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Nadella’s Microsoft is obsessed with data-driven growth hacking

CITEworld

Satya Nadella’s message to the Microsoft troops yesterday underlines the way consumerization has changed computing already: To Microsoft, everyone is now a “dual user” who uses technology for work and play. That’s two chances to lose a customer if Microsoft products don’t delight them.

To make sure that those products do delight, and do what people need, Nadella is turning to some of the tenets of Silicon Valley startups like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, AirBnB, and Netflix: Data science and growth hacking.

Change agents and growth hacking

If you talk to people who work at Microsoft, you’ll have heard them use some new language this year, with phrases like “change agent” and “growth hacking.”

Getting comfortable with change and being involved in changing things is what Nadella pointed out that everyone at Microsoft is going to have to do; “Culture change means we will do things differently. Often people think that means everyone other than them. In reality, it means all of us taking a new approach and working together to make Microsoft better.” One Microsoft, as you might say.

And growth hacking is a Silicon Valley startup term that’s a lot more than just viral marketing, SEO, and A/B testing. It’s about turning product development and marketing into a virtuous, data-driven cycle where you get more users by figuring out what users do and don’t want; how they find your product and how they use it.

Josh Elman, now a VC at Greylock, tells a story about growth hacking in the early days of Twitter, when lots of people were signing up but few of them carried on using the service. Instead of emailing those users or trying to show ads to people who might be more likely to stick around, they focused on understanding what was going on.

“We dug in and tried to learn what the ‘aha’ moment was for a new user and then rebuilt our entire new user experience to engineer that more quickly.”

The key was getting people to follow other Twitter users, so they were seeing tweets they would be interested in. “As we kept tweaking the features to focus on helping users achieve these things, our retention dramatically rose,” says Elman.

His advice for growth hacking is very like Adam Pisoni’s principles for turning a company into a responsive organization (something he’s been doing at Microsoft as well as for Yammer customers). Find your heavy users who already love your product and find the features and the pattern of usage that made them into active users. Build things that attract new users — whether that’s your marketing or sharing from existing users — and make sure there’s a way for new users to get started that turns them into active users quickly. Then build more features that your old and new customers will love, and keep on going.

That means getting everyone involved in growth. Early on, Facebook had a growth team that included marketing, business development, product development, finance, and HR. It wasn’t just trying to get more users; it was behind projects like the system for importing email contacts, making Facebook available in multiple languages by crowdsourcing translations of the interface, and even creating the Facebook Lite experimental interface (a slimmed-down version of the site).

 One of the first times I heard “growth hacking” from someone at Microsoft was talking to Jeffery Snover about his “Just in time, just enough admin” toolkit for PowerShell at TechEd this year, when he compared fast releases and agile development to balancing on a bicycle. “You don’t get stability by going slowly,” he pointed out.

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Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

Success in today’s marketplace hinges on innovation. Behemoth enterprises know that in order to stay competitive they need to constantly diversify and improve on their offerings. They need to harness the latest and greatest technologies – but these technologies can’t be made in these large companies’ labs. 

The new technologies are being built in incubators and startups at lightning speeds. Currently, there are 940 vendors in the marketing technology space offering innovative, disruptive solutions, and a lot of consolidation has already taken place here. The giants are relying on the little guys to drive innovation, which is why these small and mid-sized businesses are so important.

Innovation is moving downstream, and with it, marketing automation. In its 2014 Marketing Automation BuyerView, technology guidance firm Software Advice found that 50% of all businesses interested in marketing automation were in the SMB space, and that 90% were considering the technology for the very first time. Similarly, Forrester Research’s most recent Wave report pointed to several vendors who had already taken notice of this windfall, and had developed platforms specific to the small to mid-market consumer.

The lesson to be learned in all this is a simple one: businesses today are looking to move beyond the monolithic, enterprise-level suites of old, toward smaller, smarter, more flexible marketing solutions. In other words, bigger really isn’t better, and the giants of past eras aren’t nearly as gigantic as they once seemed.

