Monday Oct 29, 2012

Fix Your Broken Organization

Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series

Simple. Powerful. Proven.

Face it, your organization is broken. Customers are not the focus they should be. Processes are running amok. Your intranet is a ghost town. And colleagues wonder why it’s easier to get things done on the Web than at work. What’s the solution?

Join us for this Webcast. Christian Finn will talk about three simple, powerful, and proven principles for improving your organization through collaboration. Each principle will be illustrated by real-world examples.

Discover:

  • How to dramatically improve workplace collaboration
  • Why improved employee engagement creates better business results
  • What’s the value of a fully engaged customer

Time to Fix What’s Broken

Register now for this Webcast—the tenth in the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Series.

Monday Aug 13, 2012

Upgrading Your Approach to Social Collaboration Success

We're fortunate today to have a guest post by John Brunswick, PMP, Principal Solution Consultant, Oracle.

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Upgrading Your Approach to Social Collaboration Success

John BrunswickEngulfed in a sea of buzzwords and new technologies, it is easy to loose sight of the core goals that social collaboration tools support. The "cool" factor of these tools is undeniable, which can actually complicate our ability to zero in on making deployments objectively successful.

Further adding to our challenges, our projects do not exist within a vacuum and are influenced by resource constraints, organizational politics and depth of strategic knowledge within our organization and partner teams.

Seeing as how these factors may not change, how can we close the gap on success with socially collaborative deployments? Wouldn't it be great if we had a few tools to guide our decision making in and around social collaboration technologies?

We inherently approach and judge projects with our own perspective - our "Lens" into the world of social collaboration. If we can enrich our lens to become conscious of new senses for measuring aspects of social collaboration - like Friction and Subtraction, we are better able to critically evaluate our projects.

In Six Counterintuitive Best Practices for Social Collaboration, we introduce with 6 new vantage points to help enable success with your projects. Our session omits buzzwords and discusses objective findings, experience, anecdotes - even daring to suggest you should “Throw Out Your Intranet Home Page” and why.

To prime ourselves for this week's webcast, let's consider the following as we start down a path of upgrading our lens onto social collaboration

Social Collaboration is a Spice - Not the Main Dish

Just as a spice, social collaboration enriches a solution, but does not in and of itself offer the complete solution. We would never eat a tablespoon of cinnamon by itself, but it can make a high value food like oatmeal much more accessible to people interested in having it for breakfast.

In the whitepaper "Three Key Tenets of Optimal Social Collaboration" I propose that the most powerful social collaboration is always ultimately tied to a business entity - the oatmeal in our analogy.

Consider the efforts placed into a new marketing initiative. Social collaboration capabilities can enable participants involved with the new marketing campaign to share in a seamless, collective dialogue and exchange materials related to the initiative. This ultimately offers an accessible means for people to more naturally work around the marking initiative entity that would otherwise span a variety of traditional systems like email, document management and discussion forums.

When thinking about where social collaboration can "spice" up existing process in a line of business, look for the following or similar key words within the process "coordinate, resolve, facilitate, discuss, determine" to gauge the level of applicability.

As Mike Fauscette from IDC pointed out on Monday, many organizations undertake social business initiatives as a grass roots effort, namely because they occur in a place that will make a difference. Social collaboration applied to a problem - because it objectively helps, not just for the sake of using social collaboration, is where the technology shines.

Cataloging process challenges within a given line of business is an excellent starting point for understanding if and where social collaboration can add value.

Become Aware of Social Ergonomics

Perhaps your organization already has social collaboration tools targeted toward a business process like the one highlighted above, but adoption is slow at best. How are your Social Ergonomics?

Software packages are constantly striving to deliver innovation through a myriad of features and functions. If the features and functions are on target with the business needs - what could possibly hinder adoption?

Let's consider our physical world for a moment. What if throughout the course of your work day you needed to correlate information from sources that resided in various buildings in your office space and within each building a ladder was required to access boxes containing the information you required to complete your tasks? In the physical world we instantly rationalize that this does not make sense. We would demand that it be rearranged, as it drastically hinders our ability to work within the environment.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to recognize where hurdles in our virtual world exist and they often go unrecognized. After all, our organization implemented social collaboration tools, right?

