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The Rise of Cloud in the Channel

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 The Rise of Cloud in the Channel

Cloud services represent a growing opportunity for partners of all types in a wide array of activities across resale, services, and development. However, it’s of key importance that partners have an understanding of the what, where, how, and why of cloud services prior to embarking on wholesale business strategy change.

This IDC study, commissioned by Microsoft, examines the implications of becoming a successful cloud partner in 2013. Developed with insight garnered through in-depth conversations with leading Microsoft cloud partners and backed by supportive survey data (see methodology for further details), it provides a profile of the potential upside of integrating cloud to a partner’s mix of solution offerings.Finally, it concludes with guidance as a partner begins, or continues, their journey into the cloud.

the rise of the cloud in the channel The Rise of Cloud in the Channel

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

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

Twitter Is Cracking Down On Companies That Provide Stats About Its Users

Business Insider

Twitter has taken the unusual step of shutting off its datapipe to certain companies that have published their own stats on how big Twitter’s user base really is, according to two sources.

The move comes after Twitter’s stock was hammered in the early part of the year when investors discovered growth in monthly active users (MAUs) was slowing or stagnant, and that measures of engagement per user were on the decline.

Since then, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has ordered a revamp of the Twitter user interface in order to make it easier and more attractive for people to use. He also reshuffled his management ranks, getting rid of a COO with largely financial background and replacing him with a product chief from Google.

At the same time, Twitter’s stock price rose nicely. Some analysts see it hitting $60 a share (see disclosure below).

But third-party companies that published their own measures of Twitter’s user base were a thorn in Twitter’s side. While Costolo touted the company’s growth to 255 million MAUs, Business Insider was able to report that the number was only a fraction of the 1 billion people who had tried Twitter.

Most people who sign up for Twitter abandon it, it seems. Also, most people on Twitter don’t tweet, according to third-party apps that accessed Twitter’s data firehose.

Now, companies that used to provide that data have been axed from Twitter’s application programming interface (API), the firehose of data that software development companies can plug into in order to build useful products for Twitter and its users.

Twitter declined to comment when reached by Business Insider.

We don’t know why Twitter has begun culling developers from its API, but one theory might be that it has nothing to do with wanting to restrict who sees user data. Rather, Twitter has been slowly building a very nice data business of its own, which will probably book $100 million in revenue this year. The company may simply have decided it is time to end the free ride for developers who give away for free what Twitter would rather charge for.

“They shut me down last Friday night after the market closed,” one developer told Business Insider.

 

 

Why Facebook’s user experiment is bad news for businesses

CITEworld

The big data problem isn’t just about handling petabytes of information, or asking the right question, or avoiding false correlations (like understanding that just because more people drown at the same time as more ice cream is eaten, banning ice cream won’t reduce drownings).

It’s also about handling data responsibly. And so far, we’re not doing as well with that as we could be.

First Target worked out how to tell if you’re pregnant before your family does and decided to disguise its creepy marketing by mixing in irrelevant coupons with the baby offers. Then Facebook did research to find out if good news makes you depressed by showing some people more bad news and discovered that no, we’re generous enough to respond to positive posts with more positivity.

But if companies keep using the information about us in creepy ways instead of responsible ones, maybe we’ll stop being generous enough to share it. And that could mean we lose out on more efficient transport, cleaner cities and cheaper power, detecting dangerous drug interactions and the onset of depression — and hundreds of other advances we can get by applying machine learning to big data.

It’s time for a big data code of conduct.

Facebook’s dubious research is problematic for lots of reasons. For one thing, Facebook’s policy on what it would do with your data didn’t mention research until four months after it conducted the experiment. Facebook’s response was essentially to say that “everyone does it” and “we don’t have to call it research if it’s about making the service better” and other weasel-worded corporate comments. And the researcher’s apology was more about having caused anxiety by explaining the research badly than about having manipulated what appeared in timelines, because Facebook is manipulating what you see in your timeline all the time. Of course, that’s usually to make things better, not to see what your Pavlovian reaction to positive or negative updates is. The fact that Facebook can’t see that one is optimizing information and the other is treating users as lab rats — and that the difference is important — says that Facebook needs a far better ethics policy on how it mines user data for research.

Plus, Facebook has enough data that it shouldn’t have needed to manipulate the timelines in the first place; if its sentiment analysis was good enough to tell the difference between positive and negative posts (which is doubtful given how basic it was and how poor sentiment analysis tools are at detecting sarcasm), it should have been able to find users who were already seeing more positive or more negative updates than most users and simply track how positive or negative their posts were afterwards. When you have a hypothesis, you experiment on your data, not your users.

That’s how Eric Horvitz at Microsoft Research has run experiments to detect whether you’re likely to get depression, whether two drugs are interacting badly, whether a cholera epidemic is about to happen, and whether people are getting used to cartel violence in Mexico.

