Top 5 Apps For January

Alexander Roth

 A sales optimization tool, an elegant electronic notebook, and an all-in-one travel assistant. Our first bunch of recommended apps for 2013.

 (Photo: istockphoto) (Photo: istockphoto)

A new year means new apps! To help you get a flying start to 2013, we’ve selected five new apps that will save you time and make your life easier. Paper, the “iPad App of the Year 2012,” lets you transform your iPad into a stylish digital notebook.  If you want to enter orders immediately during a customer meeting, then i-Deal is definitely the app for you. To optimize sales, store managers need constant insight into shelf availability. SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager provides an overview of shelf availability issues on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.

Here’s a list of our top 5 apps for January:

SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager by SAP AG

Having products available on the shelf at all times is a vital success factor in the retail business. To optimize sales, you need a constant overview of the current situation at the point of sale so that you can resolve stock outages fast. SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager for the iPad gives store managers all the information they need on their tablets. The app shows them which products have already had or are currently having shelf availability issues per department – on a weekly, daily, or hourly basis – along with details of how the store associates resolved each of the issues. Based on this information, store managers can plan their resource scheduling and inventory management to ensure optimized shelf availability for all articles.

One of a store manager’s key tasks is to check the weekly statistics for shelf availability issues by department. Functions for drilling down to daily and hourly views help analyze the route causes of stockouts. By drilling down to details of how each issue was resolved, the management team gains a clearer overview of the processes involved and can make appropriate adjustments to optimize them.  The app shows how vendors, business processes, or employee performance may be affecting the on-shelf availability of an article in the store.

To use the SAP On-Shelf Availability Store Manager app with their business data, users must have SAP POS DM 1.0 implemented on an SAP HANA database, with mobile services enabled by their IT department.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

i-Deal from L-mobile

If you work in a sales force, you’ll be familiar with this scenario: You’ve had a long day of meetings with customers and you need to document the results online. You can’t do it on site, so you often spend the evening in front of your home office PC. This is where i-Deal, an app for iPhone and iPad, comes in handy: It is specifically designed to let you enter and process orders and quotes immediately during a customer meeting.

The app can be used offline and offers a wealth of functions that sales force and field personnel need on a daily basis.  Alongside a customer database and scaled-down CRM system, i-Deal lets you import photos, data sheets, presentations, and films in all the major Office formats to create your own product catalog. You can also preconfigure the order form and invoice to match your requirements and export them via a PDF, XML, or CSV interface or by e-mail. i-Deal also has a large number of built-in interfaces to popular business systems such as SAP Business One, Sage Office Line & CRM, Lexware, Outlook, and Microsoft Navision. The price of the app depends on the functional scope required and the number of users. A free test version is available.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes (app available in English; description in German only)

Paper by FiftyThree

Named “iPad App of the Year 2012” in the productivity category, Paper transforms your iPad into what numerous mobile end devices promised and failed to deliver: a digital notepad. Whether you work with your finger or a stylus – drawing, coloring, writing, and sketching are all child’s play with this app. If you’ve got a minute, check out the Madewithpaper Web gallery for a selection of quick jots and sketches created using Paper, as well as some genuine mini-masterpieces.

Users can place their notes and sketches into one or more journals, depending on their preferences. Tapping the “Plus” button lets you duplicate either whole notebooks or individual pages.  To share your ideas with others, you simply tap the “Share” button to access platforms such as Tumblr and Facebook or send an e-mail straight from the app.

A highly practical feature of the app is the “Rewind” function, which lets you trace your creative process back to the beginning and pick it up again in a different place.  However, there is no zoom function and no “Undo” button; you have to use the eraser instead.  The free version of Paper includes a fountain pen:  A lead pencil, marker, ink pen, paintbrush, and color mixer can all be purchased separately. The “Essentials” package, which contains all the writing implements and the paintbrush, costs €5.99.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

Travel App Box from Cerasus Media

Cerasus Media describes this app as a Swiss Army knife for travelers. The Travel App Box for iPad/iPhone brings together 15 handy tools for business and leisure travelers, including a currency converter, flight status function, subway timetables and maps, dialing codes, and pretty much everything you need to get by on a trip abroad. The app is tailored to global travel and provides key information about over 30 countries and 40 major cities. Travel App Box can be used offline, although an Internet connection is required for the flight status function and the route planner. A quick look at the function list tells you that the programmers are seasoned travelers who know exactly what will come in useful, be it a clothing size converter, a unit calculator, emergency phone numbers, or a picture dictionary for situations where the linguistic going gets tough. The app costs just under €2 and, according to the vendor, will be supplemented with additional material on an ongoing basis.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes

Video Photo Looper from ArmorActive

Video Photo Looper provides a quick and convenient option for creating and presenting video and picture shows on your iPad or iPhone. It’s an ideal app for sales force personnel and other field employees who need to display content to customers in the form of digital signage. Initiated by tapping the screen with seven fingers, this app is simple and intuitive to use, particularly because its functional scope is limited to creating video and photo sequences. Files are imported by accessing a folder on the local device; a Dropbox interface is sadly not yet available. The app, which is available free of charge, lets you define individual end pages for your video and slide shows, but offers no further options.

Platform: iOS

Find out more on iTunes




Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.


Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Build Customer Loyalty Through Digital Emotional Affinity

Volker Hildebrand, Lori Mitchell-Keller, Christopher Koch, and Polly Traylor



When the Amazon site was launched in 1995, followed by the heady years of dot-com mania, marketers believed they had reached nirvana with the speed, convenience, selection, and plain cool factor of online stores.

Digital technology revolutionized the way companies interacted with customers by making the research and purchasing processes more convenient. Yet research shows that companies have a long way to go in effectively using digital technologies to engage with their customers.
Just 49% of consumers say their experiences using Web sites on desktop and laptop computers are excellent, while a mere 18% of consumers say the same for shopping with mobile Web sites or apps.

The reason behind the failings of all this great technology is that loyalty is driven by positive emotions not just efficiencies. Ninety percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, according to Caroline Winnett and Andrew Pohlmann of The Nielsen Company. Meanwhile, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has found that for patients with brain damage affecting their abilities to feel emotions, making any decision at all is difficult.

By developing a concerted strategy to foster positive emotions in digital, companies can reduce churn, lower customer acquisition costs, and grow revenues per customer. “It’s getting harder and harder to put your message in front of customers effectively and efficiently,” says Tim Peter, founder of Tim Peter & Associates, an e-commerce, Internet marketing, and business strategy consultancy. “If you can get them once, you will more likely reengage them. My clients see emotional engagement as a differentiator.”

How does a company move from the robotic, unfeeling interface of technology to an experience where the customer can sense the people and brand behind it all? There’s no single method here; improving emotional affinity in digital requires a culture that’s hyper about monitoring and pleasing customers. It also begs for a hybrid approach of merging human experiences with digital, investing in omnichannel integration, and developing more creative approaches to online branding.

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Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.


Mobile Marketing Continues To Explode

Daniel Newman

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.


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The post Mobile Marketing Continues to Explode appeared first on Millennial CEO.

photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin (license)

About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist