Technology

In the workplace, change means progress, new technology, business growth, and increased productivity. But if poorly managed, change can only lead to one thing…employee burnout. What can you do to prevent change burnout and ensure sustainable results? Given the rush to digital transformation across all industries these days, the answer may surprise you – slow down.

In the fitness industry, there’s a widely known training method called Time Under Tension (or TUT for short). It is commonly used in strengthening, conditioning and bodybuilding – all of which involve changing one’s physiology. TUT refers to how long a muscle is under strain during a set. While you may see people at the gym powering through their training with heavy weights and be tempted to replicate their method, the idea of TUT is to think in slow motion – intentionally slow your workouts down to activate your muscles, focus on form, and prevent injuries. By taking the slow and steady path, and evolving your strategy once you pass specific benchmarks, you increase your odds of sustaining your new lifestyle and achieving your goals.

Similarly, a paced and steady path is crucial for effective change management. Technology has transformed every industry, and there’s an increasing pressure to keep up or be left behind. This triggers a knee-jerk reaction to seek change and implement it as quickly as possible. But just like people in the gym who are seeking fast results through heavy lifting, if you push for change too rapidly and without a phased plan of action, you’re likely going to hurt your progress and productivity. So what can you do to ensure smooth and successful transitions within your organization and avoid burnout? Here are 6 tips to follow:

1. Be transparent

When you realize change is necessary, be open with your employees about what needs to change. You’re likely making these changes to benefit those involved, so why keep your team in the dark? Before starting any implementation, hold a meeting to explain what the changes will look like, how and when they will take place, and the anticipated benefits. With open communication, employees are more likely to feel like valued members of the organization.

2. Listen

Digital leaders need a pulse on their organization’s baseline culture in order to recognize shifts in morale and other signs of change saturation. You hired your employees because they are smart, capable, and bring unique skills and perspectives to the table. So create opportunities for them to share their experiences and listen. At least as important as holding a meeting before implementing change is having regular follow-up sessions to keep your employees aware of progress as it unfolds and listen for potential signs of burnout. This time also provides space for employees to share their frustrations and concerns, find solutions, and feel “heard.”

3. Understand the impact change has on your workforce

Any significant change in the workplace can mean more stress for your employees – this can lead to poor performance and employee burnout. In fact, stress over organizational changes has been found to lower the average employee’s performance and engagement. Having a manager who understands the burden that change places on their employees and who encourages them to cope with that stress in healthy ways helps prevent burnout while promoting loyalty and a sense of comradery during transitional periods.

4. Reward champions of change

Adapting to change isn’t easy. But it’s made a little bit easier by encouragers and leaders within the team who step up to the plate when the process gets tough. Have you noticed certain employees going above and beyond to help others adjust to a new transition, share their knowledge, and support their teammates? Publicly reward those employees in unique ways (it doesn’t necessarily have to be in monetary form!) The reward matters less than the genuine expression of gratitude to your employees.

5. Delegate tasks

Significant workplace change may call for new roles to increase the odds of a smooth transition. To avoid overwhelming one or two employees, evenly distribute tasks associated with the change across your team, and publicly announce these change-related roles. This will give employees a personal investment in making the change a success and create a shared sense of having some skin in the game.

6. Publically post metrics and goals

Change in the workplace is hard enough. Don’t waste your team’s precious time tracking down information, instructions, and resources necessary to successfully adjust. Keep your goals and metrics accessible. Technologies and services are available to help your organization’s leaders post directions, processes, and helpful resources facilitate smooth transitions.

Recently, Adobe announced its 4.75 billion dollar purchase of Marketo – an investment that should move Adobe into a B2B marketing leadership position. Already a powerhouse in the marketing industry, Adobe Experience Cloud is setting the stage for domination with this purchase, but the real question remains – will you benefit?

Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe’s Experience Cloud was launched in 2017, with the company rebranding its Marketing Cloud as one of three sub-clouds – the other two being Adobe’s Analytics Cloud and Advertising Cloud. Some of the most impressive features of Adobe Experience include the Visitor ID service, which is vital to core operations and integration ability, Dynamic Tag Manager, which supports tools for Adobe functions as well as Nielsen and Google, and Device Co-op, which is a device graph that promotes understanding of customer behavior. Adobe Experience Cloud is relatively new but has already established itself as a competitive player in cloud computing.

Marketo

Marketo is a SaaS marketing automation platform that B2B marketers find essential in building campaigns and making sales strategies operational. Sales reps use the system to understand business prospects’ behavior, while marketing executives use it to link marketing investments to the sales process and revenue generation. Marketo offers software features that allow lead management, lead scoring, mobile marketing, and website personalization, among other features. Marketo has positioned itself as a leader in B2B marketing automation, a position that Adobe Experience Cloud can only enhance.

What’s in it for you?

