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3 mistaken assumptions about what Big Data can do for you

CITEworld

Big data is certainly all the rage. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece ondata scientists commanding up to $300,000 per year with very little experience. Clearly the era of embracing big data is here.

However, since the tools and best practices in this area are so novel, it’s important to revisit our assumptions about what big data can do for us – and, perhaps more importantly, what it can’t do. Here are three commonly held yetmistaken assumptions about what big data can do for you and your business.

Big Data Can’t Predict the Future

Big data – and all of its analysis tools, commentary, science experiments and visualizations – can’t tell you what will happen in the future. Why? The data you collect comes entirely from the past. We’ve yet to reach the point at which we can collect data points and values from the future.

We can analyze what happened in the past and try to draw trends between actions and decision points and their consequences, based on the data, and we might use that to guess that under similar circumstances, if a similar decision were made, similar outcomes would occur as a result. But we can’t predict the future.

Many executives and organizations attempt to glean the future out of a mass of data. This is a bad idea, because the future is always changing. You know how financial advisers always use the line, “Past performance does not guarantee future results?” This maxim applies to big data as well.

Instead of trying to predict the future, use big data to optimize and enhance what’s currently true. Look at something that’s happening now and constructively improve upon the outcomes for that current event. Use the data to find the right questions to ask. Don’t try to use big data as a crystal ball.

Big Data Can’t Replace Your Values – or Your Company’s

Big data is a poor substitute for values – those mores and standards by which you live your life and your company endeavors to operate. Your choices on substantive issues may be more crystallized, and it may be easier and clearer to sort out the advantages and disadvantages of various courses of action, but the data itself can’t help you interpret how certain decisions stack up against the standards you set for yourself and for your company.

Data can paint all sorts of pictures, both in the numbers themselves and through the aid of visualization software. Your staff can create many projected scenarios about any given issue, but those results are simply that – a projection. Your job as an executive, and as a CIO making these sorts of tools and staff available within your business, is to actually reconcile that data against your company’s values.

For instance, imagine you’re a car manufacturer. Your big data sources and tools tell you that certain vehicle models have a flaw that may cost a few cents to repair on vehicles yet to be manufactured, but would cost significantly more to repair in vehicles that have already been purchased by customers and are in production use. The data, and thus your data scientists on staff, might recommend fixing the issue on cars still on the assembly line but not bothering to fix the cars already out there in the world, simply because the data might have shown the cost exceeded the likelihood of damages across the board.

(Note that this scenario may sound familiar to you if you have been following theGeneral Motors ignition switch saga. However, this is only a hypothetical example, and further, there is no evidence big data played into the GM recall.)

Say your company has a value statement that quality is job 1 and safety is of paramount importance. Though the data suggests a recall isn’t worth it, you make the call as an executive to start the recall. You’re informed, but you’re not controlled by big data.

Above all, it’s vital to remember that sometimes the right answer appears to be the wrong one when viewed through a different lens. Make sure you use the right lens.

Read more…

Context is King: Points to Consider When Implementing a Contextual Marketing Strategy

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Context is King: Points to Consider When Implementing a Contextual Marketing Strategy

For the past few years, marketers have focused on pushing incredible amounts of content to their consumers and prospects to fit the mold of content marketing, having been told that is the future of their industry. This isn’t entirely false. Marketers need content to communicate with their consumers. However, many don’t know the context in which the consumer is engaging with that content, making it impossible to deliver the most relevant information to the right person at the right time. Today, consumers expect an optimal experience when interacting with any brand. They are accustomed to on-demand, personalized information and want marketers to understand their preferences before they buy. Because of these heightened expectations, marketers have to recognize who they are talking to and accept that context, not content, is now king. What should marketers today consider when developing a contextual marketing strategy? Here’s a start:

Continuous profile development

In order to effectively communicate with a consumer and determine the context in which they are consuming content, marketers should be continuously building a profile of each individual that touches their brand. Points to consider are consumer value score, age, location, gender, etc. Once a profile of an individual begins to develop, the process of communication becomes easier and more natural. Consider this: you meet a friend of a friend at a cocktail party and have a 30-minute conversation. The next week, you run into that same person at the supermarket. You wouldn’t start the relationship over by re-introducing yourself. You have the history of the previous conversation, and you would pick up from where you left off. The same holds true when a consumer engages with a brand – the context from previous engagements is key to making the current conversation relevant and more likely to result in a positive outcome.

