How To Make Your Employees Share Content?


How To Make Your Employees Double Up As Content Marketing Warriors?

What can you do about it to have them more engaged in your social media activities?

Do your employees want to share your corporate content on a social network? If so, what would they want to share? Also, why do they think that it is valuable to share this info in their social networks?

Every marketing team would want to have their tens, hundreds or thousands of non-C level employees to share the corporate posts and content on their personal social networks and build the brand. The question is how?

Not long ago, Trapit, a company that enables social network content sharing by employees, commissioned what it calls the first survey of rank and file employees about their thoughts on sharing company info on a social network. Takeaways from the study and what the results mean for companies looking to improve their staff advocacy on social suggest that employees see great value in sharing via a social network. Many companies must catch up to do to take benefit sentiment.

The Observation

When study asked about the benefits their company would receive from social sharing, a three in four respondents perceive an advantage, while ten per cent see no value. Notably, 43% say it would increase brand consciousness, 21% believe it would aid brand credibility, while only 11% say it would boost sales. – Employees are supportive of social network and acting on a social network on behalf of their companies.

Another observation is that 55% of employees think it best to share 3rd party content in addition to their company’s content advertising. Moreover, 34% say that they are more than likely to share news articles about their company via a social network. This study suggests that employees are calling for help on the content front. They want the content from the creator, so that they can be active on social, and still help build their individual brand while promoting the company. Your employees do not want to spend their whole day farming for content on their very own. Corporate white papers and promotional materials are not enough. Your employees want an expansive mix of content.

So, what should a company do?

Your employees are not charmed in just being a corporate volunteer on their social network. They would like to be intriguing and engaging in their network and be reliable. These are the six things that you should do.

  1. Provide them with a good selection of content that includes ‘promotional’ corporate assets, as well as high value-assets like, industry news analysis, research, thought leadership
  2. Help them round out their personal profiles and their personas on social.
  3. Help them get some authentic engagement going versus just relaying more advertorial
  4. Additionally, content created for sharing, give them insights or a dashboard on their social sharing activities.
  5. Help them see some personal Return on investment for their efforts, just as you would for your business.

It is simple – Businesses must help measure the impact of social sharing – be it for your marketing team or your employee.

If employee-led social selling and employee engagement are not essential initiatives for the sales and marketing teams but the entire company including Human Resources and Senior Management teams.

This article first appeared on April 12, 2019 in a Times of India Blog titled How to make your employees double up as content marketing warriors?

#ContentMarketing #DigitalMarketing #EmployeeEngagement #Marketing #SocialMedia #SocialMarketng #ContentWarriors #EmployeeLeverage #SmartMarketing

A big hug and thank you 2018

 

As we move in to 2019, here’s a big big thank you from us at ZMOTly. Your patronage and feedback helps us do better each day with more enthusiasm. Happy new year.

A #BetterFuture with #BetterBhavishya

Better Bhavishya
Better Bhavishya

While this forum is usually used for talking about innovative approaches of ZMOTly, we will share in this post about one of the exciting things we do at Futureshift in area of social impact.

At Futureshift, we work on creating impact at the intersection of technology and strategy.

This translates into frameworks, innovative products and solutions that solve real issues in business and social sector. The outcome is about creating sustainable and lasting impact.

In business scenarios, ZMOTly provides the frameworks for success and Futrlabs provide solutions and products required to achieve the delivered outcome.In the social sector space, a segment that we are passionate about, we have a pillar called Better Bhavishya (better future). We leverage the skills in consulting and global experiences to be a change maker, in our own little way.

At #BetterBhavishya, we work in the social sector space leading with ZMOTly impact framework and/ or with products from Futrlabs that can help them achieve their goals faster. They are either continuous long-term partnerships or one-time engagements.

Better Bhavishya’ s works on these four areas – education, healthcare, environment and human rights.

  • As technology partners with an International Human Rights NGO, we helped them on some of their very key projects.
    • With an Indian healthcare authority worked on a prototype and delivery mechanism for vaccination alerts that would help them prevent one million deaths and over 950,000 preventable disability each year.
    • Together with the NGO and a government ministry, worked on prevention of bullying in schools.
    • Together with the human rights organization, worked on jail reforms that would to reduce the number of undertrials held illegally in prisons.
  • Engaged with a NGO, funded by one of India’s reputed philanthropic foundation, for improving the literacy and numerous is amongst children with low income parents.
  • With another very large philanthropic foundation, we developed a project impact assessment framework as well as helped in some other philanthropic initiatives.
  • For a not-for-profit working on building a community for parents of autistic children, worked on developing a strategy and reach.
  • At a NGO in Hyderabad, worked on developing content and delivery framework and roll-out for long-term education for underprivileged children in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region.
  • In a village in Tamilnadu, have taken an initiative to convert 500,000 sft of barren land, with an agroforest with over 15,000 trees.

Our founder’s prior experience in driving the Unlimited Potential initiative for Microsoft Asia Pacific plays an important role in recommendations for our clients. The Unlimited Potential initiative was the outcome of Bill Gates vision to enable sustained social and economic opportunity for the next 5 billion people. The strategy was to reach incremental 1 billion people by 2015 by expanding deeper down the economic pyramid in a sustainable fashion by building non-traditional partnerships, breakthrough technologies and business models. The focus was on education, fostering innovation and creating jobs and opportunities through relevance, access and affordability. Bring one of the first employees in Asia-Pacific, driving that initiative has helped significantly in structure and systematising our approach better bhavishya projects at Futureshift.

