Original Thought of the Day: Don’t be a Lemming!

Original Thought of the Day: Don’t be a Lemming!



Each day I watch others re post and re tweet as well as copy and paste Ideas and Quotes from others thought to carry more weight than yours. My advice is to avoid acting on things that other people say and concentrate on coming up with your own ideas. I find myself purposefully filtering all the useless information that people feel compelled to post and re post.

My Original Thought of the Day is: don’t be a Lemming, find the value in the experiences you have and differentiate yourself from the standard run of the mill posting and re-tweeting that you see today.

ProBizMix Keeping pace with Innovation



I wanted to let you know that @ProBizMix was accepted as a member of the Atlanta Tech Village in the Enclave of Buckhead / Atlanta Georgia. ProBiz has been around @Salesforce from the start and kept pace with dramatic Innovation as the AppExchange ecosystem has grown and matured just to find that the DNA from Salesforce as well as the incubation of new technology startups has fostered an even greater pace of Innovation!

I harken back to the day when Dave Cummings called me to see if I wanted to improve my Marketing Automation capabilities and offer it to my clients if I liked it :-) Well @Pardot was born and I used the tool at my firm and offered it to  many of my customers as well, who were extremely satisfied! As the story goes, Pardot gets acquired by Exact Target and ultimately Exact Target gets acquired by Salesforce.com

As a Compassionate Capitalist, Dave poured his heart and soul into Atlanta Ventures and The “Atlanta Tech Village” to pay forward and give people the opportunities that are now available through him! The mayor and many congressmen have visited the “Village” and come away with many provocative thoughts and praises for what’s going on here!

I’ve been working with Kevy, Rivalry & Salesloft in their early stages and would love to share some of the positive experiences I’ve had in the village. The mission is to support and inspire entrepreneurs to achieve success through a community that promotes faster connections between talent, ideas and capital. There are over 160 companies collaborating today, so visit virtually at www.atlantatechvillage.com and let me know if I can introduce you to someone in the Village or just get you connected!

How to Enter the Social Stratosphere



Unless you’ve made a pact to avoid any current-day business news, you’re well aware Social is HOT. To be competitive into tomorrow, business is expected to “get Social”. But determining what that means for YOUR organization can be overwhelming. Maybe you can’t Pinterest your way out of a paper bag, it could be your Facebook page is a series of lonely posts, or your brand’s Twitter voice seems hollow. If you’ve ever had the thought, “I don’t know who I’m talking to or what my brand should be talking (posting, blogging) about” you’re not alone. Successfully making the shift from traditional CRM to Social CRM (SCRM) requires some pretty traditional thinking and, ultimately, a clear vision of the goal at hand.

Hello World [Now What?]

Because the cost of entry into Social can be very inexpensive (or free), many times companies find themselves with one or many company accounts before there’s a clear vision on the purpose of their participation in Social and the business goals they’re interested in achieving. When this happens, it’s tough to declare success (because it’s not defined). Generally, when we meet with people who are at this stage of the game, it’s because they’ve realized they’re not getting (measurable) benefit from the accounts they’ve created and have a strong belief that they’ve got to do better. Unfortunately, it can also be at this moment that the organization realizes some brand damage or misstep that comes as a result of not having a framework for success and usage guidelines.

If your company is in this boat, you’re not alone! While over 75% of US companies don’t have a Social Policy defined, more than 80% of all US adults have at least a single social profile. This means employees aren’t being given the framework for appropriate Social interaction on the company’s behalf. Further, in a crisis situation there’s no plan for appropriate response. Taking a step back before deepening the organization’s Social investment at this pivotal moment to plan the framework for Social is a foundational move.

Step Back, Plan Ahead

Companies who already have a mature CRM program with a rich customer database and defined business processes have made a very real investment in Customer relationships. In these organizations, data is nurtured and used to enhance communications, improve results, and plan for the future. Weaving Social data and processes into these established programs may feel especially in that it adds a level of oversight, planning, and complexity that the company isn’t certain how to justify.