The mobile conundrum – a blessing and a curse

The definition of “location” has shifted as consumers now have the opportunity to interact with a brand from anywhere in the world without stepping into a physical store. This anywhere, anytime access makes it challenging to recognize each consumer as they move across multiple channels and locations during the path to purchase. As individuals increasingly adopt tablets, social media, mobile phones and other technology, the marketing approach must shift to provide an optimal experience based on that specific consumer’s location, meaning in-store or out, inbound or outbound.

Mobility has given marketers the chance to keep track of every consumer inside and outside store walls. This has the potential to be a great opportunity, but can make it challenging for a brand to identify where a consumer is located and serve them appropriate content. With the rise of geo-fencing and iBeacon technologies, as well as advanced consumer engagement systems, brands are learning to embrace mobility and use it to their advantage. Targeting a consumer with a relevant piece of content—be it an in-app offer, automated email or tailored website material—when  they are in the location most appropriate can result in a powerful touch point.

Bridging the online-offline communication gap

Marketers think contextual marketing is easy, largely because many people are talking about its value in the online world. In reality, most companies are struggling to turn that vision into practice because context is only fully valuable when all touch points – online and off – can be linked and a complete profile of a user’s engagement with a brand can be built continuously. Many retailers, for example, are missing the full power of context because they are often unable to connect consumers’ in-store experience to those they have online—such as understanding which products they may have purchased in store in the past, or how many times they have stepped in and out of a location. The key is for the marketer to be aware of every touch point regardless of where and how it happens, which cutting-edge technology can help to track. As more and more consumers begin to blend their online and offline engagements with a brand and technologies continue to evolve, it will be important for marketers to facilitate an omnichannel experience, understanding a consumer’s full profile and targeting them in the context that makes the most sense. For instance, if a consumer was researching a sports car on an auto maker’s website or app, they should be directed immediately to that model (or others like it) when they visit the showroom (and vice versa), acknowledging their past preferences and therefore strengthening the bond between brand and consumer.

Potential pitfalls

Marketers do have the ability to buy consumer profiles and derive context from third-party media channels. This route doesn’t have the same, immediate timeline idea and it doesn’t translate into an effective contextual marketing strategy. Furthermore, the information is not always related specifically to a consumer’s interaction with the specific brand and rarely is it detailed at the individual level. Taken out of context and with a lag in time, a brand misses a lot of the consumer’s story, and marketers can only take context into account if they know all of it—not just bits and pieces—and can act quickly to leverage it.

If a company doesn’t have inside intelligence on its own consumer, they’re coming in last in today’s data-driven, personalized world.

Brands need to recognize that context is critical to starting a conversation with their consumers and maintaining that dialogue throughout the customer journey. Brand loyalty and repeat purchases are results of a series of positive engagement—each linking to the one before. By aligning content with context, marketers can make educated decisions on how to proceed with communication by helping and guiding consumers along the buying journey. As a result, consumers get what they really want in a way that makes sense to them and ultimately drives them to purchase while simultaneously improving their experience across channels.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Computerworld.com Integrates Responsive Design Technology and Functionality Enhancements in Site Relaunch

 Computerworld.com Integrates Responsive Design Technology and Functionality Enhancements in Site Relaunch

IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company composed of Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, CIO, DEMO, CSO, ITworld, CFOworld and CITEworld—reveals an enhanced design and greater functionality for Computerworld.com, the voice of business technology. The award-winning site incorporates responsive design technology to create a universal experience by scaling editorial and advertising content to the user’s screen size, whether they are accessing Computerworld.com with a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

