Friday, December 17, 2010

Monitor, React and Respond: Are you listening?

As things start to slow down I thought I would try to get one last post in before the new year to talk about what I have been up to the last few months since my last blog. Content World 2010 consumed much of my November and what a great event it was. I had the pleasure of speaking about getting back to business and applying social media to core business objectives. Before my talk I polled the audience to see how companies were applying social media to their business and I was not surprised to hear that much of the audience was still struggling with trying to better understand the why and the how. The common theme was that many understood the need to make us of these technologies to help build more engagement with their users and customers, but they still weren’t sure how the best way to do this was. My advice to help address these questions was; equip your business with the tools needed to be able to support three key initiatives; monitor, react and respond.

To monitor means to understand where the conversations are taking place, be it Facebook or Twitter; develop a presence there. To react means to be able to engage in conversations that are happening and create a two way channel of communication with your customers. Lastly to respond means to equip the business with the tools it requires to respond to customer’s complaints, concerns and even their praise. The key is to show you are listening!

I also spoke about how the web was quickly becoming the virtual complaint department. In fact, according to the Tealeaf Annual Survey of Online Customer Behavior, (conducted by Harris Interactive) when customers experience problems attempting to conduct an online transaction, 78% share their experience with others and another 74% said when they read a negative comment online, it influences their likelihood to do business with the company. This enforces the fact that businesses need to have the ability to monitor, react and respond when a customer or user speaks poorly about your brand online. Introducing online communities; enabling customers the ability to engage with your brand directly through forums and comments; contributing to conversations where they are happening in Facebook and Twitter and building stronger social networks with your customers can all help contribute to your ability to monitor, react and respond.

Don’t forget, the perception of your brand is in the hands of a crowd of strangers and you can use social media to get to know them. What are you waiting for?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Engagement in the Enterprise

It is a very busy time at Open Text as we get ready to launch the ECM Suite 2010. My involvement in this launch is working on the Engagement products. I have had several conversations over the last few weeks on what engagement and an engaged work force means and I was quite surprised to read the statistics that speak to the current level of engagement in the workforce.
According to the Gallup Management Journal’s Employee Engagement Index survey, in a typical workplace:
• 29% of employees are actively motivated and engaged in their jobs
• 71% are unmotivated and dis-engaged
• 54% are not engaged at all
• 17% are actively dis-engaged

In fact, The Towers-Perrin Global Workforce Study ( found that engagement has reached what many would call a crisis level encompassing over 70 percent of the workforce and over 50 percent of management.

Many of the factors that are contributing to the dis-engaged work force include economic downturn, downsizing, information overload and a global work force. A dis-engaged workforce does not just mean unhappy employees; it can have much larger ramifications.

According to a recent study by the Gallup group; “actively dis-engaged employees — the least productive — cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.”

Helping employees to efficiently manage information overload is one vital step to building a more engaged workforce. Providing knowledge workers with a platform that allows for knowledge sharing and collaboration is not a new idea; corporate intranets have offered this premise for years. But the paradigm shift we are seeing on the web, in how we communicate and interact with each other in the consumer world, is quickly making its way into the enterprise. We need to consider this shift as we revisit our corporate intranet platforms and ask ourselves, how effective is this platform and how can I make it better? What lessons can I take away from social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook?

A few key things to ask of your intranet: Does my intranet give my knowledge workers the ability to;
Make their voices heard,
Share their expertise with others,
Gain recognition and build reputation,
Connect with each other in real time.

If you answered no to any of the above, maybe it is time to look at refreshing your intranet platform to help better unify your workforce. I would recommend that you learn more about how you can apply social media such as blogs, wikis, comments, ratings and microblogging to your current intranet to help encourage a more collaborative, productive and engaged workforce.

If you have any examples of success stories in building out a more engaging social intranet I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Call me, email me, text me, ping me, follow me, SMS me, BBM me...too many options?

867-5309 - great song and a sign of the times in the early 80’s, one number, one way to reach someone. What would the song be like today? PIN5309, @8675309,, the list goes on.