To better understand this critical, but difficult to understand disconnect, let's examine the opposite end of the social ergonomic spectrum. Which systems can we use as examples of excellent social ergonomics? They are the ones that people flock to using - because they are easy and add value to the process that they are supporting. They are not social collaboration for the sake of social collaboration.

If a system has excellent social ergonomics, the technology becomes transparent to the end user.

Getting Your Social Collaboration Critical Tools

Through a series of atypical subject matter, anecdotes and statistics in Six Counterintuitive Best Practices for Social Collaboration, you will become equipped with new tools to critically evaluate and shape your social collaboration experiences to get the most value from your investment.

I look forward to sharing and receiving questions and comments and hope to see you on the webcast.


If you enjoyed John’s thoughts above, you’ll love the upcoming next webcast in the Oracle Social Business Thought Leader Webcast Series this week: Join me for this upcoming webcast6 Counterintuitive Best Practices for Social Collaboration Adoption featuring John Brunswick. 

Looking to implement social and collaboration technologies in your workplace? Sometimes the best tips are the not so obvious ones. Join John Brunswick as he analyzes a series of counterintuitive ways to help increase the return on your social collaboration investments by sharing a series of best practices that may seem counterintuitive. Reviewing practices like "Why Five Users are Better than Five Hundred" and "Throw out your Intranet Home Page", will help shed light on some common misconceptions around how and where intranets and collaboration provide value, to help organizations to grow, manage these systems and ultimately maximize return on their efforts.


John Brunswick is a WebCenter Solution Consultant at Oracle Corporation, specializing in enterprise portal and content management solutions. Prior to this he was a Consulting Practice Manager within BEA System’s Business Interaction Division Professional Services Group. He managed their Enterprise Portal and Business Process Management practices in Canada and New England, helping Fortune 500 companies create solutions to a wide range of business challenges.

He actively contributes to the enterprise software business community and has authored a series of articles about optimal business involvement in portal, business process management and SOA development, examining ways of helping organizations move away from monolithic application development. Brunswick served as an affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center in 2009, focusing on educational Web strategies.

In 2006, he developed ServiceMountain, a commercial software package to help manage small service businesses, which was acquired by a medium-sized software vendor.

John actively leads the Boston Computing Review user group which he founded in 2005, educating members about emerging technologies and industry trends. Prior to working at BEA Systems John was an Implementation Manager at Plumtree Software. Before working at Plumtree Software, John directed Jniche Technology Associates, a small web application development and networking group. John graduated from Boston University with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems, is a PMP and holds various technical certification credentials.


Prioritizing Social Business Projects: Where Should You Start?

Register NOW!

Don’t miss our next session in the Oracle Social Business Thought Leader Webcast Series later this week on 08/16/2012: 6 Counterintuitive Best Practices for Social Collaboration Adoption featuring John Brunswick 


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As we begin a week looking at Social Collaboration, IDC Analyst, Michael Fauscette provides our first guest post.

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Prioritizing Social Business Projects: Where Should You Start?
Michael Fauscette, GVP, Software Business Solutions, IDC

Companies often ask me where they should start when considering applying social tools and processes to some part of the business. I wish I had a simple answer, but like many business issues, it’s a bit complex and depends on several factors. There are some common pitfalls though, that should be avoided when one starts to evaluate where to invest in social tools and in trying to bring about the subsequent change that must accompany any successful social business initiative.Michael Fauscette

It’s easy, for example, to jump immediately into some customer-facing social business activities, mostly because it seems obvious that it’s important. A lot of the initial use of social tools by businesses was tied to marketing, but that has changed quite a bit over the last three years. Customer-facing projects may very well be the highest priority for your business, but before starting any project there are some things that you need to sort out.

