By Gitanjali Maria and Zach Capers
Classifying data simplifies data security efforts and ensures that your employees know what information can be made public and what should stay internal.
However, a recent GetApp survey found that nearly half of all businesses allow employees to access more data than is necessary for their jobs. In fact, 12% of businesses reported that employees have access to all company data.
Week of June 24, 2019
The U.S. is getting a drone army, MIT makes robots ‘feel’ with their eyes, and more emerging tech news
Parody video features robots fighting back against developer abuse
By now, everyone interested in future tech has seen the parody video of Boston Dynamic’s robot Atlas suffering abusive trials at the hands of its developers, followed by the robot finally snapping and fighting back. The video has raised some interesting questions from viewers: Can robots be abused? What happens when our robot overlords decide enough is enough? How do viewers know when something is real or just clever CGI? [Read more]
U.S. Army buys 9,000 mini-drones to help troops on the front line
Some soldiers deploying to Afghanistan will get an FLIR Black Hornet mini drone as part of their kit. The drones, which weigh just over an ounce, will aid specialists in scouting ahead during missions. The Army hopes to develop new long-range drones after this program to help put eyes on places that ground drones can’t go, and increase the time flight-enabled drones can spend in the air. [Read more]
Neural networks can reduce time spent data crunching
What if I told you that scientists have figured out a way to predict the future? Just kidding. They have figured out a way to combine convultional and recurrent neural networks to extract the absorption spectra of plasmonic structures. Crazy, right? For those of us who don’t speak “engineer,” scientists constructed a deep neural network to predict the way things like gold and silver will absorb light, and therefore decreased the amount of time it takes to analyze objects (and the amount of number-crunching required.) [Read more]
New MIT-developed AI allows robots to predict how things feel with sight
When you’re a child, you learn the hard way that sharp objects like knives can hurt you: You touch it, even though you were told not to. Ouch. The next time you encounter something sharp, you know how to handle it. That’s essentially what this new AI developed by MIT’s CSAIL allows robots to accomplish. Robots can predict the feeling of interacting with an obstacle by looking at a scene and processing prior learning in similar situations. Ideally, this will allow the quantity of data required for robots to make decisions to decrease over time. [Read more]
AI learns how to watch movies … kind of
A Stanford graduate, now Netflix senior data scientist, advanced object recognition AI by teaching it how to identify kissing scenes in a subset of 100 movies. Why does this matter? In the past, object recognition has been kind of hit-or-miss in video, especially when there are multiple subjects on screen. This could be used to rapidly identify unusual behavior for those using security cameras, help suss out deep fakes, and more. [Read more]
Week of June 17, 2019
Package delivery via Amazon drone closer to being a reality, two data giants fuse clouds, and more emerging tech news
I can buy a Spot robot? Take. My. Money.
Boston Dynamic’s Spot robot will go on sale to the public later this year. We’ve seen failed launches of robots for consumers in the past (Anki, anyone?) but Spot promises to be more useful for buyers and easier to control. For example, Spot can be used for surveillance by using a D-pad and a preprogrammed route. And though we don’t yet know the price, the company already has an order from a Japanese construction company that needs help surveying workers in hostile environments. [Read more]
Microsoft and Oracle’s clouds are going to work together
The two data behemoths announced that they will leverage their collective cloud power via a direct network connection to compete with the likes of Google and AWS. Initially, the integrated cloud will exist only between Oracle’s Virginia location and Azure’s U.S. East location. The company representatives are mum on any further expansion details, other than it’s going to happen. [Read more]
Amazon drones are going to be delivered soon(ish)
Though the company hasn’t disclosed the exact release date, sources say we could have 5-lb packages delivered by drone as early as Black Friday. What remains unclear is how Amazon plans to deal with the current FAA regulations prohibiting drones from carrying packages or being flown out of sight of the operator. Another potential snag in drone delivery? They are loud enough that Amazon reps compare the sound to a mix of classical music and a dentist’s drill. Yikes. [Read more]
It’s a lean, mean, cheese- (and wallet-) grating machine
Apple released its newest desktop computer, the Mac Pro, and the joke among techies is that it looks like a cheese grater. The machine is designed around workflow management. It’s able to handle giant workloads including 8K video editing, dozens of simultaneously-playing audio tracks (why?), and probably the most interesting: massive logic sets. One small thing: Its under-powered base model starts at a sob-inducing $5,999; even the stand retails at nearly $1,000. What is Apple playing at here? [Read more]
