Lessons Learned From Target.com’s Mess

first_imgRelated Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting david strom If you are looking for a textbook example of how not to design your website shopping experience, take a look at what has happened recently with Target.com. They left their partnership with Amazon earlier this summer and started using a bevy of consultants and VARs to create their own ecommerce site. It has been one mess, to say the least. We aren’t just talking about broken links, or pages that are slow to load, or problems with search, although there are plenty of all of these issues to go around. It is the totality of the screw-up that has gotten attention. The latest recounting of woe can be found here in AdAge.So what can you take away from all of this? Join our six-step program, and you too can recreate a miserable Web shopping experience and drive your own customers to your competitors quicker than you can say Pets.com.1. Hire multiple dueling consultants to develop different pieces of your site, and then make sure they don’t talk to each other.At one point, more than 20 different vendors were working on the project under the lead SapientNitro integrator, the same one that brought trouble to Singapore Airlines website earlier this summer. Perhaps naming the relaunch “Everest” was a sign that things were not going to go well with this project.2. Don’t build any scalable infrastructure. When the big traffic comes, you want to make sure that your site crashes and burns and can’t scale up to meet demand. Last month, a run on Missoni designer fashions crashed the site because of too much traffic, and many orders were cancelled automatically by the retailer.3. Don’t implement an effective customer support call center. There have been many complaints about shopping carts abandoned because check out times were stretching to half-hour or more, and faulty bridal registries. If customers can’t buy from you, or call you to resolve problems, they are going to leave.4. Make sure your marketing and IT departments have as little contact as possible. If you don’t have a common vision for the site and what you are trying to accomplish, then you are doomed. Granted, Target is a big company and there are lots of players on both sides. But they should be playing on the same team. This could explain the Missoni September disaster, which was heavily promoted – some stores were sold out of inventory in a matter of minutes – but didn’t have the Web chops behind the campaign.5. Use the wrong metrics to measure performance. AdAge reports that time spent on the site is up 19% from this time last year, but “that increase could be due in part to the difficulties consumers are experiencing using the site,” and not because people are more engaged or buying more stuff.6. Don’t engage your customers on social networks.Target’s Facebook page continues to get comments about items with multiple prices listed, shopping cart problems, slow responses, and more. And the reps from Target? MIA. Don’t bother with all this social networking stuff, better to let the customer sit on hold on the phone. Granted, Target.com is a big Web property. It is the 22nd largest Internet retailer in the U.S., with $1.33 billion in sales last year, according to trade publication Internet Retailer. In contrast, Amazon is No.1, notching $12.95 billion in sales last year. Maybe they do know a few things about ecommerce after all.  A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#cloud#Trends 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