Since Adobe acquired Marketo rather than a company with their own CRM to push, you will continue to be able to connect any significant CRM to the platform. This means that users will benefit from having all the Adobe tools at hand without being forced to make a major, and possibly disruptive, CRM switch. Joining the Adobe Experience Cloud adds powerful, advanced capabilities to Marketo. Leveraging the market-leading platform allows Marketo to enhance its strengths in mobile marketing and personalization while taking advantage of industry-leading analytics- an area in which Marketo customers have felt frustration in the past. Marketo’s B2B users will also benefit in several ways, including through its personalization engine. These Adobe tools will particularly help B2B shops that have some B2C features in their business. Marketo was already working to strengthen this aspect of their business, the Adobe purchase immediately sends them to the head of the class, leapfrogging over their competitors.

The purchase of Marketo by Adobe Experience Cloud promises better service for users of both services. Adobe Experience has the B2C market handled with numerous easy-to-use tools that can only enhance Marketo’s B2B prowess. The combination of these marketing powerhouses means that you can have the best of both worlds, keeping your favorite functions while gaining even more effective marketing features for your clients’ use.

Only time will tell the exact impact of this purchase, but you and other people in the industry have every reason to expect better service all around. The combination of these two industry leaders promises to give you groundbreaking platform power.

As the amount of data and the pace of business increases, the need to manage and analyze data in a user-friendly platform is undeniable. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are the go-to solutions for transforming data into actionable knowledge that informs your organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions. With a variety of vendors to choose from, and that all seem to offer similar features and make similar promises, selecting a BI tool can be a lengthy process. So here are five things you should consider when choosing your BI tool:

1. Integration

To narrow down your BI tool choices, you need to select a standalone solution or an integrated solution. If you’re considering a standalone solution, you will have no shortage of options. However, you may experience low adoption rates due to these solutions existing in a separate application. It all goes back to that adage: out of sight, out of mind. Whereas reports in integrated solutions can be accessed and viewed through any pre-existing applications, websites, and services within your company – locations that users are already familiar with and use regularly.

Pro tip: If you choose to move forward with an integrated solution, you should ask if it is partially or fully integrated since some companies may not specify.

2. Data Management

Data management is at the core of everything you want to accomplish with a BI tool. When you are choosing the best BI tool for your organization, you have to consider your data and the functionality you’re seeking. The solution you choose should support access to multiple data sources (i.e., data warehouses, internal databases, the cloud and data marts), and depending on the disparate sources you are using, it may also need to cleanse and transform your data for proper use within its system. You will need to determine whether the tool must import data into its store before processing it, or if it can handle data queries on the fly – the answer to this question could have a notable impact on the speed at which you can access your data. You also need to ensure that the tool enables data manipulation once imported and find out what the limitations are on data capacity.

Pro tip: Some BI tools load your existing database data into their software and generate reports from there, saving you time from setting up your own data infrastructure. This type of tool could work if your data is small and fragmented. However, as your data increases, the cost incurred will also increase, and you would be limited to the functionality provided by the BI tool since your data would be stored within it.

3. Security

Security is non-negotiable for today’s mobile workforce. For internal security concerns such as access credentials, you must ensure the BI tool you are planning to buy is well equipped with proper encryption mechanisms. The tool should also offer you options to set the necessary permissions for protecting sensitive or proprietary information. These credentialing capabilities guarantee that secure data cannot be accessed, transmitted or altered by unauthorized users.

4. Visual Functionality & Usability

Your business intelligence reporting tool is the face of the whole operation. It’s what your users will refer to when making business decisions. So while ease-of-use, visual appeal, and intuitiveness may seem like nice-to-haves vs. need-to-haves, those user experience nuances can make the difference between successful user adoption or a refusal by employees to use the new system.

Pro tip: When deciding on a tool, you need to ask yourself the following questions

  • Is the tool easy to use?
  • Does the tool support a variety of user types?
  • Does the tool’s data visualization allow for customization and flexibility to support your goals and the requirements of the many functional groups in your organization?

 

5. Customization

No organization is the same in its operations and needs. You need to select a BI vendor that can support your requirements of today and in the future. It’s important to keep in mind that some vendors only provide minimal customization abilities, and others don’t give organizations the ability to expand. While this might work for a few companies, most will need a custom set-up –one that can integrate flawlessly into their operations, and develop as they grow.

1. Add a billing record to safeguard project

Although Workfront has recently added a recycling bin feature, deleting a project can cause panic, confusion, and loss of productivity, especially if the project you just deleted was a request queue. Prevent any worry around losing key projects by adding a zero dollar billing record to them.