“Technology is at the center of business innovation and strategy. Computerworld.com has the most expansive coverage of business-changing technologies that technology and business decision-makers need to understand in this time of digital disruption,” said Matthew Yorke, CEO, IDG Enterprise. “We are excited to relaunch the site using responsive design to create an omnichannel experience for all visitors and advertisers. Computerworld.com has seen continuous growth of traffic from mobile devices, currently it accounts for 25% of our traffic, and our goal is to ensure our visitors have access to the content they need when and where they would like to access it.”

Website Enhancements Include:

  • Computerworld.com built with responsive design, including HTML5 and CSS3, to ensure usability and consistency for visitors using smartphones, tablets or desktops.
  • Expanded editorial coverage areas including Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Emerging Technology, Cloud Computing, Data Center and Enterprise Applications.
  • Visually enticing design improving the reader experience and engagement from story specific keywords with landing pages.
  • Less pagination creating a smoother reading experience without compromising ad impression impact.
  • Single, searchable “Resource Library” supporting all types of lead generation content.
  • Shared functionality across IDG Enterprise sites for seamless execution of banner ads, lead generation and native advertising, making promotions more effective.

The editorial voice, content and design of Computerworld.com remains unique to the brand, while functionality has been aligned across IDG Enterprise sites including back-end capabilities enhancing search functionality and digital asset management for displaying more images and video content. The reader experience is further enhanced by large more legible type and fully integrated social media tools. Ads and promotional units are highlighted in a “deconstructed” right rail optimizing effectiveness and native advertising will be threaded intuitively throughout the site.

“Computerworld.com is well known for its superb tech news. What may be less obvious to website visitors is all the other great content Computerworld serves up for senior technology leaders,” said Scot Finnie, editor in chief, Computerworld. “The editors produce numerous feature articles, how-tos, deep-dives, research, special reports, analyses and case studies. These articles cover enterprise technologies, provide IT management and careers advice, and explore the latest IT trends and emerging technologies. Because such stories have often been less visible on our home page — often whisked away by the rapid stream of tech news — the new home page design relocates the news headlines to a separate column, giving Computerworld’s rich, longer-form enterprise IT content more prominence and air time in the central headline area. This change will paint a far more complete picture of Computerworld’s strong business technology identity.”

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
Follow Computerworld on Twitter: @Computerworld
Like Computerworld on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Computerworld
Join IDG Enterprise on LinkedIn

###

Contact:
Gregory Rosa
Marketing & PR Specialist
IDG Enterprise
grosa@idgenterprise.com
Office: 508.766.5375

US media groups rely less on ads

Warc

A number of major US media groups have taken a strategic decision to reduce their reliance on advertising revenues, according to new analysis.

After studying the Q2 2014 results and earnings conference calls of CBS, Walt Disney and several other media conglomerates, financial analysts SNL Kagan concluded that some want to boost other sources of revenue, including subscriptions.

Among the examples highlighted in the study, CBS CEO Les Moonves told investors that the company is now “much closer to a 50/50 split of advertising and non-advertising revenue”.

Revenues in its entertainment division fell to $1.84bn in Q2 2014 from $2.01bn in Q2 2013, and CBS intends to earn more from licensing and syndication revenues.

“One of the things that clearly has changed about our businesses is that the back end of the show’s revenue is now as important, if not more important, than the front end from advertising,” Moonves said. “Ownership of content is the key to our success.”

Similarly, Walt Disney is moving to diversify its revenue streams, SNL Kagan said, pointing to recent comments from Disney CEO, Bob Iger.

“We’ve made a conscious decision as a company to essentially not be as reliant on advertising as we were in the past. So it represents probably somewhat in the neighbourhood of the low-20% range of our total revenue,” Iger said.

