Monday, April 7, 2014

Standing Out and Staying Relevant in the Growing Digital Crowd!

Every day we open our laptops, power up our tablets, turn on our mobile devices and begin the day. We launch a browser and begin to search across a sea of data – just how much data is behind this screen? Well, according to the Netcraft’s January 2014 Web Server Survey there is 861,379,152 websites (over 861 million websites).  That breaks down to 256 million registered domains, with about 108 million hosts serving these 861 million websites – in case you’re interested in the details.
How, as a brand trying to establish yourself as a leader in your field standout in this ever growing sea of data? What is the secret recipe to stand apart? How do you stay relevant?  Many brands have turned to consumer social sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to ensure that they are both seen and heard, which is important, but let’s not forget the continued importance of the website and the need to use social channels to drive traffic back to the website. It is more important than ever to continue the social engagement from within your website. I agree with what Joseph Guarino wrote in a recent blog post titled, The Importance of a Website – Website vs. Social Media Pages. “Your website is a unique space where you can deliver such a compelling message and persuade your prospects into customers. No other location in the world of social media (or the digital world for that matter) has as much potential persuasive power than your website to build this understanding.”
I started to think about this as we get ready to launch our new OpenText Experience Suite. The Experience Suite provides the ability to unite your customers and customer communities with your web activities. The Experience Suite brings together so many important elements when it comes to creating a compelling digital experience. It is the first suite of tools to bring together a leading digital asset management system, a leading customer communication management system for invoicing or interactive correspondence, a leading web content management system to present the dashboards, web pages and personalized journeys using social tools, all with a strong archive and information governance system supporting it. It is designed to help organizations utilize the powerful combination of web content management, personalized delivery, and social features on a uniform foundation.

If you are thinking about how you will stand out in the digital crowd and stay relevant in a sea that is 861 million strong, recognize that connecting and collaborating with your customers in social channels is really only as good as your ability to also connect this organic customer community with your existing web activities and most importantly, your website. This is where you can start to further amplify your message as a brand, with the help of your customers contributing to the conversation, and stand out amongst the rest.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The File Sharing Dilemma (a.k.a. It's 3am do you know where your content is?)

You’re in IT management. Let me ask what keeps you up at night? Standard stuff like health and retirement savings? Or, is it that new hire in marketing? The one leaving the office every night with confidential campaign plans copied to a flash drive. Or maybe it’s the R&D manager who’s using public file sync and sharing services to transfer sensitive product development specs between their work and home computers?

If either of those scenarios is familiar, that’s what you should be stressing over. And for a couple of reasons: At the most basic level, that’s your organization’s critical information‑it’s lifeblood‑out there roaming beyond the firewall. At a higher level, it also means your enterprise probably doesn't have a secure, compliant, user-friendly file sync and share solution integrated into its ECM platform.
You’re not alone. If it makes you feel any better, many organizations are struggling to adapt to a rapidly evolving work environment that now encompasses anywhere, anytime, and on any device. 

To help put the changing landscape in perspective, here are some results I've pulled together from a few surveys:

  •  65% of respondents have accessed work-related data on their mobile device, though only 10% have corporate-issued devices. Shockingly, over 50% said access to their devices wasn't password protected.
  • 78% of companies say the number of personal devices connecting to their networks has doubled over the past two years. However, less than 10% are fully aware of which devices are logging in.
  •  93% of companies without an enterprise file sync and share platform say their employees are specifically using Dropbox, despite (or, more likely, unaware of) several recently documented security issues.

BYOx has Arrived. What’s Your Response?

Fact is, companies are expecting more out of their employees, and resourceful staff are doing their best to deliver. So much so that the concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is quickly morphing into BYOx, where “x” is defined as whatever’s necessary to get the job done‑devices, applications, web services, cloud storage, and more. Good on the staff for showing initiative, but it’s now all on the infrastructure architects to provide them with a secure, productive sandbox to play in.