Even if your company or group isn’t using the billing record feature for its native purpose, it can be used here as an extra layer of protection against project deletion. Simply go to the project, create a new billing record, and set the status to Billed”. Then, if someone attempts to delete the project this error message will display and the project will stay out of the recycling bin:

 

2. Make a placeholder job role to prevent assigning users to parent tasks

By default parent tasks can’t be updated or completed independently from their child tasks. The one task detail that can be independently edited on a parent task is the assignment; however, when users are assigned to parent tasks we find that it often leads to frustration when they receive the inevitable error message for trying update the status or completion percentage. To help prevent project managers and other users from accidentally assigning workers to parent tasks, create a job role titled “Do not assign – Parent Task”. Assign this to all of the parent tasks on your project templates and it will serve as a reminder/safeguard that these tasks are a summary of their child tasks and shouldn’t have a user assigned to them.

 

3. As a plan license user, view the resource planner by user

(Note: this assumes your Workfront instance has completed the prerequisites needed for Resource Planning) The Resource Planner is a helpful widget in Workfront to manage the allocation of resources to projects and forecast their availability for future work. Formerly, this was limited to only users who were listed as Resource Managers on projects. With recent updates, however, any user with a plan license can get valuable information from the Resource Planner by setting the view to “View by User”. If the view is set to View by Project or View by Role, results will only be returned for projects where the user is listed as a Resource Manager, putting you right back at square one. View by User doesn’t have that prerequisite and allows other plan license users to see the allocation of all users, regardless if they’re listed as a resource manager.

 

4. Change ID to name in text mode

(Note: this only works for details tab) When creating views and reports in Workfront, there will be instances where the information you want to display is too many levels away from the object you’re working on. This will limit the display options from the field explorer. For example, when adding a column to a task report or task view for the name of the project sponsor, you will find the only option is “SponsorID”. While this makes sense to the Workfront database, this doesn’t provide much value to users viewing the report. Luckily this can be changed with a quick text mode edit.

While in the report or view editor, click on the column for the ID field and switch to Text Mode.

  • On every line where you see “fieldnameID” change the “ID” to “:name”
  • For example change project:sponsorID to project:sponsor:name
  • Click “Save” in the text mode window, then save the view or report.
displayname=Documents
valuefield=project:sponsor:name
querysort=project:sponsor:name
valueformat=HTML
displayname=
linkedname=project
namekey=view.relatedcolumn
namekeyargkey.0=project
namekeyargkey.1=sponsor
namekeyargkey.2=name

 

5. Flag task commit dates greater than planned completion dates

Commit dates are set by task assignees and can’t be changed by the project owner. While the project manager is notified when commit dates affect the project timeline, it can be hard to quickly review a project and see which task commit dates are later than their planned completion dates. With some text mode code, the commit date field can be added to a task view with conditional formatting to display in red when later than the planned completion date.

This can be done by adding a blank column to a task view and switching to text mode, and pasting in the code below:

displayname= Commit Date
linkedname=direct
namekey=commitDate
querysort=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.icon=false
styledef.case.0.comparison.leftmethod=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.lefttext=commitDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.operator=gt
styledef.case.0.comparison.operatortype=date
styledef.case.0.comparison.rightmethod=plannedCompletionDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.righttext=plannedCompletionDate
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.0.name=fontstyle
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.0.value=bold
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.1.name=textcolor
styledef.case.0.comparison.trueproperty.1.value=d30519
styledef.case.0.comparison.truetext=

Click “Save” in the text mode window then save the view you’re editing. Now when viewing a task list, any user commit dates that are later than the planned completion dates will be displayed in red.

 

6. Link directly to queue topics

Have you ever instructed someone to submit a Workfront request and found yourself listing off the steps of selecting the proper request queue, topic group, then queue topic? Theses directions can be eliminated and the end user experience enhanced by sending them a link directly to the queue topic. Instead of sending the URL “domain.workfront.com/requests” with instructions on which drop downs to select, if you select the request queue & specific queue topic, the URL in your browser grows with each selection. This enables the URL to take the user to the specific queue topic without having to manually make any selections. This is incredibly handy when posting Workfront URLs on intranet sites for users to submit work requests.

 

7. Link directly to a sub-tab on an object

In similar vein to tip #6, URLs can also be built to take users to specific tabs on a project, task, issue, etc. To land a user on a specific sub-tab of an object, Workfront allows for a parameter to be added to the URL with the structure below:

https://<domain>.my.workfront.com/project/view?ID=5b6c7eb5003d2022cea3a135cca33ac1&activeTab=tab-project-updates

Normally when viewing a project (or task, or issue), the URL stops after the object ID regardless of which tab is being viewed. By adding the parameter “&activeTab” the URLs will navigate directly to the project tab of your choosing. Some more examples:

 

URL modifier Landing tab
&activeTab=tab-project-details-forms Project Details
&activeTab=tab-project-approvals Project Approvals
&activeTab=list-project-documents Project Documents
&activeTab=tab-project-updates Project Updates
&activeTab=tab-project-optasks Project Issues

 

The same concept and URL structure works on other Workfront objects such as tasks, issues, programs, portfolios, etc. For other objects, simply change the object reference in the URL examples above from ‘project’ to the object you’re referencing.

