Google Video Chat App Duo Connects iOS And Android, But Fragments The Landscape

Nick Barber

Google this week added yet another chat app to the mix with Duo, a smartphone-only video chat application that bridges the gap between iOS and Android devices. Rather than solve the problem of interoperation between different video chat applications, though, it made another application altogether. 

The killer video chat app will be the one that works like a telephone. Regardless of your carrier, device, or network, you can dial a number anywhere in the world and talk to someone on the other end. Google, Apple, Facebook, Snapchat and others who offer video calling: take a page from the enterprise.  The problems that consumers face now with video chat applications are the same ones that enterprises overcame years ago with interoperation standards. Enterprise videoconferencing systems for years have boasted interoperation standards like H.323 and SIP so that systems from Cisco, Polycom, and other vendors could all talk to each other. The consumerization of IT is flipped in this case. Traditionally we’re used to having a better experience outside of the enterprise than within, but when it comes to video chat the enterprise wins.

The good news about Duo is that it connects Android and iOS users. Apple’s Facetime doesn’t. With Duo you can talk to anyone, regardless of their OS.

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Introducing The Forrester Wave: Digital Asset Management Q3 2016

Anjali Yakkundi

Today, everyone is a content producer. At Forrester, we’ve seen many companies do this- whether it’s Virgin America’s Hollywood-produced in-flight videos, Kohler’s partnership with parent bloggers to create YouTube content, or Lego’s webisodes available on their website.  Customers' interactions with your firm rely on the content you produce at every interaction point. 

Rich media content adds the soul to these experiences. While text and copy are still prevalent and important, rich media like videos and images are unparalleled in their ability to drive customer attention and create emotional connections. Specifically, rich media helps drive more interactive marketing campaigns, enrich the brand experience, and support customer experiences driven by sales, product, commerce, and lines-of-business groups (not just marketing!).

DAM will be a critical technology to help enable the creation, management, usage, and retention of these rich media assets. Our latest evaluation in the DAM space found that many vendors are attempting to serve these needs, but few lead. The major differentiators we found are around:

  • Cloud and agility. Today, enterprise customers are embracing, and demanding, DAM solutions managed in the cloud. They demand cloud-first DAM solutions so that they can rapidly deploy solutions, always run on the latest code (no more painful upgrades!), leave operations to someone else, support scalability, and replace capital expenditures with monthly operating expenses. But too many DAM vendors are behind.
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Short Form Product Video Can Be The Key To Converting Customers

Nick Barber

Marketers have a great arsenal of tools to drive conversions and now short form video needs to be part of that mix. Invest in it now to differentiate your business. Historically, video has been expensive to produce and manage, but that’s changed. It no longer costs a fortune to produce video content. In fact, some retailers added video production to their existing photography process and they’re using the same equipment. Online video platforms can track the performance of videos across multiple sites--not just your own--and how they influence customers. Because of this, video ranks among the top new initiatives where retailers plan to invest in 2016.

 

 

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Insights-Driven Businesses Will Make $1.2 Trillion In 2020. Wanna Join Them?

Ted Schadler
You can't win, serve, and retain powerful customers without being insights-driven. It's one of the principles of customer obsession: customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected. So what does it mean to be insights-driven? We think we know based on conversations with over 50 companies over three years. 
 
We have identified 40 public companies and a horde of venture-backed startups that work in a fundamentally different way: They harness and apply data at every opportunity to differentiate their products and customer experiences. That makes them faster and fleeter than you. In fact, using data from PitchBook and Morningstar, we forecast that, collectively, these insights-driven businesses will make $1.2 trillion dollars in 2020 (see the first figure).
 
What does it mean to be insights-driven? It's easiest to see by example. What if you could:
  • Optimize the driving experience by mining car performance data for insights to continuously improve car software? Tesla does.
  • Improve student loan re-financing prices and risk by finding insights in a borrower's credit card transaction history, college, and grades? Earnest does.
  • Win a football championship by gathering data and using insights to improve recruiting, training, and half-time pep talks. FC Midtjylland does.
  • Earn the best on-time arrival of any major airline by measuring when the airplane door closes -- and everything leading up to it. Alaska Airlines does.
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Microsoft Stream Hopes To Shake Up EVP Market

Nick Barber

Microsoft Stream, the company’s enterprise video platform (EVP) bolted onto Office 365 could shake up the EVP market, but don’t jump in head first just yet.

 
 

Video used to be the domain of media and broadcasters, but now enterprises from healthcare to financial services have reason to be doing video. They can use video to connect internal employees and external prospects with the CEO during a live event. Or maybe HR needs to establish a centralized training channel.  

