Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making blogging easier

Keeping a blog can be a hard old job sometime. For me, its proved to be difficult to combine long working days, parental responsibilities (I've just become a dad for the second time) and some form of social life on top.
I use as my blogging platform of choice, as I like the tools available (compared to WordPress for example). However I have also used the email to blog solutions such as from time to time and find them incredibly easy to use..... and perhaps if I was starting over again, I would now use such as service.
Its therefore very helpful that Blogger now provide similar email to blog functionality. Something that allows me to compose and post my thoughts, without either needing to log on to the main site or write an article in a word processing package and then cut & paste the words across when I get an internet connection.
BTW: This posting is actually my first posting using this service.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The five signs your digital strategy sucks

Does your company have a digital strategy and do you recognise any of the points below?

  1. Digital strategy? Oh yes, we’re working on that
    I hear this type of phrase a lot these days and typically what it actually means is “we don’t really have a digital strategy, but I’m not prepared to admit it”. If you don’t actually have a plan in place for how you are going to assess, approach, deliver and maintain your company’s online presence…. then you need to strongly consider getting this done soon (and be honest about its existence & progress).

  2. It’s full of social media bullshit bingo
    Well…..If it doesn’t contain the obligatory mention of Facebook & Twitter every other sentence, how can it possibly be about digital? Wrong!
    Sure, there’s a world of engagement out there via the main and niche social networks, but don’t forget the basics of a decent online presence (via any device) such as making sure your corporate website works on all the main browsers and in an accessible way.

  3. It’s purely about technology
    Focusing just on the IT within your digital technology is missing the point. You also need to map out and understand how you are going to develop: business processes, customer segmentation, etc.

  4. It’s not about technology at all
    Missing out the tech part is just as bad as basing your entire plan around it. You still need to cover how you’re going to implement new tools to help you: create better online functionality, improve data integration, measure customer interaction quicker & better, etc. and remember to think about how this will develop this over time.

  5. It's a bolt-on to your existing business strategy
    If you haven’t considered an integrated approach to marketing and sales online, then you’re not giving full consideration to the channels available and more importantly…. digital’s more pervasive role within your business to: reduce costs, enable customer, staff and even customer-to-staff communication.

I'm sure there are a lot more sign-posts that a digital strategy sucks big time..... Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mobile devices and our data consumption

The continued popularity of mobile devices has now driven demand for smartphones, tablets and netbooks. This has consequently had a significant impact upon the type and rate of our digital media consumption.

Once we just used the humble desktop (or laptops if we were fancy and flushed with money), but now at home, at work and on the go we use mobile devices such as: iPhones, iPads and a legion of Google Android powered devices more than ever before.

We’ve apparently now become Digital Omnivores, using Internet data from a variety of sources and many at the same time. I know, because my own browsing and other online behaviour has changed in the lst few years since I've had a smartphone (or few).

As well as sitting down with a laptop most evenings to continue working, I also now regularly burn through over 1.5 gigabytes of mobile data a month on my mobile (mainly accessing email and Twitter through the day, when I'm not within range of a public Wi-Fi node). I also have the fabled "multi-screen experience" when watching the TV at the weekend now, as the iPad tablet comes out to check program schedules, background information on news stories or the Twitter back-channel gossip on the latest pop star wannabies.

And I can only see this trend for increasing data consuption to continue, as devices get faster and deliver a more interactive experience.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Digital strategy – times they are a changing

“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly the English translation of a Chinese curse.
And although the phrase may not have exactly been as written, the sentiment behind it is clear…… when things are changing, life is hard.

Corporations are also finding the current business climate difficult. We are quite possibly on the brink of another global recession and consumers & businesses are clamping down on spending. Some analysts are even saying that we may need to rethink finance, consumerism and even our way of life. Things are…… interesting.

But the Internet is OK isn’t it? Well, quite possibly it is if you look at it just as a network of inter-connected machines that exchange data. But if you are the person responsible for crafting your company’s (or client’s) digital strategy, then you don’t just have to revise it yearly to follow the organisational business plan… you need to evolve your thinking far faster to stay abreast of the latest innovations and thinking.

Only a few years ago, Social Media wasn’t of any real concern to the digital strategist. Yes, it was there in the form of blogs and forums, but it never had the numbers, passion and backing until the major social networks gained traction. Now these same networks are releasing feature after feature all the time, gaining users across the globe and affecting the way people communicate and live.

And that’s just one factor at work. When you combine others such as : local search, augmented reality, QR codes, mobile and more….. all developing and innovating in their own ways, any digital strategy is already out of date by the time its written and printed out.

What’s therefore needed is for a digital strategy to be a living document. Taking this concept further, an agile approach is needed not just in its creation, but in its maintenance and implementation. In essence, I think that the thoughts driving y online improvement forward need to exist in something more like a Wiki than a Word document.

The main issue in my opinion is that although this idea is perhaps a practical way to address the ever-changing Internet landscape…. this approach would conflict with the typical process-heavy structure and governance within most corporates. It is therefore a shame that the very companies that need such a flexible approach are the very ones least likely to implement it.

Digital strategists are indeed living in interesting times.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Social Local Mobile - innovation begins now

A recent study predicted that the value of online shopping through the web and mobile commerce will grow to £33.7 billion by 2015, representing an annual increase of 4.5 per cent.

Even Google have recently shown their aim to target mobile devices by the purchasing of Motorola Mobile and got social with the release of Google Plus (no, I don't use it either). They also have a pretty big hand in location-based online search and offers via the Android mobile operating system.

Sure.... 2010 was really the year of Social Media, 2011 is the year of mobile and location-based services such as Foursquare are stil growing in use. However, for me it is the combination of Social, Local and Mobile together that now forms a digital trinity of innovation, instant access and ease of use.

And I don't use the word innovation lightly, as I believe that this combination of technologies is where will see the next tide of Internet innovations come from. The next year or so are going to be really intersting and I'm looking forward to watching how back-room developers and start-ups take advantage of these and come up with fantastic concepts that leverage the always-on and socially-conncted online population.