Tag Archives: Mobile Technology

Seven IT Eras Leading CIOs to Become One of the Key Evangelists to a Social Business Strategy (Part 2/2)

In the first part of this two-part series, we reviewed the four IT-eras that have shaped and transformed the CIO role into a digital mediator and one of the key technologists of the new Social Business (Enterprise 2.0) era.  We saw how mainframe computing led to personal computing then followed by Internet and finally the broadband technology.  The consumerization of IT has brought us the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) movement. BYODs are compelling our 20th century business models (based on the enlightenment era and its resulting industrial revolution) to include workers personal devices such as smartphones, tablets and phablets.           
 
5.  Mobile era
  
Uwe Vielle defines mobile computing as “the ability to use computing capability without a pre-defined location and/or connection to a network to publish and/or subscribe to information.”  Mobility requires new type of softwares or SaaS (Software as a Service) stored in the cloud as well as brand new hardware handsets such as smartphones, tablets and phablets (Samsungs Note II) also known as BYOD.  
 
Post-PC-Era (www.phonedog.com)
 
Two weeks ago, Gartner reported that combined ultra mobile devices, tablets and mobile phone reached 1.872 billion in 2012 and would reach around 2.7 billion by 2017.  Gartner expects a 7.6% decline in PC sales while saying: “This is not a temporary trend induced by a more austere economic environment; it is a reflection of a long-term change in user behavior.”  Broadband and IT-consumerization both contribute to mobility.  Ubiquitous Internet access compels us to centralize our data to a central location: the cloud.
 
6.  Cloud Computing
 
Cloud computing could be compared to the technological shift electricity went through a century ago.  At that time, Thomas Edison favored direct current (DC) systems.  DC was eventually replaced by Guillaume Duchenne’s (1850s) and William Stanley’s (1880s) alternative current (AC).  Alternative current made it much easier to industrialize the production and transport of electricity.  In a similar way the alternative current analogy could be used for cloud computing.  It is not the flow of electric charge that periodically reverses direction, but our computing routines.  IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) deliver the foundation upon which private users can upload their personal digital belongings. 
 
Traditional software vendors like Microsoft are transforming their “one way” Office product into an SaaS platform while offering a 20GB SkyDrive cloud storage.  In May,  Flickr rolled out a whopping 1TB (Terabyte) of cloud-storage for free accounts.  Laptops and notebooks paved the way to mobile computing.  Consumerization of IT brought the diversity of multi-screen computing via smartphone, tablet and phablet devices.  This newly acquired ubiquitous mobile  flexibility threatens the very livelihood of US-PC giants such as Dell and Hewlett Packard.   
 
7.  Post PC era
 
Broadband, mobility and cloud computing confirm the steady decline in the sales of personal computers in favor of “post-PC” BOYDs.  BYOD threatens the use of traditional software in favor of cross-platform applications such as Android, Java or iOS.  In 1999, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates coined this development as the “PC Plus” era.  In 2007, Steve Job renamed it the “post-PC device” era.  According to IDC the U.S. PC market contracted 12.7% year-to-year with a 18.3% decline compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.  “A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows a 13.9% decline in first quarter PC shipments compared to 2012.  The ‘year-on-year contraction marked the worst quarter since IDC began tracking the PC market quarterly in 1994,’ according to IDC.”  
 
Post-PC-Era (www.intomobile.com)-medium
 
The US PC-industry is in a dire position.  Last year Hewlett Packard announced that it would lay off over 27,000 employees.  Dell’s troublesome privatization endeavors are still going on and a 274-page proxy filing  states,  “Dell – the company and the man – wants to move away from PCs because making money in the global PC market is about as easy as selling tap water in a rainstorm”. 
 
