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Latest Social Business News & Articles

Forget Email, Text and Chat - It's Time to Talk Again

2014-26-November-Call-Me.jpgLotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie thinks it’s time to pick up the phone and have conversations again. There’s nothing wrong with email and texts, he says, but sometimes a simple phone call with a co-worker or a call with a group is the best way of getting something done. Especially because it allows us to really connect via tone of voice and human emotion.

And yes, Ozzie knows that iChat exists and that the conference call has already been invented and is too often loathed by all.

Are Your Processes Customer-Focused?

2014-26-November-Nesting-Doll.jpgWhen business leaders turn their focus toward processes, they often do so with an eye on becoming more efficient in how they handle payroll, manage finances or generate and distribute reports.

While it’s true that these routine tasks need to run smoothly, companies that look at processes solely as a way to improve the quality of a project or improve lead time, are missing a golden opportunity to positively affect the customer experience and spark innovation within their company. So says David Hamme, author of the book "Customer Focused Process Innovation," and managing director of Ephesus Consulting.

Build Digital Workplaces Fit for the Future

2014-10-November-Future-Tool.jpgThat’s rather a tall order isn’t it? Building a digital workplace fit for a future that is unknown to us — and possibly even unknowable given the unpredictable and disruptive nature of digital progress.

The solution to this tall order lies in pulling out the enduring principles and themes we see operating in successful digital workplace programs, especially those that are not technology-specific. The nature of the organizations and the scope of the programs themselves may vary, but the nuts and bolts of the mechanism, such as clear strategic alignment, user-centered design, strong governance and rigorous measurement, are common to them all.

3 Year-End Planning Tips for Stressed-Out CEOs

2014-24-November-Stress.jpgAs 2014 comes to a close, many business leaders are feeling the familiar strain of evaluating the past year’s successes, while planning for the year ahead. Did we meet our performance goals? Did we come in at or under budget? How should this year’s results impact our planning and budgeting for the coming year?

IT Pros Warm Up to Open Source Collaboration Software

IT security professionals like the idea of open-source collaborating and messaging solutions. So where the heck are they?

Respondents in a Ponemon Institute study released this week are generally positive about commercial open source applications, especially because of the assurance of continuity. However, despite those benefits, companies are slow to adopt, Ponemon found. 

Zimbra, a provider of open source collaboration software, sponsored the survey of 723 IT and IT security practitioners in the United States and 675 IT and IT security practitioners in 18 Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Exercise Your Intranet Muscles

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Buying an intranet platform is like buying gym equipment. You get very detailed instructions. You may even get a few slick videos and diagrams of sample exercises.

But what you won't get is advice what program you should follow. And why not? Because if you want to run a marathon, the way you use that equipment is entirely different than the way someone that aspires to be an Olympic shot-putter should use it.

Similarly, to get the most from an intranet platform, you need to follow a program specific to your needs.

7 Reasons Why Facebook at Work Will Fail

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Would you move your business data and team conversations to a platform run by Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook advertising machine? While the Facebook for Business brand is nothing new, focused on providing a more effective advertising platform for businesses based on the social connections and information consumption of its 1.3 billion members, rumor has it that a new offering will target team and project-based collaboration under the brand Facebook@Work.

According to a new Financial Times report and related Business Insider analysis, the platform has been in development for years but is being piloted at a number of companies, and it "will allow employees to collaborate, edit documents, collect professional contacts, and chat with colleagues."

What 5-Year-Olds Today Will Expect From the Workplace of 2029

2014-18-November-Child-Play.jpgVirtually every senior executive I meet is preoccupied with millennials. What does this strange “new species” want, think, feel and expect, they wonder.

This is because those in their early 20s represent the first generation ever to enter the workplace knowing more about a key aspect of the workplace than their more experienced colleagues — namely technology.

IBM: Our Verse Email Beats Anything from Microsoft, Google

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The big guns of software want to close out 2014 with an email splash.

Microsoft launched its email-improver offering last week. Google earlier released its beefed-up Gmail.

It's IBM's turn today. For months, Big Blue had been showing off a new email service under the code name of "Mail Next."

Today, the company takes the blindfold off and makes it official with IBM Verse — an offering officials say revolutionizes email by using analytics and social capabilities to simply make email more efficient. IBM Verse culminates a $100 million investment in design innovation and brings together cloud, analytics, social and security platforms "to transform the future of work."

Brad Szollose: Stop Running Your Business Like It's 1969

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Brad Szollose is a lot of things: a serial entrepreneur, former C-Level executive of a public company, a business adviser, millennial expert and an award-winning business author. So he knows a few things about which he speaks — and this is what he wants businesses to know.

Flatten your hierarchies, embrace innovation and stop expecting your employees to follow the rules, keep their mouths shut and listen. Those days are over, and they aren't coming back.

"The digital age requires a smarter worker. In today’s world, we make very sophisticated stuff that does not conform to simple rules. Responsibility, troubleshooting and decision-making have all moved to the frontline. This requires open-source style communication," he said.

Microsoft Tightens Yammer, Office 365 Integration

Isn’t it just great when vendors keep their promises?

That's just what Microsoft is doing with it's latest move towards deeper integration of Yammer and Office 365. Another step towards transforming Yammer to Microsoft’s social layer, it provides a single sign-on for Yammer and a feature allowing users to access Yammer with their Office 365 credentials. What's more, it will work in all the different applications that come with Office 365.