The second pitfall is to get so lost in all of the “cool” social tools, that you lose sight of what you’re trying to do. Believe me, I’m as nerdy as anyone and I love new software and technology in general, but the focus of social business is on changing business culture and behavior, not on new software tools. The technology is simply an enabler to make the change easier and more effective.

So, how do you build a social business strategy? First, you have to commit to doing just that — building a strategy based on what’s happening in your market and your business objectives. Many companies start using social tools in an unconscious way, as a grassroots effort. That’s not necessarily wrong or “bad”; grassroots efforts can often point you to areas in the business where they’ll make a real difference and where the culture is ripe for change. They’re just a part of the growing-up process as a social business. At some point though, the business has to consciously decide to invest in social tools and figure out a strategy.

To build an effective social strategy a business should consider:

  • Market (what is impacting your business)
  • Economy
  • State of your brand (positive or negative)
  • Current workforce dynamics
  • Your competition
  • Market share dynamics
  • What your customers are telling you
  • Etc.
  • Social business objectives (what at your business wants to accomplish)
  • Building a collaborative and knowledge sharing culture
  • Increasing customer engagement
  • Improving brand sentiment
  • Increasing product / service innovation
  • Getting employees more engaged and contributing to the business in a broader fashion
  • Building a partner ecosystem
  • Etc.

These are only a few of the many possible market issues and business objectives; they will vary greatly by business. Once you have an overall strategy you can then build a roadmap and start to target the specific projects that you should do. The above list is prioritized according to the business objectives and the strategy. It’s best to start small and increase participation over time, by the way. Remember that whatever you’re doing with social business, you are changing culture and the way people work, and change is never easy.

There are dozens of use cases for social business, but they tend to fall in a few basic categories:

  • Enterprise social networks
  • Customer experience
  • Innovation management
  • Sales enablement

The most common first projects, at least from my research, tend to be either centered around improving the customers experience, like adding social customer support, or around enterprise social networks.

While there’s no way for me to look into a crystal ball and tell you where to start, I do know that many businesses see significant productivity gains from enterprise social networks, or, in other words, from working to eliminate organizational silos, increase collaboration and increase knowledge sharing. It’s often challenging to be more engaged with your customers when internally you are still operating a business that cannot collaborate and communicate effectively.

Where are you seeing the biggest returns? Leave me some ideas in the comments.

Organic Business Networks - featuring Michael Fauscette, GVP, Software Business Solutions, IDC

To hear more with featured guest speaker, Michael Fauscette, GVP, Software Business Solutions, IDC -  Watch the On-Demand webcast of the Oracle Social Business Thought Leader Webcast Series - “Organic Business Networks: Doing Business in a Hyper-Connected World”

Wednesday Apr 18, 2012

It’s a New and Improved Mocial Sobile World Out There

Mobile & Social – the lines have been blurring for quite a while considering that most people have been accessing their social networks via their mobile devices. Perhaps the world is ready for a new name: “Mocial” or “Sobile” – bringing together the always connected, access-oriented, digital debutante. These terms have been suggested over the years and never really stuck while meanwhile, the  frontiers of broadband, 3G, 4G, and ever faster mobile networks have been expanding and enabled those wanting anywhere, anytime access for work and pleasure with a fast enough pipe to enjoy the experience. How many of us have a box full of old modems of various baud we used to rely upon for a painfully slow connection to a primitive BBS or AOL or other immature internet gateway. My how times have changed - haven't they? We've been spoiled quickly.

Recent comscore data from last year – (August 2011) shows that more than 50% of users access their social networks on a daily basis from their mobile devices. More than Half of Mobile Social Networkers Access Sites on a Near Daily Basis

"In August 2011, more than 72.2 million people accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile device, an increase of 37 percent from the previous year. Nearly 40 million U.S. mobile users, more than half of the mobile social media audience, access these sites almost every day, demonstrating the importance of this activity to people’s daily routines."