Currently, we are working on a big idea that can transform hundreds of millions of rural lives by increasing local entrepreneurship opportunities and agriculture productivity. The core philosophy is to create local micro-innovations and income that would bubble up to have access to better education and healthcare opportunities.

This would more almost double the farm output and will dramatically transformed the lives rural India, where 70% of the India populations reside. We expect this to be a $1 billion+ social entrepreneurship business by 2022, creating an ecosystem with 10x more economic activity.

9 PR rules shattered (2017)

 

#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur
#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur

If you are a professional, a businessman or an entrepreneur, ,you need PR to get visibility for your brand, product or service. The traditional rules of PR that helped well till a decade ago are is dead. The Web 2.0 has brought down the walls and unless you have adapted to the new world your PR strategy will not work in 2017.

#PR #Advertising #Marketing #CMO #PRO #Business #Entrepreneur

The 9 cardinal rules, shattered.

  1. Formal Media: The only way to get noticed was through formal media. The internet has changed all that. Today, you control your media. Your twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn – each of them with access to billions of users provide you a platform to get noticed. In fact, the so-called formal media has ended up picking news from these social platforms.
  2. Press Releases: Companies communicated to journalists through press releases. Press Releases are a passé. It is time to keep communicating as conversations with the public. You can share your idea, launch details, plans and seek feedback from your users directly.
  3. Exclusivity: Nobody other than a handful of reporters and editors Would see the Press Release. In fact, many demanded exclusivities. In today’s context – exclusivity is suicidal. The strategy should be rot reach your buyers through as many channels as you can. In fact, being accessible to your buyers at their point of interaction is the key.
  4. Significant News: Companies needed significant news before they could write a press release. Today, the rules are changed. The audience is looking for being engaged with you through your evolution. While significant news can still be leveraged to do some burst PR, the social media helps you to teach out to share the developments as they happen.
  5. Jargon: Jargon was okay because those specific journalists understood. Jargon is not okay. You audience needs to understand you and it must be simple. The lower your denominator for comprehension and understanding you higher are the changes of connecting with you and have meaningful engagement and conversations.
  6. Third party Quotes: Your press release included quotes from customers, analysts and experts to be complete. While all these would help, it is no more mandatory. Once your piece of blog or post hits the online media there will be a 360-degree feedback and that is more authentic. Today, users are looking at authenticity more than spin.
  7. Media as Gatekeeper: The only way buyers learnt about your product was when media wrote about it. Today, the barriers of media as a gate keeper are broken. In fact, organizations have started to completely bypass the formal media d have started engaging directly with the audience. So, you see artists launching anthem album via you tube or governments declaring their plans through tweets and media losing its gatekeeper status.
  8. Press Clips: The only way you measured 3effectiveness of press release was through ‘press clips’ that was maintained painstakingly each time media reported it. Today is measure being far simpler, it all measures what is the virality and click rate for your article. The more relevant and useful the content, the it is shared sand more is the visibility. In fact, main stream media has started writing articles from those 140-character tweets.
  9. Silos with Marketing: PR and marketing were separate silos and ruin by separate goals, strategies, measurements. Marketing is PR and PR is marketing. The walls are shattered. Both works in tandem to ensure maximum reach and engagement.

These were some of the things I have shared. There can be a few more. Please feel free to share your views.

The author is an entrepreneur with two decades of senior leadership experience in India and Asia-Pacific and now runs Futureshift, a boutique consulting outfit that helps businesses chart their digital marketing strategy with the @ZMOTly framework to achieve impactful outcomes. He is available at rajesh@futureshift.com.sg

8 Point Checklist before creating your eCommerce Website

Many retailers usually start out by listing on the online marketplaces or e-marketplaces as they are called, such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong etc. What most vendors don’t realise is that there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business.

Instead, if one is willing to invest the time and effort, there are significant benefits of selling through direct channels.

You could build your website from scratch / hire an expert to build your website or buy ready-made templates and customisable platforms. Based on your business needs and technical capabilities you need to select the right system

  1. Technical competency: Can you learn how to build a site from scratch or would you prefer to buy custom built templates? Are you capable and willing to hire additional staff with expertise if required?
  2. Pricing: Is a monthly or a yearly plan better for the different components of the site or platform? Pricing also increases as features provided improve.
  3. Back Office Integration: How does the system fit with your existing back office capabilities? Is there a possibility for smoothening the move or extension of current facilities into online capabilities?
  4. Time available: Not just to understand and set up the best possible option but also to maintain and update the site to keep it running smoothly. If time is critical, are you capable and willing to hire additional staff with expertise to save time?
  5. Support offered: What are the levels and mode of support offered by the different platforms when problems arise? What is the level of responsiveness when help and guidance is required?
  6. Website features: Evaluate the additional features such as the website’s ease of use, security, mobile friendliness, etc as per your expectations and requirements. Keep in mind that basic features offered may be enough for starting out, but evaluate additional options on offer since it is almost a given that these will be required at a later point.
  7. Marketing tools: Tools for SEO, email marketing, CRM and integration with other websites are decisive tools in order to grow your market and brand.
  8. Unique customisations and features needed: Do you have any unusual needs and can the platform cater to your special requests?

Final note

The final decision will definitely depend on your requirements and needs. It will also vary based on the time, money and effort one is willing invest into this venture. Furthermore, you will need to consider long term strategies and evaluate whether the current decisions will leave room to scale the operation based on future necessities.

Remember that no matter what method you choose to go online, you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a e-marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one online marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements.

In my next post, I will look at some of the prominent ecommerce platform options available and rate them according to the measures mentioned here.

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us a a consultant in digital marketing.

Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?

Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?
Are you losing money on Amazon and Flipkart over selling directly?

In our earlier post – Business not online? Get ready to pack up – we shared that if you’re in the business of selling products, there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. 31% of consumers indicated that online shopping is their preferred mode of shopping and the trend is rapidly going upwards.

Many retailers usually start out by listing on the online marketplaces or e-marketplaces as they are called, such as Amazon, Flipkart, Ebay, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong etc. What most vendors don’t realise is that there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business. These expenses are especially damaging if you are a small business competing with large multinational companies who have access to the massive budgets to spend on marketing and sales.

The best margins for selling online are usually attained by selling through direct channels. These include

  1. Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  2. Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  3. Hire a professional to build and maintain your website (External consultants or internal dedicated employee hire)

There are significant benefits of selling through direct channels

  1. Showcase entire range: With your own online-store, you have better control and flexibility over the showcasing of all your products.
  2. Build Loyalty: Your own online store helps build brand loyalty. Loyal customers and repeat customers prefer reaching direct to store online and offline.
  3. Higher Profitability: Around 30-40% margin of online sales are eroded in commissions on other sites. Additionally, competition driven pricing and discounting cuts into profits through marketplaces.
  4. Increase your Valuations: Having your own store helps differentiate brand value and valuations flexibility, offerings.
  5. Analytics can be used to Grow Business: Ability to gain insights and analytics on buyer behaviour by driving targeted online campaigns.
  6. Lead generation: You have a chance to capture customer details through your landing pages and cross-sell more products.

Whether you have just one product with multiple SKUs or multiple products it is beneficial and worthwhile to build your own channels. This is especially true if you already have a loyal fan following or if your strategy involves creating a strong brand for your products.

As with anything, there are tradeoffs to this approach

  1. Initial capital will need to be set aside and invested to set up the various components involved. These can easily compound if invested in components that are not right for the business.
  2. A significant amount of time and energy might have to invested especially if one is learning about these tools for the first time.
  3. Driving customers to the site may prove to be big challenge if the brand is not yet well established in its niche.  However, this can be mitigated by utilising the various digital marketing tools available.

Final note

If you are willing to invest the time and effort to understand and build your own online sales store, the benefits of this channel can result in a dramatic boost to your bottom line.

Remember that no matter what method you choose to go online, you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will continue to tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us a a consultant in digital marketing.

[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy

#Technology #B2B #Enterprise #DigitalMarketing #ContentManagement #Online

[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy
[Infographic] 8 Bullet Proof Hacks for Enterprise Digital Marketing Strategy

3 reasons to sell on #Amazon, #Flipkart and 9 reasons not to!

#emarketplace #ecommerce #marketing #digitalmarketing #sales #onlinesales #onlineshopping #retailer #tips #amazon #flipkart #snapdeal #myntra #ebay #retail #jabong #koovs

As we’ve talked about before, if you’re in the business of selling products, there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. 31% of consumers indicated that online shopping is their preferred mode of shopping and the trend is rapidly going upwards.

Most vendors have thought about listing in one or more of the online marketplaces (like Amazon, Flipkart, EBay, Snapdeal etc.) at some point. Listing on these sites is appealing on several fronts.

  • The well-known marketplaces are high traffic channels with millions of active buyers. It is the preferred mode of shopping for many buyers who enjoy the variety and seamless buying experience.
  • Merchants gain increased exposure for their products which can lead to higher sales volumes.
  • It opens doors to acquiring new customers who accidently stumble across your products while looking at competitors or simply while browsing randomly.

However, there are many hidden expenses and opportunity costs that could add up to ruin your business

  • Retailers, especially the smaller ones, end up paying around 30-40% margin of their online sales to online marketplaces. This includes even lesser known ecommerce platforms like Koovs, Jabong and Myntra. These margins are high even when compared to rental spaces in the brick-and-mortar stores
  • In addition to the high margins, marketplaces regularly push retailers to give an additional 15-20% discounts.
  • Competition will be crazy. You will be ruthlessly compared with other competitors, product wise, with price being the biggest differentiator in a marketplace. This will force price wars at the expense of quality and brand name.
  • Furthermore, if you come up with a unique product or idea, it will soon be copied and mass produced at lower rates. Even if your product has a patent, its enforcement and prosecution will be time consuming and cash hungry.
  • It will be difficult to build up a brand or generate loyalty for your products.
  • You need to have a corporate tax identity before selling on most e-marketplaces. This isn’t feasible if you are just starting out and selling from the back of your garage or house.
  • The supply and operations process to list and distribute your product is cumbersome
  • A fairly large amount of precious capital will need to be set aside to make sure you have enough stock and inventory and to order the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) from suppliers.
  • It will take time, money and effort to find the right strategy that features your product over others. The strategy will have to be tweaked between marketplaces since each platform’s promotion algorithm differs.

These expenses are especially damaging if you are a small business competing with large multinational companies who have access to the massive budgets to spend on marketing and sales.

There are other options available to sell your products online or even just to channel traffic to increase sales offline

  • Use social media to build brand awareness and direct traffic to offline stores
  • Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  • Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  • Hire a professional to build your website (maintenance problem)

Final Note:

Listing your products on an online marketplace does have its benefits, but, the hidden costs add-up to create a big dent in profits. What’s more, it is a constant uphill battle to monitor pricing and stay on top of latest platform related tweaks to make sure that your product is placed ahead of competitors. Selling through a marketplace doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell from your own e-commerce store to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will tackle the pros and cons of the other strategies, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

This post was first published on  LinkedIn, by Karina Pais, Consultant with Futureshift on Karina is an MBA graduate from UK and engaged with us as a consultant in digital marketing.