I’m not alone in saying that adopting an “anything goes” policy for external information sharing and storage is a no-win proposition. It results in an inefficient, tangled mess for users and gruesome security and governance risks for information guardians. There really is only one, true win-win in this new world, and it’s in the form of a cohesive, dedicated file sync and sharing application that’s built from the ground up with inherent security and compliance to excel at all three aspects of the corporate sync-and-share paradigm: Usability, Governance and Security. 

The Best of All File Sharing Worlds is in One Simple Solution

So, at the most basic level, it seems there are two paths to meeting the demands of the next-gen workforce and workplace. Sadly, one involves trying to grow a business through public file sync and sharing tools created for non-business use. Tools that are incompatible with your tech environment, ask you to rely on someone else’s definition of security, and can’t tell you where your data’s been hanging out.

Truth is, solutions like OpenText Tempo Box are the foundation for the future. Tempo Box is built on an ECM infrastructure and operates in the cloud, on-premise, or as a hybrid model that incorporates both. It’s time to take the leap and implement a true enterprise-grade, sync-and-share solution that effortlessly brings the best advantages of external file sync and sharing‑ content creation, collaboration, and storage‑back behind the firewall and into a secure, governable structure where it belongs. I guarantee you’ll sleep better. Try Tempo Box today!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Productive or time wasting - When can we stop asking this question?

This image has been floating around Facebook for a few weeks now and it really struck a chord with me. The image made me ask myself a few questions such as; has social media really changed how I work; do I work better or are these pure distractions from the task at hand?

I may be showing my age, but I started into the work force just as email was catching on and I remember asking a few of my co-workers whether or not I should even add my email address to my business card. Now I can’t imagine how I would do my job without email. 

The average person spends 13 hours per week processing email, but some weeks I feel as though email is all I do.  Of course nowadays email is just a small part of the various channels of communication that I work with day to day. My day use to start and end in email but these days I typically start my day in Twitter, move back and forth from email to our own social collaboration tool, a few minutes on Facebook, possibly a quick peek into LinkedIn and then back to Twitter - and of course this is often done from a mix of my mobile and laptop. Has this new way of working across the “omni channel” made me more productive? I think the answer is yes! I am more connected, have a more transparent view of my organization and a wealth of experts at my fingertips. 

These new channels are not here to disrupt my style of work or displace my email. This is just the evolution of work as we know it. The importance is learning how to adopt these tools effectively and educating the workforce on their importance in a way that showcases meaning and purpose in their use.

As Jacob Morgan writes in a recent post.
“….the notion of working 9-5 from an office is being replaced by the idea of being able to “connect to work;” an employee feeling like a cog is being replaced by the voice of the engaged employee; email and intranets are being replaced by networked and connected systems; yearly reviews are being replaced by real-time feedback; working in silos is being replaced by cross-boundary collaboration, and the traditional idea of what it means to be an organization is being replaced by evolving to a collaborative organization.”

I see this as progress, don't you?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Turning 40 and Paying it Forward

This post is off the beaten track of my normal posts. Last month I turned 40 (shhh..) and decided that instead of moping on about getting older, I would turn that negative energy into something much more positive. There seems to be something about birthdays that end in a zero that  present an ideal time for reflection. I have so many things to be grateful for in my life, from my marriage, my family, my job, to my home that I thought this would be an ideal time to both reflect and give back. I took the lead from a few different posts that I have read over the last year  and decided to dedicate the day of my birthday to "paying it forward". I made the attempt to accomplish 40 good deeds over the course of the day, one for each year.

It did not take me long to realize that doing 40 good deeds was a very lofty goal and not something I could get through in one day. But this exercise really did have an effect on me and I am going to make a bigger effort to pay it forward more often.

Here is the list of things that I did manage to accomplish:

Good Deed One:
Took my husband out for lunch!

Good Deed Two:
Donated toys to St. Vincent

Good Deed Three:
Made the choice to donate my Airmiles to the human society for the rest of the month
You can do this too by printing off this card Airmiles for the Humane Society

Good Deed Four:
Brought a pot a chili to a neighbor

Good Deed Five:
Purchased 3 Starbucks gift cards and hid them inside 3 books at my public library.
This one gave me the most pleasure. I may make this a regular practice. I tried to pick books that I thought would be read by people in most need of an act of kindness.