Disney has become less reliant on advertising partly because of increased revenues from other sources, such as its theme parks.

Despite this, Iger said Disney will continue to participate in digital advertising although he thought traditional advertising platforms would continue to come under pressure.

When looking at some other media groups, the report said NBCUniversal Media had a weak quarter in terms of advertising revenue, which fell 2.2%.

And there was a mixed picture for 21st Century Fox, which posted both big declines in advertising revenue in its TV segment but large increases for its cable networks.

Worldwide Software-Defined Networking Market Expected to Reach $8 Billion by 2018, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Worldwide Software Defined Networking Market Expected to Reach $8 Billion by 2018, According to IDC

Software-defined networking (SDN) continues to gain ground within the broader enterprise and cloud service provider markets for datacenter networking. According to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide SDN market for the enterprise and cloud service provider segments will grow from $960 million in 2014 to over $8 billion by 2018, representing a robust CAGR of 89.4%. This forecast for the SDN ecosystem includes in-use physical network infrastructure, controller and network-virtualization software, SDN network and security services and related applications, and SDN-related professional services.

Software-defined networking is an innovative architectural model that is capable of delivering automated provisioning, network virtualization, and network programmability to datacenter and enterprise networks. SDN has emerged as a key driver for innovation and change in networking as several market and technology factors converge:

  • Growth of cloud applications and services across enterprise and cloud providers
  • Focus on converged infrastructures (compute/storage/network) and on the software-defined datacenter
  • Lessons learned regarding the benefits and best practices of server virtualization have become apparent
  • Increased demand for network flexibility to support mission-critical technologies based on 3rd Platform technologies, particularly cloud, mobility, Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications

“SDN is taking center stage among innovative approaches to some of the networking challenges brought about by the rise of the 3rd Platform, particularly virtualization and cloud computing,” said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC. “With SDN’s growing traction in the datacenter for cloud deployments, enterprise IT is beginning to see the value in potentially extending SDN to the WAN and into the campus to meet the demand for more agile approaches to network architecture, provisioning, and operations.”

IDC sees significant near-term use case opportunities for SDN in both cloud service provider rollouts and enterprise deployments. Although enterprises are largely still testing the waters to see what benefits will accrue from SDN, IDC sees the enterprise market as a major driver of overall SDN growth over the next several years. “The 2014 through 2016 period will be a significant launch point for SDN in the enterprise, with significant growth opportunities for both enterprise-focused SDN infrastructure and cloud service providers,” said Brad Casemore, Research Director, Datacenter Networks.

Among the use cases for SDN are the following:

  • Web scaling for hosting/public cloud providers
  • Private/hybrid cloud deployments
  • Network programmability/customization
  • Security applications

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“The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start”

Digiday

Magazine publishers have a tablet problem. According to one designer, they always have. Four years after Apple introduced the iPad, tablet apps are stagnating. A combination of design, pricing and discovery issues has made tablet magazines a hard sell, both for publishers and the digital readers they’re trying to reach.

“There are still a lot of issues,” said Joe Zeff, vice president of tablet app software company ScrollMotion, who helped launch apps for Fast Company and National Geographic.”These magazines are too hard to deliver, issues take a long time to download, and Apple’s Newsstand doesn’t make them easy to find. There are just too many things that have to go right.”

There was a time, not so long ago in the grand scheme, when the iPad was thought to be the savior of digital publishing. Magazines rushed out digital editions, many of which were flawed in both their pricing and in technology. The promised manna did not materialize. And now tablet sales are plateauing.

Zeff said that while publishers still have a lot of work to do with tablet apps, hope isn’t lost. Digiday spoke to him the magazine app’s successes, its failures, and why publishers should think of themselves as utilities.

Tablet magazines were supposed to save publishing. What went wrong?
The tablet magazine has been flawed from the start. They were conceived based on what publishers wanted and not what consumers wanted, so there was a lot of emphasis on extending old work flows and old reading habits rather than creating new products. We had the opportunity to put magazines on computers, which should have made magazines smarter. And that hasn’t really happened.

