Category Archives: Sponsored

Optimizing Digital Marketing Through Accessibility & Aesthetics

Optimizing Digital Marketing Through Accessibility & Aesthetics

Optimizing Digital Marketing In The Cloud

Marketers are constantly looking for better ways to tantalize and engage customers, and there’s no space more competitive than the digital universe. Deliberating over pleasing layouts, effective calls to action, site responsiveness, and much more, digital marketers have more than enough to keep themselves busy without understanding the intricacies of website design and optimization. The corporate giants have access to department upon department of developers and designers, digital strategists, research teams, and publicity divisions backing up marketers, but the rest of the business world, made up of small and medium-sized enterprises, have no such luxuries. Luckily, a few shrewd service providers are ensuring their clients, no matter their size, have all of the necessary tools to compete successfully in the cloud.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Ease of Use

According to Econulstancy, 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load, and so with trillions of dollars of retail sales ‘web-influenced’, ensuring your site is both accessible and optimized is a fundamental business requirement. Says Tim Schulz, chief product officer at Bigcommerce, “The key to success in today’s hyper-competitive retail market is to sell not only a product, but an entire experience to the shopper.” Organizations can no longer rely merely on providing a good product or service but instead must afford their customers an experience that is enjoyable, user-friendly, and ultimately superior to their rivals.

Aesthetically Pleasing

ben-mooreLooks do matter, and people are constantly judging books by their covers. Prudent companies spend no time concerned with this injustice, but rather take advantage of it. With many consumers basing decisions on where to spend their money purely on which website they believe the most attractive, businesses must constantly revamp and revise their site design, always preserving a fresh façade that discreetly expresses the company brand while charming the customer. “There is nothing more important than connecting your brand with shoppers,” states Ben Moore, CEO at Pixel Union.

Tools for Streamlined Experiences and Enjoyable Designs

A leading ecommerce platform, Bigcommerce, is magnifying their clients’ success with new attractive and responsive themes optimized for various catalog sizes, merchandise categories, and promotions. Collaborating with Pixel Union, these new themes promise a seamless shopping experience across all devices, and will continue to evolve to include advanced features traditionally only available through fully-customized storefronts. Says Schulz, “With our new themes, and the new development framework that powers them, our merchants will make an incredible first impression on today’s sophisticated online shoppers and ultimately sell more than they would on any other ecommerce platform in the world.

Through their new themes, Bigcommerce is providing clients with progressive features, including:

  • Optimized designs for mobile shoppers;
  • Seamless and simple customizations;
  • Built-in faceted search functionality;
  • Optimized one-page checkout.

Bigcommerce is putting a major focus on the end-to-end customer journey with these new themes, and that’s going to help merchants communicate their brand better and do more with their storefront to drive sales and build lasting relationships with their customers,” says Schulz.

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In addition to a range of premium themes now available on the Theme Marketplace, several styles of free themes are also accessible.

Article sponsored by Bigcommerce

By Jennifer Klostermann

IoT: Connected Manufacturing Leads To Service as a Product

IoT: Connected Manufacturing Leads To Service as a Product

Connected Manufacturing

A car is driven back to its home garage for the night, and its data port is plugged in. Then, some exciting things happen. First off, the car sends diagnostic information back to the manufacturer to cross-check against any systems that require repair, maintenance, or replacement. The manufacturer then downloads a selection of new driver experiences, including a different acceleration style (choice of sporty or smooth), improved navigation and mapping software, and new stay-in-lane safety features.

This is not a vision of some distant future. These things are happening now with certain brands of cars, and they will expand quickly across much of the retail and industrial automotive landscape. It is a subtle example of the power and diversity of the Internet of Things – the capacity for all types of machines, not simply computers and phones, but every kind of device or tool to communicate, primarily by way of the Internet.

IoT-IDC

(Image Source: IDC)

A vital observation from a business standpoint is the fact that so much of the value of this car company now lies with the transfer of data. The car is as physical a product as ever, but the current that drives everything forward, from design to manufacturing to sales to aftermarket monetization, is data.