8.  Social Business   
 
Not too long ago, the CIO was considered (and in many cases still is) the technological IT-drill sergeant in many companies.  He was the technological door keeper, who in the name of “security” only granted employees the right to specific choices of hardware and software.  A major shift began when computing mobility entered enterprises with the use of laptops and notebooks.  Emails and data access became mandatory and VPN (virtual private networks) were created.  Consumerization of IT could be for the former CIO king what the 1789 French Revolution was to Louis XIV.  CIOs are losing their controlling grip and are forced to accept the BYOD revolution and the respective operating systems such as Symbian, iOS, Android, Window & Blackberry to name just a few.  Added to this culinary buffet of BOYDs and operating systems let’s not forget our newly acquired social media channels.  Social media are transforming customer service, experience and marketing altogether and terminates the traditional hierarchical company customer communication era.  Traditional outbound marketing methods (pay, pray and spray) are being replaced with inbound/content marketing which in turn is rapidly evolving into convenience marketing. 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the age of social
Meine Damen und Herren willkommen im sozialen Zeitalter 
Mesdames et Messieurs, bienvenue dans l’ère sociale
 
 
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10 Ways for Small and Medium Business to Establish a Social Business Strategy (2/2)

Our world is getting more complex every day.  Technology evolves at a speed that is hardly possible to keep up with.  In Part one, we reviewed the first five ways SMBs can set up a solid social business strategy:
1. Regularly review and refine your company mission, values and goals
2. Keep transforming your content marketing into convenience marketing
3. To blog or not to blog
4. Transform your website into a social hub and its visitors into co-creators
5. Carefully choose your social platforms
 
So here are the five last ways SMBs can establish a solid foundation for a social business:
 
6.  Reinforce and share your company vision
 
Share your company vision to employees, suppliers, customers and prospects on your company website.  Communicate your company vision on all your social networks. Reinforce your core values to customers, suppliers, prospects and anyone your business is coming in contact with.  I can guarantee you that it will be a rewarding experience for both your company and your customers who will better identify your vision and enthusiastically share it with the communities of their choice.  Zappos is well-known for its outstanding company culture and the way CEO Tony Hsieh runs his interviews for both cultural fit and skills requirements. On Zappos’ company blog, Tony publicly shares some of his correspondence for anybody to read: management, co-workers, clients, prospects and suppliers alike.  This is a superb way of spreading company culture while avoiding misunderstandings, promoting transparency and informing everyone.  
 
21st Century World
 
7. Create a dual strategy by combining your brick and mortar shop with a state of the art HTML5 web presence
 
Strive to create a superb online and personal shopping experience while rewarding your customers with loyalty perks and status.  Shoppers often use smartphones and tablets to get access to relevant information.  About.com has qualified three main distinct search types being made on the internet: “answer me (46% of all searches), inspire me (28% of all searches) and educate me (28% of all searches). Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make “answer me, inspire me and educate me” the three-dimensional crusade of your content marketing strategy?  Ask your customers, both online and in your shop, what answers they are looking for?  What inspires them? What educates them?  Gather your customer data directly into your database: the business headquarters of your people-centric customer information center.  This custom-made marketing know-how will help your business tailor make your content marketing output and assist you schedule personalized marketing messages via email or SMS.
 
8. Social, local, mobile (SoLoMo) and free Internet access
 
Would you rather have customers and prospects find out about competitive pricing inside or outside your shop premises?  If they search within your business, it might be easier for you and your staff to find out about competitors’ pricing and promotions.  It will also grant you the chance to intervene and give away “spur of the moment” discounts while bringing in more sales.  Providing customers and prospects with free internet access is a sure way to keep them inside your brick and mortar shop is not it?  No matter what, customers will find out what they want so you might as well give them the chance to do it while there are “browsing” around. It’s time for your business to harness wireless technology and give your visitors the shopping experience of their lives.  Why not consider an indoor positioning system (IPS) and lead your prospects to the right aisles? Why not consider near field communication (NFC) and QR codes to provide visitors with more product information?    
 
QR Codes Europe
 
9.  Free is a wonderful motivator
 
We all love free things don’t we?  The concept of free automatically appeals to our human nature.  Would it be possible to provide your business with a little coffee and snack corner? Could you add a few tables for prospects to linger around and visit?  This could be a wonderful opportunity to create a local’s corner while gathering precious ideas about business dos and don’ts.  Ask your customers what they expect from your business and reward the top ideas with prizes (first, second to five and 11th to 20th or more if you can). Give, share and get altruistically involved with your community.  How about giving away a free coffee for every new Twitter follower or Facebook likes?  Be creative, try new things, and encourage mistakes among co-workers and team members.  One last word of advice from Dan Erwin: “Shift your networking orientation from getting to giving and your long-term success is assured.”
 