 

8. Make sure your browser zoom setting is at 100%

Occasionally, when selecting a request queue or an option from a drop down field in older browsers, the drop down option menu appears on a random part of the screen or, in some cases, doesn’t appear at all. Although this seems like a major issue, 99% it’s not a bug and can be fixed very quickly. Double check the zoom on your browser and make sure it is set to 100%. In certain browsers, if the zoom is set to a value other than 100%, it can cause issues with drop downs appearing.

 

9. Link to documents in a project or task view

Use this text mode trick to create hyperlinks to documents from a project view. When creating a project/task view or report, add a blank column and switch into text mode. Copy and paste in the text mode code below, and be sure to update the <domain> section of the URL with the domain of your Workfront instance.

displayname=Documents
listdelimiter=
listmethod=nested(documents).lists
textmode=true
type=iterate
valueexpression=CONCAT({name}, - "https://&lt;domain&gt;.my.workfront.com/document/view?ID=",{ID},"; ")
valueformat=HTML

Click “Save” the text mode window, then save the view or report. Now, when viewing the results, the names of any attached documents will be listed along with a URL to navigate directly to the document.

 

10. Find projects with no tasks, issues, or documents

After Workfront has been implemented, there will inevitably be projects in your system that were either created by mistake or abandoned shortly after creation. While many of these can be cleaned up by searching your instance for “Untitled Project” and deleting any results, this doesn’t work for projects that have had a name change. To assist in system maintenance, use this text mode to find projects with no tasks, issues, or documents. Creating a project report, go to the filter page, switch into text mode, and paste in the code below:

EXISTS:a:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:a:$$OBJCODE=OPTASK
EXISTS:a:projectID=FIELD:ID
EXISTS:b:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:b:$$OBJCODE=TASK
EXISTS:b:projectID=FIELD:ID
EXISTS:c:$$EXISTSMOD=NOTEXISTS
EXISTS:c:$$OBJCODE=DOCU
EXISTS:c:projectID=FIELD:ID[/CSS]

 

Your audience is distracted by the constant noise of the daily routine. Every moment of every day is filled with information that is loud, boisterous, and consuming. In the constant battle for attention, screaming ads and neon visuals saturate your audience’s gaze for the sole purpose of transforming that brief attention to sales conversions. The marketplace is thirsty for any sort of competitive advantage and, right or wrong, the loudest voice is typically the most common marketing instrument.

So how do you create consistency, boost your brand recognition, and prevent your story from becoming just another face in the crowd? A cohesive, well-organized approach to your marketing is the best way to achieve those goals. One that leverages the insights and power of integrated technology platforms to understand target consumer segments better, implement a personalized approach that speaks to individual affinities, and forms enduring bonds between the brand and customer.

Integrated Platforms Create Consistency

An integrated marketing platform is a streamlined technology solution that caters to every stage of the marketing process, from strategizing and design to implementation and metric analysis. It’s an end-to-end, one-stop-shop that maximizes efficiency and effectiveness through seamless integration of data, innovation, and thought. In simpler terms, think of an integrated platform as a car that carries all the stages of the marketing process in a single vehicle. That vehicle is tasked with transporting those marketing components along the customer’s journey to arrive at the same destination — an impactful, successful campaign. If each of those passengers were to take separate vehicles, the likelihood of latencies in the process dramatically increase.

Traditionally, marketers have relied on different components from independent vendors, each of which might have done a tremendous job at their specific tasks but, as is often the case with segmented technology, those components don’t communicate well with one another. In the digital landscape, where margins for error shrink by the day, those traditional models are prone to information silos and communication gaps — detours and potholes forming along the customer’s journey. Naturally, such inefficiencies don’t lend themselves to the flexibility and foresight demanded by a modern, digitally-driven campaign. The segmented, disparate components of those traditional marketing pipelines can lack the free-flowing data and ideas needed for an agile campaign that can pivot on a moment’s notice and continually gauge impact. Integrated platforms, however, afford brands that seamless marketing required to successfully engage the modern consumer, creating a smooth, consistent, unified approach to the entire breadth of a marketing campaign.

The Bigger Picture

While each stage of the marketing process — strategy, testing, bidding, distribution, metric analysis — benefit individually from an integrated platform by shared data and effective communication, it’s the bigger picture that gains the most impact. It’s not the loudest voice that will provide the most significant engagement, conversions, and ROI for an enterprise. Instead, it’s the personalized touch running throughout a brand’s message that forms connections with the audience. In fact, 71% of customers now prefer customized ads and campaigns that speak to their unique interests and passions.