Experts say not even two-factor can save your data
Security experts presented a way to get around two-factor authentication using a bank-robbing-esque duo of tools called Muraena and NecroBrowser. Muraena presents the user with a false login screen and once the cookie is verified, NecroBrowser takes over and keeps tracks of the user’s information while browsing. Two-factor authentication is still safer than the traditional username and password, but experts say it’s good to change your passwords often and be diligent about digital security. [Read more]
Week of June 10, 2019
Volvo is using AR to design cars, the U.S. Army might be getting mini-Imperial walkers, and more news about emerging technology trends
Sony develops IoT chip with 60-mile range
Did you know that Sony has a LPWAN? That’s a low-power wide-area network, which they call ELTRES. They’ve created a chip that can very quickly send data to Sony’s ELTRES network, which is itself extremely fast at transferring data. In other words, they’ve created a module that if attached to an IoT device, can transmit information so fast and efficiently, they’d be able to track pretty much anything moving at high speeds. [Read more]
Volvo set to test car designs with augmented reality
Volvo isn’t the first automaker to use AR in the design and testing process, but they are the first to let their engineers test cars using AR in real-life situations. Volvo, partnering with Finnish AR-maker Varjo, is planning to reduce the time it takes to get a car off the design board and into the hands of consumers by using AR to fast-track safety and usability tests. [Read more]
Should we have global rules for AI?
The World Economic Forum says yes. As a matter of fact, they believe we should have six different councils to provide policy guidance and address governance gaps in areas such as autonomous driving, precision medicine, blockchain, and AI. They have some pretty heavy-hitters on the councils, ranging from organizations such as IEEE and IBM to Microsoft president Brad Smith. Should we have rules that construct boundaries around the use of these emerging technologies, or not? [Read more]
Tiny military scouting robots, a la ‘Star Wars?’ Yes, please.
The U.S. Army has invested in a robotics development project led by UC Berkeley researchers. The robots’ mission? To aid in scouting and search and rescue operations. The robots’ appearance? Star Wars AT-ATs in miniature (they’re only about a foot tall.) The lead researcher has managed to get the robot to climb up walls by ricocheting off objects and bouncing. He’s partnered with a biomimicry lab leader to see if they can apply movement mechanics from the insect world to help the robot navigate tough terrains. [Read more]
Salesforce is getting into blockchain
Salesforce announced that it’s going to offer a new blockchain service, available in 2020, in order to remain competitive in its markets. The platform is built on an open-source product called Hyperledger, which was developed in 2016 by blockchain pioneers like IBM. Salesforce has some serious catching up to do if they want to compete with larger companies that have already adopted or developed a blockchain solution. [Read more]
Week of June 3, 2019
Samsung makes machine learning more artsy, Chick-fil-A is using AI for food safety, and more news about emerging technology trends
Machine learning gets artsy and a little more creepy
Samsung showcased its latest foray into machine learning development in an interesting format—they made the Mona Lisa smile … literally. What’s amazing (and creepy) is that they were able to improve the often-laborious task of building synthetic imagery by only using one picture to generate the result. They also used a Generative Adversarial Network to check if the ML-generated imagery could fool others into thinking the result was a real human speaking. [Read more]
Let’s address the robot in the room
Yes, a quadruped robot pulled a small passenger plane down a flat runway. Is it awesome? Sure, in the way that all robots are awesome. But, this metallic doggo has a long way to go before he catches up to Boston Dynamic’s Spot Mini. Skepticism aside, we’re all waiting to see what the Italian-developed HyQReal will be able to do next. [Read more]
Facebook plans to get into cryptocurrency
GlobalCoin, as it’s referred to internally at Facebook, is set to launch in 2020. The
purpose of the project is to break down financial barriers for individuals without traditional bank accounts. Economists are saying the Facebook launch may be one of the biggest things to hit cryptocurrency in its short history. Skeptics postulate that the average consumer doesn’t want to deal in currency with a rapidly fluctuating value. [Read more]
Chick-fil-A’s AI can identify potential foodborne illness
The AI system can identify which restaurants have the highest probability of spreading foodborne illness. The system collects social media data from individuals who have visited a Chick-fil-A, passes the data through a Python routine set to identify illness keywords, and then through an AWS-developed NLP system to ascertain sentiment. Restaurant managers are notified of the sick customer so they can up their customer service game (and clean up their restaurant.) [Read more]
