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What Can We Learn from the New Gmail

What Can We Learn from the New Gmail | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Now that the smoke has cleared, lets take a holistic look at what the new Gmail tabs mean for marketers.
Don Dea's insight:

It's imperative that brands speak more mobile and tweak more for mobile. While the desktop and iPhone versions of Gmail support tabs that categorize your mail for you, not every mobile version has the feature. So stop panicking. But pay attention—optimizing for mobile is increasingly vital. Mobile is where the majority of consumers will be anyway. And don't forget that “pop/imap” services on devices are widely used and, for the most part, make for a better experience than the Web version.

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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4 questions every leader should be able to answer

4 questions every leader should be able to answer | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Who am I?
This is more than a “name, rank and serial number” kind of question. Knowing who you are means you deeply understand why you’re here and the unique contributions you intend to make — not just to the organization, but also to the larger world. It means having a profound sense of purpose in your life and the capacity to articulate it well, so that you engage and inspire others. You should be able to fill in the blank in the sentence “My purpose in life is to
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Business Embraces Customer Experience 2.0

Digital technologies introduce remarkable opportunities that can lead to a competitive advantage, but they also raise the bar on performance and what it takes to achieve bottom-line results. Nowhere is this fact more apparent than in the customer relationship arena.

As organizations look to rewire and reinvent the way they connect and interact with consumers and boost their brands, mobility and social media are increasingly the suns around which other digital planets orbit. "They are two critical engagement points," observes Basky Natarajan, a global practice leader for Tata Consultancy Services.

To be sure, improving the customer experience is paramount. Over the last few years, the power has increasingly shifted from the enterprise to consumers. It's possible to scan barcodes using a mobile app and instantly compare prices; find businesses and products that have high customer ratings and reviews; and demand faster, better and more customized products and services.

"Consumers don't have to be loyal to a particular company," points out Emily Collins, an analyst with Forrester Research. "The traditional lock-in mechanisms aren't as effective."

Within this environment, business and IT leaders must use mobile and social tools in a far more sophisticated way than they did only a few years ago. Monitoring Twitter for tweets and plastering marketing messages on a Facebook page aren't enough. Delivering basic information through mobile apps won't get the job done.

As business shifts from a multi-channel approach to an omni-channel focus, there's a growing need to embrace an entirely different social and mobile business model. "When businesses use these tools effectively, it's possible to light up the experience for customers," says Kim Smith, vice president of digital innovation at Capgemini North America.
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Overcoming obstacles to digital customer care

Where do you turn when you have an issue with a product or service? Today’s options go well beyond a traditional call center. Depending on what’s most convenient and useful, customers can turn to an increasingly complex array of digital channels, and each increases the pressure on companies to provide consistent and superior service. The reward for companies who excel at digital customer care, or e-care, is vast: we’ve found it can increase customer satisfaction by up to 33 percent and generate savings of 25 to 30 percent by reducing call-center volume.1 In addition, we believe this opportunity will continue to grow—especially given the explosive rise in social-media activity. After all, the volume of tweets targeted at a brand or service has more than doubled in the past two years, while the percentage of people who have used Twitter for customer service has increased by almost 70 percent since 2013–14.2
Yet while the benefits of digitizing customer care are significant, so is the challenge of developing and implementing a profitable e-care approach. Our latest research3 and client work confirms the extent of these difficulties: a lack of strategic and detailed implementation programs means not only are companies missing growth opportunities, but they are also failing to see potential threats to established revenue. In our experience, only by understanding the root causes of customer behavior can
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Plotting a Better Course for Your Company

This nation needs business leaders who, instead of licking their wounds and searching for someone else to fault, will plot a different course that will lead to a better outcome. A platform for sustained success in this economic climate might mean beginning at the beginning—and examining issues like these:

1. Company Purpose:
Given what leaders now know, does the company have a purpose that's sustainable for the long term? With all that has changed, it would be a mistake to assume that the mission of the company is still relevant in the new economy and that the present workforce is committed to it. It's worth the effort to revisit the questions: What do we offer in service to others that the current market will value, and what do we stand for? Only when armed with clear answers to these questions and an engaged workforce to support them can leaders begin to shape a better future for everyone.