There may be a clear call for change from the customer (why can’t I get the answer I want on your website?), an ask from the front lines (is there some way we can use Social to deflect calls to the Contact Center?), or the Marketing team would like to add a social component into their campaigns (Shouldn’t we broaden our horizons? Our competitors are.). The key in each of these scenarios is that there’s a goal within each: Customer self-service, reduced overhead in the call center through call deflection, improved Campaign efficiency. These goals in turn can be tied to success metrics. This gets everyone on board from the onset that there is an expectation of success, and offers a clear vision of what that means. In fact, there’s a myth that Social ROI can’t be measured. Beginning with a clear vision that requires measurement to bear out success shows your team that Social lives by the same rules as all other programs: it must make sense. This tackles the negativity of “I’m not clear why we’re doing this, anyway” team member. Radian6 has a terrific ebook on the subject of Social ROI if you’d like more details.

For any new business process, whether budget spend is required or not, there’s a responsibility to define success and carefully consider how the proposed process will be woven into the company’s current tapestry. Social Enterprise projects are no different. Beginning with the end in mind allows the organization to capitalize on the resulting data more easily because, simply put, you’re doing the leg work ahead of time. In fact, it’s in these moments that ancillary “low hanging fruit” benefits may appear.

Grab a branch and climb higher

To many of our clients, one of the most exciting benefits of incorporating Social into your current arsenal of tools is the potential of a deeper understanding of your customers and prospects spanning departments and processes. In many mature marketing organizations, millions are spent annually to enhance customer data quality and information. In these organizations, the ability to extend marketing information to include social profile (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) information is a huge opportunity.

Potential benefits run the gamut from reduced spend on extended marketing attributes (if models are impacted more meaningfully from customer social profile data than previously incorporated purchase data attributes) to routing service issues directly from the social space to highly engaged service professionals on the channel of the customer’s choosing which reduces contact center costs and improves customer satisfaction.

Of course, the requirements for data retention and consumer privacy must be taken into consideration. Data storage and accessibility must meet the regulatory minimum standards for your industry by locale, and the foundation of a strong Social Policy must be in place to ensure your employees know how to “walk the walk”. Further, thinking big picture from the onset will allow your technical team to structure your systems in a way that allows for deep integration in future phases. Involving the “rightest” people to participate in your company’s Social evolution from the beginning can save considerable cost downstream.

Key to Success

It all comes down to: where do we start? Your Social Enterprise journey is specific to your organization. That means the answer depends on YOU. We recommend an assessment of your current internal environment, getting up to speed on the external lay of the land (and your industry’s place in it). Salesforce.com’s Cloudforce Social Enterprise Tours which are coast to coast this year – and FREE to attend – are a great option. From there, your core Social Exploration team should define key areas Social may serve to enhance a current process or fill a known gap. The key to success is understanding your environment, and undertaking measurable endeavors that add measureable value to your Customers and Prospects as well as your employees and organization as a whole.

Like to learn more from our Social Enterprise team on how we guide our clients to successful Social Enterprise solutions? Let us know! Ernie@probizmix.com

The State of Social Business 2013



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Quickly Develop Mobile Applications



This was taken from PR News Wire. To view the original article, click here.

CAMPBELL, Calif., Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Millions of businesses store enormous volumes of essential sales and marketing information on the hugely successful Salesforce platform. Now, with the launch of support for Salesforce byDreamFactory Software, they can add that data to any mobile app and place it at the fingertips of an increasingly mobile workforce. The DreamFactory Services Platform enables developers to easily connect their mobile apps to data housed in Salesforce, with the DreamFactory Services Platform (rather than the client app) efficiently handling user credentials and maintaining the user session. DreamFactory uses an industry-standard REST API that lets developers use a familiar SOQL query to retrieve information from any Salesforce database.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131114/MN17093)

“One of the biggest challenges for developers of mobile apps for enterprise use is to balance user access against the need for tight security. Our new Salesforce module for the DreamFactory Services Platform makes it easy to mobilize enterprise Salesforce data without exposing any Salesforce account credentials – we handle all that in the cloud,” said Bill Appleton, co-founder and CEO of DreamFactory.