10 Mobile BI Strategy Questions: Business Processes

first_imgWhen developing a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy, you can’t ignore the role that business processes may play. In many cases, the introduction of BI content into the portfolio of mobile BI assets provides opportunities to not only eliminate the gaps in your business operations, but to improve the existing processes.Often, the impact is seen in two main ways. First, the current business processes may require you to change your mobile BI approach. Second, the mobile BI solution may highlight gaps that may require a redesign of your business processes to improve your mobile BI assets and your business operations.Business Processes Will Influence Your Mobile BI DesignExisting business processes will have a direct impact on the design of your mobile BI solution. I’m often amazed to discover that the lack of consideration given to identifying business processes stems not from a lack of insight but from wrong assumptions that are made during the requirements and design phases.It’s true that the business processes may not be impacted if the scope of your mobile BI engagement is limited to mobilizing an existing BI asset (like a report or dashboard) without making any changes to the original end-product, including all underlying logic. But in many cases, the opposite is true—the mobile BI end product may be the driver for change, including the update of the existing BI asset as a result of a mobile BI design.Mobile solutions may require different assumptions in many aspects of their design, which range from source data updates to report layout and logic. Advanced capabilities, such as a write-back option, will further complicate things because the integration systems outside the BI platform will require closer scrutiny and a much closer alignment with business processes.Moreover, constraints that surround source data will have a direct influence on the mobile BI design. For example, if you’re dependent on feeds from external data sources, you may need to consider an additional buffer to take into account possible delays or errors in the data feed. Or, perhaps you have a new application that was just built to collect manually-entered data from field operations. If this new application was introduced as part of your mobile BI solution, the process that governs this data collection system will have a direct impact on your design because of its immediate availability. This wouldn’t have been as important before as an operational tool with a limited audience without mobile BI.Mobile BI Solution May Drive Improvements in Your Business OperationsAs part of designing your strategy or developing your mobile BI solution, you may discover either gaps or areas for improvement. Don’t worry. This is a known side effect, and it’s often considered a welcome gift because it gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone: improve your business operations and increase the value of your mobile BI solution. However, it’s critical here to ensure that your team stays focused on the end goal of delivering on time and on schedule (unless the gaps turn out to be major showstoppers).Typical examples are found in the areas of data quality and business rules. The design of a mobile BI asset—especially if it’s new—may highlight new or known data-quality issues. The visibility factor may be different with mobile. Adoption or visibility by executives often may force additional scrutiny. Moreover, adoption rates (ratio of actual users divided by total users of mobile solutions) may be higher because of the availability and convenience with mobile. As a result, mobile users may be less tolerant about the lack of quality assurance (QA) steps.Business rules offer another example due to the same visibility factor. A proposed change in a business rule or process, which previously failed to get attention due to lack of support, may now have more backers when it’s associated with a mobile BI solution. Strong executive sponsorship may influence the outcome.Bottom Line: Do Not Ignore Business ProcessesIt’s easy to make the wrong assumptions when it comes to business processes. It happens not just in mobile BI but in other technology projects. You cannot take existing processes for granted. What may have worked before may not work for mobile BI. Let your business processes complement your overall mobile BI strategy, and let your mobile BI engagement become a conduit for opportunities to improve your operational efficiencies.Not only will these opportunities improve your business operations, but they will lead to increased adoption by increasing the trust your customers/users have in your mobile BI content.What do you see as the biggest challenge when it comes to business processes in your mobile BI strategy?Stay tuned for my next blog in the Mobile BI Strategy seriesConnect with me on Twitter at @KaanTurnaliOpens in a new window and LinkedInOpens in a new window.This story originally appeared on the SAP Analytics BlogOpens in a new window.last_img read more

New XPrize challenge seeks next-generation robots to map the ocean floor

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Uncharted volcanoes, unimagined species, unanticipated treatments for disease – scientists have many guesses but little actual data on what lies in the 95% of the ocean that remains unexplored. But now Shell and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up to sponsor a $7 million XPrize that they say will hopefully provide some answers by promoting the development of new sensors, robotic submerisbles, and other technologies. The prize was announced today at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting here.When confronted with the difficulties of space exploration, oceanographers tend to have a snappy retort. “I love to have this conversation with my NASA friends,” said Rick Spinrad, NOAA’s chief scientist, at a press conference accompanying the announcement. Exploring the ocean is harder than space, Spinrad said, due to crushing pressures, a harsh chemical environment, the inability to communicate with radio frequencies, and no light. As a result, not only is the majority of the ocean floor unmapped, but an estimated 60% to 90% of marine species are still unknown to science.The ocean discovery XPrize, intended to speed up the development of new technologies to illuminate the deep ocean, is actually the third in a series of five ocean-related competitions, part of XPrize’s 10-year ocean initiative. Two earlier prizes focused on oil spill cleanup and ocean health. Like those earlier prizes, the new prize is designed to draw new players into the game of ocean exploration, “democratizing” the ocean.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)“The cost of exploration right now is tied in large part to the costs of large research vessels,” said Paul Bunje, a biologist and senior scientist at the XPrize foundation. “There’s not a lot of opportunity for innovation. We’re not tapping into other industries – robotics, space exploration, bioinformatics. That’s one of the reasons for an XPrize.”The competition will take place in two phases over 3 years. As many as 25 teams may compete in phase one, a test at a depth of 2,000 meters; in round two up to 10 finalists will test their technology at a depth of 4,000 meters. The teams with the highest scores in seafloor mapping and high-definition digital imagery will get a total of $6 million.The other $1 million is a “NOAA Bonus Prize” to be shared among teams that can successfully detect a feature (either natural or placed on the seafloor by the organizers) using its biological or chemical signature. “Our objective is to characterize the physical, chemical, and biological features of the ocean, gain some understanding of carbon chemistry nutrient chemistry, pollutant chemistry,” Spinrad said. “A lot of that is associated with oxygen minimum zones, hypoxia in the ocean, dead zones. It’s all part of our portfolio of interests.”The goal isn’t just to get new and improved robotics and better sensors, says Jyotika Virmani, a physical oceanographer and the XPrize lead. There are a lot of ancillary technologies that will be part of the challenge, such as improvements in communication technology or innovations in power sources.AGU president Margaret Leinen, also the director of Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, noted that this prize “has the opportunity to be a real game-changer for ocean exploration. It was like a present under the Christmas tree to see this announced.”last_img read more

