Good Fit for Isotoner and SLI systems

February 29, 2012

Better grab your brolly and your gloves, readers.

Cincinnati, Ohio-based gloves and rainwear retailer totes ISOTONER has announced that its conversion rate and revenue per visit has more than doubled after implementing SLI Systems’ site search. The article, “totes-ISOTONER Adds More to the Bottom Line with Full-Service Site Search From SLI Systems,” tells us about the company’s decision to switch from the default site search on its e-commerce platform to the full-service hosted site search and to add search to its mobile site.

By selecting the site search solution SLI, the company improved the overall customer experience and ultimately revenues from its site. ISOTONER states users are spending more time browsing the site and the company has seen increased click-through activity. In the article, we learn:

“‘We liked the fact that a partnership with SLI Systems would also help us improve our SEO efforts,’ Reighley [vice president of e-commerce for totes-ISOTONER] explained. ‘The service we’ve received from SLI is amazing — we can add new content or change refinements in a much faster timeframe than with our previous site search solution. It’s also easy for us to customize merchandising — if visitors come to one of our product pages from a search engine, we can add banners showcasing the top site search results for the keyword used.’”

These types of search solutions help online retailers meet customer expectations and reduce costs, all while increasing site conversions. Business like SLI Systems allow companies to maximize results with full-service and customized solutions.

Andrea Hayden, February 29, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com

A New Lower Class: Aspiring Majority

February 29, 2012

I remember a high school history teacher explaining the Middle Ages. The idea  was that there was  a king, some earls and barons, and lots of serfs. The idea was a harbinger of upper, middle, and lower class. The notion of the Great Chain of Being was tossed in to make sure the rats carrying fleas knew where they stood in this “chain.”

When I read “The Future According to Eric Schmidt”, I learned the medieval social order was back. Here’s the passage I noted:

A third group [serfs], though, will have no or only limited access to the Internet. This “aspiring majority,” as Schmidt calls them, will likely have some form of access to technology, but it will look different from what we expect today. Maybe, though, they will use mesh networks to create local networks that isn’t even connected to the wider Internet. For Schmidt, it seems, mesh networks represent the easiest and cheapest way to get these underprivileged users at least partly online.

Serf is updated to be the “aspiring majority.” Okay, I get it. Addled geese are part of the serf world, oops, aspiring majority. I need a T shirt with this catchphrase.

Stephen E Arnold, February 29, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com

Exogenous Complexity 4: SEO and Big Data

February 29, 2012

Introduction

In the interview with Dr. Linda McIsaac, founder of Xyte, Inc., I learned that new analytic methods reveal high-value insights about human behavior. You can read the full interview in my Search Wizards Speak series at this link. The method involves an approach called Xyting and sophisticated analytic methods.

One example of the type of data which emerge from the Xyte method are these insights about Facebook users:

  • Consumers who are most in tune with the written word are more likely to use Facebook. These consumers are the most frequent Internet users and use Facebook primarily to communicate with friends and connect with family.
  • They like to keep their information up-to-date, meet new people, share photos, follow celebrities, share concerns, and solve people problems.
  • They like to learn about and share experiences about new products. Advertisers should key in on this important segment because they are early adopters. They lead trends and influence others.
  • The population segment that most frequents Facebook has a number of characteristics; for example, showing great compassion for others, wanting to be emotionally connected with others, having a natural intuition about people and how to relate to them, adapting well to change, embracing technology such as the Internet, and enjoying gossip and messages delivered in story form and liking to read and write.
  • Facebook constituents are emotional, idealistic and romantic, yet can rationalize through situations. Many do not need concrete examples in order to comprehend new ideas.

I am not into social networks. Sure, some of our for-free content is available via social media channels, but where I live in rural Kentucky yelling down the hollow works quite well.

I read “How The Era Of ‘Big-Data’ Is Changing The Practice Of Online Marketing” and came away confused. You should work through the text, graphs, charts, and lingo yourself. I got a headache because most of the data struck me as slightly off center from what an outfit like Xyte has developed. More about this difference in a moment.

The thrust of the argument is that “big data” is now available to those who would generate traffic to client Web sites. Big data is described as “a torrent of digital data.” The author continues:

large sets of data that, when mined, could reveal insight about online marketing efforts. This includes data such as search rankings, site visits, SERPs and click-data.  In the SEO realm alone at Conductor, for example, we collect tens of terabytes of search data for enterprise search marketers every month.