 

It makes sense for Microsoft to move into this market more robustly. It already has tens of millions of users on its Office 365 email and productivity suite so video is a logical step.

 

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Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club To Become Digital Direct

Ted Schadler

Unilever is the latest in a long string of enterprise giants to acquire digital. It acquired the digital-native startup, Dollar Shave Club, for $1 billion. I've been telling the Dollar Shave story lately as a way to describe the disruption possible when a company uses digital technology to establish a direct relationship with a customer. Dollar Shave Club is in its customers' daily shower and conscienciousness. It's a digital disruptor, not because it has a revolutionary product. It's because it has a revolutionary relationship.

What should you take away from this Dollar Shave Club deal?

  • Digital disruption starts with a direct customer relationship. Sure, sometimes digital is about new products and services. But it's always about a direct relationship with customers. That's what's so scary to traditional industries with their indirect distribution models. Unilever has sold through distribution for time and memorial. It doesn't know its customers except through the lens of research and somes times purchased sales data. No longer. Now it can know its customers as Under Armour is starting to.
  • Digital strategy is about bridging the gap between your core capabilities and what customers want. For large firms, you don't need to reinvent your core capabilities to become digital. You instead need to recognize that digital is the way customers want to buy, engage, and get service, so you must give them the tools they expect. Dollar Shave Club sells razors. It just sells them conveniently at a great price. That puts digital within reach of every company.

There will be a lot more digital direct deals like this. Direct customer relationships are one vector of our digital future.

Win Hearts and Minds With Livestreaming

Nick Barber

Over the next few weeks US voters will focus on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and their running mates at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Their messages will carry well beyond traditional TV with the help of livestreaming. The Republican National Convention in Cleveland will provide a 360 livestream. This will be one of the first high profile events streamed in 360 degrees. Twitter announced a deal with CBS to livestream the conventions whenever they are in session.

 

Image: Facebook Live has a map of every current live broadcast globally.

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Responsive Web Design Is Not Mobile First

Ted Schadler

My colleague and coauthor Julie Ask and I are watching with dismay as company after company shrinks its desktop website down to a small screen using responsive web design (RWD) techniques so it fits on – but isn’t optimized for – smartphones.

Companies have delightedly embraced responsive web design as the one-size-fits-all solution to mobile, tablet, and desktop sites. In a recent survey of digital business professionals, we found that 93% are using, piloting, or planning to pilot responsive web design.

That sounds great on paper. After all, RWD is a very practical approach to developing websites that render on any device. But when mobile tasks diverge from desktop tasks as they often do in commerce, the one-size-fits-all approach taken by most responsive retrofits will fail to delight or even satisfy customers on smartphones or desktops.

People do different things on their smartphones than on their desktops or tablets (see figure). To delight and serve your customers in their mobile moments of need, you need to give them exactly what they need to move forward in their immediate context. So if you can't reach all customers with an app – AND YOU WON’T! – you will need to deliver an app-like mobile web experience.

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The Democratization Of Customer Service Forces Vendor Consolidation

Kate Leggett

Today, customers expect easy, effective customer service which build positive emotional connections.  And they expect this type of service from all companies that they do business with – companies that are both big and small.  

Companies use complex software from different vendors to support customer service operations. They use:

  1. Queuing and routing technologies. They capture the customer inquiry, which can be via voice, digital, or social channels, and route and queue the inquiry to the right agent pool.
  2. CRM customer service technologies. They enable customer service agents to create and work the incoming service request.
  3. Workforce optimization technologies. They record agent interactions with customers, evaluate the quality of these interactions, recommend targeted training based on quality scores, manage agent schedules, forecast future schedules and more.
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Microsoft’s Big Bang: Everything CRM and ERP On One Platform

John Bruno

This week Microsoft announced a new offering (available in the Fall): Microsoft Dynamics 365. Sound familiar? It should. Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics AX all come to mind, and this was not done by mistake. Microsoft is bringing together the capabilities from these products, their intelligence tools, and third party or internally-built apps from its newly launched AppSource. Microsoft will use Dynamics 365 to provide disaggregated applications that serve the functional needs formerly delivered through CRM and ERP suites (e.g. sales, service, marketing, operations, etc.) atop is a common application platform and data model.

So what is Microsoft looking to achieve with these changes? Well, business doesn’t end with a customer interaction, and delivering superior customer experiences doesn’t end at the front office. Front office and back office apps need to talk to one another to make sure companies are able to win, serve, and retain customers. Microsoft aims to: 

  • Give employees access to the right data and tools to perform their jobs. By utilizing a common data model, Dynamics 365 will show a consolidated view of the customer, inclusive of transactional data. This consolidated view delivered in the context of business apps will provide marketing, sales, and service professionals the appropriate context and functionality to serve their customers.
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