Business not online? Get ready to pack up!

If you’re in the business of selling products (even if primarily in the physical world), there really is no excuse for you to not have an online presence. This is regardless of whether you are an established brick-and-mortar business with years of sales experience or if you’re a part time retailer working out of the back of your garage.

Having your products displayed online is necessary because

  • It helps you interact with a much wider audience and even have a global reach.
  • You can set up your own social media channels in a few hours and the rest in a few days.
  • Your customers can access your store at times that are convenient to them and at places that they already are.
  • It complements your presence in the physical world to maximize sales.
  • It is one of the more cost effective ways to get additional marketing and exposure for your brand.

These seemingly small gains are especially important when you are a small retailer and do not have access to the massive budgets that large multinational corporates can freely employ on marketing.

There are many options available to sell your products online or even just to channel traffic to increase sales offline

  • Use social media to build brand awareness and direct traffic to offline stores
  • List on a marketplace like Flipkart/Snapdeal/Myntra/Ebay/Amazon
  • Build your own website with shopping cart facilities from scratch
  • Utilise custom built templates or platforms already available to create your own e-commerce store
  • Hire a professional to build your website (maintenance problem)

 Whether you have just one product with multiple SKUs or multiple products it is beneficial and worthwhile to build your own channels. This is especially true if you already have a loyal fan following or if your strategy involves creating a strong brand for your products.

However, many businesses still don’t even have a social media account for their commercial enterprise. This simple to set-up and easy to use should undoubtedly be the low hanging fruit that is first targeted. Once this is tackled the next steps tend to become a little fuzzy. Is it better to sell on an online marketplace or is it more worthwhile to have your own personal platform? If you are going to create your own personal platform should you take the time to figure out how to do it yourself or is it better to use readymade solutions available out there? I will tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

At the very minimum it is worthwhile to have your own website in addition to just a Facebook or other social media account. Having your own online sales channel along with this, whether through a shopping cart on your website or an entire online store by itself will be a great value add.

Final note

Once you do go online you don’t need to be restricted to just one channel. Selling through your own e-commerce store doesn’t mean that you cannot also sell your products through a marketplace to reap the benefits of both; Nor are you restricted to listing in only one marketplace. Many successful retailers, especially the larger ones, prefer to be involved in multiple channels. However, each additional route takes time, money and energy to understand its processes and maintain it. What is important is that you take the time to consider the options available and formulate a strategy that works the best for YOUR requirements. I will tackle the pros and cons of each strategy, along with the tradeoffs in further posts.

#OptIn Chat – Get your website visitor to talk to you without fuss!

One of the key areas of funnel building and lead generation under our ZMOTly frame work is about reaching out to the victors of your website or blog, even as they are browsing your page. That is their moment of truth, when they are looking for something and obviously, it is like a customer browsing through in a real store. Without, being intrusive, how do you get to the visitor and see how you can help.

After a lot of research, we ourselves zeroed in on Optin Chat. [https://www.optinchat.com/]. Optin Chat is easy to install on any website or blog and yes, you can start off with free.

When we talk to corporates, they are looking at a simple and effective way to leverage their website with call-to-action on content pages. Without an email IDs, one cannot build audience. Without audience, you cannot grow and one of the best ways to build an audience is to build an email list!

Unlike some of the other chatbots that put the customer off by asking for an email ID, Optin helps reach out by providing something of value and asks if the visitor is interested. Imaginer asking in real life store – “Sir, we have a free beer offer on level 2”, would you be interested? If the visitor says yes (who would not :)), you move on and collect some basic information and direct them to level 2. Optin Chat is something like that.

It is about chatting with users and asking for their email IDs in an interactive way. It is not intrusive but pops up with a catchy ‘ding’ sound to grab the visitor’s attention. This chat is not a Live chat but looks like one. And we humans are wired to respond to chat messages! And then, there you go! your first step to getting your customer email ID. Optin Chat has also a very flexible question builder that helps you to configure the chat module and create a JS code that can be installed on your website.

Go ahead, try it out. It doesn’t cost you much. For all you know, this may be your first step to getting to building your customer base.

#CloudWars #Verdict – Will Google #Cloud Amazon’s AWS run?

Amazon and Google started out being unlikely competitors.

One started in 1994 by selling books and the other in 1997 by designing a new search engine for the Internet.  In 2002, both realized that they needed to open up their respective systems to developer communities as a technology disrupter, gain traction, and grow fast.

Both gave brick and mortar businesses a run for their money.  Both ended as undisputed leaders and have redefined the industry in their own ways.

Both Google and Amazon broadly attract the same segment of consumers, albeit for different reasons.

They have not looked back ever since.  The Titans are now eyeing domination of the Enterprise segment with cloud based web hosting services and solutions. Amazon has a significant lead here.  What does it take for them to come out as the winner?  Is the threat from Google real?

In continuing our series on technology game-changers, we focus on a summary of differences between the Google Cloud and the Amazon AWS from an end-user and developer perspective.  In an earlier series (*ISMAC) we had discussed the ubiquitous nature of CLOUD infrastructure in current technology solutions.

Cloud Vendors and Hosting Providers are available dime-a-dozen.

Hosting Providers are good enough for simple web site hosting, be it local or regional.  Most hosting providers provide base hardware
infrastructure (either Physical or Virtual Machines) with Linux or Windows Operating System and the corresponding Web(App)server (Apache, Nginx), Database (MySQL), Programming Language Support (PHP, Python, Java) etc.

