Three Key Strategies for Consistent Customer Experiences

Company Blogs 22 mai 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

Our experiences with corporate brands and products are rapidly evolving with the influx of new technology. As consumers, we are looking for companies that can provide us more content pertaining to our shopping preferences. We want better and more timely offers, smaller barriers to purchase, and the ability to interact with companies across all devices.

How can companies keep up with the demands to provide a consistent user experience? In our recently published Three Key Strategies for Consistent Customer Experiences whitepaper, we address various tactics on how to engage customers in their purchasing journey. Here is an excerpt regarding one of the strategies:

The Single Platform Approach

In order to meet the needs of the modern-day consumer, you need to develop an omnichannel experience. It begins with a dynamic interactive platform. It’s good to offer mobile responsive websites and hybrid and native apps; it is even better if they learned to talk with one anotherThis is the hand-off that occurs from platform to platform, one in which customers will receive a consistent experience with your website whether they are on a tablet, phone or laptop.

This need is seen most clearly in the financial services sector. We are witnessing a dramatic change in how consumers are doing business with banks and insurance agencies. Based on a report by IBM, 51% of adults perform some type of financial transaction online. Furthermore, it is common to start a loan application on desktop, continue the form on a smartphone or tablet, and drop into a local branch to talk to a representative to complete the process. This type of experience allows customers to interact with a company through various channels simultaneously.

Configuring a seamless digital experience would not only bolster the online experience for your customer, but it could also result in greater impact on your physical business. If you own a brick and mortar, imagine having customers begin the purchasing decision on their devices and arriving at your store to complete the process. This involves a level of depth and familiarity with your customers’ buying patterns that will earn their loyalty in the long run.

As it stands, only 14% of marketing leaders are presently delivering a personalized experience across all channels. Strive to be the company that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pack. By offering the convenience and familiarity of the user experience to your prospects, you will be more likely to gain better brand recognition and opportunities for profitability. 

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To learn about other key strategies for engaging users across all channels, check out the Three Key Strategies for Consistent Customer Experiences whitepaperIf you have any questions or stories to share regarding this topic, I’d love to hear it. Please leave me a comment below!

Download Whitepaper

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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

People Who Use Liferay (Redux)

Company Blogs 20 mai 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

At Liferay, we seek to empower people with the right resources to help them achieve what they could not achieve on their own. We know there are people who possess amazing vision, and some who just simply need a digital “megaphone” (if you will) to help share their story.

That’s a big part of why Liferay exists. We enjoy giving people a platform to make an impact on their communities, whether those people are dedicated users, customers or their very own contributors.

Thus, People Who Use Liferay.* 

PWUL is a series of posts that will feature companies and their sites built on Liferay Portal. Every couple of months we look to highlight these unique projects. Our hope is that sharing their story would inspire and compel you to share yours.

For this post, we came across three companies from various industries whose sites have caught our attention. Here’s a brief description of their company and a link to their site below:

  • www.allianz.com - Allianz is one of the largest global financial service providers with offerings to more than 75 million customers in 70 countries. Their site makes good use of Liferay functionality with several custom components while enabling users to create accounts and search for quotes.
  • www.qad.com - QAD provides Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to manufacturing companies around the globe. Their site is noted for its easy navigation, multi-device usability, and solid overall design.
  • www.grassrootsgroup.com - Grass Roots is a leading provider of employee and customer engagement solutions, including consulting on incentives and meetings/events. Their site grabs your attention with its combination of colors and graphics, but it also offers a clear high-level overview of what they do and how you can benefit.

We hope these sites give you an idea of the types of stories that you can tell on Liferay. A big part of our reward is seeing all the wonderful and innovative things that people are doing with our technology.

If you would like to see more sites using Liferay, feel free to check out our case studies page.

As always, we would love to hear feeback on what we could do to make your experience better. We look forward to continue equipping you with tools you need to reach your business goals.

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Notes:

*Similar posts have been published in the past; we are hoping to revive the tradition. 

**Screenshots of the companies and their webpages are copyrighted materials of Allianz, QAD and Grass Roots, respectively.

Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your questions or comments below.

8 Ways To Get Involved With The Liferay Community

Company Blogs 5 mai 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

Over the years, Liferay has been able to provide many individuals and organizations a unique platform to give them a stronger presence on the web. But we aren't able to accomplish this mission alone. A huge contributing factor of our success has been the deep and vibrant contributions from our community members. Essentially, people like yourself who make up the 100,000 strong!

Why do people participate in the community? For starters, it would reap some immediate benefits like helping to build your online reputation or growing your knowledge of how large-scale open source works. But it will also make your job easier down the road by making Liferay better. (Not to mention, doesn't it just feel good knowing that you're taking part of contributing to the greater good?)