Using public Twitter feeds and looking at language, how often people tweet and at what time of day and how that changes, Horvitz’s team was able to predict with 70% accuracy who was going to suffer depression (which might help people get treatment and reduce the suicide rate from depression). Not only did they use information people were already sharing, they asked permission to look at them.

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Is Big Data a ‘Big Deal’ to your Company?

Network World

There’s no doubt that big data is a big deal to companies today.

The benefits of big data include greater insight into customer sentiment, improved employee productivity, smoother operations and processes, and better decision making. And it’s not just talk; a growing number of companies are taking action to implement big data projects. According to a recent survey by IDG, 49 percent of the 751 respondents say they are implementing or are likely to implement big data projects in the future, with 12 percent reporting that they have already implemented such projects.

As big data projects move from the planning to implementation stage, however, many companies are learning that they aren’t prepared for all of the changes that these projects bring. Big data by definition involves very large quantities of unstructured data in various formats that often changes in real time. Because big data encompasses so much information in so many formats that must be pulled together for analysis, it has significant impact on enterprise networks and IT infrastructures.  

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Microsoft’s updated privacy policy makes it clear it’s not selling ads against your words

IDG News Service

Microsoft said Wednesday that by the end of July it will implement an updated, simplified privacy and services policy that makes clear the company will not snoop on your email or Skype calls to sell you advertising.

The updated privacy policy is already available to examine on Microsoft’s site, where the company breaks down what information it does collect from users, and for what purpose. Microsoft said that it had worked to simplify the agreement, while trying to call out the important details that Microsoft’s users care about. The related Microsoft Services Agreement applies to all of Microsoft’s services, from Outlook.com to Office to OneDrive.

The new policy will take effect on July 31. At that time, use of Microsoft’s services will constitute opting into the agreement, Microsoft said. If you want to opt out, you’ll need to stop using the services or close your account.

Microsoft made it clear that, at least for advertising purposes, it does not listen in on your private communications. “As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we have updated the Microsoft Services Agreement to state that we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail to target advertising to you,” the company said. “Nor do we use your documents, photos, or other personal files to target advertising to you.”

Microsoft did not explicitly refer to Google or any other competitor, but the message was clear: While rivals like Google may sell ads against your content, Microsoft will not. In 2012, Google consolidated its privacy policy as well, sharing information to provide a more cohesive profile of its users. U.S. lawmakers and Europeans went ballistic, charging that the information was being collected without consent, and without enough provisions to opt out.

Oh, Microsoft’s snooping, all right

But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft isn’t collecting your data at all—quite the opposite, in fact. The policy makes clear that Microsoft may ask for personal information when you sign up for a service, including your name and location.

Users also implicitly consent to Microsoft’s recording their voices and other content to improve its services. “And you may provide content – your communications and your files – while using our sites and services,” the updated privacy policy states. “Content includes the words in an email in Outlook.com or the photos and documents stored on OneDrive.”

And if Microsoft doesn’t get the information it wants, it can always buy what it needs from a third-party company, it warns.

Microsoft already uses your information to improve its services. (Its digital assistant, Cortana, is governed by the privacy policy of Windows Phone.) It also uses that information to provide targeted ads—the more information an advertiser knows about you, the more interesting the ad. (A Microsoft page allows you to opt out of targeted ads.)

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Marketing to the Data Driven Customer

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Marketing to the Data Driven Customer

By Gerry Murray

The digital native generation is bringing new expectations to brand relationships. They are mobile first, crowd sourced, and data savvy. Their first and most frequent interaction with your brand will be digital and mobile. They find out what’s cool, what’s trending, and what’s most likely to work best for them from their social networks. They don’t have emotional attachments to brands because the product is compelling or the advertising is cool. Their emotional engagement comes from unexpected insights that make them more successful. This is the new basis of customer loyalty, advocacy, and lifetime value.

Of course you still need a compelling product and cool ads (or messaging.) But once the prospect is a customer, continual engagement depends on over the top data driven insights. It’s no longer enough to just sell the hammers and saws and let the buyer go build their house. You need to monitor how they are using the hammer and saw. You need to deliver success by guiding their use of your product based on the behavior of your most successful customers. You need to leverage your position as the center of your customer universe to share best practices quickly and efficiently. The only way to do that at scale is through data.

Data Ownership vs Data Stewardship

In between the lines, you should be hearing a new philosophy with respect to customer data. Even though legally you “own” it, the data driven customer expects you to act as a data steward. You must treat their data as an asset to be used for their benefit, not just as the basis for driving revenue. Everything you provide to your customers should be designed to bring data back. Your customers should learn that the more data they provide, the more value they get in return – without negative side effects like having their data sold to an irrelevant ad network. Give to get and maintain the trust.