Cloud Vendors on the other hand provide a whole slew of ready made and integrated software support like Email, Queuing, Messaging, BigData, NoSQL, Storage, Networking, Billing, Logging etc.  These services are all independent, but can be installed and setup to work cohesively with each other.  In this article, we will look at the offerings
of “Google Cloud” and “Amazon AWS”.

 

Google Cloud Console – https://cloud.google.com/

image

Comprises of a separate Compute engine and App engine.  The Compute engine provides the raw hardware and allows the developer to install any tools/technologies they choose.  The App Engine on the other hand, comes pre-built with support for PHP, Python (language
interpreters).  It allows the developers to directly upload their source code and setup the environment. Google Cloud also provides out-of-the-box one-click deployment of numerous tools in the Data Store, Programming, and Source Code Control, Configuration and Build Management and other Front-End, Mid-Tier, and Back-end packages.

Costing is tiered with a free-tier for almost all functionalities including storage and network usage (upload/download).  This approach is
convenient for developers and companies to try out in a smaller scale free before choosing this as a production and scaling platform.

On the other side, setup is slightly non-intuitive for the first-time cloud user. The developer will require a few trials before getting comfortable with
the offerings.

 

Amazon AWS Console – http://aws.amazon.com/

image

The console is organized very intuitively under various categories – Computing Resources, Storage, Content Delivery, Databases, Networking, Administration and Security, Deployment, Analytics, Mobile, Application Services and Enterprise Services.  Within each of these categories, the most common packages are provided in a single-click setup model.  Impressive is the ability to setup your own
Simple Email Service, Simple Queuing Service, and Simple Notification Services (for server-side of mobile apps)

Costing is Free for the first 12 months.  This provides a wonderful way
for developers and companies to test the platform and even use it in a
semi-production model.

AWS has a much bigger ecosystem and therefore has support on the Internet for almost all situations one could ever face.

Verdict

While both the offerings have similar setup and approach, Amazon’s AWS comes out better due to its maturity and developer-friendly tools.  Google Cloud’s free limits are a wonderful idea that could potentially be adopted by AWS.  This allows small companies to move to and continue on AWS (without charge) for their small footprint requirements.  Google Cloud needs a bit of Usability improvements especially for the developer community.

5 Hot Technology Trends (2/2)

In our earlier post, we wrote about #ISMAC and how it is changing the business ecosystem. In this post we will continue the conversation by understanding the leaders in each of these technology areas. We will also review what each one is doing in that space.

1.    Internet of Things (IOT)

Vendors in this space range from chip manufacturers (Intel, ARM, Texas Instruments), mobile and embedded device vendors (Freescale, Qualcom, Ericsson), Home appliance vendors (GE, Bosch), pure-play software developers (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook), Networking vendors (Cisco) and large system integrators (IBM, Oracle, SAP). The spread is so broad given the multitude of technologies that go into making a device intelligent and automated.  One of the biggest business and technological
challenges in this area is the need for standards at all hardware and software
layers.  Standards are important to
ensure complete hand-shake across device vendors as well as to derive
functionalities at scale. Early-stage research companies will lobby for their
work to become the standard.  This tussle
will continue for a few years until the standards bodies get a grip of the
overall collaborations required.  A potential obstacle from consumer perspective is the pervasiveness of these devices leading to privacy compromises. This will be a larger problem involving social, economic and political ramifications.

2.  Social

Social sector is already close to maturity on the consumer usage perspective.  While there could be finer tweaks, the ability to post 140 character reviews to author elaborate ebooks provides consumers enough to go with.  At the backend, processing of these gazillion bytes of data and deriving meaningful value for businesses is key focus area.  At the current juncture social channels are simply used for consumer and prospect connect beginning with lead generation through to customer service and repeat customers.  Most organizations are working to understand and correlate the various factors that impact the conversion funnel and how best they can take advantage of it themselves.

3.  Mobile

With about 200 Million feature phones and 80 Million smartphones sold in India in 2014, the data cannot be clearer.  Complete ecosystems have formed around mobile exchange of money, ewallet, transaction processing etc.  Nationalized banks are also heavily invested in this direction. Ability to transfer money with the swipe of a finger is practical subject to security considerations. While Social is the biggest application used on mobiles (much more data traffic over voice), other ecommerce and financial transactions are not lagging far behind.  It is critical for business to adopt a mobile-first strategy in through thinking. Minimalistic and Responsive Design as some of the key deliverables in this space.

4.  Analytics

The ability to spot the proverbial needle in the haystack holds promise.  Analytics space continues to be hot with hundreds of new entrants each quarter. Open Source Technology platforms like Hadoop (sponsored under the Apache Project) play a key role in providing real-time and batch analytics. Quick access data stores like NoSql are very prevalent given the
unstructured nature of data.  The need to handle millions of data element inputs per minute has also created a proliferation of queuing technologies that ensure data events are processed without loss. While Analytics is touted as the panacea, this space requires good blend of business acumen combined with computing abilities to derive true
value.

5.  Cloud

Cloud is the most advanced of all the five technologies.  The question is not one of viability any
longer.  Usage of cloud has become so
common place that one cannot imagine otherwise.
All our emails, files, photos, documents, videos, photos, blogs are saved
up there in one of the cloud. Cloud infrastructure vendors have gotten the
entire store, access, retrieve cycle ironed out.  Redundancy of infrastructure and replication mechanisms have evolved so well to completely hide the true complexity away from the end customer.  With companies like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and others giving out free access to developer’s worldwide, cloud is the only de facto platform to develop applications.  It has also brought some semblance of uniformity of development with standardization of infrastructure stack open source products.