2. Passionate Leadership:
Are the leaders who are guiding the company leading with authenticity? Do they know themselves well? It's important for any leader to have a profound understanding of who they are and how their passions can be applied to the business, but it has never been more essential than now. Leaders are being called upon to inspire the workforce, act with humility rather than arrogance, and demonstrate dignity in managing employees—both those who are asked to leave and those who will remain.
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Zero-Based Budgeting: Not for Crises Only

Zero-Based Budgeting: Not for Crises Only | digitalNow | Scoop.it
ZBB helps companies identify resources that are not generating an adequate return and encourages strategic redeployment of those funds in order to achieve business objectives and strengthen companies’ market positions. And in today’s era of digital disruption, many use those funds to invest in new technologies and capabilities that can help them out-compete traditional and nontraditional, digitally enabled competitors.
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Your Reputation Precedes You

Your Reputation Precedes You | digitalNow | Scoop.it
You can’t control whether or not people talk about you behind your back. You also can’t control what they say so don’t waste a lot of time worrying about it. Instead work to build a strong reputation and know that your efforts will result in a credibility bank loaded with positive examples of you being a person known as a trusted resource who can be counted on no matter what! 

That’s the kind of reputation that you want to precede you! 
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How AI Is Enhancing Big Data Initiatives

How AI Is Enhancing Big Data Initiatives | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Enterprise leaders and professionals overwhelmingly view artificial intelligence as a productivity boost—and even a jobs creator. These views are especially true when AI is used to advance big data efforts, according to a recent survey from Narrative Science. The resulting report, "State of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the Enterprise," indicates that most of the companies surveyed are using big data and/or AI-powered solutions. Enterprises that combine both are measurably better at turning data into information that solves problems. Among other uses, organizations turn to AI for voice recognition and response, machine learning and decision support. They also depend on these advancements to drive toward the story (analysis and insight) behind the vast volumes of big data numbers. "By implementing AI solutions, businesses are capable of turning their strategy conversations from data-driven to story-driven decision making," according to the report. "Where raw data is challenging and time-consuming, AI-powered solutions can step in to provide analysis and quickly communicate findings to decision-makers." A total of 200 CEOs, chief innovation officers, data scientists, managers, directors, and other business leaders and professionals took part in the research.
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10 Timeless Time Management Techniques

10 Timeless Time Management Techniques | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1. Establish prioritized goals. Without goals, we trend to chase after whatever seems most urgent or is staring us in the face. We get distracted by shiny objects. Establish your priorities by setting yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Rank each of these goals using the following:

Importance: (A=high, B=medium, C=low)

Urgency: (1=high, 2=medium, 3=low)

Always work on the most urgent and important goals and tasks (A1) first.

2. Follow the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 Rule, also known as Pareto’s Principle, says that 80% of your results come from only 20% of your actions. It’s a way to prioritize your time against your most important goals. Are you focusing in on the 20% of activities that produce 80% of the results?
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Why Silicon Valley Falls Short When It Comes To Education

Why Silicon Valley Falls Short When It Comes To Education | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Despite Silicon Valley billionaires’ remarkable track record of innovation, it appears they have decided to throw in the towel on higher education. Each year, many donate millions to old-line American colleges and universities that, together, graduate the same number of engineers as we did 25 years ago.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs will grow by more than 17 percent in the next decade, but an aging STEM workforce and small number of students graduating today with STEM degrees means there are more than 2.5 million unfilled STEM jobs in the U.S. Today, only 18 percent of Computer Science graduates are women. The numbers for underrepresented minorities are even worse.

