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digital transformation

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    THOUGHTS

    For me Blockbuster was a family affair: my parents would choose their movie, my brother would typically get a video game, and I would pick whatever recent teen drama or romantic comedy was new and noteworthy. Everyone I know had a Blockbuster membership card in their wallet. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Blockbuster’s business was booming, at its peak valued at $5 billion.

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    THOUGHTS

    In a previous blog post, we looked at the common characteristics of an organization operating in its ideal digital state, then taking a closer look at each of the eight mindsets, the first of which was being value-driven. The second mindset shared among organizations excelling at digital value delivery is being innovative.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind is proud to sponsor the upcoming Digital Summit Dallasannual conference, taking place Tuesday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 7, at the Irving Convention Center.

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    THOUGHTS

    Hosted at the beautiful waterfront Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, the Digital Summit conference is focused on providing digital professionals like Marketers, Web Practitioners, SEO Strategists, UXers and Designers with real-world, practical strategies to navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape and provide better customer experiences at their companies.

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    THOUGHTS

    Marketing works in a myriad of ways. There are so many opportunities to connect with the community and your target audience, whether that’s through more traditional channels, such as sponsoring an industry trade show or through digital channels such as internet marketing.

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    THOUGHTS

    I’m heading to the Motor City this week for what promises to be an exciting conference, as Universal Mind is sponsoring the Digital Summit Detroit, taking place on Tuesday, October 11 and Wednesday, October 12.

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    THOUGHTS

    On Thursday, October 6, the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel will play host to the Rocky Mountain CitySummit. The event will focus on The City of the Future: Connections, Design, Experience, which aligns with Universal Mind’s values and solutions.

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    THOUGHTS

    As smart home technology becomes more commonly adopted, it’s easy to incorrectly assume that the smart kitchen is simply a part of that ecosystem—another room in the larger smart home. It’s more than that.

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    THOUGHTS

    Admittedly, I love throwing parties! Designing events, coordinating details, and welcoming guests fills my spirit with an unparalleled sense of excitement and anticipation. Life, and all we accomplish in it, deserves to be celebrated! I’ve realized that envisioning these joyous occasions and working to make the celebration a reality is one of my favorite creative outlets.

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    THOUGHTS

    This year’s Category Management Conference was titled, “Bridging Traditional and Digital: Connecting with Shoppers in the New Retail Landscape”. With reduced store size and traffic, retail organizations are in desperate need of bridging the physical and digital experiences to drive conversion and appeal to younger age groups.

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    THOUGHTS

    On Wednesday, September 21st, Universal Mind is proud to host our clients, community partners and friends for “An Evening of Innovation,” an invitation-only event showcasing our new Dallas studio, located at 302 N. Market Street in the West End.

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    THOUGHTS

    Dallas is home to a thriving community of talented, creative professionals - user experience designers, digital marketers, content strategists, developers, and more. To strengthen community ties, the metroplex hosts a vast array of meetup groups and professional communities.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind is proud to sponsor the upcoming Category Management Association (CMA) annual conference, taking place on Monday, September 12 - Wednesday, September 14 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

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    THOUGHTS

    The CXPA Dallas Summer CXelebration Networking Event hosted at Universal Mind’s Dallas Studio on Tuesday, August 23rd started out with an engaged, community-minded feel.

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    THOUGHTS

    It’s a fact - global organizations that achieve successful digital transformation will outperform their competitors through both optimized business processes and on-demand, collaborative access to all content. While there is no ‘easy route’ to digital transformation, making sure you have a fully integrated enterprise digital asset management solution is a solid start.

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    THOUGHTS

    Long, long ago, in the late '60s, the roots of rapid prototyping began with our first hero Herbert Volcker. With a vision of programming machines to take on automated feats, he developed the first mathematical theory and algorithms of solid modeling.

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    THOUGHTS

    Each city bears its own story. Its own culture, its singular way of synthesizing the desires, needs and interests of its inhabitants. This is always apparent in meeting local professionals attending events in different regions.

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    THOUGHTS

    Do you know what city was amongst the first in the US to use wireless internet? Do you know where the “Geek Squad” was born? If you answered “Minneapolis”, you may be familiar with all the many incredible things coming out of this booming mid-west town.

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    THOUGHTS

    re your Digital and Agile Transformation initiatives falling short? You may be lacking the “just right” mix of experts on the ground. We can help. Picture the ideal state for your business... In a complex, ever-changing digital world, we now provide you the staffing solutions to help you get there.

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    THOUGHTS

    Overwhelmingly, the topic that people were most curious about was the UX Runway at the feature team level. Often, comments that were shared circled around wanting to avoid “Just in time designs”, which sacrificed consistent design across teams, and left no time for iteration - frustrating designers. The goal here is to help define the key to UX working within SAFe at the feature level - the UX Runway.