In summary, the five technologies listed above are very real and very NOW.  Businesses should take advantage of these technologies in ways that is most beneficial for them.

Futureshift Consulting [www.futureshift.in] brings you the right combination of business and technology strategy and implementation expertise. Visit us at www.futureshift.in for a sneak preview of our offerings.  Write to us [help@futureshift.com.sg]  or for a quick response..

5 Hot Technology Trends (1/2)

SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) and IoT (Internet of Things) are the five buzz words in the technology industry that is driving innovation for business and hence valuations for businesses that are in that space.

Let us address this one by one. In this two part series, we will cover introductory and business aspects of SMAC+IoT in this part and take up deep dive in the next.

SMAC delivers an ecosystem to help businesses have maximum reach with minimal costs. It also helps business to be present in front of the customer without being intrusive. We are all creating peta-bytes of data both in structured and unstructured formats. In today’s day and age, anything that we do on the internet is captured in more than one way. This explosion of structured and unstructured data is generating through billions of devices and services – mobile devices social media, sensors, loyalty programs and browsing website and is creating new business models built upon user-generated data. Each of the four technologies – social, mobile, analytics and cloud (let us keep IoT out of the equation for now) – is critical and creates a synergy and provides immense competitive advantage for businesses when used efficiently.

Social Media has provided billions of users and millions of businesses
with new ways to reach and interact between businesses customers and between customers to customers. The mobile technologies have dramatically altered the way people communicate, shop and work and have fun. Analytics allow businesses to understand how, when and where people consume goods and services. Cloud computing provides a disruptive way to access technology with data a business needs to quickly and respond to rapidly changing markets and solve business problems. Each of the four technologies can impact a business individually. But the power lies in the integration and the coming together of the four is proving to be a disruptive force and is creating entirely new business models for service providers.

While it sounds simple the integration involves immense complexity at the back end. There are tools available to achieve the stated purpose. Integrating SMAC requires clear systems, policies and management tools that can automate business processes. The online-retailer company Amazon is a
good example of a business that has successfully harnessed the power of SMAC.
For example, when an Amazon member buys an item on Amazon on their iPhone, they are given the option to login with Facebook’s social login. After the purchase, customers are given multiple ways to provide social feedback. They can rate their experience with stars, write reviews and/or share what they just bought with friends on Facebook or Twitter. Customer data is stored in the cloud and Amazon can break down its analysis to such a granular a level that its recommendation engine can personalize suggestions for friends that are connected and have similar preferences, a concept known as 1:1 marketing.

Any modern CRM strategy would see such 1:1 marketing as the holy-grail of customer engagement and is the aim of every SMAC initiative. Critics however worry that such massive aggregation of customer data from disparate sources, data that is possibly purchased from data brokers, may violate user privacy and cause legal problems related to compliance and data sovereignty.

In spite of such criticism, SMAC is here to stay. In the next post, I will talk about Internet of Things, IoT that is the next big disruptor. Stay tuned.

Get your Online store Fast with Shoppeazy #Futrlabs

Shoppeazy: How can you get your own Online Store in a less than 99 minutes . We have made the complexity simple. Designed ground up from a total-retail perspective this is designed with a simple goal. To give you the exhaustive capabilities  and at the sma etime have a 10th grader run the store and get your cash registers ringing.

With Shoppeazy you can

  • define your multi-level and multi-dimensional Catalogs
  • Define Products
  • Upload Content, Technical Details,  Special Instructions
  • Upload Photographs
  • Configure from over 15 User-defined Price fields
  • Define Search Engine Optimization keywords at multiple levels (Site, Category, Brand, Product)
  • Integrate Payment Gateway with CCAvenue
  • Apply multi-type Promotions, Coupons and Discounts.
  • Seamless and Simple User Experience.

Check it out here – http://store.futureshift.in/. Can you believe that took us less than 99 minutes to set it up.

What are you waiting for?

Retail Excellence – 3X3 Learning by #Futrlabs

One of the most widely appreciated offerring by in the Hi-Tech Retail segment is 3X3 Learning.

In simple terms 3X3 learning is all about Instant Learning, Anytime, Anywhere. This is a blended learning optimized to maximize attention, retention, results.

3X3 comprises of Online Assessments, Tests, Quizzes, Rich Interaction, Gamification.  This can be either used for compliance or used for In-Store Personnel (ISP) training. We had a good experience with #Microsoft during launch of #Windows8 and at #Acer stores when new series is launched

ZMOT.ly – Your Zero Moment of Truth

ZMOT.ly (read zee-mot-lee) is all about ensuring impact at the zero-th moment of truth. This is about rapid demand creation and predictable revenue through right interventions and influencing the decision-making process even before the prospect visits your shelf (online or offline).

Unlike the  classic traditional model, where an engagement (with prospect) kicks in from the point of first interaction with your team (first moment of truth) and through the customer experience after purchase (Second Moment of Truth), ZMOT helps you actively influence the experience from inception and create a positive demand cycle for the product or service.
By taking advantage of though business insights and advanced technology skill-sets, our consultants will help architect the business impact solution – be it revenue or profit maximization or market expansion or operational efficiency. We will do it by developing solutions in our innovation labs that specialize in solutions in the cloud, mobile, social and analytics.
Reach out to us at Futureshift at zmotly@futureshift.com.sg, where our best of our brains will help you with a demonstrable impact in business.

Social Media in Business (Part 2 )

In my earlier post of Social Media in Business (Part 1), I shared the size of the market was and the lovable demographics social media presents. In this second and final part, I will share with you the basic steps of getting there.