Failure to transform American higher education may undo the very building blocks of our nation’s innovation infrastructure. Instead, today’s current generation of entrepreneurs are spending their energy and resources lobbying for band-aid solutions like H-1B visas, when they could be reimagining the current pipeline to address the lack of female and minority engineers in their companies.

The results at the top are stark: Of the fifty wealthiest billionaires in Silicon Valley, only one fortune was generated by a woman. At Yahoo!, which is led by one of the highest-profile women in the Valley, only about 15 percent of their tech team are female.
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How Good Managers Become Lousy Bosses

How Good Managers Become Lousy Bosses | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1. Promotion practices. It seems that organizations never learn. No matter how much we warn them, they still promote their tops performers, regardless of their leadership potential or desire to manage people. “Rough edges” are often overlooked at the expense of brilliant technical skills.

See 10 Reasons Why Superstar Employees Make Lousy Managers.

2. No succession planning and leadership development. With no qualified internal candidates in the pipeline, they over-promote or make risky, desperate external hires.

3. Poor selection practices. So when they do have to hire externally, they don’t take the time to thoroughly interview and assess candidates. See The Cost of a Bad Hire.

4. Poor roles models. While we certainly can lead valuable leadership lessons from horrible bosses, new managers often learn the wrong lessons.
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What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company

What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Color isn’t the only design element that communicates with your customer about your brand. Font, spacing between letters and shape also tell your brand story in that instant when a first impression is formed.
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Responsible Leadership

Create a sense of family: Many companies say they create a sense of family, but it is hard to imagine a company that does it better than Market Basket. Associates work very hard, and a lot is expected of them. But the company also looks after them. It starts with generous wages and profit sharing. However, there is a sense of caring that goes well beyond these monetary rewards. Arthur T. himself has been known to attend funeral services when an associate loses a loved one. In these times of personal crisis, someone at the company often steps in. This personal touch, combined with the pay and good work conditions creates a caring environment where associates feel appreciated and even loved.

Encourage questions: Associates at Market Basket say that no matter what level or function in the company, they feel that if they have a question it will be answered. Some of them add, “you may not get the answer you were hoping to hear, but you’ll always get an answer.” The associate takes this as a sign of respect, and in turn give the most respect to managers who adhere to this sort of openness. Some managers at other companies seem to equate allowing questions usurping power; Market Basket managers tend to encourage questions within a strong chain of command.
Give work meaning: So many associates we’ve spoken to at Market Basket tell us that their job description may not be glamorous, but that they are contributing to something very important. They see themselves as helping people, often low-income families or elderly get food on the table at a price they can afford. Arthur T. and other members of the executive teams remind associates constantly that everyone is needed in order to achieve that goal. These executives say something along the lines of, “the person bagging groceries is just as important, maybe more important, when it comes to making sure that customers leave the store with what they need.”
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3D Printing Industry

3D Printing Industry | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Gartner is widely regarded for its ability to analyze technological trends, relying heavily on their now famous Hype Cycle.  And the market research firm doesn’t just get into the technology, but the society surrounding it, even predicting that there would be widespread social upheaval in one report.  More recently, the firm created a specialized model for outlining specific trends in 3D printing, with the 2015 Hype Cycle for 3D Printing outlining various applications within the industry and their point of maturity versus popular expectations.  And, with this tool, they have determined that medical 3D printing has just hit the Peak of Inflated Expectations, meaning that, soon, we’ll no longer be wowed by 3D printing in the medical space, as the tech is legitimately incorporated regularly in specialist medical applications.
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Bad leadership & management advice to run away from