A recent article in AdAge shouldn't surprise any of us out there with teenagers and observing how many different social channels they use to connect with their peers: Study: Young Consumers Switch Media 27 Times An Hour --- (Brian Steinberg Published: April 09, 2012) This creates an interesting challenge for advertisers trying to get the attention of this digital native population to engage their eyeballs across multiple channels to build loyalty, increase sales and grow their brand advocates around the world.

The use of mobile and social together is also bleeding into other areas of our culture previously considered sacred as the lines between TV, mobile, social and the Internet also start to blur and marketers attempt to figure out the best way to engage consumers across multiple interactive screens that are switching dynamically many times an hour. Sarah Rotman Epps at Forrester added this recent commentary around the melding of not only social and mobile, but TV and mobile as well in The Tablet-TV Connection - (April 11, 2012)


Friday Feb 19, 2010

Realizing the Benefits of Enterprise 2.0 - Q&A from the KM World webcast

Last Tuesday, I co-presented a live broadcast on "Realizing the Benefits of Enterprise 2.0" with Andy Mulholland, the Global CTO of Capgemini. From my perspective, it was a very enjoyable webcast with a highly interactive format as Andy and I discussed best practices for adopting an Enterprise 2.0 strategy and more importantly, highlighted key customer examples showing how it can be done today. If you missed the webcast, you can catch a replay here.

There was lot of interest in the broadcast as we had over 700 people sign up and over 350 attendees. I was very happy to note the high level of audience participation in some of the polls we conducted and in the Q&A session. In fact, there were so many questions, that I have decided to take a crack at answering them in this blog post, grouped by the most popular topics:

Q: What are some best practices to overcome the initial resistance for people to start adopting the newer E20 ways of working?
A: There is no easy answer here. Some of the approaches that I have seen work well include:

• Integrate use of E20 technologies into employees' day-to-day activities and workflows
• Senior leaders model/champion technology
• Provide informal incentives (e.g. expertise rating/recognition) for meaningful contributions
• Integrate E20 approaches with other modes of customer/partner interaction

 

Q: How do you match use of E20 with organizational culture?
A: You definitely need to consider organizational culture when rolling out Enterprise solutions. Enterprise 2.0 is all about empowering users to be more efficient in executing business goals. An important part of the enhancement is around using more flexible, collaborative tools that facilitate improved knowledge sharing - which in most cases is best served if the culture is more transparent and less hierarchical. For many organizations, comfort with transparency and lateralization will be a long-term process often involving new hires, training and new organizational incentives. Of course, increased transparency has to be moderated with regulatory and other legal requirements in many industries.

Q: What is the difference between collaboration and knowledge work?
A: The line is definitely blurred especially as most knowledge work (which I would define as working with information assets) involves working with multiple people either in collaborative teams or in workflows where work products created by one person are consumed by another person.

Q: How do you create a business case and measure results for the benefits of E20 to an organization?
A: This is probably the most often asked question that I hear. What I recommend, based on my experience talking to customers, is to focus on how Enterprise 2.0 solutions can help you better achieve your business goals. Ultimately, it comes down to how E20 can enhance the various business processes in your organizations. If you already measure your key processes, then by using E20 tools, you can measure the delta improvements in pilot deployments which, when combined with qualitative user feedback, can form the basis of a business case for larger deployments.

Q: What are some of the key business benefits companies have gained as result of using E20 technology?
A: This really depends on your deployment and measurement approaches, but generally, the following areas result in measureable gains for companies that have been using E20 the longest:

• Greater ability to share ideas
• Improved access to knowledge experts
• Reduced costs of communication, travel and operations
• Decreased time to market for products
• Improved employee satisfaction

 

Q: How can we balance demand for Enterprise 2.0 with the need for tighter governance?
A: Many organizations struggle with providing their users with more flexible E20 tools while maintaining regulatory compliance with the needs of the business. The E20 tools need to be able to leverage existing security and governance systems, in particular, data privacy and regulatory rules that are often centrally defined. One way to achieve this goal is to use an enterprise-class E20 platform that is designed to integrate with existing IT systems and enterprise applications so that organizational governance is maintained as users create and share content via collaborative E20 tools.

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