NASA starts traffic-testing drones in Reno
NASA has been working on a drone traffic management project for a while and just kicked off their final leg: real-life testing. The autonomous drones are sent into the skies with pizzas, packages, and medical equipment. Their goal? In short, don’t run into each other, lose what you’re carrying, or hurt pedestrians. This is just the first step in bringing a fleet of drone deliveries to our airspace. [Read more]
Week of June 24, 2019
Canada brings BI to cannabis, Google enters healthcare, and more BI news
The deal will integrate technology from Jirav —a financial forecasting and analytics firm —into Aprio Cloud, an accounting platform. They aim to provide real-time data analytics for small and midsize businesses. The new tool will integrate with more mainstream options like QuickBooks Online, NetSuite, and Xero. [Read more]
The enterprise tech partner launched Bold BI, a cloud-based tool to help users manage data preparation. In a press release, Syncfusion announced that Bold BI integrates with more than 80 of the most common data sources, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Bold BI also has vertical-based tools for teams working in finance, healthcare, insurance, and more. [Read more]
Google announced plans to work with the drugmaker in an innovation lab “to harness ’emerging data technologies'”. Sanofi will harness Google’s data processing power to gain insights into offering more personalized patient outcomes. Sanofi will also move some of its business apps to the cloud, and it’s unclear if the partnership will give Google access to patient data. [Read more]
The consulting firm announced its partnership with New Frontier Data—an analytics firm for clients in the cannabis industry—at the 2019 World Cannabis Congress. A joint press release shared the companies’ goals to improve data analytics, BI, and consulting services tailored for the cannabis market. A report released by New Frontier Data last April reported potential cannabis retail sales of over $340 billion USD. [Read more]
The UK-based data transformation tool will use its new funds to scale engineering talent, product development, and customer support. Customers such as Siemens and GE use Matillion to pull data from cloud and on-premise tools, then move said data into cloud data warehouse systems for tasks like machine learning. Their Series C round brings Matillion’s total funding to $60 million so far. [Read more]
The explosion of consumer data is leading ad agencies to question their campaign strategies. The Wall Street Journal reports that data-marketing units like Acxiom will prevent ad teams from wasting money. But in a profession known for acting on intuition, not everyone is on board with big data. [Read more]
Rob Marvin of PCMag.com cites IDC research which projects a huge increase in BI revenue over the next three years, up from an estimated $189 billion in 2019. Marvin cites recent acquisitions of BI tools like Tableau as evidence that the tech world aims to bring such software into their product suites. [Read more]
Week of June 17, 2019
Salesforce and Google pay billions for big data, Skullcandy rolls out machine learning, and more BI news
Skullcandy partners with Big Squid to roll out a BI tool
The audio device brand will use Big Squid’s automated machine learning to forecast monthly product returns, find failing parts, and improve its manufacturing. Jesse Mease, Skullcandy’s warranty return data specialist, also worked with Big Squid’s customer service and data science teams to build a custom natural language processing program that found repeating words and phrases. [Read more]
Salesforce buys Tableau for $15.3 billion
The all-stock deal will allow Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block to integrate Tableau’s data visualization features across the Salesforce product suite. It comes as Tableau extends its own product line to include data cleanup and machine learning tools — and as Salesforce races to reach its annual revenue goal of $18 billion by fiscal year 2023. [Read more]
Google pays $2.6 billion for Looker
The all-cash deal will allow Google to integrate the BI software for data analysis into its Google Cloud portfolio. Analysts view this acquisition as a sign of competition with Microsoft, which will end support for Windows Server 2008 in January 2020. [Read more]
Logi Analytics acquires Zoomdata
The acquisition was announced 20 months after Logi Analytics was itself acquired by Marlin Equity Partners. Logi—which helps application leaders embed analytics into their own products—will leverage Zoomdata’s API, which appeals to a broader BI market. [Read more]
An Aussie art gallery alerts patrons to data mining danger
Simon Denny, a New Zealand-born artist based in Berlin, designed the MONA exhibit to teach patrons how easily they give away their data—and how quickly that data is sold for profits they’ll never see. Denny’s exhibit is on display at Hobart, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art through April 13, 2020, with a showing in Sydney from June 28 to Aug. 11, 2019. [Read more]
Week of June 10, 2019
Data mining hurts democracy, the U.S. Army starts using AI, and more BI news
Does data mining decrease trust in elections?