I’d recommend running away as far as you can from the following pearls of leadership and management wisdom:
1. “Ignore your weaknesses and leverage your strengths.” Try Googling any variation of this advice, and you’ll find plenty of credible sources telling you to ignore your strengths. This feel-good nonsense usually stems from a lazy misinterpretation of what’s referred to as the “strength-based leadership development” movement, made popular by Gallup, Marcus Buckingham, and countless other copycats. Gallup and Buckingham never said to ignore your weaknesses; the idea is to do whatever it takes to minimize your weaknesses (improvement, delegation, finding a different job, etc.). Ignoring a critical leadership weakness is a surefire path to leadership derailment.
2. “You need to know more than anyone who works under you.” I actually heard a senior vice president give this advice to a group of new managers. I wanted to set my hair on fire! Believing that you could possibly know more than the sum of everyone who works for you is arrogance at its worst!
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How To Make Difficult Conversations Easy

How To Make Difficult Conversations Easy | digitalNow | Scoop.it
1) First, You Need To Keep Calm

You already have one person overreacting. The worst thing would be to have two people overreacting. If you Hulk Out, it’s little more than a screaming match and nothing gets accomplished.
Al calls the emotional side of our mind the “dinosaur brain.” It’s millions of years old and only understands “fight” or “run away.”
If you stay calm, you can help someone escape its grip. But if you fall prey to it too, it results in what he likes to call the “Godzilla meets Rodan” effect: lots of yelling, buildings get knocked down but nothing constructive gets accomplished. Here’s Al:
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The 4 leadership principles that could undermine Amazon

The 4 leadership principles that could undermine Amazon | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The leadership behaviors described by some former employees dishonors Principle 11, which is to “Earn Trust.” To do so, the principle states that leaders should “listen attentively, speak candidly and treat others respectfully.” It’s hard to believe that the leader who placed a woman on a performance improvement plan once she returned to work after giving birth to a stillborn child was demonstrating respect, let alone compassion, anymore than the leader who did the same with a woman recovering from breast cancer because her personal difficulties interfered with fulfilling her work goals.
These employees were on notice that being fired was a real possibility. Whether they deserved to be told their jobs were in jeopardy, the optics couldn’t be worse with the rest of the organization. The code message to co-workers is, “Don’t get sick and by all means don’t let anyone know if you do. Keep working at your usual pace at all costs because you are dispensable.” It establishes a culture of fear, not a culture of creativity.
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10 ways to keep cool and not lose composure

10 ways to keep cool and not lose composure | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When leaders blow up, lose their tempers or let their emotions get the better of them, they can quickly develop a reputation as volatile, moody, defensive or having a lack of leadership presence.
Unfortunately, all it takes is one public outburst. When coaching leaders who have received negative 360-degree feedback about composure, I’ll ask them when the last time they lost their cool was. In most cases, it’s on a rare occasion, maybe months ago. However, people remember, and it becomes a tough reputation to overcome.
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Productivity tip: Make phone meetings more effective

Productivity tip: Make phone meetings more effective | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Perhaps the idea of deliberately blindfolding people will be intolerable to some. Perhaps they feel it would be too disruptive, would slow down the discussion and would reduce people’s effectiveness. If that is the case, one might ask why we put up with ineffective telecons in the first place.
Of course, our friends and colleague who are visually impaired already know what this is like, and businesses are supposed to make reasonable accommodations. Being blind and being on a phone are two vastly different situations, to be sure, but I think the same principle applies and can shape our approach.
The bottom line is that teams work best when we are all engaged, when everyone makes an effort to ensure everyone else can contribute. Teams work best when nobody is left out and all involved have empathy for each other. Teams work best when we understand each other’s limitations and strengths alike. And sometimes the shortest path to fostering such empathy is a simple strip of cloth.
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How secure is the hybrid cloud?

How secure is the hybrid cloud? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The term hybrid cloud is used loosely, which is probably why so many companies say they're planning to adopt it. If you’re planning a hybrid cloud strategy, the security questions you need to think about may not be the ones you’d expect.
Don Dea's insight:

 “The idea of using some services on premise and some from the cloud and some from the cloud is becoming the dominant customer viewpoint.”