Connected Manufacturing

From an outside perspective, the Internet of Things offers an unlimited selection of innovations, ranging from an electric toothbrush that monitors correct brushing style, through to tire pressure sensors in truck fleets to geolocation sensors attached to livestock. The potential for their use is limitless, and this includes on the factory floor. Connected Manufacturing is the industrial application of the Internet of Things. It ushers in a revolution in manufacturing, on par with Ford’s development of mass production and the mid-20th-century development of Just-In-Time logistics.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Proactive analytics, for example, helps a device identify future needs, such as when a part might fail, when it requires service, or when supplies need to be ordered. When the machine itself can dispatch the appropriate commands to a human or another machine, it ensures smooth, safe and economical operation.

Distributed intelligence allows for greater degrees of personalization. In healthcare, medical device dashboards can reflect an individual patient’s information and requirements. At home, an intelligent refrigerator can automatically add needed items to a grocery list or grocery delivery service. In manufacturing, greater capacity opens up for customized production according to an individual customer’s requirement without extensive retooling or downtime. The machines themselves can decide how best to approach the project and self-organize to get each job done.

Intelligence Through Data 

The universal availability of data and its intelligence allows decision-makers, designers, account reps and everyone else in the supply chain to share necessary information, opening up opportunities for enhanced sales and support, improved internal management, customer service, and innovation.

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Connected manufacturing is a type of cornucopia, a perpetual source of sustenance for every business and manufacturer primarily because of the data that it makes available. But it demands a change in mindset, even for those that deal in heavy tangible goods, since the same intelligence that powers the manufacturing process now modifies the management model.

Companies are now becoming purveyors of information and providers of services. Rather than sell, or even lease a piece of heavy machinery to a customer, a business may realize greater overall revenues by providing services, such as maintenance, training, and supplies. They can attract and retain essential customer data to facilitate up-sells, and innovative aftermarket monetization opportunities. This idea of not selling a product, but retaining ownership of it and delivering services instead, requires significant flexibility on the part of corporate decision-makers, long used to a more traditional approach to commerce and business. It is the result of a chain of processes that starts with the Internet of Things, moves through connected manufacturing and winds up in the service industry.

Business leaders who are contemplating a move into the world of the Internet of Things must ensure their education travels along two streams: first is understanding the sheer diversity and versatility of IOT technologies, and how to implement them into the manufacturing and delivery stream. Second and arguably the most important is the flipped notion of “you-as-a-service.” No matter how tangible or long-standing a company’s products may be, their value now lies in the information halo that surrounds it. Machine-to-machine communication leads to data; data leads to information, and information becomes the key to every company’s future.

For more on this topic, go to http://businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

By Steve Prentice

AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

Internet of Things Security

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming a part of many of our business processes, often without us even noticing how quickly things are changing. And while it’s liberating to realise that many of the more flawed or tedious processes will be automated and streamlined, freeing up thousands of man hours, the danger is that organizations can lose track of how vulnerable they are to cyberattacks as the points of contact to the internet multiply.

There are a number of questions which must be asked and answered to ensure security, according to a new report from AT&T entitled:

The CEO’s Guide to Securing the Internet of Things,” its second Cybersecurity Insights report.

This new connected era requires that a company assesses the risks faced, that it secures not only its information but the devices processing that information as well, that it aligns the IOT strategy and security, and defines the legal and regulatory issues at hand.

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The scale of the change which is coming is worth looking at in detail, to reinforce the scale of the change and how vital it is to adapt. Chances are that if your company is not already plugged into the IoT, then your competitors and your partners probably are, and that you will need to be in the next few years. 85% of the organizations interviewed are “considering, exploring, or implementing an IoT strategy.” One third of companies claim to already have over 5, 000 connected devices but worryingly, “88% of organizations lack confidence in the security of their business partners connected devices.” Estimates vary, but experts agree that there will be between 30 billion and 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020.

Tremendous upside

The upside is tremendous. New revenue models and streams from new products that are transforming homes, vehicles and offices are being developed every day, while huge cost savings are being achieved through better monitoring and efficiency of business processes.

jasonYet all that will count for very little in the face of a massive security breach which could potentially cost a company millions of dollars, as well as the trust of its customers and businesses partners. Jason Porter, AT&T’s Vice-President of Security Solutions believes that “organizations need to infuse security expertise early into the process so that IoT is architected for security.”