Until now, bringing core business information from an enterprise Salesforce database to a mobile device was fraught with complication. Developers could use the Force.com REST API directly from the client, but that required the client to maintain the session and the use of Oauth to ask for the user’s credentials. Or, they could develop their own server-side code base to maintain the session and build in their own client interface for data retrieval.

“The new Salesforce module for the DreamFactory Services Platform makes provisioning Salesforce functionality within a mobile app an incredibly straightforward and predictable development project,” said Ernie Megazzini, principal and chief strategist of ProBizMix. “Another nice feature is that we can now integrate Salesforce data with data from other databases —all within the same app— while providing complete control over access rights on a per-user basis. This will save us days of development time on a typical mobile project.”

How DreamFactory makes it easy for mobile developers to access Salesforce:

  • Mobility. DreamFactory gives mobile app developers fast access to Salesforce data along with other cloud-based enterprise services they need — all in one place and with access defined by a user’s role.
  • Security. DreamFactory securely stores Salesforce session data on the server, so developers don’t have to worry about storing it in the mobile app.
  • Simplicity. Developers can use a familiar SOQL query to access the Salesforce data.

To learn more about how to add Salesforce data to to modern mobile apps, view this short presentation. Or watch this demo that shows how to connect to Salesforce with an example application.

DreamFactory brings agile development techniques enterprise mobility
The DreamFactory Services Platform provides access to a rich set of back-end resources through a REST interface that supports both JSON and XML documents. This standards-based, open-source mobile architecture enables developers to connect HTML5 and native applications to a wide array of web services including SQL Data, BLOB Storage, User Management, App Hosting, and External Integration.

Key features of the DreamFactory Services Platform include:

  • Designed for enterprise security. DreamFactory can be installed on-premises or in the cloud, so enterprise users can deploy, manage, and monitor their own applications. All of the source code is available under the open source Apache License. We provide a software package available for download and installation from GitHub, and also BitNami packages for the AWS, Azure, and VMware marketplaces. Use familiar tools and best practices to develop, test, and deploy applications on your own infrastructure.
  • Admin console. Every new DSP comes with a built-in Admin Console, written in HTML5, that helps system administrators build applications for end users, manage users and roles, create SQL schema, and provision external services.
  • App Hosting. A DSP can host any number of applications that share access to the service architecture and various data objects. Each application is a mini website from which developers can quickly upload and manage various files and folders.
  • User Management. The DSP takes care of user management, single sign-on, password hashing, and user roles. Developers can control which users get which applications, and which applications have access to various data objects and services.
  • NoSQL Data. DreamFactory provides wide support for popular NoSQL databases including MongoDB, MongoHQ, DynamoDB, SimpleDB, Azure Tables, and Salesforce.
  • BLOB Storage. The DSP provides interfaces to all of the major BLOB storage systems including Amazon S3, Azure BLOB, Rackspace CloudFiles, and OpenStack. The master credentials to each service are hidden by the platform and users are granted access through single sign-on.
  • External Integration. The DSP can provision any number of integration points for external services such as email, NoSQL data, and BLOB storage. These services hide master credentials on the platform and can be administered by user role.

AVAILABILITY

The DreamFactory Services Platform is available now as an open-source license from www.dreamfactory.com.

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION

To learn more about DreamFactory’s new mobile development architecture, download the eBook, and visit the DreamFactory blog for the latest techniques in agile mobile app development.

ABOUT DREAMFACTORY SOFTWARE

DreamFactory Software Inc. develops and markets technology that enables developers to connect modern mobile apps to enterprise back-end infrastructure in the cloud. Enterprises, web development agencies, and independent developers use DreamFactory to build secure, modern mobile apps and deploy them on any cloud or datacenter. The company is based inCampbell, California and has a development center in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit www.dreamfactory.com, or follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @dfsoftwareinc.

