Cloud upgrades boost marketing personalization, collaboration

Progress Software is upgrading Sitefinity CMS to enable greater marketing personalization, with less heavy lifting. Microsoft is expanding Delve features in Office 365.

Progress Software Corp. today announced major marketing personalization  upgrades to the Telerik Sitefinity content management system and Digital Experience Cloud. These digital marketing updates are designed to make it easier for marketers to personalize content and engage with customers.

Widget-driven personalization. When a visitor is from the U.S., it can visit a page for tablets and see the customer service number in the U.S. In the U.K., the content would adjust with a U.K. number. "Before, in order for marketers to create that personalization, they would have to create different versions of a page for each segment you wanted to target," said Anton Hristov, director of marketing operations at Progress Software, based in Bedford, Mass. "Today, you can tweak the widgets, rather than creating all these different versions, and the system automatically serves up that content." This enables marketers to personalize content with far less effort.

Multiple-segment personalization. The new feature enables marketers to target content based on more than one segment, such as geography and browsing behavior in the tablet section of a website. Visitors then see personalized content for each segment they belong to -- not just the highest-priority segment.

Personalization-driven reporting. The reporting can analyze the effect of marketing campaigns by segment to see whether "the personalization actually works," Hristov said. So, for example, a tablet campaign on the Web could indicate whether certain personalized content created additional tablet sales. This kind of reporting enables marketers to look at the results of a campaign in a segment-driven way.

Automatic server scaling. If customers have peak loads and anticipate a lot of traffic, they can configure the system to load balance server loads to handle spikes in traffic.

Pricing and availability. Progress doesn't offer pricing details. All features are generally available as of today.

Microsoft unveils Office 365 features

Microsoft is expanding the functionality of the Delve search and discovery tool, with a trio of new collaboration and content management features for the Office 365 suite of cloud services.

Authoring canvas. Accessed from the Delve profile page, the authoring canvas provides a blog-style, user-friendly interface for posting text, images and video to SharePoint Online. The canvas allows for posting to an intranet, and is also discoverable through Delve activity feeds. This feature was released to Office 365 commercial customers on Oct. 1, 2015.

Praise. The new Praise feature provides a template for posting feedback to employee profiles in Delve. The initial templates include images, such as "thank you" and "outstanding," along with space for up to 200 characters of personalized comments. Praise was activated for Office 365 First Release customers in early October, with plans to expand for commercial customers in the future.

Favorites. Microsoft has added a "favorites" function for the Delve activity feed, which allows users to "favorite" content and retrieve it later through a new "favorites" tab on the Delve profile page. Originally housed in the Delve mobile app for iOS, this feature was added to the Delve browser display for Office 365 First Release customers in early October.

GigJam preview released

Microsoft announced a preview version of the new GigJam collaboration tool in late September, as part of the worldwide release for Office 2016.

Unveiled at the 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference, GigJam was touted as a task-oriented collaboration tool that can remove barriers between applications, devices and people. A demo

at the conference showed Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant delivering data from multiple applications onto an interactive dashboard, which could then be edited and cross-indexed, with the option of sharing that interactive display with other team members.

GigJam is currently in private preview and will become part of Office 365 at some point in 2016.

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