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The End of 'Good Enough' Computing
February 26, 2014
During the heyday of the dot-com boom, then-HP CEO Carly Fiorina espoused "good enough" computing. Despite significant performance differences between x86 servers and Unix and other enterprise-class systems, the dramatically lower cost of x86-based products would cause organizations to rethink their computing priorities and adopt, buy and deploy x86 whenever and wherever possible, she maintained.
The Travel Battle Rages On: May the Most Relevant Brand Win
February 25, 2014
The travel industry will increase 41 percent by 2016, making it worth $143 billion. With that much revenue on the line, booking sites are taking significant steps to ensure that they get their piece of the traveler pie. Brands no longer can offer experiences that are irrelevant to the end-user. Travel has become a user-centric industry, and the brand that serves up the most relevant content wins.
Clarus Offers Etailers a Prime-ish Loyalty Platform
February 24, 2014
If you were to administer truth serum and ask a retailer how it really felt about Amazon Prime, chances are the response would be that it's pure genius -- or pure evil genius, perhaps. Why? Because Amazon Prime encourages shoppers to come back and back again to browse and buy, and it's all based on an incentive that online consumers hold very dear: free shipping.
Transition State
February 20, 2014
The CRM market appears to be experiencing a transition state -- something betwixt and between, a time of high energy and great possibility, above all a time of change. A ball bouncing around a spinning roulette wheel is in a transition state; chemical reactions go through transition states as reactants become products. The key concept is indeterminacy.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gets a Fuel Injection
February 18, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM features that will be generally available in the second quarter of this year. There are three main areas of change in this latest iteration: new marketing functionality; enhanced customer service options; and the introduction of a unified service desk for call centers. There are also additional social listening features.
Red Hat and Hortonworks Cozy Up in the Cloud
February 11, 2014
Red Hat and Hortonworks on Monday announced a strategic alliance to integrate their product lines, as well as undertake joint go-to-market initiatives and offer collaborative customer support. By tightly integrating the enterprise Apache Hadoop platform with open hybrid cloud technologies, they aim to enable data-driven applications that help enterprises more quickly draw value from Big Data.
Microsoft Makes BI Power Play
February 11, 2014
Microsoft on Monday released Power BI for Office 365, a business intelligence application for its Office 365 Enterprise subscribers. Power BI packages together several features that help business users access information from such sources as Windows Azure and elsewhere. They can then use that data to generate business intelligence models, graphs, charts and other visualizations.
Looking for Customer Love in All the Right Places
February 07, 2014
If you're a vendor, the idea of providing visibility is a winning notion. It's what's driven social CRM-related software tools and analytics to their current prominence within the market, and it's why the "Internet of Things" is so alluring. The problem that these technologies purportedly solve is a lack of visibility -- that is, the inability to understand what's going on with customers.
Google Buys DeepMind to Dig Deeper Into Data
January 27, 2014
News that Google is purchasing artificial intelligence company DeepMind for between $500 million and $650 million surfaced Monday. The first commercial applications of DeepMind are in simulations, e-commerce and games. "These are the areas most likely to benefit from -- and generate revenue from -- AI," aid Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
Epicor Aims to Ratchet Up Loyalty
January 27, 2014
Epicor Software has announced the general availability of Epicor Retail CRM 7.0. The updated platform reflects a complete shift to .Net and SQL reporting services and includes a number of new features in analytics, reporting and security As a whole, 7.0 "gives a more granular view to the retailer about a customer's behavior," said Sarah Barron, Epicor Retail product manager for CRM.
Twitter Cards Users Get to Play With a Full Analytics Deck
January 27, 2014
Twitter has launched analytics for Twitter Cards to help users determine how well their media-rich tweets are performing on the network. Twitter Cards allow developers, brands and publishers to add photos, videos, deep links, content previews, and other rich media to their tweets. The analytics service is intended to help Cards users gain deeper insights into how their content is spreading.
Subscriptions in the Enterprise
January 22, 2014
Curiously, subscriptions and platforms have grown up together, even though neither is yet a necessary or sufficient requisite of the other. ZipCar and its ilk don't have formal platforms and the idea is not relevant to their models. Wireless vendors all have homegrown platforms -- primarily to run their Byzantine pricing and billing models -- and that's still off center.
Christie vs. Clinton: What Would Watson Say?
January 20, 2014
IBM is putting a massive amount of resources into Watson, which has the capability to dramatically improve the quality of our decisions. Since most don't know how Watson works, I thought it would be interesting to emulate how it might think when tied to a topical subject. As the U.S. approaches its next election circus, two candidates have jumped to the top as both frontrunners and targets.
IBM Puts Its Faith in Watson
January 20, 2014
Pardon the pun, but there's nothing elementary about IBM's Watson Business Unit. IBM's Watson initiative takes cognitive computing to the head of the class. IBM last week announced it was committing $1 billion and 2,000 employees -- as well as its considerable research and development talents and marketing muscle -- to Watson. This puts the full weight of the brand behind the new business unit.
IBM's Insights 2013 and 'Restless Reinvention'
December 18, 2013
For IT industry analysts, autumn is a migratory time filled with trips to vendor conferences and summits. While their forms and locations tend to differ, most vendors use the time to delineate how their strategies, solutions and sales have progressed during the past calendar year and to discuss where they will be heading in the months and years ahead.
Big Data's Big Federal Potential
December 17, 2013
Innovation often comes slowly to the U.S. government. It has taken several years, for example, for federal agencies to get used to cloud technology -- and it will likely be several more before that technology is fully embraced at the federal level. That pace also seems to be the case for the federal adoption of Big Data and analytics, despite the significant amount of buzz over the past year.
Let's Hear It for Metadata
December 16, 2013
It is a quirk of the data-information-knowledge continuum that data perceived by one person might be seen as information by another. The same goes for information and knowledge -- the frame of reference is important. You might even say it's all relative, and I don't think you'd be wrong. This conundrum is all brought into sharper relief by yet another slice of the range, and I don't mean Big Data.
Proceed With Caution: Big Data Requires Small Steps
December 11, 2013
The Obama administration's support of Big Data technology for more efficient and effective government operations was highlighted at a recent conference that featured presentations on more than 30 successful public and private sector projects. "Realizing the enormous potential of data requires a bold, comprehensive, national effort, said the National Science Foundation's Farnam Jahanian.
Top of the Funnel
December 04, 2013
The new customer era accepts that the direct contact between a vendor and customer or potential customer is being augmented by non-human intermediaries like websites, software robots that triage customer issues, e-commerce systems, social media, and who knows what else. The good news is that customers leave data trails like ants leave trails of pheromones to a candy bar on a sidewalk.
Topsy Buy Gives Apple Mountains of Twitter Data
December 03, 2013
Apple reportedly has acquired Topsy in order to gain more access to real-time consumer information. Topsy provides Twitter data for business clients, helping them to gauge consumer sentiment, find influential social media voices, and measure overall exposure on any topic that's been mentioned in a tweet. Earlier this year, Topsy debuted a search engine designed to parse tweets.

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