10.  Refine your web and shop loyalty program
 
Loyalty programs should become digital and mobile. There are clients combining web and shop loyalty programs who can adapt their products to your specific needs and beyond.  It is fundamental for customers to get rewarded.  Customers both love rewards and status.  Status gives a sense of belonging, a feeling of being part of something bigger.  Among the 36.8 million followers Lady Gaga enjoys on Twitter, she concentrates on the top 1% she names her “little monsters” … “These fans evangelize for her and bring new fans in the fold”.  Lady Gaga understands her fans’ needs to emotionally wanting to connect with her and goes as far as interrupting her concert while calling one of them on the stage with her.  The more customers purchase, the more unique their reward and status development should be.  Think of airlines bronze, silver and gold levels as an example.  Rewards and status are the motivation that channels patrons into buying more of your products and services, but also to evangelize your business.   Be creative, different, and provocative, and reward your customers with an exhaustive loyalty program that shows genuine gratitude towards them. 
 
Now it’s your turn. Which advice would you give a combined brick and mortar digital shop for it to thrive in this contemporary business environment? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
 
 
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Three Fundamental Macro Trends Transforming Our Society, the Way we Live and How We Work

We are living in a ubiquitous mobile era and by the way, don’t  we love it?  Could you imagine for a second a world without smartphones or tablets?  Sooner than later we will start out our day by reading our favorite newspaper while shaving in front of the bathroom mirror.  We’ll continue reading while listening to our car audio system driving to work, then on to our Google glasses while walking to the office, finally catching up with the last paragraph either on our tablets, smartphones, laptops or antiquated PCs.

Smartphone statistics 2012 vs 2011

The Guardian reported on February 22:  “Mobile and social are bringing a dramatic cultural shift to the enterprise. The combination of mobile technology and social capabilities creates dynamics that have never before been possible.”

How can we synthesize the major technical trends that have transformed the way we live and the way we work?  In the last 10 years broadband communication has brought upon us three major changes:  mobile, social and cloud.

1. Mobility   

Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones.  By 2015 media tablet shipments will reach around 50 percent of laptop shipments and Windows 8 will likely be in third place behind Google’s Android and Apple iOS operating systems.”

Our digital world citizens have acquired more than one billion smartphones in 2011 and 2012 combined, with a 10.10% increase from 2011 (495.3 million units) to 2012 (545.2 million units).  By 2015 there will be 4.9 billion global mobile users.  Those figures are staggering and prove the “smart” mobile shift happening right now in our society.  Our mobile trend opens incredible new business models and opportunities such as mobile marketing, mobile payment, near field communication (NFC), indoor navigation systems and finally 25 billion apps, which have been already downloaded (iOS and Android).

2. Our 21st century social network society

Less than 10 years ago (2004) Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, a social network that would turn the way we communicate upside down.  The membership has passed one billion worldwide and forever changed our notion of privacy.  Less than ten years ago it would have been inconceivable to post pictures on a public domain for just about anyone to see, while Google crawlers constantly index the web to improve the company’s search prowess.  Suddenly people are capable of staying in touch with their friends, while uploading their latest picture hunt they proudly want their communities to see.  Meanwhile, other social tools have popped up:

  • LinkedIn — the 200 million professional network was created in 2002
  • Twitter — the micro-blogging site was started by Mike Dorsey in 2006
  • Caterina Fake’s Flickr image posting tool goes back to 2004
  • YouTube, created by former PayPal employees, was launched in 2005
  • Skype, a proprietary Voice over IP (VoIP), was first released in 2003

and the list goes on and on. Business Insider reports on March 21, 2013: “YouTube hits 1 Billion Monthly Users”, a staggering number of people viewing, uploading and sharing videos from the four corners of our planet.  Mobility is allowing communication in real-time, whenever and wherever it happens!  Traditional structures are being by-passed, new business models are being created.  What is going to happen to our libraries?  Virtual worlds and virtual goods can now be created.  What would happen if one day Facebook decided to create its own currency?  Whatever, wherever, whenever is becoming the new norm of ubiquitous digital communication thanks to broadband technology.  