An integrated marketing platform gives brands and agencies the tools needed to create and maintain that personalization. With so many audience segments, each with unique and widely-varying affinities, information silos can be the death knell for companies wanting to engage at the individual level. Thankfully, as powerful as the particular components of an integrated platform is with their designated responsibilities, the platforms themselves are greater than the sum of their parts. In such a crowded and competitive environment, use integrated technology to tell a compelling story rather than the loudest one. Your campaign ROI and bottom line will thank you.

Between constantly segmenting audiences and affinities, finite ad spend, a crowded marketplace, and distracted consumers inundated with a wall of advertising noise, marketers have their work cut out for them. Establishing and maintaining robust engagement and conversions levels — as well as the accompanying ROI — can be a daunting task if a brand doesn’t have a deliberate, well-organized strategy steeped in analytics. Fortunately, the very same digital technologies that have helped create such a fickle, segmented, and congested marketplace also provide marketers effective solutions to cut through the clutter, identify their target audience, and deliver an impactful message that generates the ROI they crave. With these analytics-driven best practices and tools, marketers have a variety of solutions at their disposal to inform and refine their marketing strategies, realize that ROI, and gain an enduring competitive advantage that can be budget-friendly and effective.

 

Find the Right Stack

Much of marketing is a repetitive series of steps that, while beneficial when conducted thoroughly, can also drain already limited supplies of time and resources. Of course, every dollar spent on such routines, no matter how integral they are to the process, has a direct impact on your ROI. Therefore, virtually any source of gained efficiency will lift those metrics and have a cascading positive effect on your campaign. Ad stacks that streamline everything from ad bidding and A/B testing to analytics and retargeting give marketers compelling solutions that can enhance performance and lower overall costs if adopted appropriately. Once implemented, these tools can free team members to work on more value-added responsibilities that would otherwise mire them in vital but arduous, time-consuming tasks. Ad stacks lend convenience to your efforts, giving your marketing process a focused and precise sense of direction that eliminates inefficiencies and, thus, boosts your ROI.

 

Use Insightful, Focused Metrics

In the age of big data and predictive analytics, marketers don’t lack for information to propel their message. The problem, however, is the volume of information itself. Just because a wide variety of metrics can be automatically created, tracked, and analyzed doesn’t mean that they necessarily should. Despite the significant boost to overall efficiencies afforded by automated technologies, an overindulgence in metrics that don’t ultimately add value to a campaign can hamper ROI through diluted efforts, a lack of focus, and failure to keep an eye on the proverbial prize. Marketers should be especially cautious against such overindulgence, avoiding vanity metrics that don’t contribute true meaning and insight into a marketing message. Instead, they should concentrate on analytics that positively affects a campaign and increases ROI. While any particular brand and agency might have different key metrics given their unique market position, industry, or goals, certain metrics tend to be more ubiquitous than others — aside from ROI itself, of course — including PPC, lead ratios, conversion rates, and a handful of others. Likewise, use the proper metrics in the most insightful context possible to keep a campaign on track and maximize ROI. While campaign results are essential to measure in gauging total effectiveness, metrics add the most value when they are used to steer a message throughout a campaign, not merely provide data points in hindsight. Integrating real-time performance data into key metrics will inform a campaign and reveal necessary changes to be made as the campaign evolves.

 

Experiment With Your Approach

Extending the previous best practice a bit further, utilizing your analytics platform and the key metrics it generates can be extremely beneficial to tailor your message in the most advantageous way possible. Thankfully, analytics in the digital age has rendered the traditional, laborious process of A/B testing antiquated and nearly extinct with the prescient insights of real-time data and a robust ad stack with an abundance of analytical capabilities. As your campaign progresses and evolves, continue to measure for impact using a variety of combinations of creative, copy, distribution channels, and any other critical components. In doing so, your analytics platform will reveal which particular combinations yield the most significant results, allowing you to pivot your campaign towards any direction that will maximize engagement, conversion, and the resulting ROI.

Workfront reporting is great. But you’re pretty much limited to either basic visualizations or tables. If you find yourself using tables a lot, chances are you’re trying to display a whole bunch of information associated with a single record. And while you can easily just tack on additional columns to accommodate this information, sometimes doing so becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

So let’s look at some advanced formatting options you can employ to help consolidate information (and pretty things up a bit too!). Take a look at the screenshot below. This is pulled from our user directory where we found ourselves wanting to display more information than was feasible in a table. So we broke it out into things we need to more closely monitor and/or sort on such as groups and teams. We then collapsed what I’ll call “secondary” information into a single column and applied some fancy formatting to help make it all a bit more legible.

 

 

So what’s going on behind the curtain. It’s really just two main tricks:

  1. Shared columns; and
  2. HTML formatting

 

Shared columns

Let’s look at the shared column function first. The second column in the report–“Name”–is technically two columns combined into one which, oddly enough, actually requires three columns. In the code below you’ll see a reference to column.1, column.2, and column.3. Column.1 is really just pulling in the username, but it uses the default field code which comes with some additional features beyond just the first and last name–most notably the status of the user profile (i.e., registered/unregistered)–so it’s a good idea to pull this directly from the text mode of the username field (or just copy it below!).