Whether you are new to the Liferay community or just finding more ways to contribute, we want to invite you to participate in growing our Liferay ecosystem! Here are 8 ways to get involved with the Liferay open source community.

1. Attend Liferay-sponsored events

This should be as much fun as it is educational! With over dozens of webinars, community meet-ups and industry events, you have the opportunity to keep up with the latest trends within Liferay and connect with other fellow community members. (Click here to see our upcoming events.)

2. Try out milestone builds & join community beta programs

We invite our community to try out these builds and respond with comments or concerns about the latest features, bug fixes and other updates. Liferay has always benefited from the generous feedback of our community, and your contribution can help push us further along in the journey to making Liferay better.

3. Participate in forums

Whether it’s discussing topics related to feature development or just simply hanging out with other users and developers, the forums are a great place to get connected. Both newbies and experts are welcome here!

4. Join the bug squad

The main purpose for the bug squad is to improve the quality and usability of Liferay project releases before they are generally available. And believe or not, it is made up of volunteers mostly from our community. Join today!

5. Suggest a feature for Liferay

Do you have a great idea for a Liferay feature? Things like web content management to docs and media or UI infrastructure—wherever we can possibly improve, we invite you to contribute to our ideation process.

6. Develop an app

The Liferay Marketplace is an exciting place to sell, share and download Liferay-compatible apps, and it’s only growing with several new and creative apps every day. Showcase your talent and develop an app that could be used and shared by many others!

7. Suggest an improvement to the docs

Maybe you have a strong penchant for words and documentation. When you're taking a break from penning the next great American novel, why not find some docs that could use some improvement and submit your suggestions? This will help our community go a long way.

8. Tweet about your Liferay experience

Sharing your overall experience through Twitter (and other social media, for that matter) is a way to help spread the word so others can discover the usefulness of Liferay for themselves. Follow us @Liferay or use #Liferay to keep us on your radar!

We hope these basic tips will help you discover some of the ways you can get plugged into Liferay. In addition, we recently created a new tour experience of dev.liferay.com for those of you who are interested. Check it out here and see how you can take it to the next level in our community! 

At the end of the day, your contributions to our open source community will help drive innovation and growth amongst our members. We welcome all you have to offer, and we look forward to the good work you'll do in the near future.

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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

8 Ways to Build a Thriving Online Community

Company Blogs 22 avril 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

Communities are essential to shaping our identities. They bring people together through a common activity or belief and provide us a context in which we are able to interpret ourselves and one another.  

Take a sporting event, for example. Two strangers sitting next to each other can be wearing the same blue jerseys and rooting for the same team to win. Hugging, shouting, high fiving each other—by the end of the game they have practically become best friends. Removed from that shared experience, it is very likely they'd pass each other in the subway.

It is no different in the realm of business. For companies to be successful, they must be able to form communities that are committed to their brand, customers who enjoy the product or experience to the point of becoming willing evangelists within their circles. Featured below are 8 tips on how to get started on building a virtual presence for your organization that will gain loyal followers at the next level.

1. Build a strong presence on forums

Message boards allow members to go deeper on certain topics related to your products and your culture while providing answers when they’re available (which cuts down on your need for documentation). Forums can also promote a spirit of collaboration which could spark innovation and creativity leading to new ideas and projects! (Good example)

2. Hire a community manager (who doesn't manage)

The principle and logic behind this tip is linked to a blog post that inspired James Falkner, our own Liferay Community Manager. The post argues that since the manager title tends to promote a "hierarchy and control which is unnatural in communities," organizations should look towards hiring someone who can see to its cultivation and growth without necessarily setting up a structure that impedes participation amongst the members.

3. Host regular fun activities for members

It's a win-win, really. The more events, activities and opportunities you provide for your members to enjoy themselves, the more delighted they will be in their interactions with your company. Hoorah!

4. Use social media to interact with members

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest—these are not only platforms for you to broadcast or promote your brand to your followers, but it is also a channel for you to listen and develop deeper relationships with them.

5. Recognize top contributors

The members who are showing the most interaction and loyalty should be rewarded with prizes,  acknowledgment, and perhaps an even greater role within the community. Elements of gamification could be implemented here if you want to ramp up the levels of competition.

6. Always respond to feedback

It's one thing to say that you're open to feedback, but it's another to create action items in response. Your response to feedback will substantiate and encourage future contributions from other members.

7. Set goals, iterate and continually measure to improve UX

Most things should live or die according to the data. Indeed, there is a truth behind the trend; you need to set SMART and objective goals that will allow you to determine what ideas are actually working, or where you need to stop the bleeding and turn it around.