Sharing information on all sorts of platforms (notebooks, smartphones and tablets) is forcing us to centralize our data storage.  How else would we access our Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts if all the data had to be stored separately and constantly synchronized, as we used to do it between our PCs and Notebooks?

3. Cloud computing to the rescue

Without cloud computing it would be impossible for any of us to own a Google email account, impossible to tweet or to review and update the content of our LinkedIn accounts.  It is estimated there is one exabyte of data stored in the “cloud”.  All our favorite Evernote bits and pieces are stored in the cloud, so are our Facebook pictures, Twitter favorites and Slideshare presentations.  Additionally, many of us are now moving some our personal data (traditionally stored on hard disks) to cloud services such as Box.com, Dropbox and many others.  Cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Mountain Lion’s Apple operating system, introducing services such as iCloud, are popping up everywhere.

Consequently, cloud computing has allowed us to centralize the positioning of our personal data and to access it from any “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) of our choice, thanks to broadband technology supporting our relentless nomadic lifestyles.  Cloud is the engine, the door opener, the way, the modern broadband electricity trail seamlessly granting access to our data, whenever and wherever we want it.  In 1917 Sears ran an advertisement advising people to “use electricity for more than light”.   At the beginning of the 21st century cloud computing technology is here but still in its infancy.  Nikola Tesla (Никола Тесла; July 10 1856 – January 7th 1943), a Serbian-American, was the inventor of the modern alternating current electrical supply system.  As much as electricity would prove to be much more than powering light bulbs, cloud computing gives us the feasible prospect of eliminating local data storage!  Do you know of anyone storing their own electricity?  Sounds ludicrous right?  It could very well become the same with cloud computing.  Buckle up, it’s going to be an interesting ride.  Our children and native digital citizens will someday look at us wondering how on earth we lived without cloud storage, smartphones and broadband communication — the new digital highway of our 21st century wireless, “clouded” and crowded world.

Cloud Computing General

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_Computing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 More Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center for any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part2)

In the previous article, we discussed 4 reasons why HR needs to abandon its traditional administrative role and become the company cultural citadel and flagship. We could compare HR to the helm of an “Enterprise Culture” ship, with its crew steering the company towards its “cultural destination” and in this way, having much more leverage than a mere rule enforcer. In order to become the motivational driving force of the business overall, HR must learn to meld together different mentalities, cultural tribes and department units. HR must also foster the collective mission of an employee-centric company’s vision and values, i.e. culture. But what are some of the technological, digital and disruptive challenges our traditional personnel management is faced with when bringing the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) onto the company’s payroll?

1. HR must understand and accept the rich & ubiquitous nature of Digital Communication

Broadband connectivity has changed the way we work and communicate. Tablets, phablets and smartphones are found and used everywhere, and recent statistics estimate there are already 2.5 billion mobile social accounts worldwide! As if this deluge of portably-connected devices (also known as “Bring Your Own Device”) was not enough, our traditional 20th century “Dr. Prof. Expert” has transformed himself into a powerful, multi-faceted big-data information giant. This new 21st century digital expert has granted himself a previously unknown crown of knowledge: the hyperlink. This invisible digital inline link can display remote content without displaying the content; it is to be found in many e-articles and has become the new punctuation sign you and I have to contend with!

The hyperlink is the hidden command which has literally transformed our traditional book (with its attached footnotes) into a never-ending reading ordeal! Watch out, while e-reading, that you do not get “hyperlinked-away” and end up wondering where your reading actually started! This new punctuation sign has now given us the technological agility to research any topic at scale. It is the reason why (after roughly two hundred fifty years) Encyclopædia Britannica went out of print, and 300 years later Internet overtook newspapers ad revenues.  How will HR undertake the transformation of this well known archaic enterprise legacy and adapt it to our “hyper-linked”, 21st century digital and highly-connected workplace or wirearchy without losing the necessary line of command?