Big Pictures, Micro-Moments: Takeaways from #KMWorld

2014-11-November-Lucas.jpgBig pictures start with small parts. At last week's KMWorld conference in Washington, DC, we were given a taste of both.

Lee Rainie, director of Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, explored a utopian vision of knowledge sharing in the future during his Thursday keynote.

A day earlier, Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer at Adjuvi, shared success stories: examples of how knowledge management works in businesses that have successfully implemented and integrated social collaboration, both internally and externally.

The lessons became more granular in individual sessions: How contextual awareness in the workplace can help deliver relevant information to employees. Individual storytelling as a pathway to organizational narrative. The importance of the url for a successful search in SharePoint.

Bye-Bye Microsoft Lync, Here Comes Skype For Business

2014-11-12 skype for business.jpgWhen Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for Skype in 2011, it left some scratching their heads where the product would fit in the Microsoft ecosystem. And while Microsoft has since integrated the software into a number of its products, we now have a better sense of its future. As of next year, the Lync name will disappear and be replaced by Skype for Business.

This is not just a rebranding exercise. It involves joining together the Lync infrastructure with Skype, which includes the ability to use on-premises servers, optional integration with external communications networks and the use of the Skype interface on top of Lync.

Why the Best Digital Workplace Teams Don't Get High on Tech

2014-10-November-Trampoline.jpg“Not another new system.” “I don’t have time.” “There are so many tools already.” If any of these is a common refrain in your organization, it may be a symptom that the digital workplace team is high on technology.

Part of the problem is that shiny new technology tends to make the headlines and attract eyeballs, but we don’t always get to hear the more human stories about what makes those technologies tick.

Discussion Point: Creating Long Distance Collaboration and Teams

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You may not like everyone who works in your physical office. But at least you know people well enough to have reasons to dislike them. After all, you spend eight or more hours together every day.

Not so in the virtual world, where the lack of serendipitous encounters and chance conversations make it all the more difficult to forge connections — and increase the ease of developing biased perceptions.

Sometimes even the warmest and most considerate people sound cold and abrasive on the phone. A shy person can be misconstrued as cool and aloof. And, curiously, someone suffering from massive insecurities can seem narcissistic and egotistical because he insists on hiding behind a wall of faux achievements.

So in the age of remote workforces, when employees are increasingly connected by technology rather than shared desk space, how do we make lofty concepts like collaboration and cooperation a daily reality?

Can we force people on opposite coasts to actually like each other? Or, failing that, can we just get everyone to respect each other enough to embrace a common culture?

How to Raise Daughters Who Are Leaders

2014-07-November-Running-In-Rain.jpgHow do we prepare our children — particularly our daughters — to thrive in the economy of tomorrow?

We need to provide the best education within our means, which includes a lot more than the official schooling they receive. The best education I've received has come through good relationships, strong mentors and leaders who took the time to give me sound advice.

Few Businesses Use Social and Mobile to Improve Productivity

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Enterprises are using social and mobile to improve customer engagement, but not using them to improve productivity. At least that is the conclusion of new research from UK-based Advanced Business Solutions (ABS).

The findings are somewhat surprising given that the uses of enterprise social networks are largely associated with internal collaboration. But that is a myth, at least in the mid-sized enterprises segment.

Lose the Fat, Embrace Lean Portals

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In its recently published Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, Gartner identified a number of trends.

Among the most important: the convergence of web content management (WCM) customer demands with lean portal functionality and social technologies. The concept of lean (as opposed to bloated) portals has gained traction recently, with lean portal vendors starting to work their way further up the Magic Quadrant.

Large vendors claim they can offer all the functionality an enterprise could want and more — what smaller vendors describe as "bloat." Lean vendors claim they can respond rapidly to changing business conditions and have enough functionality for any office or mobile worker.

Jive Selects New President as CEO Retires

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What do you do after you are appointed as president of Jive Software?

“Pack for Disney,” certainly isn’t Elisa Steele’s answer. Instead she’s spending the day talking with investors, discussing the company’s better than expected third-quarter results and getting ready to lead its day-to-day operations come Monday.

There’s nothing but confidence and excitement in her voice. As executive vice president of marketing and products at the social business software provider that Gartner named a Leader in its Workplace Social Software Magic Quadrant earlier this year, Steele has overseen a number of innovations, updates and integrations such as Find Your WorkType,  Jive X (which is used for external collaboration), its integration with cloud-based productivity apps (Office 365 and Google) and more. In less than the year she’s been at Jive, Steele has been promoted twice.

Top 7 Characteristics of Great Digital Workplace Leaders

2014-04-November-Follow-the-Leader.jpgIn the 1980s, management theorists popularized a new term, “Management By Walking Around” (MBWA). This was a pithy way of describing one of the “arts of leadership” — strolling through the offices, warehouses and factories, and chatting to staff.

Iconic CEOs of the time, such as John Akers of IBM, could demonstrate their accessibility and connection to the day-to-day workings of their organizations purely by leaving the executive floors and touring the IBM locations in the US and worldwide.

The modern CEO and the leadership cadre of large organizations can only look back with nostalgia to such a time when the ideal methods of leading were so straightforward. Today, the C-suite has two large and unique challenges that have never before been faced by leaders (particularly CEOs).

Not only is there a physical workplace to lead (as there always has been) but now there is a digital workplace that requires constant attention as well. The workforce is working within both physical and virtual environments and, therefore, even MBWA leadership now means “walking around" in the digital as well as the physical world. 

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