8. Celebrate milestones together

With all the long sleepless nights and crazy deadlines that come with your work, it’s only fitting to enjoy the fruits of your labor whenever possible. Invite your community to celebrate all the achievements that you have been able to accomplish together!

These tips are by no means comprehensive, but they will hopefully point you in the right direction. Overall, the journey to building a strong online presence involves team members who can serve as a bridge between the company and the customer, setting up environments in which strangers can become friends, engage with your company and feel comfortable.

What other helpful tips do you have in your experience with online communities? We would love to hear more—please comment below!

Like to learn more about Liferay's community? Check out dev.liferay.com 
Looking for a platform to build your community? Check out the features of Liferay Portal
 
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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

What You Should Know About Mobile Strategies

Company Blogs 26 mars 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

More than ever before, people are foregoing their desktops and accessing services primarily through their phones and tablets. A strong mobile strategy is now a must-have for businesses. But what approach should your company take? Are websites or apps the better strategy? What about native versus hybrid apps?
 
In our latest publication, we look to tackle these questions and provide a basic overview on various mobile strategies. Check it out  we hope it'll help you make the right decision for your business needs! 
 

3 Reasons Why Open Source Is On The Rise

General Blogs 17 mars 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

Has open source software now become the preferred choice for enterprises? According to a Black Duck Software report, over half of all enterprises will utilize or contribute to open source in some manner in 2015.
 
What was once considered on the fringes of technology circles, reserved for pockets of developers or small businesses, has now become a strong selling point for businesses across all industries. Increasingly, companies as well as individual contributors have opted to implement open source technology into their main system infrastructures.
 
What would explain the dramatic rise in open source interest? Perhaps we can point to the financial crisis in recent years, which has forced companies to reevaluate their purchasing budgets and operative costs. With greater savings and arguably much higher ROI potential, open source software serves as a more practical choice.
 
But there are several other good reasons people are gravitating towards the Linux’s and Firefox’s of the world:
 
1. More security and reliability
The logic here kinda works backwards: the open source code is available for all eyes to see, which allows users to address more potential issues. (This is kind of like a surveillance society, though in this case it really is for your good.) In fact, hidden code tends to lead to more security vulnerabilities. Open source communities tend to respond more promptly to vulnerabilities, which in turn means a more stable and reliable product.
 
2. No vendor lock-in
You don't have to be stuck using one single software or company to develop a project. For the most part, open source software is compatible with other products that are developed with similar standards, open or closed, regardless of vendor. This means you aren’t limited to using the technologies from the same companies, which could result in expensive purchases of entire product suites or integrations. (In other words, FREEDOM!!!)
 
3. Easier to customize and adapt
Open source software adapts to the needs of various users and sites. Certainly, having to modify the source code can be quite costly due to maintenance fees, so developers tend to build a product with baked-in extensibility. The more flexible it is, the easier it is for you to keep up with whatever your site demands.
 
These reasons, and many others, are contributing to the growth of a vibrant marketplace that is only expected to make room for more challengers and visionaries. And as well-known organizations like NASA, Google and Facebook adopt and invest in open source, you can expect more enterprises to entrust their future projects to open source.
 
In the next post, we’ll take a look at the community and culture of open source that is driving the success of this movement. In the meantime, what are some of your favorite open source products/technologies? What are your reasons for choosing those products? Please leave a comment below!
 
Like to learn more about the benefits of OSS? Check out our whitepaper on Open vs. Closed Source.
 
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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

Top 3 Trends to Watch for in 2015

Company Blogs 14 janvier 2015 Par Martin Yan Staff

Congratulations, you made it to the new year. You're still here, and with a bit of luck, so is your company. Or maybe not. But it's the new year, so at least you have some fresh resolve and a smoldering heap of innovative ideas. And we all know how dangerous new ideas can be, right?
 
Let's face it. The firestarters aren't the ones who are kicking back, mindlessly going with the ebb and flow of the world around them, but they are able to think differently and take risks and fail big enough in order to shake things up. In retrospect, our past year was a witness to this very thing.
 
In 2014, we saw the launch of new apps and gadgets the likes of Oculus Rift, Apple Watch, and agricultural drones. And let us not forget the historic IPO of Alibaba, a new titan in the eCommerce marketplace. Indeed, the pioneers of tech are setting the trends because they were able to muster a little Braveheart spirit.
 
Looking ahead, what sort of technological or industrial trends can we expect in 2015?
 
1. Rise of data analytics. It seems like almost everything is being tracked nowadays, including your steps and even your heartbeat. This also seems to be the case in business, with companies now given the tools to track and measure all aspects of their campaigns and product lines. The results serve as the basis for business decisions, like which teams are given greater budget and authority to make purchasing and operational decisions. Take advantage of the available tools to measure effectiveness and perform tests. This could help to spur on new products or services, or get rid of deadweight.
 