2. HR TO BECOME THE TRANSFORMATIONAL DIGITAL ZEITGEIST OF LAST CENTURY’S HIERARCHICAL BUSINESS LEGACY

Complete removal of the hierarchical legacy from a company’s organigram seems highly impossible. Every enterprise needs a boss, a visionary, a strategist who guides the mission, inspires the ranks and carries the overall corporate social responsibility vis-à-vis the owner or the company shareholders. But here are examples of quite a different approach. IIya Pozin, writing about his company Ciplex, says: “There is no such thing as ‘management’. There are no departments. Those fancy job titles, like VP, executive, and manager are gone”.  What is worth noticing here is Illy Pozin’s completely different view on company hierarchy.  He continues: “I recently inverted our organizational chart.  Our clients are now positioned up at the top, while our employees make up teams stationed in the middle, and our higher-ups are no longer higher-ups — they are now known as ‘team support’ and they reside at the bottom of the chart.”! IIya Pozin genuinely promotes team culture.  He goes on to write: “You need self-motivated, self-sustaining teams, instead of individual employees below your clients. This fosters a culture in which teams are motivated to succeed together, rather than individuals. It creates a shared sense of responsibility throughout the company. At Ciplex, we create team goals to measure and improve upon every two weeks. This way, everyone becomes a valuable asset.”

Claire Suddath, reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek, wrote an enlightening article about the company Valve Software.  In “Why There Are No Bosses at Valve” (Valve Software company handbook), co-founder Gabe Newell states: “Of all the people at this company who aren’t your boss, Gabe is the MOST not your boss, if you get what were saying,” the handbook says.  Claire Suddath goes on to write:  “Every Valve employee has hiring capabilities, as well as the power to green-light an idea.  It’s basically the Montessori version of running a company. Somehow this results in completed projects and top-notch video games.”

3. HR TO HIRE TALENT MATCHING COMPANY CULTURE, & SECURE PERSONNEL EXPANSION

HR should hire first for passion and second for skills! What would be the outcome if a multi-talented hiree happened to “row in the opposite direction” of the company culture?  Some of my readers may think that I am on a cultural bandwagon or crusade, but please bear with me, and let’s look at a cultural misfit example we’ve all read and heard about: The Hewlett-Packard/ Compaq merger case:

In 2001 the Hewlett-Packard computer giant acquired Compaq for US$ 24 billion — the largest IT deal ever made!  Combining workforces and operations in more than 150 countries (with roughly 150,000 employees) must have been a daunting task to undertake, but particularly so for HR. Restructuring both businesses was an intimidating challenge that turned out to be a disastrous cultural match. HP originated mostly from an engineering background, while Compaq from a “door-to-door” sales mentality.  This merger was considered a failure and HP was forced to make dramatic leadership and cultural changes to make things work. Could it be that the results of the consequences of that merger are still evident even to this day?   CEO Meg Whitman recently pointed to a lack of clarity around the company’s strategy as well as heavy executive turnover.  Who knows?

HR now has a golden opportunity to start molding and shaping Generation Y hirees (soon to replace baby boomers), to bestow upon them crystal clear cultural beliefs and values, impart the necessary ethics, and to finally turn them into real company spokespeople and brand evangelists.  And even more so, HR has the responsibility to set up the right working environment and transform the attitudes of the workforce into a highly motivated group of engaged employees. It is crucial that co-workers possess the inner satisfaction of having a clear mission, of serving a purpose and delivering outstanding products or services. When HR Daily Advisor SPHR, MBA Kojo Amissah was asked to define HR he gave this most unusual and amazing reply:  “HR is about the business to the extent to which you can utilize people to obtain business goals.”  Some of the structural challenges HR is facing nowadays in modern companies could be perfectly summed up by Dan Pontefract: “Our organizations are built on 19th century learning styles, coupled by 20th century leadership models fused with 21st century technology.”