For proof of this point, we need only consider the following facts. The marketing automation industry has grown by 50% annually for a number of years now, but has managed only to penetrate a mere 3% of non-tech companies in the mid-market. This leaves open a segment opportunity worth up to $8bn, and yet it is often passed over.

The few businesses that have been savvy enough to tap into this space have reaped tremendous rewards as a result. Act-On, for instance, has garnered 2100 customers across verticals like finance, insurance, agriculture, and manufacturing. Better still, the deals they’ve won have largely been noncompetitive, and from companies that were familiar with marketing automation already but unsure as to what solutions to choose.

More importantly, a great deal of innovation has already taken place at the mid-market level for this one reason: the more modern their marketing techniques are, the better chance small businesses have of competing against larger peers.

As Forrester notes in its recent Wave report, the B2B space for marketing automation is tipped to explode in the coming year, and will likely be driven by small, tech startups; slightly more than 50% of companies in this space already use automated lead-to-revenue management platforms to fuel sales pipelines, improve process maturity, and improve collaboration between sales and marketing. And it won’t be long before others follow suit.

All signs tell us that the days of marketing giants have come and gone. The future of marketing automation will be shaped by the plucky, ever-agile small and mid-market players.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here

Digital Transformation Era Projects a Promising Future for Enterprise Applications Software, Says IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Digital Transformation Era Projects a Promising Future for Enterprise Applications Software, Says IDC

The Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) Enterprise Applications (EA) software market posted a mediocre growth of 5.1% in 2013. Unlike 2012, when the EA market grew 9%, Asian enterprises were more cautious about their investment in 2013. Although organizations were keen in upgrading existing back-office applications to embrace the 3 rd platform technologies – cloud, analytics, mobility, and social – watchful spending strategy of customers and the ad hoc nature of deployments did not warrant for sustained growth in 2013.
“The 3 rd platform technologies, especially cloud, will be a critical driver for enterprise applications growth in APeJ.  Enterprises are moving from an ad hoc deployment of cloud-based applications and other 3 rd platform technologies, to a phase of strategic implementation. This new era of digital transformation and the speed of innovation of Asian businesses is expected to bring the market back on track in 2014 and through the forecast period,” says Sabharinath Bala, Research Manager of IDC’s Asia/Pacific Enterprise Application Software Research.
It was the usual suspects – SAP, Oracle, Yonyou, Infor, and Microsoft – that dominated in the region from a market share perspective, but most of these major vendors were challenged strongly by niche new players as well as the established SaaS/Cloud-based applications vendors. Some of the names noteworthy of mentioning include Cornerstone OnDemand, Kronos, NetSuite, Workday, and Xero – all of which posted strong double-digit growth in 2013.
“Although most of the major vendors have been creating new internal IP, as well as acquiring assets and expanding their cloud capability inorganically, the challenge of integrating these new resources with their existing portfolio and convincing clients and prospects to take the cloud path remained critical in attracting newer EA investments. But this scenario is slowly changing and vendors that rely primarily on maintenance and upgrade revenue for their existing legacy systems will start losing relevance in the coming days. Vendors offering cloud-based systems capable of delivering the agility, flexibility, and scalability of the dynamic Asian businesses, will trump them in their own game,” adds Sabharinath.
IDC expects the overall EA market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% and reach US$9.5 billion in 2018. Double-digit growth is expected from markets like enterprise asset management, logistics, and procurement; and there will be strong support from mature markets like financial accounting, human capital management, and inventory management.

 

World Tech Update- July 17, 2014

IDG News Service

Coming up on WTU Microsoft announces lay off plans, IBM and Apple team up and Google tests out Project Tango in space.

Computerworld Recognizes Organizations Achieving Business Benefits through Big Data with Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards

 Computerworld Recognizes Organizations Achieving Business Benefits through Big Data with Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards

IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company composed of Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld—announces the 2014 Computerworld Data+ Editors’ Choice Award honorees. Recognizing 20 innovative big data initiatives that have delivered significant business value, the awards ceremony will take place at the Data+ conference being held September 7-9, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are pleased to announce the 2014 Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards honorees,” said Scot Finnie, editor in chief, Computerworld. “This year’s honorees have clearly demonstrated how their innovative strategies use data and analytics to make better business decisions, streamline processes and, in some cases, generate new revenue by tapping into new markets and/or creating ancillary data-based services.”