The good news is that companies are becoming ever more aware of the threats. Two-thirds of respondents to the survey are planning to invest in IoT security in 2016, and half of them are dedicating at least 25% of their budget to the problem. And there is already a real urgency to it. AT&T’s Security Operations Centre has logged a 458% increase in vulnerability scans of devices connected to the Internet of Things.

Mission-Critical Systems

The consequences of a cyberattack via the Internet of Things could be devastating. If one imagines the mission-critical systems of a self-driving car or an airplane being controlled by hackers, one gets a sense of how badly things can go wrong. Yet there are thousands of less high-profile cases that can wreak havoc. The report mentions “threat scenarios where IoT-connected robots or other remotely actuated machines are compromised, potentially resulting in manufacturing errors, equipment or parts damage, or even employee harm.

So how do you create a strategic and proactive security approach to counter these threats? Taking a broad overview, the key is to build IoT security in at the ground floor. A comprehensive risk assessment which incorporates IoT into your general risk profile is a necessary start. This should be done by running a thorough audit of each and every connected device, as well as the communication protocols, networks and applications. You must assess the vulnerabilities of each element of the IoT mix and map out a worst-case scenario so that everyone is keenly aware of the ramifications of a breach or a malfunction. Try and minimize the exposure of your most critical functions to IoT devices.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Secondly, realise that perhaps it’s not your information that is the primary concern. Perhaps it’s the devices themselves. “By definition, IoT devices don’t just generate data, but also interact in new ways with the physical world, such as controlling the flow of water or electricity. As a result, you must consider operational security threats, as well as information security concerns.”

Supporting The Chief Security Officer

The internal attitudes of your company towards security are hugely important. When an organization’s board is clearly and publicly committed to security, then there is a general understanding and alignment of forces to create a safe and secure environment. Clear lines of responsibility, consistent systems and a culture that prizes security are invaluable assets to your organization. Consider placing the Chief Security Officer on the board as a show of support and faith in the systems.

Finally, it’s vital that your company understands its legal and regulatory requirements and exposures. The report states that “Beyond information thefts or breaches, the physical and operational parameters of IoT devices can open new types of corporate responsibility and liability,” and that the “The use of multiple vendors in most IoT deployments requires that you assess their level of IoT security.

The Internet of Things is new, exciting and brimming with potential as well as threats. While it can feel overwhelming, it’s critical to not wait until it’s too late to start looking at security. By implementing these four steps, your organization will be set to thrive in this brave new connected world.

Read the full report here

This post is sponsored by AT&T Security

By Jeremy Daniel

The Lurking Threat Called Passivity

The Lurking Threat Called Passivity

The Lurking Threat

What is lurking inside your company’s systems that is making them vulnerable to attack? Hacking, phishing and other types of attacks are often considered to be externally driven, with gangs of anonymous hackers operating from halfway around the world using Internet connections to break in and wreak havoc. But surprisingly, a significant proportion of network security events happen on the inside. Depending on the particular organization or industry, this percentage can range from 35% to 90%. In addition, a significant portion of the vulnerability of any system starts passively—in other words, with features and items that are not active viruses or cracking tools, but whose mere presence eats away at the defenses.

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Consider busy employees. They have lots to do, and constant distractions pull their attention away from practicing proper computer hygiene. In their haste to get to a meeting or catch a flight, laptops are lost, phones get misplaced and USB drives are borrowed. As convenient as these devices are, much of the data and documentation stored on them is unencrypted. Few people ever choose to assign a password to a Microsoft Word file; it takes too much time. The same goes for other types of passwords, too. It is time-consuming and annoying to change them every two weeks, especially if they are difficult to remember. A proper password should be a string of 16 or more essentially unintelligible characters, but most of us just don’t like to do that.