Like most SEO baloney, there are touchstones and jargon aplenty. For example, SERP, click data, enterprise search, and others. The intent is to suggest that one can pay a company to analyze big data and generate insights. The insights can be used to produce traffic to a Web page, make sales, or produce leads which can become sales. In a lousy business environment, such promises appeal to some people. Like most search engine optimization pitches, the desperate marketer may embrace the latest and greatest pitch. Little wonder there are growing numbers of unemployed professionals who failed to deliver the sales their employer wanted. The notion of desperation marketing fosters a services business who can assert to deliver sales and presumably job security for those who hire the SEO “experts.” I am okay with this type of business, and I am indifferent to the hollowness of the claims.

seo danger snippet copy

What interests me is this statement:

From our vantage point at Conductor, the move to the era of big data has been catalyzed by several distinct occurrences:

  • Move to Thousands of Keywords: The old days of SEO involved tracking your top fifty keywords. Today, enterprise marketers are tracking up to thousands of keywords as the online landscape becomes increasingly competitive, marketers advance down the maturity spectrum and they work to continuously expand their zone of coverage in search.
  • Growing Digital Assets: A recent Conductor study showed universal search results are now present in 8 out of 10 high-volume searches. The prevalence of digital media assets (e.g. images, video, maps, shopping, PPC) in the SERPs require marketers to get innovative about their search strategy.
  • Multiple Search Engines: Early days of SEO involved periodically tracking your rank on Google.  Today, marketers want to expand not just to Yahoo and Bing, but also to the dozens of search engines around the world as enterprise marketers expand their view to a global search presence.

All the above factors combined mean there are significant opportunities for an  increase in both the breadth and volume of data available to search professionals.

Effective communication, in my experience, is not measured in “thousands of key words”. The notion of expanding the “zone of coverage” means that meaning is diffused. Of course, the intent of the key words is not getting a point across. The goal is to get traffic, make sales. This is the 2112 equivalent of the old America Online carpet bombing of CD ROMs decades ago. Good business for CD ROM manufacturers, I might add. Erosion of meaning opens the door to some exogenous complexity excitement I assert.

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Protected: Unhappy SharePoint Users? Keep Throwing Software At Them

February 29, 2012

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PLM Provides ‘Additional Business Value’ for Boeing

February 29, 2012

Boeing, one of the top manufacturers of the world’s aircrafts announced recently that they were extending a contract with Siemens for PLM services. OnWindows covered the story in the article, Boeing enhances PLM capabilities, explaining how PLM solutions are the only answer to most problems facing global companies like Boeing.

As Nancy Baily, Boeing VP of IT Product Systems, was quoted by OnWindows:

“We are partnering with Siemens PLM Software to enhance Boeing’s PLM capabilities. The openness of the Siemens PLM Software will continue to support, and help us improve, the solutions we use throughout Boeing, creating additional business value for our company.”

The decision to adopt PLM solutions is not limited to companies the size of Boeing.  In fact, many small to mid-size companies are benefitting from cloud services offered by PLM providers like Inforbix, a leader among PLM providers.  By moving information to the cloud companies of all sizes are able to drastically reduce costs in IT and across all departments as these services help users to find, share and reuse information.

As PLM continues to grow and change as technology becomes available the services provided to those utilizing PLM solutions will become limitless in cost-cutting and building efficiency.  The next generation of PLM services are focused not only on streamlining processes from design to manufacturing but also on product data access and enterprise search.  We recommend that companies previously hesitant to adopt PLM because of cost concerns investigate all the ways PLM solutions can help their company.  We believe that in almost every situation the rewards far outweigh the costs.

Catherine Lamsfuss, February 29, 2012

Taking Care with SharePoint 2010

February 29, 2012

Enough is written on SharePoint 2010 that we all know by now that SharePoint is not an intuitive creature.  James Mullan eases the strain by offering, “SharePoint 2010 Do’s and Don’ts.”

Mullan sets the context for his suggestions:

SharePoint use will vary dependent on who you talk to, but for the most part organisations are using it as a Web Content Management (WCM) or an Enterprise Content Management System (ECM). A recent survey found that, since its release more then 10 years ago, SharePoint has moved from ‘being an intranet and basic collaboration application to something that is now used for portals, collaboration, forms processing, business intelligence, business process management and content management.’

The author then goes on to provide the promised list of do’s and don’ts, trying to save SharePoint developers investment in terms of time and money.  While it is true that much can be streamlined through SharePoint customization, third party solutions are available that provide a more intuitive interface without a major investment in time or training.