Jamie Bartlett, a journalist and senior fellow at Demos, used his keynote at Infosecurity Europe to share his fear that data mining sparks distrust in voting. Bartlett cited Facebook’s scandal with Cambridge Analytica as proof that “microtargeting” fueled by data science leads data mining firms to try swaying voters. [Read more]
1 in 3 fleet executives can’t use BI software
An April 2019 survey of 2,000 fleet executives found that 33% lack a software platform to manage their fleets’ total cost of ownership (TCO). Respondents cited poor integrations and user experience as barriers to using big data for fleet management. [Read more]
TIBCO earns top marks from Gartner
The self-service analytics tool got the highest score for decentralized analytics in Gartner’s 2019 Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms report. TIBCO also got the second highest score in four use cases, including data discovery and embedded BI. [Read more]
IBM adds data science to its Db2 database
The IT giant put “built-in support” for data science development in its 11.5 release. This release also includes the Augmented Data Explorer, a new natural language querying feature for developers. [Read more]
The Biden Cancer Initiative moves into data mining
Joe and Jill Biden’s nonprofit announced its partnership with nine healthcare providers to launch a shared platform called Oncology Clinical Trial Information Commons (OCTIC). The platform will help biopharma companies enter and share details about clinical trials, patient matches, and other aspects of data mining. [Read more]
UVA uses data science for job hunting
Three Ph.D. candidates at the University of Virginia are building a dataset to try quantifying successful job candidates. The UVA Data Science Institute gave the students a Presidential Fellowship in data science for their efforts. [Read more]
The U.S. Army taps Palantir to its lead battlefield intelligence
The Silicon Valley-based data mining firm beat conglomerates like Raytheon to redesign the Army’s Distributed Common Ground System. Analysts say this could put position Palantir to influence the Army’s AI strategy as it emphasizes real-time data analysis. [Read more]
Week of June 3, 2019
CrossFit quits Facebook, Canada tries to predict policy impacts, and more BI news
More and more restaurants turn to data mining
From McDonald’s building digital menus to Sonic implementing voice-assisted tech, an increasing number of restaurants use predictive analytics. Their goal? Personalization. But in a feature for Restaurant Dive, several hospitality leaders—including the CTO of OpenTable—said there’s a fine line between convenient and creepy. [Read more]
Canada’s government starts using predictive analytics
The Federal government hired Mission Measurement, a Chicago-based data firm, to track and improve the outcomes of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. The Privy Council Office’s Impact and Innovation Unit will give politicians real-time data to predict how successful certain legislation will be, rather than waiting to assess it years later. [Read more]
Data workers report feeling overwhelmed
A survey by Alteryx, a data analytics platform, found that data workers – including data scientists – spend 44 percent of their work weeks searching for and organizing data. The same survey found that data handlers manage an average of six data sources, up to 40 million rows of data, and seven separate outputs that can range from trend analyses to business projections. [Read more]
AI is automating business analysts’ roles
Research from AMPLYFI found that the need for problem-solving and communications skills increased 112% and 19%, respectively, between 2014 and 2019. Cary Cooper, professor of organizational psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School, attributed this growth to increased automation of number-crunching tasks within the business analyst role. [Read more]
CrossFit quits Facebook and Instagram
The fitness empire deactivated all Facebook and Instagram pages indefinitely. Co-Founder Greg Glassman cited concerns about data privacy on both platforms as the culprit for CrossFit’s suspension. [Read more]
Week of May 28, 2019
Sharing data with employees, predicting drug shortages, and more BI news
MicroStrategy’s BI tool earns high scores from Gartner
Microstrategy took the #1 slot across 4 use cases in Gartner’s latest “Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms” report. Gartner reports that the enterprise analytics software grew its revenue by 26.3% between 2017 and 2018. [Read more]
Zulily shares its data with all employees
The e-commerce retailer revealed that it shares internal data with employees. Bindu Thota, VP of Technology, told CIO.com that this gave data scientists more time to solve strategic business problems and create in-house, proprietary data tools. [Read more]
A new BI merger to boost patient satisfaction
Bialogics Analytics—a BI analytics provider—announced its new partnership with Life Image. Bialogics will offer its analytics services to Life Image’s network of healthcare systems, including hospitals and physician practices. The partnership aims to help healthcare providers boost patient satisfaction and fiscal performance by improving access to medical imaging analytics. [Read more]
Can data analytics prevent drug shortages?