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    THOUGHTS

    Agile software development is now several decades old, and a deep body of evidence has accumulated over the years to demonstrate the benefits of agile, including increased productivity and flexibility in adapting to changing business demands. If agile is so great at increasing productivity, why wouldn’t one want to realize its benefits on an organization’s most expensive initiatives?

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    THOUGHTS

    95% of all organizations surveyed now practice agile. This is a direct benefit of all the hard work and proven success the agile community has put in for years. Universal Mind, in particular, has remained dedicated to furthering the success of agile by contributing to the agile community with years of empirical knowledge across many verticals, successfully releasing countless enterprise solutions.

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    THOUGHTS

    Akin to design, _great_ products aren’t created in isolation. They are built and delivered together from idea to final product — and with the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), large organizations are able to deliver the highest value to their customers.

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    THOUGHTS

    The final core tenet of DevOps is Automated Testing. The goal of this tenet of two-fold: to reduce the amount of time dedicated to manual testing, and to ensure that quality is built into a solution’s core and continually evaluated.

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    THOUGHTS

    It was early Thursday morning on June 16th when I arrived to the Ellie Caulkins Theater in the Denver Performing Arts Center. This gorgeous venue was hosting the Digital Summit Denver. As I entered the theater under the magnificent Chihuly chandelier, I was amazed at the already-buzzing attendees walking amongst the booths, inspired and bright-eyed, eager to learn more.

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    THOUGHTS

    With rapidly changing infrastructure needs, organizations have shifted away from on-premise bare metal servers. In today’s landscape, the needs are just too unpredictable to be able to order and install servers every time an organization needs to widen its digital footprint or scale to respond to increased traffic.

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    THOUGHTS

    One of the biggest shifts in software in the past decade has been the shift in release cycles. In the past I’ve worked with many Fortune 100 organizations which had a 12-18 month release cycle for delivering new value for software. In today’s digital landscape users expect that an organization can deliver new value in 4-6 weeks. There is no way for traditional organizations to achieve this goal without an entirely new way to think about how value is delivered.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind is proud to sponsor the upcoming Digital Summit Denver conference, taking place June 15 - 16. Not only will UM have a strong presence in the exhibitor space, but our own Lori Kirkland, VP of Experience Transformation, will address the teeming crowds on Thursday, June 16th.

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    THOUGHTS

    At its core, an organization that is successful at DevOps is one that has mastered the science of automation. While many organizations have automated pieces of the development, testing, and deployment workflow, few have scripted the entire process. The first core tenet of DevOps at Universal Mind is directly connected to this automation process: Infrastructure as Code.

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    THOUGHTS

    Defining What DevOps is not can provide some clarity and perspective on the topic and help you better understand what DevOps _is._ DevOps is not developers taking the role of operations, nor is it allowing anyone to deploy code to production at any time. This is a common misnomer due to the way some organizations have configured their build process. While these approaches are popular and often connected to the overall DevOps philosophy, this is not a true DevOps implementation.

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    THOUGHTS

    At Universal Mind, we define DevOps as a set of best practices for collaboration and coordination between development and operations to enable continuous delivery. To understand what this means and how it plays out within an organization, it is important to first understand Continuous Delivery and the tooling which enables it.

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    THOUGHTS

    I’ve come to the point in my career as an Experience Strategist where I can comfortably ask a client how their Values, Mission, and Vision statements feed into their organization’s daily work product. I’m old enough and experienced enough to ask such seemingly simple, irrelevant questions of organizationally important people. If you want to stump an executive or a senior manager sometime, give this try; it’s fun and you’ll come to love the way they automatically assume you’re an idiot.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind decided to make the investment in getting its entire UX staff trained and certified as Scaled Agilists. The intent was to not only bring the team up to speed on the framework but also better understand how user experience fits in.

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    THOUGHTS

    At this year’s Interop Las Vegas event, Universal Mind presented a half-day workshop for IT executives on Agile for the Enterprise. At a time when 94% of problems in business are systems driven and where a bad system will beat a good person every time, the goal of the workshop was to focus on fixing the system driven issues, by way of agile.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind's work with Vail Resorts was named as a finalist in the 2016 Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA)'s Innovation Awards for "Using Neuroscience to Improve Customer Experience". Working in tandem with Vail Resorts, the team set their sights early on to continuously take strategic actions that would push the boundaries of what is being done in the marketplace in the experience realm.

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    THOUGHTS

    When companies begin their agile transformation, one of the first challenges is understanding the new roles necessary to support the initiative. One of the most critical, which is typically a new concept for a company, is the role of ‘Product Owner’. What usually follows from companies is the normal questioning of ‘what makes this Product Owner role different from an Agile Business Analyst?’