2. A mobile strategy is a must. Did you know that more mobile devices shipped in 3 months than PCs all year in 2014? It's a stat that only confirms the growing presence of mobile devices while also hinting at the huge potential of the wearables sector. If you haven't already, start putting a good mobile strategy in place to cater to these new audiences. Develop a plan for creating websites that are device-agnostic and web apps that feature responsive web design. This allows you to tackle one of the hardest environments upfront while benefiting your entire audience in the long run.
 
3. Use of audience targeting. The power of a good story is indisputable. Many corporations are challenging themselves to take their product or service and relate it to us in a more human, personal manner. The need to connect with their audiences in a relevant, meaningful way will only rise as the flood of data analytics provides advertisers insight into their audiences like never before. Look for ways to begin personalizing your content to your viewers and serving them with content that matches their shopping preferences.
 
In light of these trends, the challenge has always been and remains the same: how will you make technology more personal and real to the consumer? We are, after all, living in the age of the "Internet of Things." Our phones, cars, and thermostats know us even better than we do. Alas, it is not enough to simply manufacture machines—no, we must breathe life into them as well.
 
So be it. The ones who have changed the world have never shied away from the challenge. I wish you a year of creativity, motivation, and above all, some bruises and scars from putting skin in the game. Cheers.

Audience Engagement: Giving People What They Want

Company Blogs 30 octobre 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

When people visit your website, does it remind them of generic cola or Coca-Cola? Is it a unique and memorable experience? This question seems to be important as we consume more billboards, commercials and Internet ads. To successfully target your audience, companies are now challenged to deliver a meaningful message that appeals to user background and demographic.
 
Showing site visitors things they are interested in is known as content targeting. It is essentially giving the right people the right content at the right time. Traditional marketing has dealt with content in a shotgun-blast approach. This meant irrelevant surface-level messages to a wide range of visitors with various backgrounds. The goal of content targeting is to guide users to the place you want them to go with content that matches their shopping preferences.
 
In order to do this, you must know who your users are as they interact with your site. Where are they coming from? What sort of function do they serve within their company? For example, if a user is visiting your site from Spain, it would be more beneficial for him to see an advertisement for an event in Spain than in Germany. Or if a user happens to work in the education industry, it would make sense to guide her towards receiving educational or school-related materials. In essence, it's having the knowledge and ability to offer appropriate calls-to-action. 
 
The first step in effective content targeting is research. You should identify the types of people visiting your site (by capturing their information through forms or surveys) and then set goals for users. Get a feel for their business and what their roles are. It would also be helpful to consider the following questions:
  • Who are you trying to engage?
  • What information is important to them?
  • What is the best way to display this content on the site?
The user experience of your site shapes how visitors might feel about your company or product. If you can successfully identify your target audience, you will be able to deliver content that matters to them. Users will reward you with more website interaction, and your company should increase its qualified leads in return.
 
Are you currently on Liferay 6.2? Visit the Marketplace and download our Audience Targeting app.
To learn more about content targeting, check out Ryan Schuhler's LRNAS2014 presentation and slides. You can also read his latest blog post.
 
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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

Apple's New Device: This Time, It's Personal

General Blogs 24 septembre 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

Recently, Apple announced the arrival of the Apple Watch, their latest product in the wearable tech market. This is big news because, well, it's Apple, but also because it had been several years since Apple gave us anything beyond their typical iPhone and iPad upgrades. Questions from the media about whether it can still create new products post-Steve Jobs have been answered, at least for now. 
 
On the surface, the Apple Watch seems to meet and even go beyond our daily needs. The new technology boasts features such as perfect time-tracking, messaging/texting/calling, merchant services, and a fitness tracker to help measure our activity level (including our heartbeat). What many of us are curious to see, however, is whether the watch can propel us to something greater: that next level of personal intimacy with our technology. Will this product drive us to a closer state of self-actualization?
 
This is what Apple has been pitching us over the past decade. The iPod is not merely a portable music player, but a digital collection of your musical tastes and passions. The iPhone is more than a device to make calls, but also a personal secretary to capture all the scattered parts of your life and put it together in one place. The iPad is not just a tablet, but a tabula rasa to explore the depths of our imagination. Apple has cleverly sold us on the idea that technology should not be a cold, sterile machine, but an extension of who you are as a human being.
 
