Today’s high-tech world is full of instructions, manuals, and unnecessary complications. As the industry of mobile apps continues to thrive, the apps themselves are leading the way to innovation. Avoiding the bloatware that comes along with desktop and server applications, current apps are much more focused in on specific tasks, in turn, making them much easier to use. Applications, such as Mobile MyStro, are made to better a user’s life, without the mess that installation processes and instruction guides convey.
Mobile apps take convenience to a whole new level; now with the ability to immediately access data, users are able to tap into exhibitors, sponsors, and relevant information at various events. Cloud-based data services and mash-ups provide access to other useful data sources such as social media feeds, local information, or other conference specific pages. With the profound amount of technology available, apps are now coming furnished with embedded GPS allowing for a variety of near-by locations as well as high-speed processors to directly stream videos.
This simplicity of purchasing apps can become a very powerful tool for business enterprises; the ability to expand a customer base becomes an easy, painless endeavor. Apple and Android app stores have made it easy for publishers to deliver content to users in a familiar and safe environment.
Training organizations are increasingly looking for ways to leverage existing programs and extend the reach of their training programs beyond the classroom; coupled with the need to deliver knowledge more rapidly in order to respond to new product and market events, video is increasingly being looked at to meet training objectives. The speed of knowledge transfer may be the determining factor of strong or weak customer service, a thriving or struggling sales force, a well or poorly informed global workforce, a devoted or erratic costumer platform, and most importantly, outstanding or lagging company profitability.
Systematic knowledge capture and sharing, with video, is the easiest way to capture and allocate the vast amount of knowledge that is verbally conveyed during meetings, video or web conferences, and events; with over 300 million worldwide web visitors downloading 5 billion video streams monthly and 15 hours of new video content uploaded every second, this consumer adoption of media is driving corporations to create video data sheets and product demos to quickly educate their employees, customers, and partners.
With the use of video-based teaching methods, timetables will be a thing of the past; employees will no longer have to worry about physically attending these sessions. Media transferred information empowers the receiver with the ability to play, pause, and stop the video whenever they please, and at their own convenience. The capability to reuse the video content as many times as needed enables employees to better make use of the information provided allowing for better absorbing of the information, at employees ease, such as in the car, stuck in traffic.
Simply put, video-enabled enterprise can raise the level of productivity, increase revenue, and enhance the bottom line for any organization. Employees and consumers are both looking to be surrounded by an innovative, tech-savvy, growing company. Being on top of information and knowledge distribution is what will connect and shape a company into ensuring that all of its employees are on the same enterprise page, and that the company works as a whole to reach desired goals.
5 Easy Steps to a More Productive, Informed Organization
1. Make the Commitment
Digitally record your next sales meeting, training session, or corporate communication so that all the knowledge from your organization is captured, not just the knowledge that someone writes down.
2. Capture the Knowledge
By using video or audio recording, subject matters experts do not need to learn new software or create additional documents; they simply present their knowledge in a traditional manner – via meetings or web conferences.
3. Share the Knowledge with the Organization
Effective media repositories deliver streaming content to anyone in the world through global content delivery networks to ensure smooth playback for all users, regardless of how far they may be from the corporate office.
4. Make Video as Accessible as Documents
Once knowledge is captured, the audio/video can be transformed into searchable data by transcribing it, timing the transcript with the audio, and putting the indexed text and timings in a database with a full-text search engine such as Altus vSearch.
5. Go Mobile
By fully transcribing the spoken word, video is transformed into data. This content can be streamed or deployed to mobile devices as downloadable MP3 audio or MP4 video or even embedded as links in web sites or blogs.
Smartphones have transformed mundane cellular phones from wireless communication devices into powerful, life-running necessities. With 42.7 million smartphones in the U.S. already, and with predictions by Neilson that they will reach majority of citizens by the end of 2011, it is effortless to see why smartphone applications, or “apps,” are the latest craze in both the personal, and now, the vast business world.
“The touchscreen phone that’s been a must-have status symbol for the technorati is about to make a push into the business tool market” says Marc Saltzman from Inc. Technology.
Smartphones are readily becoming business devices as corporate app usage increases significantly. Apps are being utilized as tools to reach new consumers, increase revenue opportunities, market themselves in new and technology-savvy ways, and create a more productive working environment all-around. Since 2008, when Apple first introduced their App Store, the number of apps have sky rocketed totaling to over 100,000, and there is no decline in sight- only positive changes.
Apps and feature are gearing towards becoming highly business-friendly and powerful corporate tools. We are all aware about the common e-mail feature which enables you to check and respond to e-mails virtually anywhere, in a matter of seconds- however, companies have gone to greater extents with the use of their smartphones; business web apps have spanned out to make companies much more productive and resourceful, in every aspect possible. Rather than provide employees with the standard Microsoft Office package, they are now able to make use of the large selection of apps out there that have endless capabilities such as financial analysis, expenses organizer, project management assistant, invoice generator, and the ability able to track orders, all in the palm of your traveling hand.