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    THOUGHTS

    Andrew Sevin recently uprooted his family and headed across the country. The destination? Dallas. Was this a moment of insanity or a carefully thought out and strategically executed plan? Not only had Andrew specifically sought to place roots in Dallas, so too had Universal Mind. With headquarters in Denver, an office in Grand Rapids, the query remains: “Why Dallas?”

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    THOUGHTS

    What continues to amaze us are the number of companies who go back to the Big 4 and others like them (the same old people, places and things) for assistance when those exact same companies have not addressed their own digital and agile challenges.

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    THOUGHTS

    In conference rooms across the globe, teams are meeting to brainstorm, discuss and evaluate new ideas that will drive organizations in new directions. From products, processes and services, companies are deluged with ideas from both internal teams and external influencers like customers, market experts and consultants.

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    THOUGHTS

    So you have adopted agile at some level of your organization, that’s great. How do you think you are doing? Many organizations implement agile process without a way to gauge its effectiveness. While there are specific metrics at the team, program, and portfolio level to gauge effectiveness, there are also some general health indicators that organizations need to examine on a regular basis.

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    THOUGHTS

    In many Universal Mind blog posts about digital transformation, we talk about front-end user experiences and development technology used to enable those experiences. This post is focused on another aspect of digital transformation, the importance of an API integration layer in architecting an enterprise solution.

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    THOUGHTS

    Universal Mind has long embraced agile development methodologies, including Scrum and Kanban. Our Delivery managers are experts in leading agile projects, and we’ve invested heavily in agile training and tools so that we can successfully apply agile on a wide variety of projects, from development to user experience design and strategy work.

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    THOUGHTS

    The word _silos_ in an organization has caused many to shake their heads in meetings, comment on their destructive tendencies in the company walls, and seek outside expertise on ‘how to break down silos’ from consultants, articles, and books.

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    THOUGHTS

    The hot conversation in business is _Transformation_. Specifically, _Digital Transformation_. There’s good reason for the popularity - it’s well-documented how Digital is disrupting everything. How your customers experience your organization, how your employees experience their work inside the organization, and how deeply the external experiences affect your organization.

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    THOUGHTS

    If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you might be familiar with Sherlock and Watson running befuddled through foggy London streets and trouncing villains in the end. They are relatively simple adventures at times, involving deductive reasoning and a willingness to think in different veins - similar to how many organizations are approaching digital transformation.

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    THOUGHTS

    Every day, we’re interacting with more and more digital touch points – our laptops, tablets, mobile devices, smart watches – and while organizations are embracing the opportunity to interact with their customers across these touch points, marketplace trends are showing they're struggling to manage and support their fast growing number of applications and the overall experience is fragmented.

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    THOUGHTS

    While we've discussed Digital Transformation being an organization’s ability to provide customers with a unified, innovative digital experience, in this article, we will focus on what it means within the Delivery Practice at Universal Mind - creating an organizational culture in which teams are empowered to move fast and make their own decisions in the context of a larger digital roadmap.

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    THOUGHTS

    Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing more and more content on digital transformation. Our CEO, Brett Cortese, kicked off the discussion with a high-level overview of what digital transformation means to us and how we, as a digital agency are taking transformations on.

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    THOUGHTS

    The VentureBeat Mobile Summit just wrapped for 2015\. It was a great time connecting with other organizations who are interested in exploring how to engage users effectively through mobile. The event brought together brands, vendors, and agencies to help discuss the issues everyone has seen in their work.

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    THOUGHTS

    Regardless of your industry, company size or revenue, it seems organizations across the board are more alike than you’d think. At least that’s what we’ve discovered in working with our wide range of clients. The common denominator: Organizations become paralyzed by the challenge of adapting to the new realities of today’s digital landscape.

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    THOUGHTS

    In an all-things-digital world, it’s natural to put an emphasis on elements like devices and software when creating a digital experience. But that’s not going to cut it anymore. People aren’t satisfied with just a solution, and it’s no longer about the device — it’s all about the experience and the device being simply an extension of that experience.

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    THOUGHTS

    Our hope in creating Journeys was to provide our clients with a digital platform to map customer experiences. Typically, creating customer experience journey maps is an analog activity involving markers and whiteboards. And while there are digital tools to facilitate journey mapping, they do little more than provide the graphical building blocks without a framework. We set out to provide that framework with Journeys.

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    THOUGHTS

    Solomon, King of the early Federation of Israel in 950 bce made the proclamation that there was _nothing new under the sun: what has been, will be again_. While some may see this statement as a rather skeptical view of the world of innovation and progress, I must admit that there is a bit of truth to it; in fact, there are 3 bits of truth.

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    THOUGHTS

    _Creating an Atlas Ecosystem that captures all your Journey Maps_ So, let’s say you’ve done a number of customer journey maps at this point. Each one documents something you wanted to know about a customer segment and you are taking it to heart, using it effectively in the workplace by sharing the