The Apple Watch follows the same formula. Apple promises this watch won't just be telling time. No, it will be much more; it will show us what we could do with our time. Which of our best friends should we be connecting with? How much exercise is recommended for today? These questions are addressed by technological features meant to maximize convenience and personal intimacy. More than ever before, Apple promises to bridge us closer to our true self so that we will become more productive and self-aware.
 
Indeed, the lines between humanity and technology are quickly being erased. The idea of wearing a smartwatch is rife with symbolism: you are now literally shackled to technology. For both the marketer and consumer alike, the call is to prepare ourselves for an era in which technology and humanity are inseparable, a world in which our technology will know us better than we know ourselves. 
 
Of course, the jury is still out on how the public will receive the watch when it releases in early 2015. As it stands, the wearables sector is still fledgling and early in adoption. The Apple Watch isn't the first to break into the market. In fact, the wearable tech market has seen several products—most notably Google Glass, Nike+ FuelBand, Pebble Watch—make insignificant ripples in the water. Will Apple be the one to make a splash? Only time will tell.

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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

Three Keys to the Start-up Revolution

General Blogs 10 septembre 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

You've got a good idea. In fact, it's brilliant. The market is currently lacking XYZ, and you've got just the right product or service that is going to be the first or best to address it. 
 
So, you and a bunch of your hired-hand friends who are equally brilliant start this thing from scratch in your basement. After several months of coding, calls to strangers and branding meetings, you win your first customer. Finally, there is a customer who is forward-thinking enough to see the glory of our offering, you think to yourself. 
 
Now, you have the attention of venture capitalists and you're garnering a little buzz inside some circles. This could be the next big thing. You're reaching for the stars.

But then comes a decisive time in every start-up where it's make it or break it. How do you take your company to that next level?
 
As an avid consumer and observer of industry trends, with four years of experience working for a company that grew exponentially from its start-up days, I've caught onto a few patterns of successful companies. Here, I want to share three essential points that will help you to make the jump over to the mainstream. 
 
1) Define your value proposition and keep it simple
 
Your product could be the best in the market. Or it could be the first in the market. Perhaps your product does not offer as many features or tools as the top competitor, but you're selling the fact that it's much more affordable. Whatever your company's vision or mission, this needs to be clear and well-defined or chances are you won't go far. This principle applies to both internal and external communications. Make sure everyone within the organization is on the same page so that hiring decisions, product development and budgets are all aligned with the expressed purpose. For the consumers, develop a simple yet catchy motto so that it's easy to pick up quickly and remember within a crowded marketplace. 
 
2) Ensure a good-quality product that can roll out to the public
 
When you initially create a product or service, you have the freedom and ability to customize it according to the vision of your first customers, catering to their every whim and fancy. However, once you set your sights on the mass market, you have to standardize your product offering. The challenge is to shift your focus from the demands of visionaries to the expectations of pragmatists (early majority) who will become the main revenue stream for your company. This is a delicate balance as you work with your internal developers and product team to separate the core features from the non-essential. Nevertheless, this step is fundamental in crossing over to the mainstream.
 
3) Capture the interest of one specific vertical or segment
 
There is a temptation to be everything to everyone. This is a surefire way to fail or, at best, remain middle of the pack. In order to make a name for yourself, you have to rally a group of loyal and supportive fans within a certain segment or base. Once you establish a stronghold, you can use it as the hub from which to branch out and reach other shores. For example, say you are creating portal software to solve issues such as accessibility and employee engagement within the HR sector. The product takes off and after a few years, you have gained a strong share of the HR market. The recognition you would have amassed for your work with HR (or any particular group) will now give you the credibility to expand into another sector or product offering. In essence, you are leveraging the merit from previous work to help establish ground in new territory.
 
It should go without saying that mastering these steps do not necessarily guarantee your start-up will be the next tech titan. But these principles should help push you closer to the next level of growth and success. In any case, remember the marketplace is crowded and cutthroat—if you are wise, diligent and resourceful, you just might rise above.

The Power of the Internal Customer

General Blogs 20 août 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

The customer is always right. If you've been around the American marketplace long enough, you should be familiar with the phrase. It's the idea upon which the best restaurants and companies look to pride themselves to ensure all patrons are treated with utmost care and respect, and when entangled in a complaint, to side reasonably with the customer. This heavy emphasis on serving external customers makes sense: they are the ones who sustain our company and profit margins.

Yet there is growing awareness within corporate circles of the need to address another group: internal customers. Internal customers are officially defined as those who are directly connected to your company and most likely work within the company. Think of them as your employees and stakeholders. It might seem strange to think of your employees as customers since you're paying for their services. But the employees you hire are choosing to ascribe to and consume some sort of culture and work environment provided by your company. And if it is not a good environment, your workers will be less motivated to turn in their best work and could ultimately bolt for another gig.

