Monday, August 30, 2010

Yankee Group Survey Finds Infrastructure-as-a-Service Adoption Growing

SaaS' younger sibling just got an ego boost. According to Yankee Group, 24 percent of large enterprises with cloud experience are already using IaaS, and an additional 37 percent expect to adopt IaaS during the next 24 months. While adoption is still much slower than that of SaaS solutions, the market is gaining traction.

A new report from the Yankee uncovers adoption trends for this pay-as-you-go infrastructure solution, including:

-- Expedited adoption. Sixty percent of enterprises considering IaaS in the next 24 months are actually planning to implement it in the next 12 months.

-- Barriers to IaaS. The No. 1 barrier for enterprises considering IaaS adoption is virtualization security, but those that have already deployed IaaS rank regulatory compliance, data migration, reliability, employee use and quantitative benefits higher.

-- Preferred partners. Though the majority of all cloud adopters view systems integrators as their most trusted partners for cloud computing (29 percent), IaaS early adopters say telecom companies are best positioned for cloud services (33 percent).

More information on SaaS can be found at

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Than One-Third of Employers Use Social Media to Promote Their Organizations

As companies emerge from one of the steepest economic downturns in history, they understand the significant reach and importance of using social media to promote and rebuild their organizations. A new CareerBuilder survey reports that 35 percent of employers use social media to promote their company. One-quarter (25 percent) of these employers said that they are using social media to connect with clients and find new business, while others are using it to recruit and research potential employees (21 percent), or strengthen their employment brands (13 percent). The survey was conducted among more than 2,500 employers between May 18 and June 3, 2010.

Businesses of all sizes and industries report using social media to promote their companies. Twenty-nine percent of organizations with 500 or fewer employees said they do so, followed by 38 percent of companies with 501 to 1,000 employees and 44 percent of companies with more than 1,000 workers. Comparing industries, leisure and hospitality topped those surveyed with 57 percent saying the use social media to promote their business, followed by IT, (48 percent), retail (43 percent) and sales (41 percent).

When it comes to managing social media strategy, 43 percent of employers report that their marketing department handles social media outreach, followed by public relations (26 percent) and human resources (19 percent). One-quarter (25 percent) of employers have 1-3 people communicating on behalf of their organization, while 7 percent report that 4-5 people handle the work. Eleven percent said that more than six people communicate for their company via social media. Fifty-seven percent said they didn't know.

Workers report that they are turning to social media sites for more than connecting with friends. They're also using social media to research companies and jobs. Workers who come across company pages on social media sites shared what they would most like to see, including:

-- Job listings - 35 percent
-- Q&A or fast facts about the organization - 26 percent
-- Information about career paths within the organization - 23 percent
-- Evidence that working at the company is fun - 16 percent
-- Employee testimonials - 16 percent
-- Pictures of company events - 12 percent
-- Video of new products/services - 10 percent
-- Company awards - 9 percent
-- Research or studies that the company has conducted - 9 percent
-- Videos of a day on the job - 8 percent

On the flip side, workers also shared the biggest turnoffs when encountering a company via social media, including the company's communication reading like an ad (38 percent), failure to reply to questions (30 percent), failure to regularly post information (22 percent) and removing or filtering public comments (22 percent).

More information on social media can be found at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Perfect Marriage of Content and Technology: Is Social Media the New CRM?

A new study by King Fish Media reveals that despite the clear reliance on specific technological platforms, marketers who have made content king are seeing the best results. That said, showing positive results for social media initiatives are not yet a requirement for funding at many organizations.

Among the key findings of the survey:

-- 85% of survey respondents say that original content is critical to the success of their social media campaign.

-- Branded original and expert content is used more often than any other type of content. And development of an audience for content is one of the top objectives of marketers.

-- 43% of respondents revealed that they don't need to show positive ROI to get social media funding from their organization.

-- Nearly three quarters of all companies (72%) currently have a social media strategy, and of those that don't, the vast majority (80%) will within the next year.

-- Only 9% of surveyed organizations have full-time positions dedicated to managing social media responsibilities, while 90% include those as part of someone's overall responsibilities.

-- 85% of companies are handling their social media efforts internally.

-- Two thirds of the company's surveyed (67%) focus their social media efforts on their company as a whole, while 41% promote individuals within the company and 24% promote a specific brand.

-- Original content, both branded and expert, is by far the most used tactic for social media (73% and 72%, respectively). Video content (51%), user case studies (45%), and reviews (41%) are also used by roughly half of all respondents.

More information on Social Media can be found at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Insufficient Budgets, Shortage of Skills and Inadequate Tools Hinder Marketing Efforts

Marketing executives responsible for driving corporate growth are being hampered in their efforts by insufficient budgets, skills shortages and inadequate tools, according to a new study by Accenture. The study also found that marketers today are increasingly challenged by their companies’ customers who demand greater value, quality and service.

The 400 senior marketing executives surveyed for the study across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America said their top strategic objectives include improving operational efficiency, increasing profitability and responding effectively to change. However, the barriers they said they must overcome to achieve those objectives, include: inefficient business practices (cited by 21 percent of marketers), inadequate funding or other resources (17 percent), insufficient integration with other business functions (15 percent), a lack of required skills (13 percent) and lack of access to the customer data they need (6 percent).