Before I proceed I want to share with you a personal sorry that occurred recently.

I was disappointed at mediocre internet banking infrastructure of the two banks #hdfcbank, #icicibank and the unhelpful call center of #jetairways. The numerous attempts to the call center that either put me on hold for a good 20+ minutes or were unable to understand the requests yielded no results. Such waits and both frustrating and costly. I did what was the next step. Vent out my frustration on a tweet.

In less than 12 hours, I had ‘messages’ #icicibank #jetairways requesting for more details. In less than 24 hours of me providing my contact details, the representatives called me and promised to fix the issue. One bank #hdfcbank, just chose to be unheard and non-present on twitter. Needless to say thy just lost my $10K investment that I was planning to do to their competitor.

As a customer, I was delighted that a 140 character tweet could achieve what a 20min international phone call or a 300 word email could not. Harnessing its power,  let’s get serious.
Unfortunately, most companies are still treating social media like just another teenage fancy. When in fact, it’s so much more.

Where can Social Media help?

  • customer service, building loyalty
  • public relations, networking, thought-leadership
  • and yes, may be customer acquisition, too.
  • And because I’d hate to see it all not add up, I’ll add this tiny bit of advice. Do not assume that social media is the answer to every problem
  • If your product sucks, social media won’t fix it.
  • However, if your customer service sucks, social media can help.
  • If your repeat business sucks, social media can help.
  • If your company’s word of mouth sucks, social media can help.

So, here’s what you need to do:

Define your company’s online marketing strategy.  Hope is not strategy

Stop thinking “campaigns”. Start thinking “conversations.

Your customers are queuing there. Your resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time.
If your business isn’t putting itself out there, you are putting yourself out of business?

Social Media in Business (Part 1)

In our consulting assignments and workshop on social media, participants ask us the same question again and again. The top three questions are –

  • “Why do we as a business need to be there?”
  • “Facebook is for friends and Twitter is there for celebrities, not for real businesses”.
  • “We are a professional organization, not some startup”

In this two-part series, I will share how social media can change the business dynamics and help you get closer to your prospects and customers. In part 2 of this series I will share my own personal example with an airline and a bank on how they leveraged social media to solve customer problems.
Well are businesses really social?

Many years ago when Avinash Kaushik, an Analytics Evangelist of Google quipped “social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better”, it seemed like just that.

Now almost a decade later and wiser, Wikipedia defines thus – “Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue”,

Why should I care, you may ask?

Well, I can give you not one but six trends that possibly can change your perspective.

  • Because 3 out of 4 Americans use social technology.
  • Because 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks.
  • Because visiting social sites is now the most popular online activity
  • Because time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for
  • Because social media is democratizing communications. Big time.
  • Because social media is like word of mouth on steroids.
  • Because, social media is a force to be reckoned with! If facebook were a country, it would be the world’s most populous country just ahead of China and India.

If all this is great stuff, how does it affect my business, my customers or my prospects? I will cover these in my next issue, and I leave you with this thought –
93% of social media users believe that a company should have a presence in social media.
93% of these users want a dialogue, not a monologue on social media and believe that companies should not treat social media as yet another channel for broadcasting bulls*t.

Well now that I set the grounding on the basics of Social Media, I will take up in my next post on how businesses can leverage social media in my next issue.

ZMOTly Impact – Pados App to Aid Nepal Relief, Reconstruction

When we heard of the massive catastrophic earthquake in Nepal and the death and destruction we started charting ways in which we can help in the relief work using technology.

Pados (www.padosapp.com)

Pados is mobile messenger service app and coincidentally named the Hindi word for Neighbourhood.

We started ensuring that we added all the 916 Neighbourhoods or Chimekas as they call in Nepal and that covers 100% of Nepal’s neighbourhoods. For example, this app has already created open group for Residents of Darchula, Darchula District, Nepal, bearing Pincode 10100 all the way up to Hangpang, Taplejung District, Nepal, bearing Pincode 57512.

This app will help the communities to rapidly rebuild themselves as logical online groups in less than 60 seconds and engage with conversations relevant to the members and survivors. The local officials, police and rescuers can also easily join the community where they are involved in and start having discussions that will aid relief and reconstruction work. Tens of Thousands of ground volunteers from India across the world, as well as NDRF are engaged in massive search and rescue operations. With the drawing of the end of rescue efforts, the community forum can be used for reconstruction, rehabilitation and logistics of the aid pouring in from rest of the world.

In fact, the community or teams
can easily create further communities or groups and start conversing in less
than 60 seconds. For example, the NDRF team working in Kesharpur can easily
create a private group called +NDRF_Kesharpur_OperationMAITRI that can involve
their ground teams as well as coordinating officers back in New Delhi or
elsewhere.

Any member can simply sign-up using popular social networking services like Facebook or Google+ or Twitter.  With Pados, the user can receive instant
messages from the community even if both of them are not connected with them on social media or phone contacts.

The service will use standard data networks like 2G/3G or Wi-Fi, and does not need to involve expensive SMS charges and messages can crisscross across continents, between mobile phones and tablets that help coordinating specific relief operations.

Pados is available for Android phones and tablets and is downloadable FREE on Google Play Store.  It is estimated that Android constituters over 90% of smartphone market in Nepal. – Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pados

We hope that we can make a difference in our own way to the relief and reconstruction efforts.

#ZMOTlyIImpact – 150,000 Indian Neighbourhoods and counting.

Yes, you heard it right. We are happy to share with you that over 150,000 Indian Neighborurhoods are on Pados Community Network. Just type in your pincode and you can chose the neighbourhood you want to be part of.