In addition to recognizing the Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards honorees, the Data+ conference will cover key technology topics involved in a data strategy, from making data available quickly, efficiently and affordably to cleansing and connecting it to selected analytics and visualization tools, then driving new business insights and products from those efforts. The Data+ Editors’ Choice honorees will join business leaders and IT decision-maker peers at the Data+ conference. The full conference agenda can be viewed here: Data+ conference agenda.

“The Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards honorees are not only innovative in their use of big data analytics, but also show real-world results and help establish best practices for other IT practitioners in a rapidly expanding technology area,” said Adam Dennison, SVP, publisher, IDG Enterprise. “It’s exciting to honor organizations that are effectively using data to predict business trends and monetize this information. We look forward to hearing more from these organizations as they lead discussions and share case studies with attendees.”

2014 Data+ Editors’ Choice Award Honorees:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee
  • Center for Tropical Agriculture
  • Cisco
  • Colorado Department of Public Safety (Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management)
  • Emory University
  • Google
  • HealthTrust Technology Innovation (Division of HCA Information Technology & Services)
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Intel Corporation
  • Keller Williams Realty
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Kisters
  • Los Angeles Clearinghouse
  • Merck & Co.
  • Persistent Systems
  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
  • Shine Technologies
  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • ThomsonReuters

The Data+ Editors’ Choice Awards honorees and their achievements will also be highlighted in a special September feature on Computerworld.com.

Sponsors
Current Data+ sponsors include: Information Builders, Neudesic, Saxon Global Inc.,ThoughtSpot Inc., and TIBCO Software Inc.For more information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please contact Adam Dennison, SVP, publisher, IDG Enterprise atadennison@idgenterprise.com.

Registration Information
To learn more about the conference, view the agenda, or to register visit:www.dataplusconference.com, call 800.355.0246 or email seminars@nww.com.

About Computerworld’s Data+ Editor’s Choice Awards
The Computerworld Data+ Editors’ Choice awards program was launched in 2013 by IDG’s Computerworld editorial team to recognize organizations that are mining big data to analyze and predict business trends and monetize this information. Organizations were asked to complete questionnaires detailing their big data projects, which were then reviewed by the Computerworld editorial team. From those questionnaires, honorees were selected for their ability to achieve business benefits through big data, and demonstrate real-world results and best practices. View the 2013 winners on Computerworld.com.

About IDG Enterprise
IDG Enterprise, an International Data Group (IDG) company, brings together the leading editorial brands (Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, CSO, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld) to serve the information needs of our technology and security-focused audiences.  As the premier hi-tech B2B media company, we leverage the strengths of our premium owned and operated brands, while simultaneously harnessing their collective reach and audience affinity. We provide market leadership and converged marketing solutions for our customers to engage IT and security decision-makers across our portfolio of award-winning websites, events, magazines, products and services. IDG’s DEMO conferences provide a platform for today’s most innovative and eye-opening technologies to publically launch their solutions.

Company information is available at www.idgenterprise.com
Follow IDG Enterprise on Twitter: @IDGEnterprise #DataPlus
Join IDG Enterprise on LinkedIn
Like IDG Enterprise on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IDG.Enterprise

###

Contact
Whitney Cwirka
Marketing Specialist
IDG Enterprise
wcwirka@idgenterprise.com
Office: 508.935.4414

A walk through the future where everything is connected

CITEworld

Attending a conference on the “Internet of things” is like walking through a bizarro mosaic of the future.

Conferences tend to center on a well-defined market, topic, or large company, and that theme is reflected back in some cohesive fashion by each company in attendance.

“The internet of things”, “smart devices” or “connected devices” (my preferred term), or broad subsets like “wearables” by nature implies just about everything.