Dormant Data

Then there are those who are simply not around anymore. People leave, some get fired and others simply get promoted or move elsewhere. This results in many dormant user accounts lurking in the depths of the system. Still more accounts may never have been activated. They sit there, with their default passwords invisible due to inactivity, a fertile place for sophisticated thieves to set up shop and establish a back door.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock.com)

Some employees access files, directories or other areas by accident, assigning documents to the wrong drives, clicking on the wrong link or simply not knowing what they are doing. Such mistakes are not the fault of the individual. Many people have never been able to bring their degree of computer literacy up to an adequate level. Even those who are familiar with password changing regimens, and who do not use a stranger’s USB drives, may be unaware of sinister activities such as Wi-Fi website spoofing, for example. This happens when the free Wi-Fi login for an honest-to-goodness coffee shop is replaced or overshadowed by a sophisticated reproduction working in the same hotspot, inviting workers to share everything on their mobile devices with them.

These actions may fly under the radar, especially when security does not or cannot maintain sufficient definitions of “correct” or “normal” activity on a network. Security specialists themselves often do not have the resources to adequately police internal activities, even when a budget has been established.

Malignant Operators

It is evident that none of these human-sourced weaknesses are the result of a specific virus or action. They are generally passive in nature, relying on the fact that people are both goodhearted and under great pressure. However, these activities are the types that offer safe harbor to malignant operators, who either hack in and sniff out these soft spaces or already work within the organization and are intent on sabotage or espionage.

Network security will always be an ongoing battle. The enemy is relentless. That’s why a strategy must come from the top. It should focus not solely on technical solutions, but also on human elements such as time management, planning and communication, backed up with adequate and ongoing training. For as distanced as these soft skills seem to be from the digital world of computers, they are the levers by which the bad guys force open a crack and move inside.

For more on this topic, go to businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

By Steve Prentice

Internet Performance Management In Today’s Volatile Online Environment

Internet Performance Management In Today’s Volatile Online Environment

Internet Performance Management

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Internet is now the heart of the global economy. Competition is intense and the performance of an organization’s web-based assets can make or break its future. Business continuity, which is defined as the ability to survive either man-made or natural disasters without losing valuable data, revenue, or customers, is now a critical aspect of Internet Performance Management. The effectiveness of an online presence relies on a healthy Internet infrastructure that connects cloud, data centers and CDNs to customers, employees and partners.

The size, scale, and complexity of the data which is uploaded to the Internet annually is staggering. In 2015 alone, over 250 million new users gained access to the internet, connecting through more than 10 billion devices. Every 12-month period represents a quantum leap in the volume of online activity, and this trend is only likely to increase.

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Without a robust, responsive Internet presence, a company will struggle to survive. The volume of traffic, the numbers of users and the amount of money spent online are compelling drivers. Yet there are real concerns around the issues of control, resiliency and security for organizations serving online clients.

These concerns include:

  • Uncertainty over how to measure and analyze performance

  • An inability to control cost and quality with cloud providers

  • An incomplete view of internet traffic; and

  • A lack of visibility to plan for price, performance and scale

As companies move toward an Internet-dependent infrastructure, it is imperative that they find ways to maintain visibility and control in order to manage performance.

Optimal Migration Planning

Visibility is a critical tool. It leads to effective planning for business scale, an optimal migration to cloud providers and it gives way to the right tools to optimize cloud performance and manage business continuity.

Management of downtime, including communication with clients, is also vital. Downtime is costly, and when clients are unable to access cloud-based information or monitor and manage their equipment remotely, they face the very real possibility of losing sales and eroding hard-won customer confidence.

mlarsonA safety-first mindset is a valuable asset in this environment. Matt Larson, CTO at Dyn, a leader in Internet Performance Management solutions, puts it like this: “Assume every piece of technology you use in your business will break. Think about the time you spend making your data center components more reliable from redundant servers, power supplies and database servers to entire data center sites. Are any of these perfectly bulletproof? The record shows they are absolutely not.”

Now think about protecting from failure and Internet Infrastructure itself. Most companies do not even monitor the Internet backbone to know if there are problems and they do not build redundancy and failsafe into how their customers connect to their Internet assets such as cloud providers and CDNs. Business Continuity extends to an Internet Infrastructure that demands planning and dynamic agility to defeat outages, performance degradation, and security risks.

New Challenges and Demands

Every year brings new challenges and demands for internet performance managers. In the coming year, experts predict more security breaches, more mobile banking, greater peer-to-peer distribution and a surge in the viability of the Internet of Things. Whether you’re working with data centers, content delivery networks, cloud service providers or with SaaS providers, “the need for visibility, insights and control of Internet Performance has never been more prevalent across countries, service providers and enterprises,” writes Dyn Chief Strategic Officer Kyle York. “As the world flattens, as the Internet grows more complex and volatile, and as user demands for exceptional experiences heighten, 2016 will assuredly be a big year for Internet Performance.”

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to leverage the Internet to cope with the challenges of business continuity and gain a competitive advantage.

CDN Performance Series Provided By Dyn

By Jeremy Daniel

Security: The Goodwill Virus That Keeps On Giving

Security: The Goodwill Virus That Keeps On Giving

The Goodwill Virus

When Caitlyn Jenner officially introduced herself to the world by way of a Vanity Fair cover story in June 2015, the event was unique not only for the groundbreaking content but in the way it was produced. It delivered a very powerful lesson about computer security for corporate decision-makers in all industries. Given that the story was so exclusive, it was written and produced on a single laptop computer that was kept off-line, and separated from networks and the Internet. The finished product was hand delivered, essentially turning the computer back to the type of standalone PC that has become virtually unheard of in the Wi-Fi era.

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The extremes to which the Vanity Fair team had to go to ensure secrecy are not, of course, practical in day-to-day business, but they illustrate the gaping holes that exist in network security generally, despite the efforts of a global army of highly trained and knowledgeable security specialists. Whether it is access to an exclusive story or a company’s client list or confidential data, the enemy is not only at the door; it is also relentlessly seeking to break it down, dissolve it, remove it or skirt it. The enemy is always trying to get in.

One of the most significant threats to an organization’s data security comes in the form of human goodwill. Put another way, it is a natural tendency for most people to act in an honest, trusting manner, focused on just getting their work done. This human weakness essentially lurks inside the networks and databases of organizations, passive and innocent, waiting to be preyed upon.

BYOD Security Concerns

BYOD is a perfect example of this. Employees the world over rejoice at the concept of being able to use their own devices to keep up with the tasks, documents and emails of daily life. To access company files from a centralized folder system, or to check calendars and email from a mobile phone, or from a free public Wi-Fi space at a coffee shop or airport, seems to make life a little easier.

Yet these are precisely the types of activities that make IT security specialists cringe. Personal mobile phones seldom have the up-to-date security features required to prevent a hacker from making the leap from that device into the arteries of a company’s central network. A personal smartphone can spend half its time as a business tool, with the other half as a device of leisure. As a result, individual apps and games rub shoulders with sensitive corporate information, and such contact is a fertile breeding ground for infection.

Recharging Stations

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Shopping malls, airports and hotels offer charging stations for smartphones. Busy people gravitate to them with relief once they see their battery power start to drain. These same people would never think of taking a drink from someone else’s bottled water. They would never double-dip their tortilla chip at the office party. Yet they do not think twice about plugging their phone into a free, public charging station or hotel docking station. These charging jacks can potentially deliver far more than an electrical charge, though. Like many other points of connection in the world, the task we expect it to do is the only one we think about. In most cases, though, there is far more that it can and will deliver.

Passwords

Innumerable case studies exist of inadequate password maintenance, including passwords not modified after a security sweep and upgrade. People do not see past the immediate task to realize that actions, messages and keystrokes last forever. A bad guy can easily connect a mislaid password to an email, and then to a Facebook posting, building a profile with which they can impersonate someone, or send a distracting or troubling message that opens the door.

Most people are, by nature, trusting and good. This is an exploitable weakness. As a society we have trained our children to be aware of strangers, to be aware of allergy-inducing foods, and to be sensitive to harmful language and behavior in the classroom. Yet the busy-ness of the workplace has suppressed this vigilance among adults in general. Consequently, we use technological conveniences such as USB drives, insecure phones, and file-sharing technologies to counter the never-ending pressure of time and deadlines.

Corporations must look extremely closely at implementing a separation of personal and corporate devices and information. It may be important, even essential, to respect a BYOD policy as an employee’s right, but the price for such convenience comes in the form of doubled, or even tripled, vigilance and hygiene, paired with regular updates and physical training.