Are there any success stories?
There are some tremendous ones being created, yes. Wired is always a lot of fun, and Hearst, overall, seems to be doing a pretty good job at selling subscriptions, but I’d say that the success stories are few and far between.

Is this something that publishers can turn around? What are the opportunities?
There are some real opportunities to rethink the idea of a tablet magazine in order to recreate something that’s compelling. A tablet magazine should be smarter than the current set of publications. They should give me options about what content I receive and how and when it’s delivered. To do that, content has to be more modular. Today content is wrapped up in a magazine format, where everybody gets the same product. It really should be mixed and matched based on what works for me, not what works for the publisher. Content should be tied to where I am and what I’m doing, and become much more part of my regular routine.

That’s not happening now. Now, I’m getting a magazine that is very similar to what I can get anywhere else, and it’s not been created for me. It’s been created and looks in a way that suits the publisher, not the consumer.

Click to continue reading…

Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Organizational Tips for Leading the Marketing Transformation

By Kathleen Schaub 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the marketing transformation? You aren’t alone.  An IDC analysis of tech marketing staff changes since 2009 reveals that CMOs have had to squeeze traditional staff functions to accommodate five new roles: analytics/business intelligence, marketing technology, social marketing, sales enablement, and campaign management. In 2013, these new five roles collectively made up 14% of the total marketing staff. 

IDC invited organizational change expert, Dr. Rick Mirable, to advise our clients on insights for leading more successful organizational change initiatives. Here are some of the tips that Dr. Mirable, who has more than 20 years of diverse business consulting and academic experience, offered:
  • What we believe about change determines how we will respond to change. People hold beliefs about the capability of both company culture and individual people’s ability to change. Good change initiatives raise awareness of these biases.
  • Successful change initiatives require that leaders be included. It’s not only individuals deep in the organization that need transformation, but leaders must also be role models for the change they want to see.
  • People resist change for many reasons. Change can threaten our sense of security (What will happen to me?) and our sense of competence (Can I learn new skills?). People may worry they will fail. They may not understand why change is needed. Companies may inadvertently reward people who resist change by penalizing people who try new things and fail.
  • Some resistance to change comes from unspoken resentment. Companies must allow for expression of the relevant “inner conversations” that people have with themselves about the change — views that are not explicit to others. Resentment is like dirty laundry — if you don’t get rid of it eventually it starts to smell!
  • Some change initiatives fail simply because the organization isn’t ready.Assess your readiness and then bring those areas found lacking up to speed before embarking.
  • The communication portions of most change efforts are weak and not consistent over the long haul. The communication must be open and bidirectional. Messages and goals need to be regularly repeated and reinforced.
  • Company culture is essential to sustaining success over time. One cultural attribute proven to accelerate change is the empowerment of individuals to make decisions that further the change goals. It is a best practice to ask people what they want to do (and ask for management permission to do it) rather than telling them what to do. This practice encourages innovation and accountability and drives change deeper in the organization.
  • Don’t confuse “movement” with progress. When you get off the freeway during a traffic jam, you may be able to move faster; however, that movement doesn’t guarantee that you are actually moving toward your destination or will get to it any more quickly. IDC notes that marketing teams that measure activity rather than outcomes are making this error.
  • Create circumstances for people to motivate themselves. Motivation can include extrinsic rewards such as money. Proven to be even more effective are intrinsic rewards — challenge, learning, responsibility, contribution, and career path advancement. Intrinsic rewards tap into the power of people’s passions. Companies are advised to structure people’s work so as to allow passion to surface.
  • Reduce resistance by creating a “burning platform.” Clarify the risks and benefits of the change and involve the collective wisdom of the group. Give people a role in the change. Involve a person’s “head” and “heart” as well as the “feet” of required actions.