Winning companies understand the power of the internal customer. In his book, Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh mentions that "a company's core values ultimately define the company's character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny.” Hsieh is famous for creating a fun and refreshing work culture which landed Zappos on Fortune’s list of "The Best Companies to Work For." When you start at the root of creating the right infrastructure for the internal customer to succeed, then the natural result is better quality service and product for the external customer. Before you know it, employees will go the extra mile to ensure clients are satisfied.

So, how do you empower your internal customers to achieve more? What plans or services could you provide to help your employees thrive?

Here are three tips to help guide you in the right direction:

1) Provide effective mentorship throughout the organization

When certain employees aren't performing, lack of qualifications or motivation usually come up as popular reasons. But another reason might also be tied to your failure to set them up properly to succeed. Mentoring involves counseling and training the employee to develop their professional skill sets. When you provide good coaching, you are effectively setting a roadmap for your employee's career development. This relationship will help groom employees to become new leaders while fostering trust and confidence between both parties. 

2) Allow a forum for open and constructive feedback

When you create an environment where honesty is valued, then you can expect work quality to improve and the environment to be more harmonious. Processes will be improved, backbiting will be reduced, and grievances will be settled. Employees will also feel more valued for their thoughts and opinions, regardless of title or pay. At Liferay HQ, nobody owns an office or cubicle, including the C-levels. We all work amongst one another, sitting in rows of desks without walls, free to go back and forth with those around us. This will also curb "groupthink" which can greatly hinder growth and innovation. The best ideas in the room sometimes come from the person whom you may least expect.  

3) Show them you really care through action

Appreciation goes a long way and comes in many different forms. It could be as simple as acknowledging an employee's stellar work through an email or as elaborate as throwing a company-wide party. The important thing is that your employees know and feel how much you value them. As you recognize their unique contributions as both a worker and person, the work atmosphere will begin to feel more like family and less like a sterile office space where people just clock in and clock out. Different teams and departments will get each other's back and band together to achieve one common goal: an ultimate win for all.

Providing a culture in which employees can thrive and excel is just as important as serving the external customer. The corporations that understand this will be hiring, growing and keeping talent far above the rest of the competition—which will greatly benefit the external customer, too.

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Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

Nerd On The Street: Q&A with James Falkner

General Blogs 5 août 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

As a thought-leadership blog, NOTS is striving to disseminate knowledge and spread out to the masses like a wicked disease. Here we sat down with Liferay Community Manager James Falkner to shoot the breeze about what's going on in the world of tech and business.
 
James, we're very glad to have you on this afternoon. How is the Liferay Community doing so far in 2014?
 
JF: Since the opening of the Marketplace, we’ve seen a pretty big resurgence in our developer community. To date we have almost 200 apps developed by our community, and over 800 registered developers. Compare that to the 100 or so contributors to Liferay itself, and you can see what our community has been up to this year! Of course we like to see any kind of contribution, whether it’s an app, bug fix, new feature, translation, or any of the other community contribution that helps make Liferay great. So we are ramping up our efforts to improve the developer experience in the community.
 
Since you’ve got your fingers on the pulse of the community and tech industry, what’s got everyone talking these days?
 
JF: One of the big ones in our industry is the Internet of Things (IoT). You're talking about all these objects and devices now being inter-connected and huge streams of data, and so the question is how to make sense of it all?
 
Sounds exciting, but what does the IoT have to do with portals?
 
JF: Since IoT results in a lot more information being available and accessible, the question now is who can present that information in a way that would be easily digestible? Who can take it the next level and visualize and provide access to the right things? Basically, the IoT is a land grab, and portals are uniquely positioned to integrate with powerful backend data processing systems and layer on a great user experience on top of the incoming deluge of data.
 
What does this mean for open source technologies?
 
JF: IoT is even more of a land grab for the underlying tools that collect, process, and store IoT data, and unfortunately, interoperability is not top-of-mind for early adopters of technology, so we often end up with walled gardens, places you can experience a new technology, but only by getting locked into one vendor’s vision. As an open source industry, we want to try and minimize the walling of these gardens, so to speak, and heavily favor standards for IoT infrastructure and software services. The existence of new technology provides new opportunities for everyone. Being open source, and employing open standards, really means allowing greater accessibility for developers to innovate. 
 
I'm intrigued by this topic because everything is about the comprehensive digital experience. We can no longer stay within these traditional silos we've set up for ourselves. How should we expect people to consume information going forward?
 