Jessica Daley, VP at HC Pharmacy and Supply Chain Commercial Services, said her unit uses data analytics to prevent drug shortages. Speaking at the 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy conference this month, Daley said that analytics help her team predict potential shortages before they hit the market. [Read more]
India’s Congress uses data analytics to detect fraud
Praveen Chakravarty, chairman of the Congress’ analytics unit, said that his department built a forensic model to find suspicious activity in electronic voting machines (EVMs). Congress will use the model to analyze poll day inputs, which candidates have been asked to send. [Read more]
Week of May 20, 2019
A big blockchain merge, pending Facebook lawsuit, and more BI news
Facebook sues an app developer over data mining
Facebook filed a lawsuit this month against Rankwave, a South Korean app developer. The lawsuit alleges that Rankwave drew on data about Facebook’s users for advertising purposes. Facebook’s contracts with app developers forbid them from using data for any reason other than “enhancing the app users’ experience on the app.” [Read more]
The Reserve Bank of India will use data analytics to detect fraud
RBI says finding and preemptively blocking possible fraud cases will be a key goal through 2021. The full strategic plan, entitled Vision 2021, aims to boost efficiency in e-payments and settlements. RBI said that customers’ increasing reliance on digital payments via mobile spurred the move. [Read more]
Sisense acquires Persiscope Data
Israeli BI provider Sisense paid more than $100 million in shares to buy the U.S.-based cloud data analytics tool. Combined, these companies will yield more than $100 million in annual revenue, with 700 employees serving 2,000 customers. [Read more]
Tendril acquires EnergySavvy
The utility energy data specialist provider bought EnergySavvy for an undisclosed sum. Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck said in an interview that the acquisition aims to turn customers’ energy data into tailored insights. Tuck’s goal is to provide tips such as ways to save energy and reduce bills, thus boosting customer satisfaction. [Read more]
Argo and HIVE unite to build a blockhain data mining platform
Argo Blockchain announced its partnership with HIVE Blockchain Technologies to create a new B2B mining services provider. The merge will unite Argo’s 10.5 MW of data center capacity in Quebec with HIVE’s 45 MW across crypto-mining facilities in Iceland, Sweden, and Norway. [Read more]
Week of May 13, 2019
The 4 most important metrics for SMBs, data mining in universities, and more BI news
Microsoft rolls out Azure updates at Build
Microsoft used the opening keynote of its annual developer conference to share several updates to its Azure product. These include an announcement that IoT Edge integrates with Kubernetes (Google’s open source container orchestration system).
Adopting analytics is an IT priority
Unfortunately, too many IT leaders don’t know how to do it. A poll of 150 IT leaders at large and midsize businesses found that improving analytics is one of six functional priorities for 2019. However, the same poll found that just 17% of IT leaders have current or imminent plans to drive digital transformation.
(Which) metrics matter?
Michael Plummer of Forbes Technology Council advised SMBs in a Forbes op-ed not to treat all metrics equally. He counts sales revenue, gross margin, customer lifetime value, and customer retention as four of the nine metrics that SMB owners must track. Also included: Employee and founder satisfaction.
Paging Dr. Data
Vanderbilt Health has started using predictive analytics to forecast case volume in operating rooms. David Wyatt, VP of perioperative enterprise at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Health Data Management that they can anticipate final OR staffing levels seven days in advance. Vanderbilt Health is currently the only known medical health center to have such in-house predictive analytics.
Data mining’s used for deportations
A recent article in TechCrunch reported that agents in ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations unit used data mining software by Palantir Technologies to build profiles of immigrant children and their family members. ICE documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act found that investigation agents were told to track the arrivals of unaccompanied minors within ICM, a software platform developed by Palantir.
Data dashboards go to college
Nitin Madhok of Clemson University told EdTech Magazine that the school had chosen to integrate its learning management system with Splunk, a real-time data processing and analytics platform. Madhok shared that his main goal is to mine data like student performance and instructor feedback to find the best courses and give students advice on how to improve their grades. A growing number of universities use data mining: Recent research found that 89% of respondents reported investing in data analytics.
Week of June 14, 2019
Salesforce to purchase Tableau with record $15.7B buyout, Gucci sees AI as key to maintaining sales growth, Walmart delivers groceries to your fridge, and other sales and marketing news
Salesforce makes largest acquisition yet with $15.7B buyout of Tableau
In an effort to meet ever-increasing revenue goals, Salesforce announced its intention to purchase Tableau Software Inc., a data-analytics and visualization provider. The all-stock deal is valued at $15.3 billion, and its approval would mark the company’s largest purchase in a 20-year history that includes over 60 acquisitions.