4. HR TO BECOME THE PROMOTIONAL ENGINE OF SUSTAINABLE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

A recent Towers Watson Global 2012 Workforce Study reveals how the views of employees directly shape their engagement in their work, commitment to their employers, and ultimately their behavior and performance on the job. The study reflects the attitudes and concerns of workers around the world. It also points out that the traditional definition for engagement is shifting and reshaping itself into a 21st century “dernier cri” term of “sustainable engagement”. As we read above, companies are running 21st century businesses in 20th century workplaces. The resulting lack of employee engagement is staggering to say the least:
– 35% employees are highly engaged
– 22% employees are unsupportive
– 17% employees are detached
– 26% employees are disengaged
 
Don’t you think it is time for companies to start attracting, motivating and retaining the right cadre of employees     – those who will best benefit the corporate business identity? What will be the mid and long-term consequences of HR developing a “sustainable engagement” environment for its workers? The Tower Watson study quantifies the direct relationship between employee output, engagement and motivation on the job, and the level of operating margin an enterprise is able to record. It also shows that the higher the level of engagement, the higher the average operating profit will be: 
– Companies with low engagement scores have an average operating margin of 10%
– Companies with high traditional engagement an average margin of 14%
– Companies with the highest level of “sustainable engagement” an average of 27%
 
What is the line of attack your company is applying in order to reverse those trends? How is your HR department raising the employee level of engagement?
 
Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski
Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
-4 Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center to any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part 1)
3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity
4 More Ways for Leaders to Promote Personnel Engagement in Social Business Enterprise 2.0
Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation?
Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterperise 2.0
Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0

Make Sure Your Website is Geared Towards Mobility: Because Mobile Commerce is growing

All major retailers know they have to go mobile even in conservative Germany like the OTTO Group (yearly ~€ 11.5 billion turnover), second largest online retailer in Europe after Amazon Germany is gearing towards mobility! Herr Hilderbrand (Otto’s e-commerce Manager): “Gross mobile turnover levels accounted for roughly 3% of overall online demand in the spring and summer, and the mobile channel plays a key role in the Otto Group’s e-commerce Strategy”  Otto eCommerce grew from a € 4.95 billion to ~ € 5.3 billion by 9.5%. Hilderbrand “Tablets in particular are playing a big role in the future growth of eCommerce for us” and “Smartphones are used above all to gather information about products, but thanks to the large-format and inspiration display of goods, tablet personal computers invite customers to purchase”.
 
Companies must transform their website for mobility because there is still a lot of speed improvement to get done and address the growing smartphone and tablet crowd more and more inclined to mobile online purchases. According a study made by Keynote Systems Inc. among 5.000 adults with smartphones:
– 64% of smartphone users want a site to load within four seconds
– 82% of smartphone users want a site to load within five seconds
– Average load times of 30 representative retailer’s webpage is 7.54 seconds (Some delivering load times of 2.77 to 3.59 seconds and others 14.65 to 15.20 seconds)
– 60% of tablet users are expecting to wait less than three seconds for a webpage to load
– 48% of PC users are expecting speeds below 2 seconds
– 16% of brand users do not return or wait for a page when it takes too long to load & 6% go to a competitor
Furthermore and according to this study from all smartphones users:
– 88% access local info (maps, event-location)
– 82% search for general information
– 76% use their device for Social Media communication purposes
– 75% for reading books and entertainment
– 74% for finding ATMs or retail stores
Table users have a bit of a different behavior
– 79% use their device for news and entertainment
– 77% for searching general information
– 76% for watching videos
– 75% to access local information
– 74% to take part in social networks
 
According Juniper Research mobile payments are to reach US$ 1.3 trillion (€ 1.04 trillion) annually by 2017, as physical goods sales accelerate!  Over 2.5 billion mobile augmented reality apps to be installed per annum by 2017. Mobile Messaging Adspend to reach US$ 7.4 billion by 2017, driven by increased us of location based ads and mobile transactions to hit US$ 730 billion by 2017 as real world purchases soar.  
 
