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Latest Social Business News & Articles

Embrace the Shift: Become a Responsive Organization

2014-05-August-Traffic.jpgAs shown by the rise and fall of giants such as Blockbuster and AOL, even the largest organizations can face demise — and it can happen swiftly. Why do these behemoths of the business world fall from grace? In simple terms, they were unable to keep up with the hyper-connectivity of today’s society.

IBM Focuses on 'Talent and Change'

Tools or no tools, we've been talking about people and talent being a hot commodity. IBM believes it has tools that can lead to the right people — and keep those people happy

The Armonk, N.Y.-based software giant just released cloud-based software and a new "talent and change" consulting practice. IBM's goal is to help organizations use analytics and behavioral science to identify top talent.  

Part of the IBM Kenexa software offering, it is delivered through the IBM Smarter Workforce initiative.

"The offering bundles bring together new and existing software and services from across IBM's Smarter Workforce portfolio including our social collaboration, analytics, workforce science, digital experience, consulting and of course Kenexa's talent assessment and recruitment capabilities," said Zahir Ladhani, ‎IBM's vice president of its Smarter Workforce. "Delivered through the cloud and supported by the new Talent and Change consulting practice, they're designed to make it faster and easier for clients to implement and scale workforce solutions across the organization."

Microsoft Matches Google By Upgrading Office for iPad

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Microsoft Office is part of the iPad arsenal and 35 million users have downloaded since it was launched in March. Now Microsoft has issued several updates, which it describes as the features users request most often.

The upgrades — improvements for the Word, PowerPoint and Excel applications — are designed to enhance the user experience.

Silos Divide Us, But Could Make Us Stronger

Social Business, 2014-04-August-Separation.jpgTalent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. — Michael Jordan

A silo is something that divides us from others. It is a set of people that is disconnected from other parts of the organization.

A functioning organization has a purpose and a mission to achieve. When people – increasingly recognized as the lifeblood of an organization, more critical than physical resources, commercial assets, intellectual property and such — when people are divided, they lack a common focus and the intellectual, professional and personal empathy that allows them to act like a team.

How to Build Company Culture - and Keep Great Employees

2014-4-August-crowd-of-people.jpgRazor Suleman knew he had a problem when he lost 40 percent of his employees in rapid succession. "I dramatically threw my keys on the desk of my second in command and tried to quit," he recalled. 

That was back in 2006, before Suleman transformed what he describes as "one of the worst places to work" to one of the best.

Nothing like a mass exodus of talent to force senior leadership to confront the obvious: You can't buy cool, you can't fake happy and a company can't survive without great employees. Just ask Suleman, founder of Achievers, a Toronto, Ontario- based employee success platform.

Achievers boasts that its cloud-based software helps companies "engage, align and recognize their employees, resulting in higher retention and improved business results." Engaged employees lead to happy customers, which are the key to continued revenue growth and profits, Suleman said.

Social Enterprise Collaboration: It's More than Technology

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SAN FRANCISCO – In the city of technology innovation, I learned the best tech lesson.

It’s not always about the technology. And this is especially true when it comes to social collaboration in the enterprise.

You see, we had our first company meet-up at our San Francisco headquarters this past week (me, and colleague Anton, left, are pictured here). Not a conference call. Not an email. A collaborative chain.  

None of that.

It was human-to-human, the kind of connection where you shake someone’s hand and look them in the eye. Remember that?

We’ve met before in person, but not with our new-faced, growing, awesome team.

5 Technical Keys for Employee Engagement

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By now, we understand that employee engagement is one of the keys to corporate success. It allows us to reduce our employee acquisition and replacement costs. It provides additional discretionary effort from our best employees. It helps create a culture where companies are able to focus employee efforts on key strategic goals.

Everybody loves the idea of having better employee engagement within their own organizations. But are companies truly willing to make the investments necessary to actually improve?

The employee engagement problem is readily apparent. Gallup shows that the vast majority of employees are disinterested drudges simply working for a paycheck or for another hour of overtime rather than truly inspired employees who are creative, helpful, and true advocates for the company.

Mac News: OneNote Upgraded, But What About Office?

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Microsoft has just announced major upgrades for OneNote for Mac and iOS. They're interesting upgrades and point to a future where Microsoft works on cross-platform development, offering everyone access to everything.

It’s a great vision. And while Microsoft is making progress, it is still far from reality. While upgrades and access to OneNote will be a major plus for users, there’s still nothing for Office for Mac.

Support Teamwork in a Mobile and Cloud Environment

2014-30-July-Teamwork.jpgWe work today in a world of unparalleled teamwork. Think back 10 years: most organizational projects were completed by people that worked together in the same location. Now collaboration makes it possible for teams to work together across time zones and locations — communicating with partners internally and externally. Reaching out has never been so simple.