A great deal of the bad stuff that happens to our network systems and our companies is human-made, as opposed to a malignant technical failure. As such, it is up to humans to bolster their immunity not only physically, but intellectually. This demands a higher standard of mistrust and precaution, from the simplest text message, upwards to every activity that follows.

For more on this topic, go to businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

By Steve Prentice

Hybridization: A Mindset Approach

Hybridization: A Mindset Approach

The Social Data Cloud

One of the most amazing attributes of the cloud and its related technologies is its sheer openness. New companies and ventures spring up daily, fueled, in some cases, by one single good idea. They launch first and then seek out operating capital through angels or crowdfunding afterward.

This is a whole new ballgame. In a similar vein, employees of established companies seek more flexible work hours, ask to use their own technologies, and turn to the cloud as the central place for meetings, communication and access to data. This too, is a whole new ballgame.

King Data

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Organizations worldwide are learning that the hierarchies and silos of yesteryear are very quickly becoming redundant and obsolete. Data is king, and agility is essential. Such statements aren’t mere prognostications of a distant future; they are observations of an existing global marketplace, in which customers in both retail and industrial markets expect a complete and consistent experience across any channel they wish to use, from the desktop through to smartphone.

IT has always been in the middle of every corporate venture, but in this new age, it has become time to make a fundamental shift from focusing on IT to focusing on what can be done with IT. This is an amazing catharsis. It moves from physical, tangible elements to “ideas and potential.” Slowly, more and more organizations are recognizing that they must, and can, meet their strategic business objectives as well as provide better service to customers through an open concept approach, both inside and outside their walls.

Cloud Hybridization

The hybridization of the cloud is both timely and essential. Decision-makers must let go of the mindset of singularity, and the notion that they must constrain all data, all ideas, and all power inside a single building or department. Hybridization refers to a division of processing power, data storage, mission-critical applications and customer interaction between internal, private, and externally managed clouds.

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Many analysts point to success stories like Uber and AirBnB, as companies who essentially own no hard assets, but who have changed the face of business permanently. But many other organizations also exist as case studies, who have slowly and carefully embraced cloud-based applications for their field agents, and for their suppliers, while developing collaborative workspaces internally. These organizations exist in every single market sector, from construction and manufacturing through to retail and professional services.

Turning Your Back On Social Media

It is all a matter of mindset, and this springs in part from trust. For example, many decision-makers still distrust social media as an irrelevant and frivolous waste of employee time. They fail to observe its ability to reinforce one of the oldest and most stable concepts of business development: a direct connection to, and understanding of the customer. This same trust-challenge extends into enterprise-level problems such as determining the choice of cloud systems. It is very human to resist change, especially when the speed of change has increased from decades to months or even weeks. How can any executive group hope to create a five-year plan when the sands shift so frequently?

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Although many companies are now working on their transition to hybrid cloud and virtual technologies as core business applications, many others still struggle with the decision. There is much to learn, much to test, and many miles yet to travel.

Those that have succeeded, even if that path to success include some stumbling and some failure, have recognized that in addition to breaking down the walls and silos of technology, one must also break down the silos and walls of human interaction. This means allowing representatives from every department, not only IT, to work together to identify challenges, discuss solutions and implement change.

The hybridization of business points not only to the choice of technology, but to a hybridization of mindset and attitude. That should be seen as a very exciting concept.

For more on this topic, go to businessvalueexchange.com, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

By Steve Prentice

Bigcommerce Catapults Into 2016

Bigcommerce Catapults Into 2016

Bigcommerce 2016

According to third-party research firm Ipsos, Bigcommerce boasted store growth twice as fast as the e-commerce industry average in 2015, and in-house data from “the best e-commerce platform for growing sales” showed merchants gaining a 50% year on year growth between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

New Features Driving 2015 Sales

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(Image Source: Shutterstock)

With over 100 new features launched in 2015, it’s no wonder Bigcommerce is fueling such merchant success, and the 100% uptime and 25% faster page response times seen over last year’s busiest shopping period go far to entrench the brand in the hearts of their customers. In 2015, Bigcommerce also managed to address seven of the ten most requested features:

  • Advanced couponing and discounting abilities
  • Per product shipping options
  • Faceted search
  • Shipping and payment methods by customer group
  • Dropshipping capabilities
  • Overhauled shipping calculator to include heavy, multiple or oversized boxes
  • A single page checkout (now in beta for select merchants)

Integration with more than a few global leaders was another factor instrumental to merchant success as Bigcommerce partnered with Alibaba, Avalara, Facebook, Google, Hubspot, Intuit, Paypal, Pinterest, Salesforce ShipperHQ, Sift Science, Square, Twitter, Xero, and others. Bigcommerce is one of the few platforms offering these integrations, ensuring their merchants are highly competitive while saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance costs and innumerable hours which would otherwise be lost configuring backend technologies.

The 2016 Roadmap


Naturally, Bigcommerce isn’t resting on their laurels but instead have already secured further significant partnerships while effecting a beta program that allows the testing of new product implementations with customers for whom the effects may be most dynamic. Some of the betas currently filling for 2016 include:

  • Accounting
  • Analytics & Reporting
  • B2B Features
  • Checkout & Payments
  • Inventory Management
  • Marketing & Conversion
  • Marketplace Selling, i.e. Amazon, eBay, Rakuten
  • POS & Offline Selling
  • Product Management
  • Shipping Solutions
  • Social Media & Social Commerce
  • Storefront & Themes

With research suggesting that omnichannel merchants are the fastest growing in the industry, a push towards better integration of services is occurring as Bigcommerce attempts to provide a hub for all merchandising activities across channels. The technical and time-consuming issues that plague businesses pursuing omnichannel strategies have led Bigcommerce to partner with leading social media platforms for easy and intuitive social commerce capabilities while supplying tighter backend relationship with Square and other POS providers to better align digital activity with brick-and-mortar sales.

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2016 will also see the launch of Stencil, lauded to be the world’s leading design framework for branded storefronts. Working hand in hand with leading design and development partners such as Groove, Interstellar, and Pixel Union, developers with early access have been impressed by Stencil’s capabilities, and one early partner stated, “To me, Stencil is what makes Bigcommerce unique compared to other e-commerce platforms. It gives theme developers the flexibility and freedom the industry is desperate for.”

As Bigcommerce strives for both their own success as well as the success of their merchants, 2016 looks to be a year of innovation, collaboration, and great achievement for everyone involved.

Article brought to you by Bigcommerce

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
The Future Of Cybersecurity

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Report: Enterprise Cloud Computing Moves Into Mature Growth Phase

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Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Cloud Computing – The Real Story Is About Business Strategy, Not Technology

Enabling Business Strategies The cloud is not really the final destination: It’s mid-2015, and it’s clear that the cloud paradigm is here to stay. Its services are growing exponentially and, at this time, it’s a fluid model with no steady state on the horizon. As such, adopting cloud computing has been surprisingly slow and seen more…

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Using Big Data To Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential

Big Data To Analyze Using Big Data to Analyze Venture Capitalists’ Ability To Recognize Potential For those who are regularly involved with SMEs, venture capital, and company valuations, it is common knowledge that start-ups that exit for more than $1 billion dollars are extremely rare – often termed ‘unicorn’ companies. Despite their rarity, it should…

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

4 Different Types of Attacks – Understanding the “Insider Threat”

Understanding the “Insider Threat”  The revelations that last month’s Sony hack was likely caused by a disgruntled former employee have put a renewed spotlight on the insider threat. The insider threat first received attention after Edward Snowden began to release all sorts of confidential information regarding national security. While many called him a hero, what…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

Is The Fintech Industry The Next Tech Bubble?

The Fintech Industry Banks offered a wide variety of services such as payments, money transfers, wealth management, selling insurance, etc. over the years. While banks have expanded the number of services they offer, their core still remains credit and interest. Many experts believe that since banks offered such a wide multitude of services, they have…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

3 Keys To Keeping Your Online Data Accessible

Online Data Data storage is often a real headache for businesses. Additionally, the shift to the cloud in response to storage challenges has caused security teams to struggle to reorient, leaving 49 percent of organizations doubting their experts’ ability to adapt. Even so, decision makers should not put off moving from old legacy systems to…