Saturday, March 15, 2014

#WomenTechMakers in Kathmandu Nepal (PHOTO)

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Google Developer Group (GDG) Kathmandu in association with GDG Women Nepal, and Robotics Association of Nepal and supported by Google Developers have organized "Women Tech Makers" event today here in Kathmandu. Women Tech Makers is a global event happening in more than 90 cities world wide.


March 15 also marks the "Hardware Freedom Day" and +GDG Kathmandu's third anniversary. GDG Kathmandu was started in 2011 March 15.


Software and hardware hackathon have also organized in association with Karkhana, PHP Developers Nepal, Mobile Social Networking Nepal and CashOnAd.


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

5 Best Social Media Monitoring Tools [SWOT Analysis]

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What started as an opportunity to track social media chatter and carry out basic reporting, has created an entire social enterprise software eco-system. Social Media Monitoring is no longer a good to have feature but a must have feature in all the social enterprise platforms. This change in the industry has given rise to a gamut of social business functions in an enterprise: social marketing, social crm, social selling, social research, social hiring and so on.


Today in the market, there are multiple social media monitoring platforms with variety of benefits, functionalities and use-cases. But out of all, there are specific use-cases, which are of highest importance to an enterprise, which not all the platforms have. Hence, many enterprises spend in various tools to carry out their operations. Most of these decisions are driven by cost and usability factor. With ever increasing social networking sites, it is a challenge for all the social media monitoring vendors to track all the conversations from new emerging sites. In addition to this, the growing interest towards data policy and privacy are also making it difficult for social media monitoring platforms to track all the data. This was not the case few years back, but now it’s extremely difficult for application developers to access public data. They have to either be limited to few data samples or have to partner with global data vendors.

For this article, we are taking 5 popular tools in the industry which are making news with their associations and market reach. They are :

  1. Sysomos
  2. Salesforce
  3. Simplify360
  4. Brand Watch
  5. Lithium

Before we get into the analysis of these tools we need to understand what are the most important use cases of social media monitoring platforms. Most enterprises today use social media for marketing and customer service. These two are the core applications of social media compared to any other use case present out there.

Inorder to cater to the marketing and customer service department of an enterprises, following are the most important features that needs to be present:

  1. Ability to monitor social web
  2. Ability to segment social media chatter automatically
  3. Ability to create custom dashboards
  4. Strong rule engine creation
  5. In-depth social media analytics
  6. Complete CRM functionalities
  7. Ability to create knowledge repository for customer service
  8. Lead/Case Management ability
  9. Engagement and Publishing Units
  10. Enterprise Integration

The above features are the most important ones that need to be included in the platform. All the five platforms mentioned above are the leaders in the industry, which has all these features to different levels in their advancement, and though every one will say that they have the features, enterprises need to look at its complete road map to make any investment.


SN
Features
Sysomos
Salesforce
Simplify360
Brandwatch
Lithium
1
Ability to monitor social web
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
Ability to segment social media chatter automatically
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
3
Ability to create custom dashboards
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Strong rule engine creation
N/A
Advanced
Advanced
N/A
Advanced
5
In-depth social media analytics
Medium
Medium
Advanced
Medium
Medium
6
Complete CRM functionalities
Medium
Advanced
Advanced
Medium
Advanced
7
Ability to create a knowledge repository for customer service
N/A
N/A
Yes
N/A
Yes
8
Lead/Case Management ability
Basic
Advanced
Advanced
Basic
Medium
9
Engagement and Publishing Units
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
10
Enterprise Integration
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes


Feature Analysis

Monitoring

Most of these tools have a strong ability to monitor keywords using different logic combination and search pattern. The only difference that exists is in the source which all these tools monitor; some will have few sources while others reach out to millions of sources. Among these tools, Simplify360 has a unqiue ability to monitor even custom list of facebook pages, twitter channels, linkedin groups, google plus and youtube channel. This feature is interesting because it allows enterprise to create their own custom list of important channels.

In terms of languages most of the above tools has the ability to track multiple languages.

Publishing and Engagement

All the tools have similar strength in terms of basic publishing and engagement console. This will allow enterprises to easily manage their social media marketing.


