"What the Blog is This?"

Technology Made Friendly ("TMF") is focused on working with vendors, partners and customers to share and develop industry leading solutions, discussions and ideas that support hospitality & technology.

Friday, September 12, 2008

CRM Meets Hospitality

Our good friends at Libra OnDemand recently posted the following update on the successful two-way integration of Libra OnDemand and Epitome PMS.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Re-Launch of SoftBrands.com

I wanted to take a minute to direct your attention the newly revised Hospitality (and Hospitality Chinese) website that was launched this week. We are excited to have finally moved the website over to a new content management system (CMS) that will give us greater control and flexibility to update and manage our content. You will note that during this migration we took the opportunity to bring the website up to graphic standards and added new features like the podcast, new sections and this blog.

These new sections will become the technical foundation for a more strategic focus on Social Media (aka, Social Networking or Web 2.0) for the hospitality division. What exactly does that mean? Whether we like it or not businesses, consumers, users and partners are increasingly using Social Media to learn, share experiences, offer suggestions, promote challenges and ideas, and voice opinions. If we are not actively engaged we allow others to dictate the information which ultimately can influence perception.

Our ultimate goal is to drive more leads by positioning SoftBrands Hospitality as thought leaders in our vertical.

A special thanks to John Manoah from the web development team, Jessie Qiao who worked on the Chinese website and to the India Marketing Center team including Sindhu Krishnan, Dattatreya Nadiger, Sayantika Chakraborty, for doing an exceptional job at getting this off the ground.

Over the next few weeks we will see continued improvements and revised content.

Let us know your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is it necessary to seperate Church from State?

I was just having an interesting conversation with Social Media Guru Albert Maruggi about the placement/hosting of a social media platform (environment) within a company website. SoftBrands is in the process of re-launching the www.softbrands.com/hospitality on a new platform (FarCry) for better content management. As I look to launch this site I am asking the question: Does my Social Media platform need to be independent from our website?

Those of you following me know this blog is my first step at educating myself and the business of Social Media and how it can benefit the business. With the re-launch of our new site, I am much closer to officially turning this strategy "On". So I need to decide if the Blog & platform for Social Media should be intergraded or stand alone?

I am very sensitive to keep the social media element "sales free" but the reality is there is always going to be an underlying tone of sales. As much as I do enjoy software technology, I would prefer to spend my time blogging about important things :-)

So I am looking for some feedback, suggestion or thoughts. Is it okay to imbed a social media platform inside a company (business) website? Is better to keep it separated from the business?
Is there a hindrance if the brand extends across both?

The bottom-line for this Social Media strategy is position SoftBrands as a thought leader (which I believe we truly are) in eyes of hoteliers, consultants and partners.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Building an Agenda

SoftBrands has finally secured the location for the 2009 User Conference for the Americas, and for the first time the UK/Central European hotels, for March 24-27 in Washington DC. This year’s venue will take place at the Liaison Capital Hill, An Affinia hotel.

Planning has been underway now for a few months but we are at a point when the agenda is being developed, speakers established and partners invited.

We are in the midst of collecting feedback from our FY2008 customer satisfaction survey where we give customers an opportunity to request topics for the UC. We'll also look at our support calls to determine what issues/questions continue to be asked/requested.

What else can we do to take advantage of our nation’s capital without being "American centric"? How to incorporate politics without being political?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thank You UK/Ireland and South Africa Sales Team!

This post specifically for the EA Sales team. Thanks for a tremendous week from both a social and business perspective.

This post is a summary of a few key sites and individuals that regularly post within the Social Media arena:

Kevin Sturm (Blog)
Robert Rosenthal (Blog)
Erik Munoz (Twitter)
Social Media Optimization (Blog)

This should get you all started. I need to get back and pay attention to the presentations.


Monday, August 18, 2008

9 Ways to Promote your Blog

I love this idea. Chris Brogan has written and published a short Blog on 9-ways to promote your blog. His Tweet indicated that he could not think of a 10th way. I bet by the end of the day he will have 100 new ideas......

Win Loss.....It is so damn easy!

Win Loss analysis is important in helping refine the marketing and sales strategy. Where else can you get a better barometer on how well you are doing (or not doing)? But is the feedback you get is honest and meaningful? Understanding that in today's sales environment each sale is treated individually vs. by the masses, how do you interpret feedback that can change your strategy. Obviously pricing and product are two area's that can point out discrepancies but what about timing, relationships, support, service. The following article from pragmatic helps in outlining some key disciplines to effective win loss analysis.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Interview with Jo Masters

Check out the recently posted audio interview with Jo Masters......

Thursday, August 7, 2008

PR....What's it stand for?

Just doing my morning scan of blogs, content, tweets and whatever else is out there and I came across this very interesting and appropriate post on the changing of public relations. It is interesting as PR is and has always been (in my mind) a blender of responsibilities. You throw in some writing and publishing, a lot of relationship building and management, strategy and forward thinking actions, promotions and events and the ever needed but hopefully never used Crisis Management. Turn it on and you get a the basis for a Public Relations role.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Congratulations Jo!

Today SoftBrands officially announced the promotion of Jo Masters to SVP and GM of the Hospitality Division. I have worked with Jo for a little over two years. In that time she interviewed me as the VP of Global Support and then one year into my career with SBN she was promoted to VP and GM of the Americas and now another year later she takes the leadership role for the division….effective October 1.
I am excited to see what the future brings. We have a lot of momentum and a ton of opportunity. Having someone so close to the customer will certainly bring a new perspective.
Watch for an upcoming interview later this week.

To Twitter or not

I have had a hard time seeing the professional value in Twitter. Who honestly cares what I am doing at this moment so I continue to look for ways in which other businesses or 'advocates' use Twitter on a professional level. This posting came from someone that I am following and has a few good examples.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Starting Social Media for Businesses

Today I am in our Lake Forest office attending some meetings around the roles of Product Marketing and Product Management. Specifically we are reviewing the Pragmatic Marketing process to identify our strengths and more importantly our gaps....more on that later.

For now I am doing my best to keep up my active publishing of content on social media which I am finding is tough when traveling but.......that is my goal. For now this will continue to be a repository of information as we (SoftBrands) develop a stronger social media platform.

The following is a blog that is supported by a former colleague that is doing a great job at setting up a business focus for social media..

Friday, August 1, 2008

Social Media Guru

Chris Brogan --Social Media guru--that is a title I have given him after only reviewing a few of his comments and blogs after the last 48 hours. Again, as of right now this blog is really to provide a repository for people to read about, get examples and start to participate in some of the Social Media forums inside hospitality and technology.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

SoftBrands on Facebook

Did you know? SoftBrands has a small community within Facebook!

Lead Generation inside Social Media

As I research and talk with individuals who are SME's in the Social Media space the more I realize there is a tremendous opportunity to help shape this space. Early adopters have created a solid foundation of technology platforms and micro communities but for the second generation adapters (that is where I am placing my efforts) there is no structure or playbook. The systems exist but how we set them up and use them is totally open for discussion.

Here is one post on leveraging lead generation inside Social Media platforms.

First Post

This is the first of hopefully many future posts on hospitality technology. The purpose of this blog is to establish a place for employees, partners and colleagues to post, comment and share thoughts, ideas and such on what is important today (and tomorrow) as it relates to hospitality technology solutions.

An interesting post that really got me started was by Kevin Sturm and ironically, his blog site is called hospitality technology made simple?