Latest blog post for Forbes.com:
For Salient Surgical Technologies, a custom iPad app is just what the doctor ordered — or, rather, just the trick to get the doctor to place an order.
“The thing about medical device sales is that it’s very difficult to get attention of doctors – any attention at all,” said David Hohler, Salient’s IT director. So anything he can provide to make a sales representative’s life easier is priceless. That made it well worth his while to hire the Boston-based mobile application development firm DreamingCode to create a custom app that presents the equivalent of many binders worth of product literature, plus videos, in a navigation scheme organized around the parts of the body. (Read More)
This was the kick-off column for my new gig with informationweek.com as a writer and columnist on “enterprise social media” (how businesses are applying social media to reshape sales, marketing, and corporate collaboration)
Hispanic customers who shop on the web are giving their time and money to Best Buy in appreciation of its effort to speak their language. Best Buy offers an almost complete duplicate of its main English language website in Spanish at http://espanol.bestbuy.com/enes/.
As a result, Best Buy finds that users of its Spanish language spend twice as much time on the website and also spend twice as much money per visit. “Latinos are giving us credit in being leaders in the e-commerce space in services to them,” says Ana Grace, global web team product manager. As a Latino herself, whose family moved to the mainland U.S. from Puerto Rico when she was a child, Grace is proud of that result. “It’s definitely a passion point for me.”
Also available in Spanish (translation courtesy of MotionPoint): http://blogs.forbes.com/davidcarr/2011/02/23/best-buy-en-espanol-obtiene-beneficios-al-atender-mejor-al-mercado-hispano/
This report on Top Performers Adopt Cloud Computing for Business Intelligence is part of a series of research projects I’m doing with Gleanster. The forthcoming main report on BI will also include a formal market research survey conducted by Gleanster staff, with some input from me on the questions to ask. I’m also planning to do something on mobile BI, a topic I’ve touched on recently in my Forbes.com blog (Business Intelligence Goes Mobile on iPad and iPhone).
With its tagline “Actionable Insights at a Glance” and offer of “Free Market Research … that’s actually worth reading,” the Gleanster approach reminds me of some of the ambitions we had for Baseline Magazine in its heyday. Happy to be working with them.
An article for Boardroom Journal, a publication from the editors of InformationWeek, on hiring and retaining the right people and why it’s important, even in (or maybe especially in) this economy. Despite the InformationWeek connection, the focus was on talent management across the organization, in customer service as much as in IT.
Download the complete report at informationweek.com/brj
Fast Times At A Global Web Flower Shop
David F. Carr, 08.13.10, 06:00 AM EDT
How daFlores speeds load times, boosts search engine optimization.
Francisco Bustos, president of the international flower delivery company daFlores (www.daflores.com), does some of his best keyword research and market research while traveling throughout Latin America.
Because he does business not only with people who live in the region, but also their friends, families and loved ones living in the U.S. and elsewhere, Bustos needs to know how well his website performs in Colombia or Argentina or Mexico. He wants to know both how fast the image of an arrangement will load into an Argentine user’s browser and how well his Spanish-language search engine optimization is performing. (More at Forbes.com)
One detail I left out of the published column: Bustos began focusing on performance partly because it dovetailed with his interest in search engine optimization – particularly after Google changed its ranking formula to give more points to websites that load quickly (the “Caffeine” release of the Google search algorithm).
My piece for IT Expert Voice on how big companies are using WordPress, particularly as it matures beyond being “just a blogging tool.”
Enterprise technology managers looking to improve the management and functionality of their corporate websites ought to take a closer look at WordPress. With the WordPress 3.0 release in June, the blogging tool has completed its metamorphosis into a more flexible content management system – and done it without compromising its core virtue of simplicity.
Best Buy, for example, uses WordPress to allow store managers to independently manage the sites for their own stores. Take a look at what Best Buy has going on at a microsite for its store in Fairless Hills, PA. These localized sites are managed within a multisite framework that allows for centralized control, meaning that a “super administrator” controls what options, templates, and plugins are available to those local store administrators. (Read the rest at itexpertvoice.com)
This is a Q & A with Clara Shih, author of “The Facebook Era,” which I’ve already previewed with a blog on why Facebook Ads Should Point to a Facebook Page (Not an External Web Page). This interview also inspired me to hack together a little utility for embedding functionality in Facebook pages. See: Free Tool: Create a Lead Capture Form That Connects Facebook to Your Website.
My usual practice is to publish the first couple of paragraphs of the column, then link to the Forbes.com website. But in this case I thought I’d rather pick out an excerpt for a little additional comment on the topic of whether you should ditch your website in favor of a Facebook business page.
Your book suggests small business owners consider giving up their websites in favor of Facebook pages, and in your talk today you mentioned the example of a beauty shop owner. Is she really shutting down her website, or just putting more emphasis on Facebook?
It’s that she is putting more emphasis in her Facebook page–but she doesn’t want to spend any more on her website. From her perspective, she has spent an arm and a leg on her website for very little result.
As a compromise, she could use the new Open Graphinterface to bring a little bit of Facebook functionality into her website.
Yeah, from a technology perspective, that would be neat. But her problem was really getting people to come to her website at all. She had tried dabbling in Google AdWords, and she’d tried hiring an SEO [search engine optimization] consultant, which cost a fortune. And it didn’t work.
So she figured, instead of asking people to come to her, she’s going to go to them.
A couple of things the editors cut for space:
First of all, Shih said the bit about abandoning your website in favor of Facebook “wasn’t a recommendation. More of a trend.” She said she certainly wouldn’t recommend it for a larger business, or one with a successful website, but that it may make sense for small businesses with limited resources to invest. Part of the argument also had to do with people finding it too hard to update their own websites because everything has to go through the webmaster.
I argued that a better solution would be to make the website easier to update, using something like WordPress. Of course, that’s the WordPress consultant in me speaking.
But she said, “It turns out it’s incredibly hard. And most [small to midsize businesses] have never heard of WordPress.” And in any case, the mechanics of posting the updates is only part of the puzzle. The bigger part is getting people to actually go to the website. Unless the business owner has time and energy to invest in learning SEO, and posting frequent keyword rich blog updates, that may not happen. Thus, the logic in going where the customers are (Facebook) rather than making them come to you.
I would still argue that using Facebook and your website together will be more powerful than using either of them alone. There are still those people who don’t have a Facebook account, for one thing. But this interview certainly got me thinking about finding better ways to link my web projects more tightly to Facebook.
Going Beyond The Fog Of Private Clouds
David F. Carr, 08.04.10, 02:00 PM EDT
Making cloud computing within the firewall mean something.
It’s become fashionable for every organization that runs a cluster ofVMware servers to talk about running a “private cloud.” But for this change in terminology to mean something, technology managers need to treat it as something more than just a tool for career-oriented rebranding and resume enhancement.