Social Media Dashboards

All the tools have a standard social media monitoring dashboards with ability to export data and graphs/charts. But not all the tools have ability to create custom dashboards with respect to their needs. In addition to this, most tools have different ways to displaying dashboards. It is either static dashboards, widget based or customizable based. But there are not strong indicators of anyone winning in this category.

Social Media Analytics

Among all these tools, only Simplify360 has a dedicated channel analytics reports for facebook pages, twitter profiles and linkedin groups. Other have integrated facebook and twitter reports. But not all have dedicated channel reports. In this particular category there are other independent players like unmetrics, social bakers and sprout social. But in terms of keywords based social web monitoring capability they are not strong.

Social CRM

This is the most important function required in social media monitoring platform. Sysomos and Brandwatch only have a basic task assignment and follow up features. But Salesforce, Lithium and Simplify360 have much advanced features like work flow automation, rules engines to segment messages and case management. In addition to this features, only Lithium and Simplify360 has the facility for admins to create complete knowledge repository so that customer agents can access FAQs at the as when they are responding to messages.

Integration

Out of all the tools Salesforce has a very strong reach to enterprise eco-system making them the giants in the enterprise software. Thereforce, they obviously have a strong connection to other platforms. Even then Simplify360 and Lithium do show strong ability to connect to any enterprise platform through their open API framework. In this terms there aren’t much cases of brandwatch and sysomos, which are basically used as a standalone software platforms.



Sysomos
Salesforce
Simplify360
Brandwatch
Lithium
Weakness
Mostly targeted only for PR purpose.
Rather than a standalone system, it’s a collection of multiple platforms making it difficult for users to use.
Doesn’t have much features in social campaign management compared to Lithium/Salesforce.
Mostly targeted for only Research department.
Has a very weak social media monitoring capability compared to others.
Strength
Good dashboard capability.
Strong access to enterprise eco-system.
Strong CRM features and completely integrated tools.
Better ability for analyst to filter data.
Better reach to customer experience department.

Based on the requirement of an enterprise, most companies prefer different social media monitoring tools. Some of the important reasons for decision processes are:

  1. Number of sources being captured.
  2. Business model of the platforms
  3. Existing relationship with other enterprise platforms
  4. Local support teams
  5. Urgency in the enterprise for implementing social monitoring tools.

Most enterprises are still using free tools to track mentions and respond using Twitter or Facebook page. Moreover, most are still satisfied with free or low paid tools for managing their social media management.

But most enterprises have implemented social media much deeper into their business process making it difficult for them to use free or low paid tools. Industries like Telecom, Airlines, Banking and Retail have a much matured enterprise tool adoption hence they require more customization and support ability. This has made them prefer more enterprise friendly tools like Salesforce and Simplify360. In addition to this, their strong partnership with BPO centers and software integrators make them highly competitive compared to other tools.

Through SMBs are still comfortable with paying less and using low feature tools, in the larger enterprise market we are seeing revolution in terms of adoption of social enterprise platforms.

Disclosure: I'm a former employee of Simplify360.
Image credit: tedxvienna.at
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Raise Smart Capital for Your Startup? [Join ReConnect LIVE Webcast on March 12]

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"Are you an entrepreneur? Need to learn how to bootstrap? Looking to raise capital for your business?" If your answer is "Yes", then you should join the online Rec@nnect TechConnect live broadcast happening on Wednesday 12th March, 2014.


A new series of Rec@nnect's TechConnect is happening on Wednesday, 12th March at 7:00AM EST (4:45 PM Nepal Time) on "Raising Capital for Your Venture".  TechConnect will be live on Department of State website streamed directly from the U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C.


Anand Daniel from Accel Partners India, Faysal Sohail from Altair Group, Karl Mehta from Menlo Ventures,  and Shaukat Shamim from Buysight, Inc. will be speaking on "smart capital" and will be sharing a tip on how to attract smart capital for your venture and how to pitch to investors. Ovidiu Bujorean, Senior Manager, CRDF Global will be moderating the event.
To Learn the techniques to raise capital for your startup. Register for the live Rec@nnect TechConnect from here: http://bit.ly/reccapital
P.S. TechConnect is an interactive video conference that brings great entrepreneurial minds together to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. Rec@nnect identifies the next generation of technology entrepreneurs in South and Central Asia. Rec@nnect supports them through entrepreneurship capacity building activities that provide: skill development, networking, exposure, capital.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Ncell Announces NPL - Nepal Premier League #NcellNPL

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Nepal's leading private telecommunication company Ncell has announced the nation's first exclusive cricket league - Ncell NPL (Nepal Premier League) that will happen in April and May, 2014.

