Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld Shows How the Cloud Socially Enables the Enterprise

icons in handWithout question, much of the excitement around Oracle OpenWorld this year surrounds the cloud as the host mechanism for the socially enabled enterprise. Only the cloud offers the needed power, capacity and speed to take full advantage of the waves of big data consumers are willingly offering up to corporations via social plus multiple other touch points.


Of course, to take advantage of this enormous opportunity, those same corporations must make sure that consumer data from those varied sources are fully integrated, creating a treasure chest of data from which any function within the organization can parse and pull, each for their own purposes.


The result is a markedly increased ability to know the customer intimately, to time and personalize offerings expertly, and to predict what the customer is likely to want/need. In other words, it makes possible a customer experience that “wows” the consumer, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.


Silos inside organizations are crumbling to accommodate this vision. Departments, especially those of the CMO and CIO, are drawing together in a never before seen symbiotic relationship. Likewise, the tools they use must also draw together and work together, and that happens in the cloud.


Getting it right and being customer-centric has never been more critical for success. The public is always on the go, always connected, always influencing and always interacting, both with brands and each other. And oh yeah, they fully expect accurate, real-time, useful responses, something internal IT alone is greatly challenged to accomplish.


Making the task even more herculean is the sheer number of social accounts corporations are managing. Altimeter Group says companies now average about 178 corporate-owned social media accounts. Multiple social accounts, multiple devices, multiple social networks, multiple departments, multiple data sources…all those “multiples” can be managed, shared and acted only if an integrated, seamless enterprise platform has been brought to the table.


Oracle OpenWorld sessions such as “Socially Enable Your Enterprise to Maximize Your Customer Experience” are pointing out to attendees the importance of a cloud-based mission-critical enterprise infrastructure, platform and applications suite that includes social relationship management tools that extends social’s power across marketing, sales, customer service, and HR. (And that’s to say nothing of the cloud-based social enablement of internal-only functions)


That kind of extensive social insight and data, when married to other enterprise data, is what provides the foundation of the socially enabled enterprise, able to deliver the kind of enhanced, seamless customer experiences that make brands irresistible.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Sep 06, 2013

The Social Cloud Primer

The foundation for the socially-enabled enterprise is cloud-based platforms and software. It has increasingly become the accepted foundation for facilitating integrated processes and data across the organization. And there’s a lot of good news about that. After all, who thinks better efficiencies, more actionable data, improved customer experiences and lower costs sounds like a bad idea?

First, a refresher on what it means to be a socially-enabled enterprise.

Social has become essential for every consumer-facing department and business application. As silos crumble, an integrated approach to data is no longer an innovation or luxury…it’s what is required to remain relevant and competitive.

The socially-enabled enterprise is key for modern customer experiences. Social users are perpetually connected, mobile, and vocal. And because they expect gratifying, real-time responses, corporate workflows are getting spun like a top. Altimeter Group says companies manage an average 178 corporate-owned social media accounts, meaning that for social, systems are needed for publishing, analytics, listening, moderation, engagement, paid social, content management, social app development, marketing automation and admin…none of which can be islands unto themselves.

And that’s just social data. Enterprise data growth is expected to continue at 40% through 2020. The ideal scenario is for the value of all that social data you’re now pulling in to be amplified via integration with other core business applications. Now you’re discovering insights you didn’t know existed, you’re developing dynamic, real-time dashboards, reports and alerts for rapid decision-making, and you’re maxing out your Customer Service, Sales, and Support applications.

About now, you’re getting an idea of the speed, flexibility and processing power this ideal scenario calls for, and that’s where the cloud floats to the rescue. Only a cloud-based, enterprise infrastructure, platform and applications suite that extends social’s power across all consumer-facing touch points can give you the social insight + enterprise data combo that make actionable, real-time views of the customer work.

A 2012 Gartner Data Center Conference poll showed almost 9 out of 10 organizations were planning, piloting, or already using a private cloud. Others are deploying public/private hybrid clouds. But increasingly, businesses are seeing a) the need to process and utilize the vast amounts of Big Data now available and b) the need to rapidly, confidently deploy technologies that become available faster and faster.

With that kind of workload becoming the norm, on-site, traditional IT infrastructures are quickly becoming the most expensive, most inefficient proposition available. Data analysis is faster in the cloud, resources can be added and deployed as needed, and stakeholders can tap into the same data pool to satisfy their varied goals.

However…despite the benefits of systems being integrated in the cloud, many businesses are choosing the quagmire of using multiple cloud vendors for multiple processes. Recently, polled business managers reported staff downtime, missed business deadlines, and stunted innovation initiatives thanks to poor/no integration of cloud applications from multiple vendors. The 2013 InformationWeek State of Cloud Computing Survey showed 66% are using 2-5 providers, and 33% don’t integrate cloud services. It’s a one shop, legitimately integrated enterprise cloud that delivers the kinds of user experiences that make competitors sweat.

Adoption is happening. In 2012, spending on cloud tech was expected to increase by about 25%. IT departments inside the enterprise are standing toe to toe with the future, and must decide whether or not to up their strategic importance by embracing its changing role. Because with the enormity of intelligence that social offers, data collection, processing and analysis is the only hope of bringing order to metrics chaos so brands can fully reap the monetary benefits of intimately knowing their customer.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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