Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: March 2017

Gilbane Advisor 3-28-17 – customer experience, millenials, ad agencies, software complexity

Next-generation customer experience

How do you link customer experience operationally and improve CX beyond individual touchpoints to succeed throughout the customer journey? Read More



Three millennial tech myths busted

Ben Bajarin shares findings from a recent study of mostly 18-24 year olds. Many of you are likely to be surprised by at least one of the “busted myths”, that: “Millenials are Done with Facebook”, “The PC is Dead to Millenials”, and “Face to Face Meetings are not Desirable”. Read More

Complexity and strategy

and cost and return in building software products. This is both fascinating as an inside look at Microsoft Office development and competitive strategy, and important for software development and product managers new to large complex products.

I struggled with how to think about complexity through much of my career, especially during the ten years I spent leading Office development. Modeling complexity impacted how we planned major releases, our technical strategy as we moved to new platforms, how we thought about the impact of new technologies, how we competed with Google Apps, how we thought about open source and throughout “frank and open” discussions with Bill Gates on our long term technical strategy for building the Office applications. Read More

Ad agencies and accountability

…if Google and Facebook have all of the responsibility, then shouldn’t they also be getting all of the money? What exactly is WPP’s 15% being used for? … If ad agencies want to be relevant in digital advertising, then they need to generate value independent of managing creative and ad placement: policing their clients’ ads would be an excellent place to start. Read More

How AI can solve 3 pain points in marketing

Lots of hype around AI technologies solving everything (before taking over that is). Time to focus on use cases. Three in marketing are: “lack of reliable, centralized data”, “talent bottleneck”, (or cognitive overload), and the “inability to calculate ROI”.  Read More


Think of all the helpful apps for aging boomers… DeepMind Finds Way to Overcome AI’s Forgetfulness Problem via Bloomberg

Handy, one each for B2B and B2C… The Startup Idea Matrix via Medium 

Yes, JavaScript is still but where do all the others stand?… The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2017 via RedMonk

Ever hopeful… Publishers see long-term potential, short-term hurdles in messaging platforms via Digiday

You’d think they would have tested first… WhatsApp brings back text Status it replaced with Stories via Techcrunch

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Gilbane Digital Content Conference

Mark your calendar! Call for papers coming soon.

Conference: November 28–29, 2017
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA


Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. See previous issuesSubscribe to email or feedContact.

Gilbane Advisor 3-14-17 — voice, wearable machine learning, chinese CX, blockchain

CX and the age of the appacus

This Economist article about fintech in China is important not just for economists or financial technologists, but for customer experience professionals. China is “far and away the biggest market for digital payments, accounting for nearly half of the global total”. Beyond digital payments, there is Chinese fintech support throughout the ecommerce ecosystem, for investing, consumer lending, and small business last mile distributors, reducing friction and increasing market channel and consumer reach. The arguably superior CX of the ecommerce ecosystem already at scale in China makes lots of western ecommerce experiences look creaky at best.

Many of you are familiar with attempts by Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps to become platforms in the way that WeChat has in China. But success will require going beyond a simple transaction bot to a more complete integration with the full ecosystem. Western ecommerce ecosystems have a different set of challenges, but China is experimenting and learning a lot quickly. Studying the massive scale and rapidly evolving Chinese experience will no doubt provide valuable insight. Read More

economist china and clickaholics

Voice and the uncanny valley of AI

As part of our recurring ‘right tool for the job’ theme, we point you to Benedict Evan’s analysis of the notion of voice as the next platform.

This tends to point to the conclusion that for most companies, for voice to work really well you need a narrow and predictable domain. You need to know what the user might ask and the user needs to know what they can ask… You have to pick a field where it doesn’t matter that you can’t scale. Read More

The blockchain will do to banks and law firms what the internet did to media

Banks and law firms may face the most existential disintermediation threat, but all corporate strategists need to think about the potential impact of blockchain technology. MIT’s Joi Ito, Neha Narula, and Robleh Ali enlighten. Read More

The potential for blockchain to transform electronic health records

Lot’s of potential here. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and MIT Media Lab describe their pilot program. Read More

On-Device machine intelligence

“What if you want machine intelligence to run on your personal phone or smartwatch, or on IoT devices, regardless of whether they are connected to the cloud?” You can… Read More

machine learning on your watch
Gilbane Advisor logo

Gilbane Digital Content Conference

Mark your calendar! Call for papers coming soon.