Is your company getting ready for mobile commerce and developing HTML5 technology to discuss this growing mobile market? Are we preparing ourselves for the onslaught of apps coming upon us? Are we getting ready for augmented shopping reality? 

12 Reasons Why Enterprises Will Be Forced To Bring More Cloud Computing Into Their Own IT Environment

Cloud is more than ever the 2012 buzzword for both CIOs and CMOs! Your business wants to stay afloat?  Read on and prepare your company for your IT’s mandatory creative disruptive reconstruction!

1. Cloud is nothing new: as a matter of fact there is a suggested one billion users using cloud-based applications such as Gmail, Hotmail & Yahoo without being completely aware of it!

2. Social Media Platforms: It would be redundant to remind ourselves that all our social media pictures, music and favorites are now saved on the cloud! Think of services such as Flickr or Instagram to name just two!

3. Free private cloud “hard disk” space for everyone, which should be very dear to some of my German friends:  Google Docs: 1GB for non Google documents; ITunes’ ICloud: 2GB; Dropbox: 2GB; Box: 5GB formerly Box.net and its handy Microsoft Office extension allowing user to save directly to the cloud;  4shared: 10GB; Microsoft’s Sky Drive: 25GB; Adrive: 50GB a mega vault  recommended for bulk pictures , sound and video files.

4. Giant PC software manufacturer Microsoft wanting to compete with Google’s array of free online applications and finally moving up its fabulous Office Suite to the cloud: Office365, a secure anywhere access to professional email, shared calendars, IM, video conferencing and document collaboration.

5. PC manufacturer Dell reinventing itself and is on its way to becoming a Cloud Company having made lots of acquisitions in the last months and weeks: Dell already acquired Make Technologies (Software solution relieving organization from legacy application and platforms), Wyse giving them an entry into thin computing and mobile technology,  Sonicwall a leader in advanced network security and data protection, Clerity  a provider of mainframe migration, modernization and optimization solutions.

6. CRM Cloud Company Salesforce has also been shopping lately: already acquired Social Media marketers’ well known Radiant6  and recently Heroku a cloud application platform and Ripple  a telecommunication client providing chat and conference services throughout the US and obviously moving from traditional CRM to Social CRM aka SCRM.

7. Cloud giant Amazon with its Amazon Cloud Drive: 5GB of free private online storage or AWS (Amazon’s Web Services) providing professional users with free cloud storage space thus assisting them to access data at any time from everywhere and on every imaginable platforms or device!

8. Technology Commercialization:  the challenge “par excellence” for IT leaders struggling to integrate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to the existing IT structure! If companies want to attract savvy workers, management will have to integrate the smart-phones and tablets to 21st century E-Portfolio workforce!

9. API-fication From Applications to Apps: quote from Gartner’s website:

“When the way that applications are designed, delivered and consumed by users changes, it has a dramatic impact on all other aspects of the market. These changes will have a profound impact on how applications are written and managed in corporate environments. They also raise the prospect of greater cross-platform portability as small user experience (UX) apps are used to adjust a server- or cloud-resident application to the unique characteristics of a specific device or scenario. One application can now be exposed in multiple ways and used in varying situations by the user.”

10. Mobile Technology: unimaginable to plan a website which is not Multiplatform ready! Computer patrons want to access their data everywhere and at anytime and from all sort of device!  The Cisco report also predicts that:

“Smartphone traffic will grow by a factor of 50 between now and 2016. a) The network traffic from tablets alone will grow more than 62 times between now and 2016. b) Mobile video will take up 71 percent of 2016 mobile data traffic. c) Service providers will increasingly look to offload mobile Internet traffic to fixed or Wi/Fi networks. d) There will be 5 billion tablet devices by 2016. Each mobile user will consume more than a gigabyte of mobile data each month in 2016, compared to .5 percent who did so in 2011.”

11. Mobile Payment systems have been developing with recent Silicon starters such as Square already followed by Paypal and others will obviously come

12. Ambient Social Networking: one of Austin’s 2012 SXSW buzz words! Ambient Social Networking instead of connecting people to places such as Foursquare connects people to people in real time including startups such as Catherine Fake’s Pinwheel and upcoming companies Highlight, Sonar, Glancee,  Gindr , Banjo or Discover Circle!  