Fabasoft Mindbreeze is one offering that provides a suite of solutions, performing as a standalone CMS or complimenting an existing SharePoint installation.

The essence of Fabasoft Mindbreeze can be summed up in terms of speed and efficiency:

Fabasoft Mindbreeze Enterprise searches all structured and unstructured data (e-mails, documents, contracts, contacts, notes etc.) within seconds and provides all relevant information structured, prioritized and ready for further use. Staff resources are released to concentrate on their actual task.

If your organization could benefit from a more customized or intuitive enterprise search interface, but cannot spare the investment, investigate what Fabasoft Mindbreeze might be able to do to improve your existing CMS.

Emily Rae Aldridge, February 29, 2012

Sponsored by: Pandia.com

Libraries vs. Universities: Who Gets Funded?

February 29, 2012

As the economy struggles to recover, many of our educational institutions are forced to bear the brunt of budget cuts. A recent tumblr blog post entitled “Save the Libraries. Cut University Funding Instead” responds to the recent decision made by California’s state government to cut library funding rather than raise taxes.

The post argues that while libraries often get lumped in with universities the two are actually very different in regards to serving the poor, providing valuable community services, and being impartial.

After laying out these points, the writer concludes:

“Yes, university funding has already seen some cuts, but I’d rather see more cuts to universities and fewer cuts to libraries. They’re not the same thing. One of these systems claims to serve the poor, be open to differing viewpoints, and drive greater knowledge and learning for all humankind. The other actually does all of these things.”

While this writer makes some valid points regarding the problems with higher education, I think that pitting universities and libraries against one another is simply distracting us from the problem at hand. Neither of these institutions should have their budgets cut because they both provide valuable services to our society. But libraries need patrons who want information. With iPads and TV, subpar reading skills, and budget cuts—libraries are expendable it seems.

Jasmine Ashton, February 29, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com

Cloud Good, Cloud Bad for Your Data?

February 29, 2012

InfoWorld’s David Linthicum–cloud consultant, “real” expert, and podcaster–recently reported on cloud computing in the article, “Big Data and the Cloud: a Far From Perfect Fit.”

According to the article, while big data and cloud computing have some similarities you shouldn’t think that any old enterprise search startup with cloud offerings, generally in the public cloud, will solve your data management issues.

Organizations that try to consolidate their data into public cloud databases are most likely going to run into two primary technical difficulties — bandwidth limitations and higher cost for security.

When discussing the issues with bandwidth, Linthucum states:

“…Big data means big integration challenges. Thus, the ability to get the data from the enterprise to the public cloud may be problematic. Although you can certainly ship up a couple hundred thousand data records each day over the open Internet, in many cases we’re talking millions of data records that must be transformed, translated, and synced from existing enterprise systems.”

While the article is not saying that big data is never a good fit for public clouds, it does bring up some good points that should be considered when deciding what solution is the best fit for your company. We find it interesting to watch the trajectory of advice from experts. Cloud good, cloud bad? One never knows does one?

Jasmine Ashton, February 29, 2012

Sponsored by Pandia.com

Protected: Get Connected: Link Your File Server to SharePoint

February 28, 2012

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PLM Implementations: Extended PLM vs. Innovative PLM

February 28, 2012

Some companies are still hesitant to implement PLM. Change is not always a friend, but if companies were more informed as to how to implement it, they may be more inclined to change. Jos Voskuil explored this issue in the article PLM: What is the Target?

Voskuil outlines two different types of PLM implementations:  extended PLM and innovative PLM.  Extended PLM is the traditional method and is easily implemented by extending “this environment with an enterprise PLM layer for BOM management, manufacturing, definition, program management, compliancy and more.” Innovative PLM is a newer approach where “you need to implement PLM in a more disruptive manner, as you need to change the way your organization is triggered.”  The entire company “works around the market, the customer.”

Voskuil ends his article by saying:

“There are two main directions possible for PLM. The first and oldest approach, which is an extension of PDM and the second approach which is a new customer centric approach, driving innovation.  Your choice to make the case for one or the other, based on your business strategy.”

We believe it is time for innovation to take over.  PLM has come so far and innovation really is the key in today’s technological world.  Take for example, Inforbix.  They have gone above and beyond the traditional PLM use and created a fresh new approach to improve data access.  They have created software that helps find, reuse and share product data like never before.  Companies have to take the leap and let innovation lead the way.

Jennifer Wensink, February 28, 2012

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