For more blogs and research from IDC, click here

Shadow cloud services pose a growing risk to enterprises

IDG News Service

A growing tendency by business units and workgroups to sign up for cloud services without any involvement from their IT organization creates serious risks for enterprises.

The risks from shadow cloud services include issues with data security, transaction integrity, business continuity and regulatory compliance, technology consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) warned last week.

“The culture of consumerization within the enterprise — having what you want, when you want it, the way you want it, and at the price you want it — coupled with aging technologies and outdated IT models, has propelled cloud computing into favor with business units and individual users,” PwC said in a report.

Increasingly, workgroups and even individual users in companies are subscribing directly to cloud services for business reasons because it is easy and relatively inexpensive for them to do, said Cara Beston, cloud risk assurance leader at PwC.

“There is a new form of shadow IT and it is likely more pervasive across the company” than many might imagine, given the easy access to cloud services, Beston said. “It is harder to find, because it is being procured at small cost and is no longer operating within the bounds of the company.”

Some typical use cases for shadow cloud services include collaboration software, storage, customer relationship management apps and human resources.

The Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model allows business units and workgroups to quickly deal with business process challenges without having to wait for IT to help out. The fact that the cost for such services is usually an operating expense rather than a capital expense is another advantage.

“Shadow cloud is happening under the radar” at many organizations, Beston said. Without governance, such cloud services present significant data security risks and the potential for technology and service redundancies.

Risks include inadvertent exposure of regulated data, improper access and control over protected and confidential data and intellectual property and breaching of rules pertaining to how some data should be handled.

Companies in regulated industries face a real risk of becoming non-compliant with data security and privacy obligations without even realizing it. Importantly, while many business users sign onto cloud services because of the perceived lower costs, a lack of control over how the services are being used can often result in service duplication and higher-than-anticipated operational costs, she said.

Cloud services for work groups of between five and 10 business users can range from as little as a few hundred dollars a month to a few thousand dollars. But the costs can quickly get out of control when all the different groups that might be using similar services within an organization are counted.

Continue reading…

Why Are PC Sales Up And Tablet Sales Down?

TechCrunch

When iPads first came out, they were hailed as the undoing of the PC. Finally, a cheap and reliable computing device for the average user instead of the complicated, quirky PC. After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.” What happened?

The tablet slowdown shouldn’t be a surprise given that tablets have hardly improved beyond relatively superficial changes in size, screen resolution, and processor speed. The initial market for tablets is now saturated: grandparents and kids have them, people bought them as Sonos controllers and such, and numerous households have them around for reading. People that want tablets have them, and there’s just no need to upgrade because they more than adequately perform their assigned tasks.

Businesses and consumers alike are again purchasing PCs, and Mac sales are on the riseyear-over-year. Businesses in particular are forced to upgrade older PCs now that Windows XP is no longer supported. When purchasing a new PC, the main driver to choose a PC versus a tablet is fairly obvious: If you are creating any type of content regularly, you need a keyboard, a larger screen, and (for most businesses) Microsoft Office.

Reigniting Tablet Growth with “Super Tablets”

For the tablet category to continue to grow, tablets need to move beyond what Chris Dixon calls the “toy phase” and become more like PCs. The features required for a tablet to evolve into a super tablet are straight from the PC playbook: at least a 13” screen, 64 bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 256GB drive, a real keyboard, an actual file system, and an improved operating system with windowing and true multitasking capability. Super tablets form factors could range from notebooks to all-in-one desktops like the iMac. Small 7” and 9” super tablets could dock into larger screens and keyboards.

The computer industry is littered with the detritus of failed attempts to simplify PCs ranging from Sun Micrososytems’ Sun Ray to Oracle’s Network Computer to Microsoft’s Windows CE. But this time, it’s actually different. The power of mass-produced, 64-bit ARM chips, economies of scale from smartphone and tablet production, and — most importantly — the vast ecosystem of iOS and Android apps have finally made such a “network computer” feasible.