Good Deed Six:
Bought flowers for a friend

This exercise was so rewarding and I have vowed to make this an annual effort on my birthday. Pay it Forward Birthday I am also going to try and involve my family in the effort. On the official "Pay it Forward" day on April 25th I will be including my kids in the experience in hopes that they can gain a better appreciation of what it means to give and not always get.

My hopes in sharing my experience via a blog post is that I will inspire others to get involved in the "Pay it Forward" movement.( Pay it Forward Site) I think we can all agree that the world today can always use a few more random acts of kindness!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Could the Junk Drawer 1.0 Become the Junk Drawer 2.0?

Yes, this is my real junk drawer!

Ah, the infamous junk drawer. We all have them in our homes. They are that designated place, often a kitchen drawer, where we store the items that we use frequently that really don’t have a proper home, or they do but never make it back there. In the drawer, there is a huge quantity of “stuff” that we need, not all of it put there by us. 

Typically the junk drawer creation is a group effort, with many contributors in the home. There are a lot of items in there that I have several of, like 4 sets of spare keys, 6 nail files, chopsticks, 15 pens, all different colors of course. I often need dig to the back of the drawer to find what I need, and by the time I get to it I realize that I don’t need it anymore as I now need to move onto a different task in the house.

My last trip to the junk drawer gave me a sense of déjà vu as I realized that is a similar experience that I have when I am trying to locate information in the office. As I launch my PC and try to search for a piece of content that I need to work I open my intranet and realize that there is a ton of content here, created and added by several different people. The content is often contributed by a large number of authors, and often there can be duplicated work, appearing in a variety of formats and layouts. Even with the best search tools, there is no easy way to find the information that you need without looking through many different layers that often exist inside the intranet. Often before I locate the content I am looking for, I am pulled into another direction, probably an urgent email that needs to be dealt with. According to IDC, “The typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $6 million to $12 million per year searching for non-existent information.”

Of course my junk drawer at home is small in size and can be easily cleaned out and reorganized to be effective again. The same cannot be said about the intranet or file shares that many of us are using. As the amount of content grows, so does the size of the junk drawer.

So how can we battle this plague of the ever expanding junk drawer? Content is not going to stop growing. According to Yankee Group, “80% of data in an enterprise is unstructured Information. This type of information is growing at 200% per year.” Many companies are tackling this issue by moving away from the static intranet scenarios and adopting a better, more effective way to work by deploying more collaborative tools that augment their content with social features. Allowing them to share more effectively with co-workers, add value to the existing content and search more easily for both content and the people they need to be able to get their work done. But are team spaces, social collaboration tools and community spaces exempt from the plague of the junk drawer. I don’t believe so. It is just as important to ensure that these environments are also designed with purpose and driven by good design.

I am seeing this first hand as OpenText has adopted the use of our Tempo Social application internally. Our new environment has quickly spawned well over 300 communities in a short time frame. We are learning firsthand the importance of keeping the signal to noise ratio just right to encourage adoption. We are thinking through things such as the lifecycle management required for communities. We are learning how to better understand when a community is needed versus a forum or a project space. We recently hosted a webinar session on the topic that resulted in some great conversations, in case you are interested. We have also published our use case for using Tempo

I would love to hear from others on what their recipe is in avoiding the “social sprawl” that can result in the junk drawer 2.0. Feedback and comments appreciated!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Working out Loud: No More Knowledge Hoarding!

I spend much of my work day as many do, writing documents, sending emails and researching online. A typical document that I write goes through several reviews, and I am often leery to send a draft for review until I am almost 70% sure of the content that I have laid out.  Through my editing process I often come across some great nuggets of information and the old me use to say, keep that in your back pocket to use when needed. 

Yes, I was “knowledge hoarding”.

