|By David Strom||
|December 19, 2012 09:44 AM EST||
Sometimes, it is those of us in the tech industry who are our own worse examples of actually using the technologies that we have created. Take the example of tools that variously go under the headings of sentiment analysis, social CRM, engagement measurement, social media management, enterprise listening platforms or social media marketing. These things help you figure out when you should Tweet or post, who is most influential among your social networks, and what conversations you should pay attention to. They offer pretty dashboards and real-time data feeds so you can control the social conversations around your brand.
I am starting a project for Network World reviewing these tools. So far, I have found nearly 100 of them, but I can only review 8. But that isn’t the problem. My issue is that I would expect that these vendors would be sterling examples of how to engage their own audiences. Not true, no way, sorry to say.
Example #1. By now, it should be obvious that a software vendor should make it easier for their potential customers if they actually want to purchase their product. So how about putting a phone number on the home page, just in case someone wants to call? Less than half of the vendors do this, or make it so hard to find their contact information. Almost all of them use Web forms that you have to fill out, which is less than satisfying because you have no recourse if you don’t get any follow up. One vendor takes you to a form on their Facebook page, which is interesting but not very helpful.
Example #2. The same should be true for displaying a press contact. Again, less than half of the vendors have this information, or make it so hard to find. Others, such as Google, ignored my emails entirely. Written on one vendor’s press page, I had to laugh: “Hi! We love you, you dashing citizen of the fourth estate. Even though we don’t know you personally yet, I can tell we’re going to get on famously. Can I get you a drink?” Now we are talking! While you don’t have to buy me a beer, it would be nice if the press contact was in plain sight.
Example #3. How easy is it to find these vendors on Twitter? You would think that placing a little bird icon at the top of their home page linking you to their Twitter accounts would be easy. And indeed, most of them (but not all) do include this information somewhere on their sites. One vendor had a broken link that didn’t take them to their Twitter account but someplace else entirely.
But let’s go beyond actually having a link to the ID, and see how engaged they are with their accounts. It is a spotty record, to be sure.
Some vendors have thousands of Tweets and followers, which is what you would expect from people in this space. Hootsuite is the Justin Bieber of social media tracking tools with more than four million followers, and dozens of daily tweets. (He is at 31 million, BTW.) The major vendors in this space, including Google, Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe, also have big followings and lots of tweets.
But when you get beyond the big guns and look around, it is disappointing. Very few of these vendors actually use their own products to track engagement and mentions. I started posting tweets with the vendor Twitter IDs (once I found them), asking them to get in touch with me. A very small number of vendors responded at all. An even smaller number started following me or sent me messages saying they wanted to help my project. How do these vendors expect anyone to use their products if they don’t track their own brands? Hmm.
Many of these are software efforts from marketing companies, or ad agencies, or others who should know better. Or so I thought.
Example #4: Pricing. I have written before about those vendors that don’t want to put pricing information online, but the social media tools that I am looking at really try to obfuscate their pricing. Perhaps because every deal is a custom negotiation, perhaps because they just don’t want you, the customer, to know. In this particular and chaotic market, prices vary all over the place. Some tools are designed for single users while others are geared for large teams. Some have freemium models, others have one-time fees like traditional packaged software.
There was one site that had an explicit “Pricing” tab at the top of their home page: I thought, at last! When I clicked on it, I came to a page that had all sorts of details about the various plans they offered, but no dollar signs anywhere to be found (See above).
Gremln is an exception: they actually put their prices right at the bottom of their home page. Kudos to them. (No phone number, though.)
As I said, I am just starting out on this project for Network World. If you have any experience with these products, send me a tweet or an email. And if you want to see my collection of vendors, I have put together a list here.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 7, 2016 07:00 AM EST Reads: 101
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 709
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:15 PM EST Reads: 328
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 6, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 355
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 6, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 345
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 6, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 541
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 6, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 121
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 6, 2016 11:00 AM EST
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 6, 2016 09:00 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 6, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 332
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 775
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 406
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 839
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 923
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 718
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,135
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,201
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 798
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 775
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,259