Additionally, only 23 percent of the marketers said their organizations excelled in customer analytics, innovation, customer engagement and marketing operations at the same time and 33 percent said they did not perform well in any of those areas.

To achieve their growth objectives, marketers most frequently said they must master customer analytics (cited by 65 percent of the marketers), offer innovation (64 percent) and improve customer engagement and marketing operations (57 percent each).

However, marketers most frequently said they did not make effective use of online communities (cited by 43 percent of marketers), direct mail and telemarketing (37 percent); new digital marketing (34 percent); and online advertising (31 percent).

The three business issues the marketers most frequently said they want to address are customer retention and loyalty, new customer acquisition and sales numbers among existing customers. But they reported that changes in customer expectations are impacting their marketing strategies. For instance:

-- 72 percent of them said that “most or all” of their customers expect more value for money.

-- 71 percent said customers have higher product quality expectations.

-- 69 percent said customers are increasingly price sensitive.

-- 68 percent said customers have higher customer service expectations.

-- 66 percent said customers expect businesses to have greater respect for their time. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enterprise Workforce Management High on the Agenda for Top Performing Retailers

In the face of slow consumer spend and the rise of competitive cross-channel shopping alternatives, retailers are under pressure to increase labor management visibility and effectiveness on an organization-wide basis. Forty five percent (45%) of top performing retailers are using an organization-wide workforce management approach to formulate strategic long-term workforce management decision-making. The impetus for this centralization comes directly from the desire to enhance the customer shopping experience in the face of increased competition (55%), according to the Aberdeen Group report, Enterprise Workforce Management for Retailers: Enhanced Customer and Operational Productivity. The research from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company, details the business benefits derived from upgraded enterprise workforce management-based internal process optimization.

According to Aberdeen data, as a means to increase margins and customer retention, as well as decrease labor turnover rate, core workforce management functions are being driven from the HQ level. In fact, 82% of top retailers are working to make time and attendance a multi-departmental initiative, compared to 58% of average, and 17% of lagging organizations. Additionally, 64% of these same out-performing organizations are making scheduling a multi-initiative compared to 46% of average, and 16% of lagging organizations.

Aberdeen data also shows that more than two thirds of top performing retailers are sharing store-level demand data with the entire enterprise (70%). Additionally, 60% of these same top retailers are reversing this process to provide the store-level with access to important fulfillment data, such as product date of delivery and shipment order status. 

More information on CRM can be found at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Study Finds Twitter Users Three Times More Likely to Impact Brands Online

A new study released by ExactTarget finds consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand’s online reputation through syndicated Tweets, blog posts, articles and product reviews than the average consumer.

The survey of more than 1,500 consumers identifies top motivations for following brands on Twitter and provides new insight into consumers’ expectations for interacting with brands online.

Key findings of the research include:

-- Twitter users are the most influential online consumers – 72 percent publish blog posts at least monthly, 70 percent comment on blogs, 61 percent write at least one product review monthly and 61 percent comment on news sites.

-- Daily Twitter users are 6 times more likely to publish articles, five times more likely to post blogs, seven times more likely to post to Wikis and three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users.

-- 23 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates at least monthly.

-- 11 percent of online consumers read Twitter updates, but do not have a Twitter account themselves.

-- 20 percent of consumers indicate they have followed a brand in order to interact with the company – more than become email subscribers or Facebook fans for the sake of interaction.

-- Men are more than twice as likely as women to follow brands on Twitter to interact with the company (29 percent compared to 13 percent).

-- Nine out of the 10 most common motivations for consumers to follow a brand on Twitter involve consumers seeking information from a company. 

More information can be found at 

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Research Shows Nearly Four out of Five Clients Have Had Internal Discussions About Cloud Computing

TPI, a sourcing data and advisory firm, has released a new report on corporate IT decision-makers’ plans for Cloud Computing in the immediate future. Among the findings, 78 percent of clients indicated they have had internal discussions about Cloud Computing.

TPI recently surveyed more than 140 corporate IT decision-makers globally for their perspectives on Cloud Computing and where it fits into their service delivery strategies. The results indicate large corporations are interested in Cloud Computing because it offers a myriad of benefits without the exhaustive capital investments and resource-consuming projects characterizing the last four decades of corporate computing, not to mention the promise of cost reduction and nimbleness often discussed yet rarely achieved.

For small and mid-sized companies, Cloud Computing offers the promise of robust and highly scalable computing solutions nearly equal to those available to their much larger competitors, but without the same level of investment.

Yet Cloud Computing also poses risks. The TPI Research found that five concerns consistently arise in corporations’ discussions about migrating business services to the Cloud:

-- 79 percent of respondents say data security is inadequate or unclear
-- 50 percent fear non-compliance with regulatory requirements
-- 50 percent fear business continuity or disaster recovery issues
-- 49 percent are concerned about integrating Cloud solutions with legacy systems
-- 49 percent are concerned that others may gain access to company data

These risks have caused many companies to focus their initial embrace on more secure private Clouds, particularly since they do not know who can currently protect their data and consistently deliver service to meet the high expectations of their business customers.

More information on CRM can be found at