March 13, 2015

5 Strategies for SMBs Looking to Leverage Wearable Tech
Although global companies are on the front lines of the wearables movement, taking advantage of things like Apple Watch for mobile payments and Google Glass for customer service, SMBs are taking a more reserved approach. Many are waiting to see how wearable devices are adopted by consumers before deciding for themselves how to best take advantage of the technology. ... As that interest grows, businesses of all sizes will have more opportunities to collect the types of consumer data that can fuel local marketing and sales growth. Here are five strategies for SMBs that are interested in utilizing wearable technology, either for marketing, operations, customer service, or any other avenue, from leaders in the wearable technology market.

Social media ROI smackdown: What your business can't afford to ignore
For brands and corporations, social media is a core part of efforts to engage customers, whether through digital marketing, service and support or other initiatives that touch buyers. The high value of social media is evident to virtually every marketing executive and practitioner. Despite obvious value, there are some who claim that social media offers little ROI. Among these are Frank V. Cespedes, a faculty member at the Harvard Business School. Frank published a post on the Harvard Business Review site arguing that most businesses do not gain sufficient ROI for their social media investments.Disagreeing with this perspective, I followed with a blog post explaining why I believe Frank is wrong. Several top marketing practitioners commented in support.

Top 10 strategic execution trends for 2015
Management styles have often followed what is fashionable, rather than using appropriate action for each initiative based on its characteristics and requirements. Agile software development is a current trend that is gathering steam and spreading to other functions in many organisations. This approach to providing only high-level goals and letting teams decide who, what, when and how much to do responds to two trends.  First, decentralising decisions is attractive to millennials, who have become accustomed to creating, reviewing and editing communications across all kinds of media, rather than simply consuming information.

Marshal your data with entity resolution
Rules for cleaning names, addresses, etc., are not iron-clad. With an entity analytics tool, a sliding scale can be used to tune the amount of fuzziness users wish to allow. This allows the user to determine, for example, whether he’d prefer more false positives or false negatives, or whether it’s necessary to adjust the formulas for data that is more reliable or less reliable. It can also be helpful in allowing a user to indicate how common a value is. For instance, in some data sets, someone living in Sacramento, California, might be unusual enough to enable the software to identify two people in different data sets as the same person. However, if there are a huge number of people in Northern California in a data set, Sacramento might be such a common location that relying on it to make a match is not safe.

Smartphones Tablets and Fraud: When Apathy Meets Security
Consumers rely on their mobile devices on an ever‐growing basis to keep them connected.   Smartphones and tablets provide them with access to each other through email, messaging, and social media while also puĆ«ng financial services and shopping in the palm of their hands. And each and every one of these actvities holds value for criminals in search of account credentials and personally identifiable information (PII) to sell or misuse. Unfortunately, for all of the potential that mobile devices represent, the apathy of every mobile stakeholder is undermining the security of mobile devices and the accounts of their users.

Report says strong authentication use lagging in federal agencies
Not surprisingly, the report found that agencies with the weakest authentication profile allow the majority of unprivileged users to log-in using only a user ID and password. On the positive side, the Department of Commerce saw a dramatic increase in the use of strong authentication from 30 percent to 88 percent as compared to fiscal year 2013, while the Environmental Protection Agency jumped from 0 percent to 69 percent. In addition, the report showed that the average percentage of users across agencies required to log-on using Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards rose from 67 percent to 72 percent, a 7.4 percent increase. The report highlighted two federal cybersecurity incident types where strong authentication potentially could have mitigated security issues

Q&A on Agile! The Good, the Hype and the Ugly
The great contribution is the sole focus on project progress, helped by the “three questions”: what did you do since last meeting, what are you going to do now, and what are the impediments. A key insight is that if the meetings are frequent, which does not have to mean daily, the sweet-talkers and hand-wavers cannot fool the others for very long: what you say today you will do is, at the next meeting, what you should say you have done; everyone will notice the discrepancies. The focus on impediments is also good, at least if you make sure people don’t use external impediments as an excuse for their own delays and mistakes.

Building trust: It’s not a one-and-done deal
Nothing erodes trust in a leader faster than broken promises. When you keep your promises, you build a track record of positive consistency, not a trail of disappointments and letdowns. Think about the last time you broke a promise to someone at work — what were the conditions surrounding the breakdown? Did you give false hope as a way to mitigate a disappointment you knew was inevitable? Did your overenthusiastic nature get in the way and you bit off more than you could chew? When someone makes a request and you know the answer is “no,” then it’s better to let them down immediately (with the appropriate explanation) than to string them along, hoping something will change for the better.

Inside Google's Insurance Data Strategy
Google has engaged Bolt Solutions, a vendor of software that enables direct sales of insurance, as a preferred vendor of software that connects insurance companies to the search engine. The platform handles accounting and monitoring for companies that choose to partner with the aggregator – pretty standard stuff, according to CEO Eric Gewirtzman. Bolt did not answer a follow-up question about what kind of data specifically passes between Google and the insurer through its platform by press time. Google also declined comment for this story. Bolt sees the opportunity to expand markets in the Google launch on the side of the carrier, not the search engine, Gewirtzman says.

Making the most of the 'Tech Cities' battle
In the midst of a protracted skills shortage, there's little room for employers to be complacent when it comes to finding the people with the right experience to fulfill IT and digital needs. The Tech Nation report revealed that 74% of digital companies in the UK now operate outside of London. The knock-on effect is that clusters of experienced IT professionals with the sought-after skills are moving outside of the obvious hiring grounds of London, leaving our capital's businesses with no choice but to extend their recruitment search across the UK for the skills they require.

Quote for the day:

"When you expect the best from people, you will often see more in them than they see in themselves." -- Mark Miller

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