Alternatively, you can add create your own community and invite your neighbours. Get Creative.

image

#BetterBhavishya – Bring down those fences, Become a caring neighbour.

We are working on something that will bring down the fences between neighbors. We will share with you in a few days.

This image is representative of today’s neighborhood.

image

Bring down those fences, Become
a caring neighbour.

In our last post, we shared with you on how Pados helps bring back a sense of community to the neighbourhood. This is what we mean by that.

image

Social networks in a neighbourhood lower crime improve public health and raise social impact.

#Pados, a Private Social Network for your Neighborhood

We are excited to talk to you
today about Pados, the first private social network for the neighbourhood.

We are a relatively new entity that sits at the intersection of
two large and important trends in our industry: social and local.   Over the next few posts, we will show you
the actual app and its uses in real neighbourhoods.

First, a little bit about what inspired the idea and why we
think it is such a meaningful opportunity.

Therefore, we all know that social networks have become
ubiquitous and mainstream. They have enormous user bases, over 2 billion users of Internet using Internet
in one way or other. It is clear that we have begun to rely on social networks
for almost all parts of our lives. We rely on Facebook to keep us connected to
friends and family. We rely on Twitter to follow topics and people that
interest us. In addition, we rely on LinkedIn to manage our professional
identities.

image

It turns out that the neighbourhood is one of the original
social networks. There is a large body of research, led by Harvard
Professor Robert Putnam that shows the tangible benefits of having a social
network in a neighbourhood. What is interesting about Putnam’s quote here is
that it is from the year 2002. Therefore, he is not talking about the online
social networks that have become mainstream today. He is talking about the
real world connections that we have with our neighbours, in our neighbourhoods.

Unfortunately, we seem to have lost touch with the neighbourhood. We
estimate that less than 1 in 10 Indians know their neighbours and less than 28%
know none of their neighbours by name. While there are plenty of online
services that can connect us to people everywhere, there does not seem to be
anything that will connect us to the people right outside our front door. That
is where Pados comes in. We believe we can bring back a sense of community to
the neighbourhood.

We believe we can take the best practices of social networking
and apply them to the real world community of the neighbourhood. It is an
obvious idea and there are tremendous benefits.

So why hasn’t anyone done
this before? Why has not anyone used technology to help us build stronger neighbourhoods?
I  I will write a bout in some later
post.

For now, it is just suffice
to know that Pados helps bring back a sense of community to the neighbourhood.
Go ahead; we have a free download for your Android -<Link>

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5 Hot Technology Trends of 2015

5 HOT TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

Strike-a-deal Now, with a in-store app #Futrlabs

image
Strike-a-deal

Strike-a-deal:

Businesses lose a chance to sell to over 95% visitors to a store. As visitors come and spend time with your retail sales personnel, and precious time is used to educate them about your products and services, little or no system exists to convert that effort into a sale.  Subsequently, the visitor walks away with no follow-ups made.

Strike-a-deal is a simple way to engage the prospect and ensure that each visitor to your store is followed up to make a sale and nurture loyalty.

Download Strike-a-deal free Here – We can help customize the same for you – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.conduit.app_6911a50bc5ad43799f9e8b1a12dfbb6d.app

Never lose a handshake with Contact.ly #Futrlabs

Contact.ly was designed with a simple philosophy of maximising returns on a sales call.

Every one who has been a Sales Person or a Sales Manager would understand on the painful process of daily call reporting. Contact.ly makes such a report easy by helping the field rep log the visit at your fingertips.

The location tracker, business card capture and InstaMail are some of the new capabilities that make it extremely useful for the organization. The analytics at the back-end can help provide valuable insights to maximising sales performance and optimising resources.

Download sample this here FREE – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.conduit.app_ee5f76ac79c74c76b1fed49a09e5c50d.app

Grouping – another innovative product #Futrlabs

What is Grouping?

Hey! Check out our new India website – futureshift.in

Hey! Check out our new website.

http://futureshift.in/
http://futureshift.in/

 

#BetterBhavishya – Delivering Social Impact

image

At Futureshift, we believe that we will be able to contribute immensely to the social sector space by building on the capabilities, skill sets and the connections that we have built with our vast experience in transforming businesses around the world.

As a part of giving back, our consultants have pledged 20% of their time to work on social causes that will Maximize Social Impact. They will leverage their global expertise and use Futureshift tools and services towards those causes.

Some examples of the areas we are working on include

  • Solving the teaching problem in India by developing multi-media teaching aid with Pocket Power.
  • Solving India’s human rights problems by working together with Amnesty International. Projects like #bullynomore.in have gained traction to address the bullying in schools.
  • Solving literacy and numeracy problem by working with a leading NGO on how to expand footprints and volunteers.
  • Solving India’s vaccination problem with MyHealthshield that can help reduce tens of thousands of infant deaths due to missing the vaccination schedule.
  • Solving neighborhood safety problem with grouping, a solution for creating ‘instant ‘neighborhood watch’ without compromising on privacy of phone number.

#Futrlabs small enough to innovate, big enough to disrupt

Futrlabs is our Innovation Hub that develops Intellectual Property on disruptive technologies to positively impact outcomes.

Technology is the bedrock for success. Picking the right solution for the right problem is critical. Futureshift’s Mobile, Cloud, Social and Analytics platforms will help you achieve success, instantly with the right tools.

At Futrlabs cutting-edge innovation happens because we are focused ground up with solutions that impact business and real problems. We are bunch of tech-savvy people who meet and talk to real people almost every week. That is what keeps the creative juices flowing with feet on the ground.