Everything, in theory, can connect to everything else via a sensor, processor, and transmitter. That means the boundaries of a connected product and its related vertical markets are, in theory, limitless.

So as you peruse the booths, you see wireless garden sensors next to fabric with sensors literally woven in, you see defense contractor behemoth Booz Allen Hamilton talking about cloud computing solutions across the aisle from a startup shoe sensor company called Boogio (“Makes your shoes smart!”).

As I walked through the vendors and sessions at this week’s Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco, I tried to assemble a picture my future life flooded with all these sensors, embedded everywhere, telling me everything.

Imagine:

As I finish up a work project in my future home, Imprint Energy’s wafer-thin batteries power a wristband running atop VirtualBeam’s motion recognition software which informs me when my hands have been gesturing over my Leap Motion sensor for too long, so I need a break to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. My future wife scans patients at the hospital with Aura’s 3D ear canal scanning system but her Emotiv electroencephalography headband scans her brainwaves and lets me know that it’s been a stressful day for her. I send our drone to go pick up tacos for dinner.

My future daughter plays in the backyard and I know she’s okay because Sensirion’s outdoor sensors tell me that the humidity and temperature are reasonable, not to mention the Leo bands around her legs tell me she’s well hydrated and her muscles are moving well (i.e. she’s running around happily) and her SunFriend wristband indicates her UV intake is still low. My future son practices the virtual drums with his Moff wristbands as he gets ready for his football game where Flextronics sensors will map his muscle motions on each tackle (good form or not?) and his i1 Biometrics mouthguard will alert me in real time when he gets a concussion and store the data in the cloud.

And that is the really the binding agent of all these seemingly random companies.

“It’s about the data!” Frank Ball, CEO of vascular imaging company Evena Medical, booms during his talk. “We’ve heard about generating data. But the money is being in the pipeline that processes that data…. We call this whole morass ‘the data hurricane’.”

Read more…

IDG Tech Marketing Priorities Survey

Screen Shot 2014 07 16 at 10.35.17 AM IDG Tech Marketing Priorities Survey

Welcome to IDG’s Tech Marketing Priorities Survey. We are conducting this survey of senior marketing leaders to provide better insight into the state of marketing among technology marketers.Your answers are confidential and will be used only in combination with other survey respondents. The survey will take 15-20 minutes to complete.  As a thank you for completing the survey, we will send you an executive summary of the research results so you can see how your company’s marketing priorities align with those of your peers. In addition, we will send the first 200 respondents a $20 Amazon.com gift card. Thank you in advance for your participation.  Your opinion is extremely important to us and we appreciate your time.

To participate, simply click here or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

http://survey.researchresults.com/survey/selfserve/53b/s0064076?list=4

IDG Enterprise 2014 Role and Influence White Paper

 IDG Enterprise 2014 Role and Influence White Paper

New IDG Enterprise research looks at the evolving role of content in marketing strategies and the IT purchase process — and how making the right moves directly impact its success. As technology becomes central to business growth for organizations across all industries, more IT projects are being driven —and funded — by the business, than ever before. Some see this shift as a threat to the CIO and the rest of the IT team. Although some budgets may be shifting, the IT team’s influence on, and involvement in, technology purchases remains strong.

Download the IDG Enterprise 2014 Mapping the Customer Journey white paper

Personal Computing’s Big Three Get a Little Bigger

The New York Times

Three companies are pulling away from the pack in the PC business.

Counts of second-quarter personal computer shipments released Wednesday by two major analysis companies showed a slower-than-expected decline in PC shipments worldwide, with wealthy markets like the United States showing decent growth. But in poorer countries, alternatives such as low-cost tablets continued to affect PC sales.

The real surprise in the numbers was the relative strength of the three biggest PC makers — Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell — compared to the loss of market share by almost everyone else. Lenovo appeared to have solidified its lead as the world’s biggest PC maker, a title for which it contested with H.P. for several quarters.