To view this video on YouTube, please visit: http://youtu.be/gbDXAm7ZVvE

Media Contact: Tim Cox, ZingPR, +1-650-369-7784, tim@zingpr.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

 

SOURCE DreamFactory Software Inc.

A View from the Clouds!



No wonder consumer-oriented businesses are obsessed with how to get more out of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, FourSquare, Linkedln, Chatter and Google+. For business organizations, the challenge is figuring out the intersection between social and everything under the customer relationship management umbrella. CRM broadly covers the software systems companies use to provide customer service, generate sales leads, manage marketing campaigns, and analyze and segment customer data. Making the connection between the people in CRM databases and their social media personas will require companies to build a new level of trust with their customers, based on the promise of better service and value.

This social connection is the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of customers and making more cost-effective use of sales, service, marketing, and IT resources. Marketing, sales, and customer service execs often start experimenting in the social sphere without anyone’s help. But companies eventually need to link these efforts to CRM and marketing campaign management systems as well as customer data warehouses.

 ProBizMix builds these services largely on Salesforce and the Force.com development / Heroku platform. The end user customer sees The Companies branding, but it’s Salesforce’s online software that handles logins, identity management, and customer service case tracking. For customer service, the customer can use online help, Knowledge base and Answers, Live Agent Chat and a customer can also submit a request for help on the site, which starts a case within Salesforce CRM. But companies can’t count on customers diligently exhausting self-service support options before they raise a stink on social networks. So my Company uses Radian6 social media monitoring capabilities to capture brand-relevant posts, tweets, and Facebook comments. Radian6 (which Salesforce acquired last year) lists every comment about the Customer and provides an interface through which company reps can respond to comments directly on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever the message originated. They also provide a Social Hub for native integration to Salesforce and Cases. 

If the customer does send an email, it creates a Salesforce case. But our Company tries to keep that CRM case connected to the social persona where it began. Agents ask customers to include their Twitter handle or Facebook name, so the support team knows that the original request came in through social media, and so two case teams aren’t chasing the same problem. And once the matter’s resolved, the Company posts a comment back to the original tweet or Facebook post. Connecting Facebook and Twitter identities with known customers in your CRM database is important on several levels. From a service perspective, you’ll see not just the latest support problem raised in a social comment, but the entire history of support exchanges with that customer. From a sales and marketing perspective, you can correlate social profile information with purchase histories and know more about key customer segments likes and interests. And with the use of sentiment analysis technologies, you can get trending insight into what the most important customers are saying about your brand, products, and competitors. The linchpin is that it has to be up to consumers to add their social identities to their profiles. However, as many marketers can attest, offers of discounts and coupons, early product news, sweepstakes entries, or better Service often persuades people to grant permission.

 Stay tuned for the next series of interests around the Social Enterprise!

Tips For A Successful Phone Interview



A phone interview, or phone screen, is probably the first interaction you are going to have with a potential employer.   This being the case, you must remember first impressions are the most important. To a recruiter or manager, this is a serious step in the process and decisions are made from this 15 to 30 (average) minute call.  Treat this call just as you would a face to face interview where you are prepared and focused on your objective. As a recruiter and employer, you would not imagine how many people do not take a phone interview seriously and never get a 2nd chance.

The following are some suggestions that will help you achieve this objective.  Many seem pretty simple and obvious, but the best advice usually is simple and obvious.

Schedule A Firm Time –

Set a time and be there to accept the call.  If you are calling the interviewer, make sure you call at the designated time and get an alternative phone number / email to follow-up if they are not there.  If you have to leave a voice message, suggest an alternative time to call.  This is often your first test, though non-intentional, to see how dependable and organized you are.

Be Prepared –

Just like in any other interview, do your homework.  Study up on the employer (or even better, the interviewer if you know in advance).  Have questions ready about the company or the position.

Resume –

Make sure you have a copy of the resume they have in front of you.  Also have a copy ready to email to the interviewer if they need one.  It is very awkward if you are literally not on the same page.