JF: I think of our very own CEO Bryan Cheung's keynote when you speak of that. He mentioned the example of tailored suits. You go in, get measured, fabrics perfect to your liking, and if the guy's cool he'll probably ask you about your wife and kids. It's awesome because you know that suit will fit you perfectly once it's done, and that's top personalized service. Mass marketing with the Internet is now presenting that same opportunity. It's a huge opportunity but hard to capitalize on because of the large scale. You're talking about built-in context, associated with each user. What pages you've lingered on, what sorts of interactions you're having on them, and so forth.
 
Portals are great places for that. Liferay is headed in that direction. Obviously, as a portal we are top of the stack, the storefront if you will, so we have access to the back-end systems that portals are designed to talk to. We're in a unique position in that experience because we know everything in a sense. We're just trying to put everything in a cohesive way to delight our customers.
 
A recent Forrester report said an evolving pattern is the seemingly downward trend of IT in terms of ownership and decision making. Where do you stand on that?
 
JF: Well, it's like the whole thing with TV repair shops. Back in the day, it used to cost tons of money to buy a TV, so if it broke, you took it to this shop to fix it. Now it's cheaper to just buy a new one, so TV repair shops are no longer there. The analogy here is if your project needs a website, do you call IT or do you go grab some open source software and deploy it to the cloud, and download an app to your own device and use it to sync files? So, you might say IT is getting cut out of some loops, but I don't think it's a mass departure from IT or that we don't need IT. I think the marketplace is just providing apps and processes which are easier to implement, things like cloud connectivity. But like I said, it's not going to go away. There are enough issues around privacy, network security, and software support costs that absolutely keeps IT relevant.
 
You’ve been hard at work promoting the Liferay Marketplace App Contest. Do you see a shift in the type of apps contributed in Liferay Marketplace or types of contributions we see in the community in general?
 
JF: With the recently releases e-commerce capability, we're starting to see more feature-rich apps and more longer-term developers and companies contributing some really great things — I can't wait to see how the Marketplace contest turns out this year! As for community contributions to Liferay, the platform itself continues to become more modular, like with the ongoing OSGi work for example, and more approachable to Open Source developers. Different parts of the platform are starting to be isolated, with many more to follow, which is attracting a new generation of OSS developers and allowing them to contribute without fear of breaking other parts. This will also make it possible to test these modules exhaustively, or make sure a certain bug is fixed for sure. We are bringing developers back to the platform, baby!
 
Well, there you have it. Thanks James for dropping by and spending some time with the little folks!
 
*****
 
Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

What Thinking Like LeBron James Can Do For Your Company

General Blogs 21 juillet 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

 
LeBron James has something to teach us about how to be a championship-caliber business. Let me explain.
 
On July 11, James sent a jolt through the sports world with three simple words: I'm coming home. The NBA superstar, in a moving letter published on si.com, announced his plan to return to the team which drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers. This seems like a logical move on the surface. After all, the Cavs have a younger roster with talent plus the salary cap space to offer him a max contract. 
 
But James is on a greater mission—one that goes beyond titles or money. By returning to his hometown, James looks to help revitalize the city and restore a sense of civic pride. He hopes that one day some of the kids he mentored "will come home after college and start a family or open a business." To a region that has suffered through many hardships, James speaks of hope and redemption. And he understands his homecoming as part of a greater plan. With this decision, James is redefining his legacy and gaining many supporters who are rooting for him to bring a title to Cleveland.
 
What LeBron James has achieved is the same thing that many companies haven't fully defined—a clear vision and purpose. Essentially, the key to organizational and individual success boils down to these ideals. As author and speaker Simon Sinek describes it, the combination of the what, why and how are the most important elements in defining who we are—but we must start with why. We must ask ourselves, Why do we do what we do? What is our purpose for our daily activities or tasks? What truly drives our organization and compels us to perform well? 
 
Consider the vision as the root from which all other branches and leaves grow. If the vision of your organization is simply to turn a profit, then the actions and decisions of your company will revolve around that goal. Don't be surprised if employees cut a few corners with clients to fatten their own pockets. Or your product quality might begin to suffer because cheaper parts were used to maximize the margins. These actions would be a natural extension of a vision rooted in money.
 
But what if you stood for something beyond yourself? Then you are no longer just a brand, but a mission. The companies that are exceptional get this. Think Apple. Certainly, they've produced one amazing tech product after another, but their vision is to reach a new generation with ideas. To galvanize a world with a call to "think different." Remember this—brands might come and go, but missions never die.
 
Interestingly enough, like LeBron James, Liferay was committed to a greater hope in Ohio. (This might be the only time you hear LeBron and Liferay in the same sentence.) About eight months ago, we launched a Sales office based out in Hamilton. It was not a decision based solely on strategy—we also wanted to help rejuvenate the local region by creating job opportunities and stimulating economic growth. For some, New York or San Francisco would have made more business sense. But for us, it made perfect sense. At the heart of Liferay's vision is an idea of "for life", which means we exist to impact the world community. Which is one of the many reasons I love working here. 
 
