The ROI of blockchain

Over the last year, there has been an overwhelming amount of excitement around blockchain, but will the technology live up to the hype? From cryptocurrencies to supply chain platforms, the emerging technology that underpins these networks is a powerful tool that should be sensibly evaluated by business leaders to understand whether it is worth the investment. To help executives assess the potential return on investment (ROI) of a blockchain deployment, a Forrester Total Economic Impact™ study was commissioned. In this study, Forrester analysts interviewed real clients to build the framework for a financial analysis of the business benefits, cost savings and risks associated with blockchain.

 

To dive deeper into this subject, Principal Analyst Martha Bennet to sat down with some of the clients featured in the study to discuss their experiences with adoption. During this webcast, these early adopters shared firsthand the challenges they are facing and the benefits they seek from being pioneers in their respective industries. There was amazing response from the audience, but there is never enough time. Here are some questions and answers we didn’t get a chance to dive into:

With so many technologies available in the market, why should our business choose blockchain technology?

Blockchain is a tool that approaches various business needs from an innovative perspective but is not an answer for all business problems. From this angle, the technology should be viewed as a tool to address a specific need and not as a goal in itself. Therefore, it is important to understand the problem your business is trying to solve and consider the value that adopting blockchain could bring to your use case. Blockchain is a technology that adds value by fundamentally enhancing trust between multiple parties. Some of the trust benefits it can bring to a business solution are:

  • Allowing multiple parties to access a single source of truth for transaction data
  • Assuring multiple parties, including regulators, that data is valid and hasn’t been tampered with
  • Improving efficiencies and reducing costs by removing intermediaries in processes between multiple parties

One example is Walmart, which has deployed a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system, taking a business-led approach to solving food traceability.

What can be achieved with blockchain that cannot be achieved with a traditional distributed database?

Blockchain has various advantages over a traditional distributed database. The most significant one is creating trust between parties with an immutable ledger of transactions that has no single point of failure. The distributed and audit-able nature of how blockchain data is managed means that no single party has the power to alter data integrity.

You can also read this article discussing the differences between blockchain and the distributed database, along with the benefits that blockchain provides.

What is the barrier to entry for creating a new blockchain network versus joining existing ones?

There are several factors that business leaders must consider when deciding whether to join an existing blockchain network or create a new one.

When creating a new network from scratch, many considerations such as network participants, development costs, governance rules and business operations must be taken into account. Although benefits are gained by having a stake on these considerations, addressing these challenges can take up time and resources for network founding members.

On the other hand, joining or building on top of an existing network has a much lower barrier to adoption. Many of the networking costs such as setting up governance and operations that are incurred by founding members have already been addressed. This means that on-boarding can be done easily into a network that is already functioning.

Reasonably assessing the ROI that blockchain can bring for your company can be a daunting task. However, by exploring real use cases and learning from pioneers that are already building networks, you can get started on your blockchain journey.

Giving Great Customer Care In An Online Space 100%

There’s no better time than now to get into e-commerce and grab yourself a space online to run a successful business. It’s a digital age, and more and more customers are choosing to head online through their computer or handheld device, to shop, invest, and seek services from the plethora of companies available. However, with the constant expansion of the internet and all it holds; it can be a challenge to keep up with major corporations and all those potential competitors that are trying to overshadow the rest. Therefore, small businesses need to turn their focus towards their customer’s happiness and ensure that they always have positive experiences with them so that they don’t think twice about returning.

 

One of the obvious differences between a physical and virtual retail environment is that you can’t have face-to-face contact with the service you receive on the internet. Therefore, an e-commerce company needs to make up for this by keeping their visitors onside and ensuring they leave their website feeling satisfied and ready to return. The following are some ideas and inspiration for small online businesses who are ready to go the extra mile for their customers so that they can benefit from long-term growth and success.

 

 

Invest In Behind The Scenes

 

Your customer care and satisfaction levels will be impacted directly by what’s going on behind the screen. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in your business so that your efficiency and productivity can shine through when your customers click on to your site. It’s worth looking at methods and training from companies like The Lean Six Sigma Company who can provide your business with the methods and tools to iron out all the creases and give your brand a much-needed boost. The results will have a direct effect on those who choose to shop with you, as each part of their experience will be one that you’ve worked hard to make it straightforward, positive, and as smooth as possible.

 

Spend Time In Their Shoes

 

Once you’ve created a successful company behind the scenes; it’s time to look at your business as your customers would. Go through your website and the process of purchasing items as if you’ve never seen it before. You can also utilize the assistance of online mystery shoppers, and ensure that you take their feedback onboard. Don’t be fearful of making significant changes, and look to your competitors to see where they exceed your customer service, and think about how to improve on yours.

 

It’s Time For Tech

 

Part of the online shopping experience is using technology to make a sale a quick and as simple as possible. Therefore, when it comes to communicating with your customers and ensuring they’re happy; it’s essential to look into the latest tech available for your e-commerce space. Pop-up customer care boxes are a great place to start, and it’s a way to show visitors that there’s a friendly, human face behind your online store. The key to consumer satisfaction is to make sure that they’re your priority, so keep them in the forefront of your mind in everything you do.