When I heard this song, I began to think back to when I first started in my role as an inside sales rep in the late 90’s. My three choices of communication in the office were, in person, on the phone and email. Email was still new at the time and I can remember debating whether or not I wanted to have my email on my business card. It seems so strange now. Back then, I was not convinced that anyone would actually try to reach me this way. Little did I know that 10 years later I would be battling with it every day in a game of catch-up.

When I take inventory of how many tools and methods I have at my disposal today (thanks to the Internet and social media) to communicate with my peers and friends, I start to see the evolution of communication and the speed in which things are changing. Today when I need to reach out to a co-worker I can do the following; Walk over to their cube, but that doesn’t happen very often as most of my colleagues are in other countries. I can send an email, but that tends to get lost in a black hole. I can pick up the phone, but many of my co-workers have gotten rid of their desk phones. I can call their mobile device and that is usually a good bet as most people are always on these days. Or, if I know they are in a meeting then I will IM them on my corporate IM tool, Real Time. If that does not work maybe I will try their BBM, if that does not work maybe I can...and it goes on and on.

You would think that by having all of these different forms of communication my productivity rate would be off the charts, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Both the glut of email and the disruptions in IM, that take me away from my tasks, start to detract from my ability to get my day to day work done. What I need is a communication tool that can provide me with more focus. It is not by coincidence that we are now seeing a trend in the Enterprise that has more users making use of tools such as Yammer. Gartner recently predicted that by 2012, activity streams (microblogging) will be used by over 50 percent of Enterprises.

I have found that making use of a microblogging tool such as Yammer and my Enterprise tool, Open Text Pulse (yes that’s a shameless plug); in conjunction with tools such as email and IM is a leap forward over just email on its own. These tools allow me to broadcast a message or a question to many, share my status and location as well as see status updates of new content being created in my Enterprise by co-workers that I follow. That is not to say that I think the victory of one is not a peril to the other. I think email will always have its place but in my experience, microblogging does a better job at delivering a comprehensive view into my knowledge base. Microblogging can augment the Enterprise by allowing employees to update each other on projects they’re working on and provide shared support and guidance.

Would love to hear your thoughts and or experience on the subject?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Open Text is Everywhere, even at the CTIA 2010 Wireless Conference

In keeping with the theme of mobility, I had the opportunity to attend the CTIA 2010 Wireless conference last week in Las Vegas with my employer Open Text. We were there to talk about our latest offering, Open Text Everywhere. We were showcasing our offering in RIM's Blackberry booth as a RIM partner. It was a great conference and I was able to see a lot of exciting new things in this space. While the conference was very consumer focused ,there was definitely a lot of talk in the keynotes and sessions about how mobility in the Enterprise space will help revolutionize the way we work.

I took some time out from the expo floor to interview our Mobility Product Manager, Rohit Gupta, to obtain some more details around our new offering and our mobile strategy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Reflex: Mobile and Me

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pr.....oblably should check my mobile once more before I go to bed. I just need to be sure that nothing is outstanding in my inbox and to see what time that meeting starts tomorrow. Sound familiar anyone?

I am beginning to notice that the way I use my mobile has become somewhat of a reflex. Checking my mobile is the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed.
My mobile has become a part of daily routine. I am not sure at what point this happened and I am not sure what effect it has but I do know that I can't leave the house without it and I am sure that I am not the only one. We have nearly reached a world population of 6.8 billion people and of those ,5 billion are mobile phone owners.
I have been spending the last few months researching the mobile proliferation in both the enterprise and consumer space and the stats are amazing. For example, Forrester predicts that 73% of the enterprise workforce will be mobile users by 2012. " As the mobile platform evolves, it's going to become a more important terminal to the corporate network than the traditional laptop, said Kumu Puri, senior executive at Accenture's consumer technology practice. Full post can be found here
This is a link to a great video created by the CBC as part of a documentary they did on the mobile revolution in 2009.

I plan to stick to the theme of mobility over the next few posts to share some of the trends I am hearing about and I hope to include a few guest bloggers as well, so stay tuned and I look forward to the conversations.