One of the analysis companies, International Data Corporation, said worldwide PC shipments totaled 74.4 million units in the second quarter, a drop of 1.7 percent from the same quarter of 2013. The important United States market grew 6.9 percent, to 16.7 million units. Gartner put worldwide shipments at 75.8 million units, an increase of 0.1 percent, and United States shipments at 15.9 million units, up 7.4 percent.

Among the top five vendors, which also included Acer and Asus, global shipments rose 9.8 percent year-on-year, IDC said, while the rest of the market, made up of about 15 other computer companies, declined 18.5 percent. Gartner said companies not in the top five had a net decline in shipments of 13.8 percent.

IDC said Lenovo had 19.6 million units shipped to the world market, a rise of 15.1 percent. H.P. was second, with 13.6 million units, up 10.3 percent, and Dell was third at 10.4 million units, up 13.2 percent. Acer’s shipments fell 2.5 percent, to 6.1 million units, and Asus managed a 3.3 percent gain, to 4.6 million units.

Gartner’s percentages were much the same, though it scored an even steeper fall for Acer and a better performance for Asus. Even last quarter, according to both research companies, the companies outside the top five had 40 percent of the global PC market; now they are closer to a third. And the analysts expect them to fall further.

The better-than-expected overall performance for PC shipments was attributed to a number of factors, including strong business demand after the discontinuation of support for an older version of Microsoft’s Windows PC operating system, and consumer interest in lower-priced laptops.

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PC Rebound in Mature Regions Stabilizes Market, But Falls Short of Overall Growth in the Second Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 PC Rebound in Mature Regions Stabilizes Market, But Falls Short of Overall Growth in the Second Quarter of 2014, According to IDC

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 74.4 million units in the second quarter of 2014 (2Q14), a year-on-year decline of -1.7%, according to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. The results reflect the smallest decline in global PC shipments since the second quarter of 2012 when declining shipments of mini notebooks combined with a surge in tablet sales to disrupt the PC market.

Buoyed by both continued business PC replacements and returning consumer interest, the preliminary results for 2Q14 are markedly better than the projected decline of -7.1% for the quarter. Despite the end of Windows XP support in early April, it appears many Windows XP migrations continue to take place. Most major vendors saw solid growth, and early indications also point to desktop shipments being stronger than expected in some areas, signaling continued business buying. The consumer side also appears stronger than expected, with growing activity among the lower-priced models as well as Chromebooks.

On a geographic basis, Europe, the United States, and Canada showed the strongest growth, reflecting more stable conditions. Japan would have joined list but for the dramatic surge last quarter and new taxes that limited second quarter growth. In contrast, emerging regions continue to see declining PC volumes as weaker economies and political issues combine to depress growth.

“The recent strength in mature regions is a positive sign,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President, Worldwide PC Trackers. “However, an important part of this strength is driven by the rebound from weaker demand last year and to potentially short-term replacement activity. We can look for some recovery in emerging regions going forward, but it may coincide with slower growth in mature regions. We do not see the recent gains as a motive to raise the long-term outlook although 2014 growth could get closer to flat, rather than the May projection of -6%.”

The PC industry remains intensely competitive, with factors such as economy of scale and channel reach continuing to add to the shift toward mobility and new designs in driving market consolidation. While the top 5 PC vendors grew 9.8% year on year in 2Q14, the rest of the market declined -18.5% on the year.

“The better than expected results seem to arise from two places. One encouraging factor was a good intake of lower-end systems, including Chromebooks, which coincides with the recent slowing in tablet growth and perhaps signals the beginning of some stabilization on the consumer side,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide PC Trackers. “In addition, a sizable number of PCs are still running Windows XP and the impetus to upgrade them continued to boost shipments in the second quarter.”

“In the United States, better alignment with channel partners and internal restructuring helped HP and Dell to grow faster than the market, further consolidating share to 53% between these two leaders. Lenovo and Toshiba also gained share with the highest growth among the top 5 players,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, IDC Personal Computers. “Moving forward, strong sales in the back-to-school season and healthy consumer sales in the holiday season should keep the U.S. PC market in positive territory for the rest of the year.”

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