Get That B2B Sale Deal

What’s the heart that is beating to maintain business growth? What is essential at the core of your business expansion?

The answer is clients. If you haven’t figured this one out by yourself, it’s time to give up your career as an entrepreneur and consider a non-client facing job. But if you have congratulations. Now is the one million dollar question, namely, how do you manage to get a new deal with a new client? Client acquisition, especially in the B2B sector, can be extremely challenging. Indeed, there’s a little more to do than creating a handy click-to-buy app. In a B2B environment, client deals still run in a traditional face-to-face approach.

Are you ready to seduce your clients?

 

Do your research

So how do make sure that you can appeal to the right prospects? Ultimately; there is no way around it. You need to define your target audience, from which industry sector they’re more likely to be to basics demographics. The better you understand you market, the easier you’ll find to create tailored and relevant messages. Admittedly, while you can’t cold call every individual in your target audience, you can identify the companies that are the most likely to need your services/products. As a general rule of the thumb, if you want to get to know them, it’s easier to use either a common contact or to offer a free trial that is ideally timed with their agenda.

 

Find a hook they can’t resist

The free trial is by far the best hook you can offer to new clients. It doesn’t matter what people say, ultimately if something is free and of potential interest to their business, they’re likely to want to benefit from the offer. So what can you offer that is relevant to the current market? Let’s say GDPR is a priority today. For marketing service providers, you can suggest a free audit on GDPR regulations, for instance. If you’re an IT provider, you can target GDPR with a data removal offer. Insurance brokers can discuss GDPR protection, and so on!

 

Plan an introduction meeting

Once you’ve hooked your client, make sure to plan a meeting they won’t forget. You can even use a contract catering company for the occasion so that you can put your potential client at ease with a delicious buffet. Additionally, you need to make sure the meeting room is fully prepared to all IT requirements. There’s nothing worse than making your prospect wait because you can’t figure out how to project your presentation.

 

Book the best conference room

 

Last but not least: You need to deliver

Finally, you’ve convinced your leads, and they’ve signed with you. Bear in mind that if you’re not able to deliver, your client will probably look elsewhere for a provider – without mentioning the negative reputation you might receive in the process. So make sure that everything is ready, whether it’s a matter of warehouse management for good, or electronic process to keep track of your progress. A disappointed client is not the kind of publicity you want.

 

Client acquisition is the business equivalent to the ancient art of seduction. You need to know your target, gain their trust, cajole them into buying your services, and finally give them the satisfaction they need.

 

How to make #SocialSelling work for your organisation

I recently had the opportunity to work with Network Sunday and spent some time talking with Tim Bond, the companies CEO, resulting in a white paper that will guide organisations to the benefits of social selling.

Here are some highlights, followed by the white paper in full, hosted on slideshare.

In 2015 the questions being raised were:

What is social selling? Why aren’t more sales people selling this way? How do we implement it?

Today (October 2016) there is a general consensus that the buyer / seller dynamic has changed and sales people who practice social selling outperform their peers. Clearly organisations now face a new hurdle: ADOPTION

Social selling for Organisations from Ben Martin Social_Ben

 

​Twitter Undergoes a Makeover

The website now has a new homepage to greet its users

Social networking service Twitter has just revamped its homepage in an attempt to attract more non-users to create an account.

Twitter has announced in an official blog post that their homepage was getting “refreshed,” implying that they wanted to make it more attractive so that it would convince people to sign up for a new account.

Given that Twitter has laid much emphasis on the fact that it became one of the most reliable real-time news search engines, and that it wants to add even more users to the hundreds of millions who already access its service every month, this change was no surprise.

Since the old homepage was rather scant in terms of design and even information, many people considered it was about time Twitter came up with an overhaul.

The simple background image that was urging users to log in has now turned into a more complex one, which is made up of several categories people can choose from.

The new homepage gives you a preview of how Twitter works

Based on what they are interested in, Twitter users can now click on a certain category and they will be taken to torrents of tweets related to that particular subject. This way, they can get a closer look at how things work and maybe they will be convinced that a Twitter account is something they absolutely need.

Or at least this is what Twitter had in mind when it rolled out the new feature, mainly based on the statistics showing that more than 125 million people visit the homepage every month without signing up for an account, Mashable reports.

This impressive number must have been the reason behind Twitter’s decision to take some measures and have some work done on its homepage in order to intrigue curious onlookers by adding some samples of tweets.

It has now added categories like Politics, Pop Artists or Cute Animals, with the sole purpose of convincing people that they should sing up in order to enjoy the real-time content.

It’s almost as if Twitter were giving them a taste of what they could experience if they decide to get started on the social network.

The homepage has been made available for US users only for the time being, but Twitter announced it would gradually roll it out in other countries as well.

Compliments to Softpedia for content

My Dad’s bigger than your Dad – “the social taunt”

Perhaps some have of us have moved on from the playground taunt of “my Dad’s bigger than your Dad” to “I have more followers than you”. In fact just yesterday I was listening to a webinar where the speaker went into bragging mode, I hope it was not just me thinking – “so what?”