Similarly, column.3 contains the default code for the avatar field. The magic happens in the code for column.2 (lines 13-17 below). There are two key things going on here. First, and most importantly, is the code “column.2.sharecol=true”.This is the code that tells Workfront to join the adjacent columns on either side. IMPORTANT! You ALSO have to include the sharecol code on what would be the column to the left in order for everything to work. In this case, that’s column.1. The other interesting piece of code worth mentioning is on line 16. The <hr> (horizontal rule) tag is what inserts that nifty line between the username and avatar. Now, in theory, you can leave “column.2.value=” blank. But in this case it’s a great formatting tool to help provide both visual interest and some boundaries between the two data elements. Alright! Grab the code below, drop in the second column of your report and let’s hop on to the next piece: HTML formatting (it’s worth pointing out, the column identifiers in text mode start at zero so column.1 technically refers to the second column of the report. If you wanted this to be the first column you’d need to subtract one from each of the column identifiers, i.e, column.0, column.1 and so on).

column.1.displayname=
column.1.linkedname=direct
column.1.namekey=name
column.1.querysort=name
column.1.sharecol=true
column.1.textmode=true
column.1.tile.name=component.user.name
column.1.usewidths=true
column.1.valuefield=name
column.1.valueformat=HTML
column.1.width=100
column.1.tile.template=/WEB-INF/jsp/lists/components/username.jsp
column.2.sharecol=true
column.2.shortview=false
column.2.textmode=true
column.2.value=<hr>
column.2.valueformat=HTML
column.3.displayname=
column.3.linkedname=direct
column.3.namekey=avatar
column.3.textmode=true
column.3.tile.name=component.avatar
column.3.usewidths=true
column.3.valueformat=HTML
column.3.width=100


HTML formatting

Ok the next part looks a lot more formidable but it’s actually pretty simple. Using the sharecol principles we just learned, this piece is really just creating unique columns for the formatted text (title, manager, access level, etc.) and the corresponding user data. So, for example, in column.4 you have the word “title” and in column.5 you have the actual user title data, all of which gets mushed together using the sharecol=true function.

The important lines to pay attention to are the ones that contain HTML formatting such as line 6 where you have <font color=000000><b>Title: </b></font>. Admittedly, this is all a bit easier if you’re already familiar with HTML and CSS, but technically this is just taking two simple HMTL attributes and wrapping the text “Title: ” in them. As you may have already guessed, the font color attribute allows you to change the native color of the text while <b> is making the font bold. A couple things I want to point out. First, the colors we’ve used are what’s known as hexadecimal or “hex”, colloquially. You may have seen them with the hash symbol in front. Ours, obviously, do not have them. Workfront text mode will accept either. Additionally, Workfront will also accept basic colors in word format (i.e., red, black, blue, green, etc.) so if you’re working with a very simple, primary color set, a lot of times that’s just easier. And finally, Workfront also accepts RGB values. In the example above, we would just change the hex code to an RGB value as well as the corresponding HTML attribute: <font color=rgb(0,0,0)><b>Title: </b></font>. A lot of options. Use what feels easiest.

So what are some of the other formatting tricks you can employ beyond bold and font color? There are certainly some limitations that you wouldn’t encounter if you were using traditional CSS but we’ve compiled as complete a list as we can think of at the end of this post.

One last thing I’ll point out about the columns that contain formatted text: since they’re not referencing any actual data, they all use value= as opposed to valuefield= or valueexpression=. As you start to adapt this to your own needs it’s an important thing to take note of.

column.4.displayname=User Information
column.4.sharecol=true 
column.4.shortview=false 
column.4.textmode=true 
column.4.usewidths=true 
column.4.value=<font color=000000><b>Title: </b></font> 
column.4.valueformat=HTML column.4.width=200 
column.5.descriptionkey=title 
column.5.linkedname=direct 
column.5.namekey=title.abbr 
column.5.sharecol=true 
column.5.shortview=false 
column.5.textmode=true 
column.5.usewidths=true 
column.5.valuefield=title 
column.5.valueformat=HTML 
column.5.width=200 
column.6.sharecol=true 
column.6.shortview=false 
column.6.textmode=true 
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<i></i>
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Bold
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<b></b>
Can you use it in a sentence?
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Font size
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Can you use it in a sentence?
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Font color
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(side note: please don’t use comic sans!)

Enterprise DevOps. On the surface, it seems like the right answer to keeping business objectives running at optimum levels. But when your IT team dives a little deeper, the complexities rise to the surface and progress stalls before it even has a chance to begin.