Technology has made such teamwork possible. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The emergence of mobile and cloud computing have muddied the waters somewhat, making it far more difficult for IT departments to keep systems locked down and secure. So how do you take the confusion out of teamwork in our 24/7 connected world and make sure it delivers value for your organization? 

Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation

2014-30-July-Long-Road.jpgThe rise of social and collaborative networks has changed the nature of the business interaction. The inbox and the Rolodex have become foreign to us. We expect instant access, constant updates and alerts, and data about every aspect of our lives to be readily available. We expect common business activities to be automated, streamlined, easy. Many of our measurements for success in business (certainly from the information worker's standpoint) revolve around the quality of the user experience we receive — or create for our customers.  

When surrounded by a team of people, it is easy enough get the necessary help from others to work through a complex or confusing business process. However, as an employee in a remote office, most of your daily information worker activities are likely self-driven. Many of the interactions that require involvement from others, who may be located in another time zone, can take time and reduce your productivity while you are waiting. Suddenly it is not just about identifying the right person for an approval or feedback but about balancing their availability against your project and time constraints.

Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration

2014-29-July-Puget-Sound.jpg2014 was the year that we were supposed to get back to basics. We’re now more than halfway done, back-to-school shopping season is upon us and many of us are probably thinking about returning to the work focus after taking advantage of the lazy hot days of summer (on the other hand, who’s up for a sunset sail around the bay?). I’d like to take this time to do a midyear checkup on enterprise collaboration and technology goals.

Google Smacks MS Office With Better Docs Collaboration

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Google is making it even easier to move from Microsoft Office to Google Docs.

At last month’s Google I/O conference, Google gave Office users the ability to edit documents in Docs, which was one of the sticking points for those considering a jump to Google.

We didn’t think it could do much more to make Docs attractive, but it has. Like last month’s QuickOffice integration, this enhancement is small but significant. The upgrade comes in the shape of tracking changes.

Facebook Thinks You'll 'Like' Enterprise Collaboration

social business, More Facebook Cloning Coming to Enterprise Collaboration?

Facebook at work. I've never done that. Have you?

But what if Facebooking at work was actually encouraged, maintained by your company itself and used for collaboration?

That could be what's happening in Zuckerberg Land, if you believe the anonymous source who told a reporter last month that the social network's working on a FB@Work platform in its London offices.

Microsoft Tightens the Reins on Office 365

Companies are still signing up for Yammer — despite the fact that user adoption remains a problem. 

In fact, according to Yammer co-founder David Sacks, the British grocery retailing giant Tesco has just inked a 250, 000 seat deal with Yammer. The information was contained in a memo from Sacks to Microsoft employees.

Sacks announced on Twitter late last week that he is leaving Microsoft, but did not specify why.

Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments

2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges — more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site … it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

SAP Jam's Approach to Social: It's All in the Work Patterns

2014-25-July-Loom.jpgThe social adoption and ROI discussions are getting louder as more and more enterprises implement social collaboration solutions and struggle to find success. Adoption and ROI are difficult areas to define, measure and implement. The Altimeter Group released a report on The Evolution of Social Business detailing how organizations that have implemented social have created technology silos and lack clear focus or strategy in how it should be deployed across the enterprise.

As social has become mainstream over the past few years, we have seen major software vendors across vertical markets and solution types integrate social into the fabric of their core products. Dion Hinchcliffe highlighted this trend in 2011 in his blog post “Putting Social to Work,” where he described the integration of social with ERP suites like Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP.

I recently spoke with SAP's Social Software Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sameer Patel about social adoption and ROI. We discussed how SAP views these issues and how it developed the SAP Jam platform to address them. Its an interesting approach that's worth exploring in more depth.

Actiance Wants to Help Companies Curb Social Media Mistakes

New York politician Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. Actor Ashton Kutcher's defense of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Former corporate communication director Justine Sacco's racist comment.

If mistakes like these have taught us nothing else, it's that social media can create viral reactions that linger on and on. It also proves that, contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

What are the consequences?  In an office environment, not only is a job on the line for the offending employee, but companies can easily find themselves at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by the offended worker.

What's worse, many companies have yet to establish social media polices — and even some that do adopt policies find they may violate federal labor laws.

Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and — of course — bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform — the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

The Problem With Yammer? People Don't Use It

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Yammer is being promoted as the new social layer of SharePoint. But Microsoft is also tying it tightly into Office 365. In the past two weeks, this has resulted in the packaging of Yammer with Office 365 small business plans, while the price of Office 365 is also about to be slashed.

There are problems with Yammer. But the problem lies not the product itself.

According to David Lavenda, vice president of product strategy at Harmon.ie, the real problem is that many people who have access to it just won’t use it — or any other social network for that matter.