I relish getting more followers, that instant fix that justifies why I am here in the social arena. If they then share my content, that is what I call success, that is what I am addicted to (see previous blog) So having a huge following does not really count for much unless they can move your content for you, does it?

So my first question to you. Does the size of some ones following impact your decision to click the follow button?

For me, in some small way, it does. But I also consider the other numbers that are displayed, like how many tweets versus how many followers. For instance :-

bSo here we have someone who is  either providing great content, or they deemed it necessary to purchase fake followers. How do you know if this entity is able to provide value to you and strengthen your reach. I use StatusPeople, its a great tool, to help me decide the answer to that last question. So in regards to the above twitter user this is the view StatusPeople provided:

b1With that kind of information I can make an informed decision to follow, either they have some great content and or they can help move my content (if they like it)

So let me give you some other examples

a

and StatusPeople said

a1

***************************************

c

and StatusPeople said

c1

Perhaps I am just too cynical in my old age, but if you cant provide me with reciprocal value, then that is why I don’t follow you back.

Does size matter? Please leave your comments below as to how you make a decision to follow or even like someone back. Do you use another tool you would like to tell us about?

Social Gaming – a Growing Trend

I found this Infographic very interesting. Whilst I consider myself an Xbox addict I tend to play shoot ’em ups. The Infographic below suggests that the fastest growing social games are word games with friends creaing friendly competition. Since 2010, social gaming has been expanding the gaming market and broadening the impact of gamification on business. And with sites like Zynga attracting 148 million unique gamers monthly, the trend is only growing.

 

Created by Flowtown

The Business Benefits Of Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that a quarter of Twitter users currently connect with brands on Twitter, and over one-third do so to receive promotions and discounts?

The benefits of using Twitter for businesses are numerous. Marketers can use the platform to share content and links, sending traffic back to their e-commerce website or blog, track industry buzz, network and engage, provide customer support and, vitally, position their brand’s message directly in front of advocates and fans.

This infographic from Yell takes a closer look at the business benefits of Twitter. It’s a little basic for veterans, but a great starting point for brands who are still on the fence about how and why Twitter can work for them.

(Source: Yell. Twitter image via Shutterstock.)

If You Don’t Have a SOCIAL CEO, You’re Going to be Less Competitive

Mark Fidelman Guest Post: Mark Fidelman

IBM STUDY: If You Don’t Have a SOCIAL CEO, You’re Going to be Less Competitive

The list of the world’s CEOs regularly includes celebrities, billionaires, big egos, risk takers, and failures. What it does not include are social media experts; but that’s about to change. When IBM (NYSE: IBM) conducted its study of 1709 CEOs around the world, they found only 16% of them participating in social media. But their analysis shows that the percentage will likely grow to 57% within 5 years.

Why? because CEOs are beginning to recognize that using email and the phone to get the message out isn’t sufficient anymore.

The big takeaway: That using social technologies to engage with customers, suppliers and employees will enable the organization to be more adaptive and agile.

“As CEOs ratchet up the level of openness within their organizations, they are developing collaborative environments where employees are
encouraged to speak up, exercise personal initiative, connect with fellow
collaborators, and innovate,” the IBM study concluded.

Simply put, CEOs and their executives set the cultural tone for an organization. Through participation, they implicitly promote the use of social technologies.  That will make their organizations more competitive and better able to adapt to sudden market changes.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • The study reveals that CEOs are changing the nature of work by adding a powerful dose of openness, transparency and employee empowerment to the command-and-control ethos that has characterized the modern corporation for more than a century.
  • Companies that outperform their peers are 30 percent more likely to identify openness – often characterized by a greater use of social media as a key enabler of collaboration and innovation – as a key influence on their organization.
  • While social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the number two organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.
  • More than half of CEOs (53 percent) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52 percent are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration.
  • Championing collaborative innovation is not something CEOs are delegating to their HR leaders. According to the study findings, the business executives are interested in leading by example.
  • CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (75 percent), communication (67 percent), creativity (61 percent) and flexibility (61 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment.
  • The trend toward greater collaboration extends beyond the corporation to external partnering relationships. Partnering is now at an all-time high. In 2008, slightly more than half of the CEOs IBM interviewed planned to partner extensively. Now, more than two-thirds intend to do so.
  • CEOs are most focused on gaining insights into their customers. Seventy-three percent of CEOs are making significant investments in their organizations’ ability to draw meaningful customer insights from available data.

I’ve often held IBM as the best example of a Social Business and a company to emulate rather than Apple. I believe this study and the analysis behind it, reinforces that view.

The IBM study shows that CEOs and the companies they manage must constantly evolve to stay competitive. Partners, suppliers, employees and customers want CEOs to communicate with them on a personal level to build trust and to help align them to the organization’s strategy. There is a lot at stake here. And if CEOs continue to hide in their Ivory Towers under the guise of some old command and control mentality, the next chapter in their career might be written somewhere else.

No one wants that.