Before you dive into a DevOps initiative, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Can your current tools address security and application monitoring for maximum visualization for informed decision making?
  • Can your current infrastructure leverage the cloud?
  • What type of containers will be utilized for deployment anytime, anywhere?
  • How will you utilize automation to ensure stable and scalable deployments?
  • IT teams will support internal systems that employees use. How will you cultivate a collaborative culture between development and support teams?
Whether you’re launching a DevOps initiative internally or seeking help from a third party, starting with the right infrastructure is critical to your success. Before you take the first step, begin with a thorough system evaluation to ensure an end-result with a seamless workflow, end-to-end transparency, and holistic reporting.

DevOps: System Evaluation Overview

Automation Tools

End-to-end workflow automation is a critical part of any DevOps toolkit. These tools should enable your team to submit requests effortlessly, sync & export documents, and integrate financials when necessary.

Configuration

Syncing information between systems; the ability to create custom workflow events and triggers; and aggregate all your data for secure analysis, reporting and sharing is a critical part of DevOps. Evaluate current configuration tools and systems for their ability to work with the other components of your system.

Intelligence

DevOps tools include a healthy mix of intelligent solutions that can provide both analytics and security monitoring, capacity planning, and availability and performance. Features like cross-platform syncing, data aggregation from different systems, available in a web-based platform are critical to intelligent processes.

Cloud & Virtualization

The best DevOps toolkits include a hosting environment that eases application installations and configures security easily. In advanced cases, application support and managed administration services are required. Platforms like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, & Amazon Web Services are the best place to begin, but access and knowledge of cloud add-ons are critical to collaborative DevOps environments.

DevOps Solutions

If your infrastructure lacks the systems and tools listed above, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin moving toward DevOps solutions right away. Custom software solutions are available to bring your infrastructure up to a healthy mix of orchestration and automation tools.
While there are plenty of great SaaS options out there, they are inherently designed to meet the needs of the masses, and the heart of DevOps is using software to do exactly what it is you need. If you’re going to evaluate a SaaS option, look for all of the following features before you start a trial:
  • Platform Synchronization
  • Eliminates Manual Processes
  • Data Storage, Accessibility & Security
  • Workflow Automation w/ Event Triggers
  • Robust data Analysis w/Data Aggregation
Powerful all-in-one solutions can help you get started on the right track, and an expert consulting team can work behind the scenes to bring development projects and add-ons up to standard.
Once you’ve evaluated your company’s preparedness to implement a DevOps initiative, don’t forget about culture preparedness. DevOps implementation and changes should establish a culture that learns and changes, together. The most critical asset in your business—your people—should receive the same level of attention as other areas. Planning a people strategy while preparing your infrastructure for DevOps will ensure long-term success.

Organizations need agility to craft and distribute useful marketing messages that can convert in a highly segmented, fickle marketplace. With seemingly countless marketing solutions now available, the advent of the ad stack – both independent and platform-based – is in full swing. Of the many different options available, an innovative solution from one of the digital environment’s older and well-established names is leading the charge for comprehensive, flexible, vertically integrated marketing suites that is redefining the industry – Adobe.

Adobe’s Marketing Cloud at a Glance

Available on a subscription basis with several optional components that range in specialty from Adobe’s creative foundation to analytics platforms, campaign management tools, and social media integration, Marketing Cloud aims to be a one-stop shop for organizations needing a comprehensive solution without relying on different vendors.

Using the universal Adobe interface as the basis for most of the component UIs, Adobe takes full advantage of its popularity to create an immediate sense of familiarity between the user and the many different parts available within the platform. Perhaps more importantly, however, organizations can choose which of those components are necessary for their specific needs, not forced to subscribe to unneeded functions that would increase costs and complexity.

As a direct competitor to similar platforms from both digital titans like Google and Yahoo as well as ad stacks from specialized vendors, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud shines with its ability to seamlessly combine immersive, engaging, customized creative with the distribution channels most impactful in reaching a highly segmented audience with wide-ranging affinities. Its analytical tools allow organizations to track results in real time, measuring effectiveness through the ever-important metrics needed to inform and guide the campaign amongst a crowded and complicated marketplace.

Although a streamlined and efficient ad stack solution for any organization requiring a considerable degree of vertical integration, those that are unfamiliar with the classic Adobe UI face a steep learning curve that, while in no way too great of a barrier to prevent proper implementation and usage, can be somewhat overwhelming at first. With an abundance of training materials available as well as outstanding customer service, however, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud should always be on the short list of options for organizations in search of a potent ad stack that blends utility with convenience, power with flexibility.

Is Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Right for You?

As compelling a solution as Adobe’s Marketing Cloud can be for most organizations; it’s not the only solution available. In fact, when an organization is in need of a new ad stack platform, the decision should always begin with a choice between a comprehensive, unified platform and an independent ad stack built of several best-in-breed vendors that are market leaders in specific functions but don’t necessarily work well in conjunction with one another.