The term knowledge hoarder is often heard in business as knowledge holds great value. I know more than you, so I hold the power. Knowledge hoarding is often seen as a method of ensuring job security. Employees often feel that the company could not do without them simply because they can’t do without the knowledge they hold inside their heads. As a result, a lot of content is sealed away on home computers, locked down in file stores and databases and kept in silos for no one else to see. This culture is starting to back fire and I like to think that Social Business has something to do with this. The power of “working out loud” sharing those drafts, crowd sourcing ideas and connecting with others both internally and externally to build conversations around content is proving to have significant power that will see a shift in culture to help fuel a more transparent and open work environment.

Collaborating on content is not new; we have had the ability to do this for years. We all send documents through emails, create wikis together, post documents in team spaces, but what is new is the ease and the velocity in how it can happen when powered by the right tools designed with the right strategies. Now, when I embark on writing a new piece of marketing content or get engaged in a new project I look to my network first to see, who can help, who can contribute and who has had success in this area in the past that I can learn from.

Simply sharing what you are working on as you are getting started, maybe in an activity stream or on Twitter or Facebook or by posting an idea to your ideation app  - all of sudden you are opening a window of opportunity and inviting others to share their thoughts and or ideas. All of sudden you have 10 or more  experts at your fingertips helping you to pull together your research and your project suddenly has wings and you are completing your work in half the time and with a renewed perspective (that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the possibility is there). Imagine if I could write a marketing piece for a new product based on feedback I am getting directly from a beta customer. I am guaranteed that this piece will now have more meaning since I am more aware of the audience. Of course this sounds easier said than done and much of the concept of working out loud comes with change and we all know that change is hard. Removing the knowledge hoarding is a culture shift and changing culture is an uphill battle, but there are many small steps you can start with. For starters, stop storing files in "My Documents" and move them to an intranet portal like environment where others can see it and comment upon it and tag it for find ability. Look to the community and your network and start discovering where the experts live online.

If you have any examples of how you are working out loud, please share them as I would love to hear some more real world examples!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Web Personalization, Online Privacy and the Fine Line Between Convenience and Creepy…

I think most would agree that there is something comforting about walking into your favorite coffee shop and having the barista start on your drink order before you even ask. It makes you feel a little more important, it makes you feel as though the shop cares - but does this comfort translate to an online experience?

Am I comforted by the fact that Google and or Amazon is presenting me with content before I search for it? Content that is targeted at  me based on things like; my location, my time of day, my gender, my browsing habits, my buying habits, my email, my social networking habits?

While I agree with what is stated below:
Without personalization, the Web is a 'static' environment where every user is presented  with the same content and users will select which content to view based on navigation  and search results. As a result without personalization Web Experience Management is  predominantly a low engagement 'pull' relationship that a user has with content.  Personalization changes this relationship into an environment where the web assists the  user in their voyage of discovery by pushing content to the forefront in a manner that is  specific to their 'journey' or interest. In this way the web content is deemed to be  managed and the content provided in context to the user.
I do wonder at what point does this become too much, or too close for comfort? Are the right safeguards in place to protect the privacy of the consumer? When do things like targeting, segmenting and personalization become more creepy than convenient?

Mobile devices have the ability to take this even a step further by making use of our location information to learn more about us, and we can already see examples of this happening today. Look at tools like Foursquare that allow consumers the ability to publish their every move and then reward them with store coupons as a result of sharing this information. (I actually use this feature and find it quite rewarding but there can be a dark side to this, as you can see in this article.)

Will we get to a point where we try to hide our digital footprint or will it just become a fact of life that we learn to accept? 

Now of course the above is written in the view point of my consumer life, but in my work life, I certainly welcome targeting, segmenting and personalization. In this context, the more personalization the better! If my intranet can better understand my needs by doing the following; tracking my content browsing habits; matching my profile to others based on similar areas of expertise; understanding the context of the content I am searching for; and then use this data to deliver more targeted content to me to help me do my work more efficiently - then bring it on! My next post will write more about this side of things so stay tuned…