Ultimately the deal makes sense: Salesforce already leverages AI to provide businesses with actionable insights from the sales data it houses, acquiring Tableau will bolster the companies analytics chops while adding industry-leading data visualization tools to its wheelhouse. [Read more]
Gucci is betting AI is key to sustaining sales growth
Gucci is aiming to grow twice as fast as the luxury industry at large. Kering, the brand’s parent company, is leveraging is leveraging artificial intelligence to determine how to stock store shelves. Sales representatives will be equipped with a new mobile app allowing them to view customer purchase history and store inventory without leaving the sales floor.
These moves are in line with the ongoing business trend of data-driven decision making. Gucci’s new AI tool is estimated to improve sales forecast accuracy by up to 20% and will begin deciding where to send new products for its European handbag business next month. The mobile app is estimated to boost average customer spend by 15% to 20%. [Read more]
Walmart will begin delivering groceries directly from store to fridge
As businesses increasingly compete to provide the optimum customer experience, Walmart hopes entering customers’ homes and placing perishable goods in their refrigerators will set their grocery delivery service apart. The company’s InHome services will be available to over one million customers in three cities starting this fall. Employees delivering the goods will enter homes using undisclosed “smart entry technology” and sport wearable cameras customers can use to monitor delivery.
Future plans include allowing customers to leave items they wish to return to Walmart on their counter for InHome delivery associates to collect and process. This announcement comes in direct response to Amazon’s Key, a competing service that allows packages to be delivered inside customers’ homes. [Read more]
Big tech faces criticisms over concentration of power
Businesses large and small are uniting around disdain for an alleged concentration of power in the tech industry. Complaints to Congress and regulators at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are finally being heard after years of inaction. From major industry players such as Oracle and Yelp to the proprietor of a local noodle shop in New York City, the message is clear: Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have too much power.
Reasons such as industry wide outcry about anticompetitive behavior, the mishandling of people’s personal data, the devastation of smaller businesses are putting the world’s most successful companies in defense mode. While this saga is far from over, keep an eye out as the future of regulation in big tech unfolds. [Read more]
Secondhand clothing sales bolster customer relationships
Used clothing sales are proving to be an untapped opportunity for retailers, with major brands like REI and Patagonia finding success in the space. With revenue from secondhand clothing expected to double over the next five years, brands hope to capture resale revenue rather than forfeiting it to third-party retailers.
Companies are also able to establish new relationships with customers by shifting away from a myopic focus on new product sales. As the internet continues to upend traditional business models, secondhand clothing offers an intriguing case study on how to remain relevant by embracing, rather than fighting, emerging trends. [Read more]
Week of May 28, 2019
Salesforce outage reveals data security risks, Mailchimp expands product offering beyond email marketing, study reveals business leaders are out of touch with customer perceptions, and other sales and marketing news.
Salesforce outage highlights risks of cloud-based software
Businesses relying on Salesforce found themselves locked out of their accounts last Friday. While the underlying issue only impacted users of the company’s Pardot marketing automation tools, Salesforce initially blocked all of its products for affected organizations—including the company’s two largest revenue generators, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
After customers began reporting that all their users (regardless of permission levels) could see and edit all the data their company stores on the system, Salesforce acknowledged the issue citing a database script error as the root cause. Users have lingering questions regarding data security at one of the world’s largest software companies. [Read more]
Mailchimp moves beyond email marketing
Mailchimp, best known as a popular tool for managing customer facing email outreach, recently announced an expansion of its product offerings. This includes the ability to log and track customer leads, purchase domains, create websites, and manage social media accounts as part of an “all-in-one Marketing Platform.”
Business intelligence tools that use AI to help marketers decide how and when to initiate outreach are also in the cards. This move makes sense: Mailchimp already houses large swaths of customer data and handles an integral component of marketing outreach for businesses globally. [Read more]
Business leaders are unrealistic about customer service shortcomings
A massive research study commissioned by software company Pegasystems surveyed 12,500 customers, business executives and customer-facing employees to provide a multidimensional perspective of customer service quality worldwide.