This has tremendous implications. Not only for marketers. Data marketing requires coordination with product development, IT, finance, fulfillment, point of sale, customer support, consulting services, sales. All these groups interact with customers and capture data on different aspects of their behavior – product usage, purchasing, problem resolution, planning, advocacy, etc. They all need to be understood to identify the most successful customers and the traits that drive their success. You can create tiers of services based on the level at which customer provide data. You can create cohorts of customers that exclude direct competitors. You can support exchanges within your customer ecosystem that enable strategic accounts to benefit from preferred peers. You can be extremely creative about how you structure your data marketing services.

The message is that in a world of shrinking product cycles, cheap knockoffs, and copycat services, data marketing is the new source of differentiation. No one else has the data you (should) have on how customers can be most successful with your products. Use it to attract and retain the best and leave the rest to your competitors.

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Who legally owns your Big Data?

CITEworld

People may disagree about the meaning of the term “big data,” but they agree that businesses can gain advantages by analyzing large data sets in the cloud. The trick is getting the right data.

While a given company may have a significant amount of data on hand, often that data is fragmented and incomplete, which can hamper the company’s ability to realize the promise of big data. Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem of insufficient data: Buy more.

Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have started to make supplemental data available to their clients. Salesforce.com, Oracle and other vendors, for example, will help a company cleanse its data and add new data to its existing data sets.

So what’s the problem? Well, in many cases you are not really buying the data itself, you’re merely buying a license to use the data for a period of time. The company providing the third-party data owns the information–not you.

Often, once your license to the data ends, your right to possess the data also ends. This means that all the reports, dashboards and metrics you built on the third-party data may need to be revised or replaced once the contract ends.

Another problem that often arises in these contracts is that the provider can analyze your data and create aggregate data that is based, in part, on your data. Many contracts include a provision that gives the SaaS provider the right to analyze your data and create derivative aggregate data based on your data and your usage of their systems. These contracts also say that the provider owns that aggregate data and can exploit it in any manner the provider deems appropriate.

The best means of protecting yourself is to carefully read and understand the terms of the contracts with your data vendors. Often these provisions can be negotiated–for example, you can require that your data to be anonymized when it’s used by the vendor.

The key is to carefully think through what rights you have (and need) in regards to your data so you can avoid problems down the road.

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A Complete Data Picture of the Data+ Attendee

 A Complete Data Picture of the Data+ Attendee

The Data+ infographic presents a complete picture of the Data+ attendee – from their level of IT influence to their data challenges and their search for solutions. Data+, a conference providing a holistic view on how to manage and analyze data to predict business outcomes, is uniquely positioned to help address the needs of both attendees and sponsors by providing unmatched event content and exclusive networking opportunities, while connecting IT and Line of Business decision-makers to solution providers, technical experts, and successful practitioners.  The statistics included come from IDG Enterprise’s 2014 Big Data Study as well as the 2013 Data+ event profile.

Click to view the full infographic:

Screen Shot 2014 05 30 at 1.24.16 PM A Complete Data Picture of the Data+ Attendee

Improving Customer Targeting and Personalization Through Social Identity

Brian Solis Blog, guest post by Andrew Jones

Modern marketing is about more than just informing prospects and customers about products, but building relationships with them. The contextual insight available in social media offers an opportunity to better know and engage audiences with compelling, personalized content and experiences across channels. The following is a condensed excerpt from a forthcoming report.

The Fragmented Customer Journey

The customer journey has become incredibly fragmented, moving across various channels and devices, and saturated with more messages than ever. At the same time, customers have been empowered by new technology, increasingly expecting consistent, personal experiences. As a result, it has never been more necessary—yet also so complex—for brands to target and personalize customer messaging.

So why are marketers still sending untargeted, “batch and blast” emails, serving static web pages, and delivering the same ad to everyone (or just a small handful of segments)?

Lots of Data, Limited Context

With the proliferation of customer data in CRM, eCommerce, web analytics, loyalty programs, and other databases, enterprises have troves of information about their customers. Yet companies often understand customers in the context of their transactions and rarely as individuals. Customer identity today is a shattered mirror, with little pieces of it spread throughout the organization. Customer Service, sales, marketing, and loyalty each see a different piece of the profile. Without the right context, brands will never be able to build good relationships with customers.

The Value of Social Identity

Social media has played a major role in compounding the complexity of today’s customer journey, yet is also laden with customer insights unavailable on other channels. Suresh Vittal of Adobe says that, “Social yields sentiment, preference, and influence in ways that no other data source can.” Social profiles contain demographics, age, geography, affinity, influence, and more, while ongoing social signals can provide insight into a customer’s real-time context and needs.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll define Social Identity as, “The information about an individual available in social media, including profile data as well as ongoing social activity.” Social Identity can:

- Enable better targeting and personalization throughout the customer lifecycle
- Help provide consistent customer experiences across channels
- Provide a clear source of social media ROI
- Increase the efficiency of marketing and advertising budgets

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