Job Description –

Have a copy of the job description in front of you for reference too!

Logistics –

This is probably the most important factor.  Here are a few things to remember:

  •  Use a land line if possible – Cell phones are the norm now, but the good old land line is still the best option for clarity, no dropped calls, etc…
  • Find a private place – This will allow you to speak freely.  It is annoying to have a candidate say “I can’t say that right now”.
  • Find a quite place – background noise around you is distractions to you and the interviewer.
  • Do not do it in the car driving – besides from being hazardous to your health, you will be distracted.

Stand

Your energy is a major part of the evaluation.  If you sit in a comfortable chair and lay back, that comes across on the phone.  I find standing or sitting in a normal chair keeps me on my toes.

Smile –

Sounds pretty odd, but this works.  Treat this just like a face to face interview and imagine the interviewer is right across from you.  I have even gone as far as having a mirror in front of me to remind me to smile.  I positive attitude usually starts with just a simple smile.  Most important, this will put you at ease and make this a fun experience.

Take Notes –

Write down your questions as the come up or action items you need to follow-up on for the interviewer like websites to visit, etc…  Write down names of people the interviewer mentions who might be the next person who will interview you.

Next Steps –

Ask the interviewer what the next steps are or any additional information they may need.  This also shows your interest in the position which interviewers appreciate.

Most ImportantRelax!

This is an important step in your job search, but remembers to relax and learn from it.  Follow these step and the more you interview, the more comfortable it will be.

Best of luck in your search and career!

A view from the clouds



As we approach #Dreamforce it is important to understand how we got here. In 1982 I was doing Utility Based computing with IBM essentially renting applications and storage on their mainframes through a “Private” Frame Relay network from our Data Center to IBM’s Sterling Forest Data Center. Nowadays @Salesforce uses SOAP over HTTP producing improved functionality using a more modern delivery mechanism than Frame Relay :-)

Marc Benioff uses a few terms, “The Consumerization of IT” & “The Democratization of Software” and these are very telling because how many people remember the days when you couldn’t make personal phone calls at work? How many people remember when you couldn’t play games on your computer at work, no less on your phone!

The productivity impact of games and personal calls and social interactions during business hours was a negative in the “Old Days” and with the advent of the new technologies and the Pervasive Nature of Social Applications in business have “Blurred” the lines between business and personal time.

Privacy / Business / Personal?

We are encountering Generational Issues where younger workers feel they are “Entitled” to the same technology that they have access to in their personal lives. This speaks to the “Social Fabric” of America! Remember when interactions were face to face or even on a land line? There was a line between business and pleasure, privacy was important, personal and not shared in business. Now we use social tools to decide who gets hired and the anonymity of interactions from behind a keyboard leaves us with constant questions about who we are really interacting with. People are willing to say things that they would never say face to face! So now that the lines are blurred, where does social end and business begin? or vice versa…

A little on productivity:

Pro = The ubiquitous nature of the “Cloud” allows interactions to drive behaviors in like minded individuals, improve process’s and interactions in business as well as achieve efficiencies in communications where distance and time are a challenge.

Con = The availability of information through social tools is pervasive and in some cases counterproductive. Policies and Guidelines have not kept pace with the level of innovation in the “Cloud”

These are just a few things to think about as you prepare for Dreamforce and I look forward to seeing you there!

@1nyseguy @probizmix

 

What do embedded posts mean for Facebook?



This Is Facebook’s Real Public Offering my $22 stock looks #good now! Old adage, when no one wants it, buy it :-) http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/07/embeds-facebooks-real-public-offering/ …

Salesforce.com Partners with IT Strategy Company, ProBizMix



San Francisco, CA – April 31, 2013 – Salesforce.com, an innovator of software that provides business users with access to enterprise information, announces a partnership with IT strategist, ProBizMix. Salesforce.com and ProBizMix will jointly promote and implement enterprise applications for businesses in a variety of industries.