More and more IaaS, PaaS and consequently SaaS will have to be included into IT portfolios in order for companies to fully harness social marketing and keep up with real time consumer conversation. Social networking within companies itself has become a priority for astute entrepreneurs searching for social enterprising tools such as Yammer and exploit the power and wealth of knowledge within their own group, pro actively addressing the SILO mentality, which stifles  mobility, creativity and innovation!

When are you moving to the cloud? What is your company undertaking this year to make things more “cloudy”? Let me know and let’s update these points together because as the cloud progresses so will this list!

Constructive IT times to you with partly sunny but cloudy days ahead and wishing you a wonderful Passover Season! 

5 Keys Areas to Proactively Manage Your Business

Today’s corporations are working hard to keep up! Is this a wonder? Strategy curation just like content and information, is crucial for the development of (y)our corporate vision! Vision 2020 challenges your present accomplishments in order to increase turnover, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and set up action plans while ratifying priorities! In this “hyperlinked” and hyper-connected society both existing businesses and “start-ups” have to rapidly adapt! Every mobile user is not only a potential buyer but a reporter having the power to promote or demote!

Vision 2020 assists you into developing your hyperlinked corporate strategy with the utmost priority of increasing sales, productivity and real time communication while concentrating on 5 key areas:

1. Social Culture: Establishing a social culture in a 21st century company is obligatory! Social Media dialogue with engaging customers or prospects (positive or negative) ought to be monitored and answered in real time! US Business Think Geek promotes a “one head one heart” social culture but also states: “We need to hire for passion and train for skills” because it is impossible to have a board meeting every time a negative comment pops up on Facebook or Google+. Zappos exemplifies social culture in a remarkable way with CEO Tony Hsieh Zappos’ Culture Book and how Tony defines branding: “Your Culture Is Your Brand”!

2. Social Media Strategy: in the 1870s Graham bell developed the Telephone; the Facsimile was invented by Giovanni Caselli in 1865 before the telephone even existed! Email came in the early 1980s. Mobile phone was invented by Motorola in 1973 and first commercialized in 1983. Social Media as a web-based and mobile technology has literally transformed our daily communication into an interactive dialogue also promoting “user-generated-content including (micro) blogging (twitter), content community sites (Vimeo YouTube), social networking sites (Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest) and finally location-based social networking (Foursquare or Pinwheel). Social Media demands to be fully integrated into the marketing strategy of a company! It is a business prerequisite to properly roll out inbound marketing tools, foster brand awareness and develop communication between brand, prospects and customers and transform followers into passionate brand advocates.

3. Inbound Marketing: Over are the days where companies could blast marketing emails, brochures and fliers to prospects and customers! Traditional outbound marketing (buy, pay & bug) is in the process of being replaced by inbound or content marketing. Sharing resources, vlogging, blogging, EBooks, Earticles, whitepapers and all together relevant curated information not only attracts customers but promotes, develops and solidifies brand loyalty.

4. Cloud Computing (IaaS): As wireless devices (smart phones & tablets) commercialization becomes a pressing IT issue, mobile technology (Dropbox, Box) and mobile payment systems (Square & Paypal) develop, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service: SAP, Oracle, IBM or Salesforce) become a matter of speed if IT wants to timely react in our dynamic cloud environments! Modern CIO needs to budget these areas if companies want to keep afloat and compete with Internet Cloud Giants such as Amazon!

5. Mobile Technology: Tablets & Smartphone including the broadband development have both created a Networked Society. Wearable computing is already here; connecting home to adjust temperature via your smart phone is a given! In 2012 windows will sell tablets while 4G networks will develop and grow! Companies like Square & Paypal already compete for mobile payment systems market shares! Commercialization of mobile computing hardware will merge private and professional life into each other whereby workforce won’t have to physically be at work in order to produce and connect. This is a nightmare for IT leaders as they strive to move additional parts of the traditional IT to IaaS (cloud computing) while constantly worrying about data safety!