Simply put, organizations must choose between a high degree of convenience and efficiency versus maximum ability. For instance, if an organization needs a comprehensive analytical platform that specializes in isolating and analyzing nuanced metrics, they might be best served to build an independent ad stack built around a specialized analytics platform. In this case, while a vertically integrated solution like the Adobe Marketing Cloud is abundantly useful and more than adequate for the vast majority of organizations, it’s analytical abilities might fall short of this highly specialized need.

For organizations looking for a combination of power and convenience, the Adobe Marketing Cloud is writing a new ad stack narrative, one that effectively addresses nearly all of the marketing needs for the majority of companies within the marketplace. Organizations no longer have to choose between ability and efficiency.

Salesforce released its Einstein platform to the public in Spring 2017, giving the average user access to powerful CRM with promised AI predictive analytic powers. The release came with a tidal wave of hype, promising revolutionary changes to marketing departments. Companies have had time to implement Einstein for a period of months, so accurate reviews are in. Experts believe that Salesforce Einstein is an excellent tool with a number of useful analytic uses. While it isn’t entirely stand-alone, the basic platform does more than simply complete data-based applications. Einstein probably deserves about 80 percent of the original hype. As stats go, that’s not bad.

The Hype

Salesforce hailed its own product by announcing that “The world’s No. 1 CRM is now the world’s smartest CRM . . .” The company also emphasized Einstein didn’t need the major customization that other similar platforms required because it contained “state-of-the-art algorithms built directly into the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Platform . . .” You get the picture. What was already a premier product would now usher marketing into the promised land of predictive data, and ultimately, finalized sales, enchanted customers, and home-grown marketing gurus.

The Reality

Salesforce Einstein Analytics Platform costs $75 per month per user, approximately the same price as Adobe Creative Cloud, which features Adobe Sensei. For that reasonable price, you get many features, including advanced sales and service apps. You can use them to analyze data from any source up to 100 million data rows, according to Salesforce. You can also create your own custom apps and dashboards and have access to all the online training you need. The platform isn’t as advanced as others, but it provides an advantage to companies without their own data geniuses on staff. It takes time to set up and manage effectively, despite the rosy predictions on the Salesforce site.

AI Capacity

Some experts say that Einstein doesn’t include actual “cognitive computing” (AI) but instead uses machine learning (ML). However, the company’s partnerships with Watson and other industry leaders provide Einstein users with impressive analytic power. For marketing departments, the pertinent question isn’t “Is this ‘real’ AI?”, but “How does it help us do our jobs?”

The machine learning allows the program to study data and determine, for itself, how to predict the future. Einstein constantly analyzes new data and makes model adjustments, determining what tasks you need to address next in your marketing efforts. Einstein can tell you which sales prospect is “most likely to close” and also sort a mailing list according to who’s most likely to open your email.

Einstein goes way beyond simply organizing data. It can, on a daily basis, make your sales department more efficient and effective. Whether it’s defined as actual AI probably won’t affect you or your employees.

Other Features

Salesforce offers other advanced features. For instance, your company can also use the Product Identification feature to manage inventory and improve sales potential. In addition, the Brand Detection feature helps your marketing department learn more about customer preferences and offers tools to refine sales campaigns. The technology also offers features that increase customer satisfaction. Visual search employs visual filters that let consumers find products that meet their needs. They can also take product photos and find out where they’re available.

Nuts and Bolts

Salesforce touts Einstein as a way to democratize AI. You don’t have to have your own data scientist to join the marketing analytic revolution. It’s not as simple as subscribing to the service, however. While many features are packaged in easy-to-use Cloud applications, customizing it for your particular company takes a little work and some online training. Yes, it’s pretty easy to use, but like any platform, it requires study and practice, particularly on the part of admins to fully use it. You have to build a model for your business and also refine your data so you get the best results. In short: Excellence in, excellence out.

Company Success

Salesforce boasts a number of high-profile success stories, and these online testimonials pack a punch. Companies such as Adidas, AWS, US Bank and Farmer’s Insurance are on record praising Salesforce offerings.

Kone, a leader in escalators, elevators and moving walkways, used Salesforce Einstein in conjunction with IBM Watson to build a customer-centered company in lieu of a hardware-centered one, allowing them to thrive around the world. They attribute much of their recent success to the Salesforce platform.

The Bottom Line

Salesforce has been a wildly successful Cloud Computing, CRM-based company for some time, but their addition of Einstein to their customer offerings has enhanced their business and made AI (really machine learning) more available to the those who aren’t data experts.

Einstein is not the most advanced platform you can choose, and you may need to pair it with Watson or add other Salesforce products to reach the productivity level that you desire. Still, experts in the industry rank it pretty high as a tool that helps most marketing departments. Will it unleash marketing magic on its own? No. But it will give more power to your marketing efforts. For companies looking for predictive analytics, Einstein is worth a try.