunning sites provides more power to administrators for faster site creation. A new set of modern themes and site templates available in Liferay Marketplace provides a foundation for quickly creating your websites with features such as application decorators, application display templates, sets of pages and more.

Simple Content Authoring With AlloyEditor

Authors now have access at any time to Liferay’s powerful authoring applications thanks to AlloyEditor, a WYSIWYG editor built on top of CKEditor. Designed using React, a JavaScript library developed by Facebook, AlloyEditor is designed to help easily create web content. Developers are able to use the OSGi framework to customize CKEditor’s con guration in two ways: modifying the configuration and adding new behavior.

Enterprise-Ready Forms

A brand new application for defining and publishing advanced dynamic forms allows for complex multicolumn layouts and the ability to span several pages. The new application offers more control over form fields, such as the ability to customize fields or hide them with visibility expressions. Forms can be published in any Liferay site simply by dropping the form into a page or providing a URL that links directly to a full page form. An additional feature is the ability to pull in data from an external source (i.e., “Data Providers”). Once the administrator configures the Data Provider, the data can be shared across any form. On the roadmap is the ability to use the Forms API to render the form engine, even for sites that use Liferay Forms alongside another technology. Liferay Forms is planned to eventually replace the Web Form app and the Dynamic Data List (DDL) Forms from previous versions.

Well, there you go, some of our favorite new features of Liferay DXP. What are your favorites?

If you’re still running on an older version of Liferay Portal and are interested in upgrading to Liferay DXP, we can help! For a limited time, we’re even offering a 50% discount off an initial assessment!

Optimizing Your Customer Experience Management

Posted by on August 15, 2017

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A customer’s experience with your organization may, in fact, be more important than the quality of either your products or your services. Customers today want to feel valued — they want to be able to have their needs both anticipated and fulfilled. Improving upon and optimizing your customer’s experiences is called customer experience management. Through new technologies, there are many ways that you can improve upon your customer experience management and, additionally, your ROI.

Integrate Your CRM, Marketing Automation, and Media Solutions Into a Single Infrastructure

Optimizing customer experience begins with consolidating and analyzing your data. To that end, integrating your CRM and marketing solutions can be an incredibly effective first step. Comprehensive CRM and marketing automation solutions — such as Salesforce, Marketo and HubSpot — almost universally come with third-party integrations out-of-the-box. For more distinct infrastructures, APIs, importing and exporting, or custom programming may be required. Regardless, this will create a single infrastructure that contains all of your customer information.

Not only does this improve analytics, but it also improves customer care overall. Both customer service representatives and sales personnel will have all of the information they need to quickly service the customers and get them the information that they need. Marketing campaigns will be able to target customers based on their prior behaviors — and will be able to prompt them towards purchasing more effectively.

Develop an Omni-Channel Approach through Content Management Systems

Content Management Systems (CMS) make it easier to push content directly to a multitude of different channels. Social media, email marketing, and websites can all be consolidated under a single content system — so that a single push of the button can update customers on a variety of platforms. Omni-channel approaches make it easier to scale your organization upwards and to reach out to individuals across multiple demographics and interests. Through regular content distribution, companies can achieve better organic growth and improve upon their inbound marketing.

A CMS is particularly useful for lead procurement and demand generation. With the use of a CMS, a strong and strategic digital marketing campaign can ensure that leads come to the business rather than the business having to procure leads. Organizations are thus able to improve upon their ROI, extend their marketing reach, and refocus their budget to additional areas of advertising and support.

Explore Big Data, Such as Emotional Analytics and Predictive Intelligence

Emotional analytics and big data can work together to develop new strategies for customer acquisition and retention. Algorithms are now available that are substantially advanced that they can look at patterns of customer behavior and determine the best way to service that customer. At its most complex, emotional analytics can involve motion capture and facial analysis, in order to detect micro-expressions that may aid in detecting the customer’s emotional state. But this isn’t the type of analytics that would most commonly be used by a business. Businesses, instead, would most likely use text-based analysis or verbal analysis, to detect the best leads based on their word usage and the amount of emotive statements they have made.

Not all big data is so complex. Predictive intelligence can also be much simpler, such as looking at a customer’s past purchases and predicting when they will need to make further purchases. Predictive intelligence is used to fantastic effect on many e-commerce marketplaces, to suggest items that may be relevant to the consumer based on the items that they have either purchased or browsed. Predictive intelligence can also be used to detect and identify certain patterns, such as whether a customer may have abandoned a shopping cart due to high shipping charges.

Create Knowledge Management Systems for Superior Customer Service

Customers today often prefer to self-service. A solid customer service experience is, thus, often one in which the customer does not need to contact the organization at all. New help desk and support solutions can be nearly entirely automated, so that customers can get the answers they need out of a knowledge management system. This management system may take the form of a helper website or even a live chat with a bot. When self-service fails, customers prefer a variety of ways to communicate: through email, phone, instant messaging, or even text message.

By providing these additional resources for customers, organizations not only assist the customer in getting what they want, but also reduce their own administrative overhead. The more customer service can be automated, the less time and money the organization has to sink into technical support and customer service personnel.

It’s an exciting time for organizations looking to improve upon their customer experience. Through better customer experience management, companies can fine-tune their operations and ensure that their customers keep coming back.