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In fact, 65 percent of companies in the Avanade study said if they could, they would downsize all their data centers tomorrow in favor of public or hybrid cloud-based solutions. That’s not just obvious cost-cutting; 61 percent believe cloud, especially hybrid cloud, is a more secure way of hosting their company’s applications and data than on-site data centers.

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Research Finds Leadership Quality is Barely Improving

Research Finds Leadership Quality is Barely Improving | digitalNow | Scoop.it
25% of organisations report their leaders are not VUCA-capable.
The top 20% of organisations performing well financially are three times more likely to have VUCA-capable leaders than the bottom 20 percent.
15% of organisations rated their future bench strength as strong.
One in three organisations are focused on developing their leaders’ ability to foster innovation
One in five is emphasising development in global leadership.
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What Do SMBs Want from Technology Vendors?

how different technology solutions could help their businesses was the leading tech challenge cited by US small businesses, at 42%.

This was the third-biggest challenge among respondents from medium-sized businesses, cited by 31%; among this group, implementing new solutions and upgrades was the leading issue (40%). Around two-thirds of respondents from each group said securing or protecting their companies from threats was a challenge—a lingering issue for small businesses. Containing technology costs rounded out the top three small-business challenges.
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Taxicab Industry Has A New App To Compete With Uber

Taxicab Industry Has A New App To Compete With Uber | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The tech sector has shaken up innumerable industries, and whenever that happens, some enterprising types wonder if there's some opportunity in helping established players stave off the inevitable. But beating back the forces that threaten to destabilize their businesses is even harder than it looks, and few succeed. 

The taxi industry is no different. Would-be tech partners and investors sometimes ask me if they should design for, or invest, in this industry. My response: It’s not as simple as just jumping in, whipping up an app for ye olde cabs, and then sitting back to watch it vanquish the new strain of competitors, like Uber. 
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Personalization Drives Engagement, Conversions

Higher response and engagement rates are the No. 1 reason to use personalized content, according to June 2015 polling from the CMO Council. It was the only benefit cited by more than half of senior marketers worldwide who responded to the survey.
Don Dea's insight:

But many other benefits had solid followings backing them up. Just under half of respondents said personalized or enriched content made for more timely and relevant interactions—which, presumably, are themselves a way of boosting response and engagement rates. More than two in five also agreed that personalized content converted more customers. While there are many challenges associated with personalized content and creative, the rise of programmatic is also driving greater usage of it. Nurullo Makhmudov, director, online user experience & strategic initiatives at Sears Canada, told eMarketer earlier this year that the retailer had extensive capabilities to serve relevant marketing messages to shoppers on its site. - See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Personalization-Drives-Engagement-Conversions/1012914#sthash.jLJwH8vD.dpuf

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Digital Natives Still Spend More Time with Traditional Media

According to The Harris Poll, kids are more likely to get their own TV at a young age than newer digital devices, and most under-18s still don’t have their own PCs. A slight majority have their own mobile phone, but most don’t receive on until after age 12.

eMarketer estimates that 50.6% of the Us population under 12 will use the internet at least monthly this year, as will 97.0% of those ages 12 to 17. Among the younger population, 22.0% will use a mobile phone at least monthly this year, and 35.3% of that subgroup will use a smartphone specifically. Among teens ages 12 to 17, 88.0% will be mobile phone users, and 78.5% of those will be smartphone users. When it comes to tablets, we estimate that 32.2% of the population ages 0 to 11 will use one this year, vs. 62.1% of 12- to 17-year-olds.
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Why your company's CMO might be its next CEO

Why your company's CMO might be its next CEO | digitalNow | Scoop.it
CMOs understand what the customer wants and can lead the company in a successful direction based on those needs. They understand the drive of revenue goals and direct sales, but their investment in customer happiness is rooted deeply in insights gained through their marketing experience. Bake those qualities into a CEO role and you're looking at some serious business advantages.
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