Businesses Need Super Tablets

As the former CIO at CBS Interactive, I would have bought such super tablets in droves for our employees, the vast majority of whom primarily use only a web browser and Microsoft Office. There will of course always be power users such as developers and video editors that require a full-fledged PC. A souped-up tablet would indeed garner corporate sales, as Tim Cook would like for the iPad … but only at the expense of MacBooks.

The cost of managing PCs in an enterprise are enormous, with Gartner estimating that the total cost of ownership for a notebook computer can be as high as $9,000. PCs are expensive, prone to failure, easy to break and magnets for viruses and malware. After just a bit of use, many PCs are susceptible to constant freezes and crashes.

PCs are so prone to failure that ServiceNow — a company devoted to helping IT organizations track help desk tickets — is worth over $8 billion. Some organizations are so fed up with problematic PCs that they are using expensive and cumbersome desktop virtualization, where the PC environment is strongly controlled on servers and streamed to a client.

And while Macs are somewhat better than Windows, I suggest you stand next to any corporate help desk or the Apple genius bar and watch and learn if you think they are not problematic.

Continue reading…

IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC Retail Insights  today announced the availability of a new report, “Business Strategy: Big Data and Analytics Lay the Foundation for Revenue Growth,” (Document # RI250177) which describes the Big data and analytics (BDA) foundation for revenue growth and charts the likely rapid evolution of new capabilities. The report presents a framework for understanding successive generations of product intelligence, leading to a new paradigm — participatory commerce. This paradigm trains evolved market intelligence on a much larger opportunity — the triple win of merchandise economics, promotional spend, and customer satisfaction.

  • ClicktoTweet, “@IDCInsights #IDCRetailInsights Presents #BigData&Analytics Foundation for #NextGeneration #RevenueManagement – will propel #BDA”

BDA will increase revenue growth through optimized pricing, and create new opportunities to improve assortments, new products, marketing, and other demand generators. Product intelligence creates new facets of market and competitive insight through price discovery in the near term, with broader reach into assortments, private labels, and management of private label and national brands. Within five years in the context of “give-to-get” shoppers, combined with forces like supply chain collaboration among retailers and brands, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing, product intelligence will lead to participatory commerce.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • In 2013, approximately 50% of retailers were aiming BDA at pricing strategies, market intelligence, and customer acquisition. More retailers will join their ranks over the next two to three years.
  • Price intelligence, a subset of product intelligence, is emerging as the initial set of capabilities aligned to support these BDA initiatives. Beyond discovering prices and supporting better pricing decisions, product intelligence sheds light on competitors’ pricing strategies and tactics, assortments, localization, and channel strategies as well as on consumer decision making when combined with psychological techniques.
  • Price discovery gives retailers a countermeasure in the “spy versus spy” world of price transparency, providing them an analytical advantage but leaving consumers with the edge when comparing prices online in the context of their purchase journeys. Next-best-action analytics remain a seller’s key tool against the consumer’s contextual advantage.
  • As already evident in the 2013 holiday shopping season — supported by price discovery, predictive analytics, and real-time ecommerce price management — high-speed algorithmic pricing will break constraints on price change cadences and create breakneck “channel chess” competition.
  • In the context of supply chain collaboration, give-to-get consumers, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing product intelligence will create opportunities for participatory commerce — marketplaces wherein transactions based on the buying, selling, and buying intentions of participating retailers, brands, and consumers will improve merchandise economics, returns on promotional spending, and customer satisfaction.

“In particular, one application of product intelligence, price discovery, gives retailers a countermeasure versus the ‘spy versus spy’ price transparency of retail today,” said Greg Girard, program director at IDC Retail Insights. “Next-generation product intelligence in consumer decision making, competitor tactics, and market conditions will propel BDA-based revenue initiatives beyond pricing further into marketing, assortments, buying, and product development.”

For additional information about this report or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Greg Girard, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 orsarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

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