The results show a disconnect between business leaders and customers when it comes to perceptions of customer service: leaders were four times more likely than customers to rate their organization’s customer service as ‘excellent,’ and nearly twice as likely as customer-facing employees. [Read more]
Amazon gamifies tedious warehouse work
In five warehouses scattered across continents, games developed by Amazon are displayed on small screens at employee workstations in an effort to make the arduous task of moving boxes around a bit more engaging. This experiment is part of a broader industry-wide push to gamify low-skill labor. For example, ride-hailing competitors Uber and Lyft use gamification to incentive drivers with cash prizes to keep them on the road longer by setting targets such as 60 rides in one week. [Read more]
Online streaming crushes pay-TV on customer satisfaction
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found in its annual telecommunications report that pay-TV providers have languished in its customer satisfaction index for six years running. Since 2017 when the ACSI added streaming providers to the index, the industry has fared far better on the 100-point scale used to measure customer satisfaction.
Streaming clocked a 76 overall while the subscription television industry tied for last at 62. Complacent industry giants are feeling the consequences of ignoring emerging competitors and industry trends, with revenues for subscription television sales down 3% to $103.4 billion in 2018 according to the same ACSI report. [Read more]
Week of May 20, 2019
Spotify launches new interactive voice-enabled AD format, Instagram faces unique challenges with user-generated content, and more CRM news
Spotify introduces new voice-activated ad format
Spotify recently introduced a novel approach to capturing consumer attention using interactive, voice-enabled advertisements. The first companies testing this new ad format are Unilever and Spotify itself. When prompted, users that respond by saying “play now” will be directed to an Axe body spray branded playlist or a Spotify original podcast. While the ads currently only promote content within Spotify’s own platform, there is potential for future expansion that might have the gears in creative marketers’ minds churning. [Read more]
Instagram can’t keep drug dealing off its platform
User-generated content poses a host of challenges for businesses. For Instagram, that includes drug dealers leveraging the platform to advertise and sell illegal substances. As tech companies awkwardly settle into the role of content gatekeepers, getting users to adhere to the most basic of rules is proving difficult. While Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, are large enough to withstand negative publicity from unsavory users, smaller businesses trying to manage their online reputation, or content on their own platform, face an uphill battle. [Read more]
Apple Store stumbles on customer experience
If you’ve visited an Apple store recently, your experience may have ranged from mildly frustrating to downright terrible. How did a once premiere shopping experience turn into a trip to the DMV? According to current and former employees, brand-building became a higher priority than serving shoppers. Additionally, as the company drastically expanded its retail footprint, the quality of staff declined. The waning appeal of the Apple Store offers up lessons about scaling a business, sales and marketing strategy, as well as the importance of keeping customer experience at top of mind. [Read more]
Cardboard delivery boxes have brand-building potential
As consumers spend less time visiting brick-and-mortar retail outlets and more time shopping online, businesses have fewer opportunities to shape customer experience. However, some organizations are recognizing a simple opportunity to create a meaningful impression: delivery boxes. The dull cardboard box has made its way out of warehouses and delivery trucks and into consumers’ homes, rendering it an underutilized branding opportunity. [Read more]
China is reinventing marketing practices
Though recent headlines are focused on mounting trade war tensions, the Harvard Business Review offers a different perspective on what sets China apart from the West: marketing practices. As mobile-first consumers that leapfrogged personal computers and credit cards in favor of smartphones and digital payments, the Chinese have created an entirely new playing field for advertisers. Standard marketing practices from the West are slow, expensive, and too fragmented when applied to the Chinese market—where consumer data is heavily concentrated in the hands of a few major tech conglomerates. [Read more]
Over half of online reviewers use reviews either as a platform for providing feedback to companies, or to warn other users of a bad experience. Just under 1/3 (31.9%) of the panel asked said that they leave online reviews to thank companies they like or to recommend a product or service to other people.
For small and medium-sized businesses, managing supplier payments can prove to be time consuming, with just over 1/4 saying it can take anywhere between 3 hours per week to 10 hours or more. Just under half of the SMBs surveyed, however, seem to have their supplier payments process under control, as they spend just 1 hour or less per week.
Getting your subscribers to open email newsletters can be a challenge for even the most seasoned email marketers. According to our latest research, who the sending company is, well-matched interests, and a good offer are all top influencing factors to get an email newsletter opened.
Over 60% of SMBs say that cloud-based apps make their sales teams’ lives simpler, help increase sales, or improve prospect profiling. In contrast, just over a quarter of the survey panel said that cloud-based apps haven’t benefitted their sales teams whatsoever.