Sachin Tendulkar to take oath in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday; Rekha on Tuesday

first_imgCricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar is finally expected to make his much-awaited debut in the Rajya Sabha. Sources have told Headlines Today that the master blaster will take oath to become a member of the House of Elders on Wednesday.Tendulkar received the membership to the Upper House of Parliament close to a fortnight ago as one of the Presidential nominees, a list that also included veteran Bollywood actor Rekha, who is expected to take her oath on Tuesday.Tendulkar, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, has drawn mixed reactions with his nomination to the Rajya Sabha. While many have supported his candidature, other have criticised it, questioning whether the iconic cricketer would be able to make any difference with the privilege.last_img read more

IPL 2014: Key Players from Chennai Super Kings

first_imgMS Dhoni will play a crucial role for Chennai in the IPL 2014 Total Money Spent(including retention): Rs 59.80 croreSquad: 20 players including 12 Indians and 8 overseas.Players to watch out for:MS Dhoni: If Chennai Super Kings intend to repeat their 2010 and 2011 heroics in the IPL 7 this year, it has to be skipper MS Dhoni who’ll need to lead from the front. The 32-year-old Captain Cool is one of the best finishers in limited overs cricket today. His ability to hold wickets in pressure situations and then accelerate ferociously at the death overs has earned him accolades all over the globe. With over 2200 runs in 96 games for Super Kings, Dhoni is as ferocious as they come in T20.Suresh Raina: One of the most prolific batsmen in the T20 format, he comes to the party more often than not. Not only is he capable of clearing the boundaries when required, his off-spin is also very handy. Raina is also one of the leading run-scorers for Super Kings with over 2800 runs and 21 wickets in his 99 IPL games.Ravichandran Ashwin: He is one of the bankers of the side and can put the brakes on opposition batsmen while also getting wickets. With 64 wickets in 67 games, Ashwin has been a key performer for the Super Kings in the IPL so far.Brendon McCullum: The 32-year-old swashbuckling batsman is the latest weapon Super Kings boasts of in the seventh edition of the IPL. The New Zealand skipper is one of the most explosive batsmen in the shortest version of the game. His breathtaking knock of 158 runs for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural IPL match showcases his ability to take the game away from the opposition. With over 1200 runs in 48 games, McCullum will be one of the key players for the Super Kings this season.advertisementRavindra Jadeja: He has been on an amazing high over the past one year, with immense success in international cricket thanks to his left-arm spinners. A great fielder, he will also be expected to contribute with the bat. His bowling spell of 5/16 was registered as the best bowling figures in the IPL tournament in 2012. Jadeja has slammed over 1100 runs and notched up 39 wickets in his IPL career so far.last_img read more