Whether you're an entrepreneur or member of a corporate ecosystem, the challenge is to define a clear vision that people believe in. And it starts with understanding your purpose and your place in the greater culture. If you can execute on these fundamentals, the rest should be a slam dunk.
 
*****

Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

Emergence of the Honest Economy

General Blogs 9 juillet 2014 Par Martin Yan Staff

There is a strong narrative emerging in the marketplace. Increasingly, companies are offering a more "behind-the-scenes" look into their organizations. Corporate social media pages are adopting personas to help bridge the gap between product and consumer. Commercials are featuring more real-life stories and individuals instead of actors. In this era of the honest economy (a term coined by Marcus Sheridan), companies have learned it pays to appear more authentic to consumers.

One might suppose it all started back in 2008, when the global economy tanked. It is easy to measure the losses by the numbers. Large corporations and businesses bled billions of dollars overnight, and thousands of jobs were cut. But something more than just figures was lost.

Whatever trust and goodwill from the general public was no longer assumed. There was a general distrust of huge conglomerates, and people called for the responsible parties to be held accountable for their greed and unscrupulous practices, as evidenced by the Occupy movements and WikiLeaks scandals. Consumers spent less and grew more cautious in their investments. What they were looking for went beyond the thin, professionally-polished veneer. What it boiled down to was a call for transparency. 

Many corporations have since stepped up to the challenge. In equal parts efforts to rebuild their businesses and restore public image, companies have started candid dialogues with consumers. In the honest economy, the players who appear the most transparent about their business are the ones winning the most customers. Vendors like McDonald's started listing the calorie count for each of their burgers and meals. CarMax created a system with thorough reports and fact-checks. Even non-profits have followed suit—charity: water aims to show you exactly where every penny of your donation is going.

In similar fashion, Liferay strives to keep the doors open to the community. As an open source product, Liferay Portal is built on the premise that there is no secret sauce. The product built by the engineers is shipped into the community to download, consume, and enhance on their own. As a business that is ever-evolving, Liferay seeks to collaborate and create a dependable product that could impact your realm of business.

Is your business striving to be transparent in the way it conducts business or sells its products? If not, see this as an opportunity to start a clear line of communication with your audience. As the marketplace continues to evolve, the language that will most resonate with consumers is not one of slickness but authenticity. 

*****

Liferay: Nerd On The Street is a blog devoted to sharing new ideas about business and technology. To continue the discussion, post your thoughtful insights below.

*Photo Credit: Kenneth Dong Photography

The Portrait of Your Business on a Busy Canvas

General Blogs 14 octobre 2013 Par Martin Yan Staff

 
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso
 
My job as a marketer has never been more fun and challenging. The conversation in the marketplace has evolved drastically since I started my career three years ago. Whereas advertising was once considered a direct line for a company to pitch to consumers, effective marketing nowadays involves thoughtful and engaging dialogue between both parties. In essence, it is a call for marketers to be storytellers. 
 
It is apparent that with the advent of social media and the continual innovation of technology, our worlds are becoming smaller and running faster. With all the noise out there, there is a need to rise above. Is it enough to present a product that features "this many tools out of the box" and "that compatibility with (blank) server?" In a crowded marketplace, companies are asked to be more than just a product offering--or risk sounding the same as everyone else.
 
Stories are important because they help us to genuinely connect with one another. It is a form of art that is unique because no one person or brand's story is the same. In his speech at Inbound 2013, Seth Godin stressed how art and creativity in business is needed now more than ever before. "Connection is made through art because no one wants to connect with someone who is doing exactly what they were doing yesterday," he said. "This is how you earn connections in the new economy." 
 
The companies that understand this are the ones excelling in this new age of marketing. They are weaving together pictures, words, and sounds to create personalities that make their brand come alive. Chipotle did this recently with one of their campaigns. In a short animated video, they were able to share their vision of better farming practices and to effectively stand for something. The idea is that the next time you purchase a meal from their chain, you aren't just buying a burrito, but also making a statement about what you believe in and how you are supporting a greater cause. Companies and brands that are doing this, creating meaningful narratives, are distinguishing themselves from the rest and quickly rising to the top.
 
So, how are you contributing to your company's greater story? What are you doing in your role to create a culture of creativity, innovation, and art? Take some time to reflect about how you can contribute to the broader narrative. If you are willing to engage and delight your audience, chances are they will reciprocate and be more inclined to give back to you. 
 
After all, in this day and age, it pays to be an artist.
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