Conference: November 28–29, 2017
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA


A little fun… Metaphysics of the Marketing Hub via Gartner

Helpful how to… Comparison Tables for Products, Services, and Featuresvia Nielsen Norman Group

Want to understand estimates from your developers?… The Software Engineer’s Essential Time Estimation Guide via Hackernoon

It’s not easy… As Messenger’s bots lose steam, Facebook pushes menus over chat via Techcrunch

The case for digital reinvention The effect on revenue and profit and why. via Mckinsey

Solves multiple problems for them… Forbes rebuilt its new mobile website as a Progressive Web App via Nieman Lab

Last but not least… I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it via The Guardian

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. See previous issuesSubscribe to email or feed. Contact.

Digital experience & content operations need more attention

In most ways content management is very mature, but in one important way it is not: there is too much focus on new projects, new toys, and new buzzwords, and not enough on maintaining and managing content, technology, and process lifecycles in other words, on operations.

This scenario is not unique to content management and is easy to fall into because new marketing or technology projects are both more exciting and good for the résumé. Unfortunately, the promise and hope of a new project can also serve as a way to come up with an easy answer to a demand from senior management, and to delay dealing with a frightening challenge while you figure out what you really need to do. After all, digital transformation in general is hard, and multichannel content management in particular remains largely aspirational.

It is not possible to get very far with large web initiatives without a certain level of operational planning for changes to content strategy and flow, infrastructure and application integration, new skills, and workflow practices, to name a few. But even with the best upfront effort it is extremely unlikely that operations post project completion can be sufficiently anticipated. This is one area where engaging with experienced service providers can be hugely advantageous.

The push and pull between new technology capabilities, evolving business models and requirements, user and customer feedback, and discovery of potential improvements to processes, guarantee that agility has to be ingrained and permanent. If there is one thing all multichannel content management projects, and all digital transformation efforts, have in common it is constant ongoing care and feeding. This is nowhere truer than where much of todays’ marketing, IT, and C-suite focus is: customer experience management (CX).

Whatever your definition of CX, if it doesn’t include the entire “customer journey” it is incomplete. And if you consider all of the customer lifecycle touchpoints, digital and analog, direct and indirect, you quickly see how far and deep in the organization the CX connections reach.

Most of the focus of CX is on the front end; “front” as in early in the customer journey, and also what is front and center in the customer’s face: the ad, the landing page, “native” content. This is surely a good place to start because it is low-hanging fruit, exposing many of the most irritating customer experiences, but also pointing where else to look among all the back-end operational systems to optimize the CX. Conflicting descriptions of a product could be a simple web editor error, or it could point to unsynchronized marketing and e-commerce databases, which in turn might be due to a product feature update communicated to customer support and marketing but not to the group running the e-commerce system – a flaw in ongoing operations.

With insufficiently smooth and consistent operations you are doomed to providing a janky digital and human customer experience, making you both unhip, and unfriendly to your customers.

At a company level a bad customer experience is not a technology problem, it is a human and organizational, hence leadership, problem. Software, hardware, design, and quality assurance are also still mostly human domains.

The way a product is presented on a screen or described by a customer service representative is a result of corporate messaging which is in turn influenced and interpreted by product managers, user experience designers, developers, salespeople, and researchers. These are different departments with their own perspectives and incentives. Yet they are all in the CX sausage. This is why you hear talk about a Gödel-like impossibility of managing a complete and consistent customer experience. But that is no reason not to try – perfect should not be the enemy of good. How effectively and rapidly these functions communicate and cooperate on an ongoing basis have a huge impact on the quality of operations and CX.

Integrating all relevant internal functions may be unrealistic because of organizational inertia. But every alignment of the internal digital experience, content flow, and communication between departments will increase the ability to respond to customers with the consistency and immediacy necessary for a good CX. And then there is the improvement in employee morale and productivity. After all, employees need a good CX too.

We see the natural tendency to focus on the front end all the time and it is reflected in the proposals we receive to speak at Gilbane conferences. But this year there was a noticeable increase in proposals addressing operational issues and we have included a number of them across tracks. Are organizations getting better at planning for ongoing operations? Is it because they are on their second or third or fourth large-scale digital effort? What are they doing differently? Join us at the Gilbane Digital Content Conference and find out.

Note: This article was first published in eContent Magazine in September 2016.

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