Ncell unveiled NPL's logo today (24th Feb) here in Kathmandu. "We celebrated the unveiling of the official logo with our cricket players and team owners in a press conference today in Kathmandu", writes Ncell on its Facebook page.

According to CricketLok six teams were announced for the Nepal Premier League. Teams for Ncell NPL (Nepal Premier League) are:
  1. Tej : Panchakanya Group – Captain Sharad Veshwakar
  2. Colors X Factors : Teletalk Pvt Ltd – Captain Gyanendra Malla
  3. Vishal Group Warriors: Vishal Group – Captain Parash Khadka
  4. Kantipur Gurkhas : Kantipur Publications – Captain Basanta Regmi
  5. Jagdamba Giants : Shanker Group – Captain Shakti Gauchan
  6. Sagarmatha Legends : Ghorahi Cement – Captain Binod Bhandari

Presenting Ncell NPL's official logo



It's good to see the private company is investing in cricket. Hope it'll be a good opportunity for Nepali cricket players. I'm eagerly waiting for the Ncell NPL btw. ;)
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

5 Best News Apps from Nepal, You'll Want to Download Right Now

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As competition heats up among Nepali Media, they are trying to catch up with the latest trend and technologies to stay ahead of their competitors. Nepal's leading publication house  -- Kantipur Publications has quietly launched its Android app last year in December. In January, another publication house -- Nepal Republic media launched its Nagarik News app for both Android and iOS device. A few other online news portals and independent developers have also launched their Andoird and iOS apps.
On this blog, I've gathered a five news app from Nepal that you would like to download on your device. Let me clarify, this is not an in depth review of the news apps. But I had installed these apps for a day or two to write this blog.
1. Nagarik News (Andorid / iOS)
Nagarik News launched its Android and iOS app in January. Since then, it has been downloaded more than ten thousand times from the Google Play Store. Nagarik News serves the news/contents in both English and Nepali languages.

You can browse through the different categories, including cartoons, e-paper of Nagarik Daily and Republica for free. Not only this -- you can also send news/tips to Nagarik. As a journalist, Arpan Shrestha pointed out in his tweet, "This app could storm citizen journalism and reader generated content".



2. Kantipur (Android)
Kantipur publications android app is a multipurpose app, where you can read, listen and watch Kantipur / Kathmandu Post Daily, Radio Kantipur and Kantipur Television respectively. Kantipur app is available on the Google Play Store from last December and has been downloaded more than five thousand times. Kantipur also offers news/contents in both English and Nepali languages. E-paper of Kantipur and Kathmandu Post are available on the app.


3. Online Khabar (Android)
One of the first, internet-only media organization OnlineKhabar's Android app is available on the Google Playstore. OnlineKhabar's app is more like its mobile version of the website from where you can access OnlineKhabar.com contents both in English and Nepali languages. This app has been downloaded more than ten thousand times from the Play store.


4. Khabar Sanchar (Android)
Khabar Sanchar is the fully personalized news app, think of Flipboard or Play News Stand kind of app where you can read news from different sources. The description says, "This app is mainly targeted to Nepalese audience and brings all the news contents from popular Nepalese newspapers and many other news portals in one place, thus simplifying news browsing." Being an avid user of Google Play Newsstand I actually like this news app. The offline news reading feature makes sure that you can read the news in places where internet may not be available.


On another note, this app can be a serious threat to other media organizations.

5. m - Nepal News (iOS)
m Nepal News app developed by Rajan Manandhar is a promising news app for iOS (iPhone / iPad) users.  On m - Nepal News app, you can read news from different sources, just like Play News stand. The description says, "Whether you are in Nepal or abroad, with m - Nepal News, you can stay updated and connected with happenings from all over Nepal. We bring you "TOP" Nepal news sources right into your Apple devices along with "Best" Nepal Radio Stations."


Bonus: Aakar Post / Aakar Tech is available on Google Play News Stand and Google Currents. 
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