Corporations are quickly realizing the great potential apps have of increasing the efficiency and the mobility of their employees as more and more business oriented apps are being created and made available. Cellular phones have taken on a whole new face and companies must keep up and leap onto that bandwagon, or they will be left behind and forgotten.
Hybrid events –the 21st Century blend of both virtual and physical gatherings– have the ability to draw in a diverse crowd unlike any other, and the Virtual Edge Summit (VES) held this week in Las Vegas was no exception. As Janet Clarey, Senior Editor at eLearning penned “Virtual isn’t an event, it’s an experience.” Mindsets, opinions and experiences from all across the globe turned up and tuned in, physically and digitally, to engage and participate at VES. And the key takeaway: Hybrid events are all about engagement with a wider audience and ROI.
Some made the trek to Sin City to attend VES and enjoy the city on the side, while others chose to jump between sessions from the comfort of their own homes and offices with a single click here, and a comment there. As large enterprises like Oracle know by putting on events like VES, using hybrid event platforms to engage each type of audience in their own unique way is a must. The 2010 Virtual Events Pulse Survey showed that 49.4% of marketers who are going virtual are looking to take it to the next level by going hybrid. And if anything, the growth and level of participation at this year’s summit attests to why this finding makes good sense.
The #VES11 hashtag on Twitter was brimming with chatter throughout the sessions, some were using the Second Life-esque virtual environment to dance on stage after a session had completed, while the more traditional attendee could be found mingling in a lounge in Vegas. There are many reasons a person might prefer to attend virtually: There is the curious spectator, intrigued by a conference but not willing to commit to a full-fledged trip and the money involved, the time-strapped blogger, there’s the shy observer, and the list goes on. Traditional physical events don’t have the capacity or wherewithal to cater well to these types of attendees, but with a hybrid event, there is a place for everyone and a longer tail emerges, for the show content. For the avid multi-tasker (an ever growing demographic with the advent of Smartphones), you can physically attend one session with one eye on another session on your phone. And for a company like Oracle, whose objective is to cater as wide an audience as possible, a hybrid event can add substantial ROI. “On demand can get 20-60% of your consumption.” according to Sourabh Kothari, Cisco Systems. “If you are not promoting your on-demand content, I don’t know why!” he said. Our own reports here at Altus show a dramatic increase in the use of on-demand content.
And this comes as no surprise. With hybrid events, there are more channels to network through, more opportunities for participation, more levels of engagement with the audience across all platforms, more value for both organizers and attendees, and more chances for voices typically not broadcasted to compete with top-dollar sponsors. As Sourabh Kothari also noted: “I would rather have an event with 5 fully engaged people than 50,000 who aren’t going to buy your product.” “Engagement, engagement, engagement,” was the message that constantly hammered home at the event, and with hybrid event solutions, you can truly engage with a much wider audience than ever before.
‘Hybrid is the new black!’ said Kara Wilson of Cisco Systems, and the buzz around this year’s Virtual Edge Summit seems to back that statement up.
Events On-demand: Executive Cat Fighting
On-demand and virtual events give users unparalleled access to presentations and events they may have missed. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle has become famous for his one liners about competitive platforms and companies. This year’s Oracle OpenWorld was no exception as evidenced by the virtual exchange between Ellison and Salesforce.com’s Mark Benioff on cloud computing. To see and hear the event on-demand tit-for-tat, go to http://ondemandpreview.vportal.net/
Search for “Benioff cloud box” to access his presentation and click the title to get detailed search results.
During Mark Benioff’s presentation, “Executive Solution Session: Welcome to Cloud 2: The Next Generation of Enterprise Collaboration” Benioff made the following comments about cloud computing:
“I’m not going to show you clouds in a box because clouds are not in a box.
They are not in a box.
They never were in a box.
They never will be in a box.”
(Kudos to Dr. Suess)
He went on to give his of cloud computing.
Score 1 for the cloud people.
But Larry Ellison is not one to take a jab at his computing platform, at his own show, lying down. During his keynote he announced the Exalogic Elastic Cloud in a Box. While the name does not roll right off the tongue, the point was well taken that the cloud does run on a box, lots of boxes. According to Ellison, saleforce.com runs on 1,500 dell boxes. He goes on to say:
Search for “salesforce ceo” to see Ellison’s response click Oracle Keynote
To hear Larry live, click the sentence
“I’m going to be very brief, but I just want to repeat a little bit of my presentation on Sunday, which is the Exalogic Cloud in a Box. I have to chuckle a little bit about the phrase Cloud in a Box because I know that the CEO of Salesforce.com said, Larry just doesn’t get it, clouds don’t run in a box.”
He goes on the say,
“Actually, Salesforce.com runs on 1,500 Dell servers, which are boxes, 1,500 of them. Now, he really got upset because — we don’t have an Exalogic box here on stage, but the Exalogic box is about this tall. And he was really offended that the box was taller than he was. And he said, clouds especially don’t run on boxes that are tall. I mean please look this — you can’t make this stuff up. Okay, do you think those 1,500 Dell boxes are all really low to the ground? You’d need acres and acres. You stack them up because you use less floor space unless you have really low ceilings.”
The point here is not to highlight executive visions or even how they take pokes at each other but to illustrate how events on-demand can change the reach on any event. The knowledge, communication or just plain fun on the event can be preserved and shared with anyone on the internet, whether they attended the events or not. Searchable video makes every word that was said, from Benioff’s version of the cloud to what makes Larry chuckle. Users need only to vsearch or video search, click and watch at the exact point of interest.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The following statistic reported by the Conference Board is often quoted in sales and marketing circles as an indicator of failure… lack of valuable materials, bad search engines, inefficient repositories, unmotivated sales people…
The classic reaction to this from marketing is either, “that’s crap” or “sounds about right.” Even if we cut this number in half, it represents a lot of marketing effort that is not being used by the intended, supposedly captive audience. One would expect 90% ignore rate from mass mailings, not internal sales audiences who should be interested in getting the right message to help them sell.
It is no wonder that customers are confused when Marketing is pushing out one message yet sales is not really prepared to have the same conversation with their customers.
Organizations can solve the problem in a number of draconian ways:
- Eliminate all content repositories and sales training materials
- Duct tape sales to their desks and read the sales tools to them
- Spam their in boxes with sales tools
Some other, potentially more practical thoughts
- Consolidate the content repositories into one sales focus site
- Review marketing materials for redundancy
- Delete old materials
A Sales Enablement approach would dictate that sales and marketing work cooperatively to understand why sales is not using the selling tools and work harder to not only create materials that reflect the buying behavior but are in the form that sales can and will use. Without feedback from sales, marketing will continue to create and distribute materials that no one is using. In such a resource constrained economy, companies do not have the luxury of taking a taking a spray and pray approach to sales Enablement.
Sales Enablement has been called everything from Lipstick on a Pig to Sales Training to something entirely new. IDC Defines Sales Enablement as the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward. Sales Training is a necessary component to Sales Enablement but only part of a great opportunity. Sales training is standard practice in most organizations. A recent Aberdeen study on Sales Training indicated the overall effectiveness of Training on performance.
- 14.8% average year-over-year increase in annual company revenue; compared to 3% decrease for other companies
- 7.2% average year-over-year increase in average deal size or company value; compared to a 2% decrease for other companies
Clearly, educating sales on products and services is beneficial to both the prospect and company. But training is only part of the Sales Enablement equation. But one way communication from Marketing to Sales can lead to knowledge gaps or lack of buy-in from sales on corporate direction, new production introductions or acquisitions. Sales Enablement is emerging out of the shadows as a way for sales and marketing to collaborate on the tools, messages and approaches to make sales and marketing more effective at communicating essential messages to customers.
Sales Enablement is in integrated approach where sales and marketing work collaboratively to deliver differentiated, customer-focused messages are developed where the field is bought into the message being delivered to customers along with the tools needed to sell.
A recent study by CSO Insights, “Sales Performance Optimization, 2008 Survey Results & Analysis,” contains a wealth of information about improving sales, from lead generation methods to the trends and issues with CRM systems. I found one table in that report particularly interesting and germane to what we do at Altus. When respondents were asked to state what their top priorities for sales improvement were for the coming year, the top mentioned item was not hard to predict: “enhancing lead generations programs,” with 36.4%. But what was less predictable and more interesting was the second most mentioned priority: “improving sales rep access to key information.” With 30.4%, information access ranked much more highly that some of the more usual suspects, like “revising our channel strategy” with only 18.6% and “implementing CRM tools” with 16.9%.
Reflecting on a the statistic, I guess this finding should not be so surprising—when 15-30% of knowledge workers’ time is spent looking for the information they need to do their work, and they find it less than 50% of the time, this is a very large problem indeed. Few productivity problems rise to this level of magnitude and urgency—at least 10 weeks per year per sales person looking for the information they need and finding it less than half the time. For sales, time spent looking for information is time lost in front of a customer or prospect.
That is precisely why we at Altus have been so successful with a number of world class sales organizations. We use video to capture, share and make accessible the knowledge sales needs to sell, in a reusable format. With full text search of the spoken word, notes, and slide text, sales can quickly find exactly what they need to be more productive.
And that is why we are fortunately seeing more and more companies making the transition for a reliance traditional training methods to on-demand knowledge sharing with Altus—because people need easy access to whatever they need to know, whenever they need to know it, from whoever in the organization has it, on whatever electronic device they are using. Notice that “improving formal training for sales reps” was not on the priorities list, but “improving rep access to key information” ranked second.