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Latest Social Business News & Articles

A Shift in Business Means a Shift in Notions of ROI

Social Business: 2014-20-May-Measurements.jpgThe Big Shift is indeed a big shift. Driven by complexity, competitive pressure and the end of the office building as the primary location of people and activity. The shift is primarily about three things: 1. Leadership 2. The new learning-collaborative paradigm of work and 3. Relationship with external parties — the ecosystem.

There’s a problem here, and it's not (only) one of culture or technology — it's one of profound impedance mismatch between old and new paradigms of business. That is to say it's like taking a Firewire connector and trying to plug it into a video cable. It doesn’t work, and finding an adaptor is pretty hard.

Cisco Simplifies Its Collaboration Suite

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If you've worked in an office in the past 15 years, odds are you've used Cisco's desk phones, attended WebEx conference calls or watched colleagues over Cisco's TelePresence video service. Maybe you've also used Lync, Skype, Hangouts or some of the many others services to collaborate with others.

Now, Cisco claims you can choose all of the above thanks to a significant shift in the San Jose, Calif.-company's collaboration suite strategy. At its Cisco Live conference, the company introduced options to simplify its systems while cutting costs.

"We want to bring amazing collaboration capabilities to every room, every desk and every pocket," said Peter Ulander, vice president for marketing. He said the company did a good job of helping people connect through voice, video or data conferences, but all through three services that operated as separate businesses within Cisco.

The ROI for Collaboration is Fool's Gold

Social Business: The ROI for Collaboration is Fool's GoldROI implies that you put money in at X time and get more money out at Y time. But that is not how it works with collaboration because of three difficult problems. It is trying to solve these problems that has lead me to believe that the ROI for collaboration is fool’s gold.

So You Want to Host a Video Conference for 100?

Video conferencing has picked up steam as a key business tool, with users choosing between Microsoft's Skype and Lync, Google's Chromebox, Cisco's WebEx and others. Mountain View, Calif.-based Blue Jeans Network is now upping the ante, going from 25 simultaneous users for its cloud-based, multi-platform service to 100.

Social Media Apps for Marketing, Software Updates and More

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And now, the news. Google improves Behavior Flow visualizations, Glip unveils a new messaging app for businesses, HipLogiq offers a social marketing app and a new survey looks at social media as a customer service channel.

Plus, Corveo updates its version for Sitecore and Acxiom acquires LiveRamp.

Got Social? Great: Now Manage the Risks

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Power brings responsibility, and social media power means that companies have a responsibility to manage the accompanying risks and obligations. A new Forrester Wave report profiles the leading vendors for those tasks.

The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014 report [fee charged] points to the growing number of ways that social media presents issues for organizations.

There's reputational and information security risks for every company, and companies in regulated fields, like financial services or healthcare, have regulatory and compliance matters that require not only monitoring and management but also archiving.

Practical Steps to Measuring Social ROI

Social collaboration and the use of enterprise social networks (ESN) have taken the business community by storm. In June of 2013, David Sacks, corporate vice president at Microsoft announced that Yammer had achieved over 8 million users worldwide. Pretty staggering numbers for just one of the many ESN providers in a crowded marketplace. With the IDC estimating the enterprise social market to reach $4.5 billion by 2016, many companies are adopting ESNs as integrated business tools.

The ROI Conundrum: Making the 'Impossible' Possible

For all the hype and enthusiasm about social collaboration and the rhetoric about the potential it has to bring about huge changes in the way an organization operates, it remains extraordinarily hard to find good examples of where a business can justify its investment in clear financial terms.

That’s not to say that there are no identifiable benefits in today's social collaboration success stories. But these are often anecdotal, tied to specific use cases and more indicative of the broader opportunity for the business, rather than necessarily demonstrating a return in financial terms. For early adopter organizations that already bought into the concept and are seeing evidence emerging in their own business context, this may not be a problem. But for the majority that are not trailblazers in this space — those just starting to look at whether social collaboration is a worthwhile investment opportunity — it's not surprising that they want real, tangible, evidential proof of its value.

The Unintentional Culture of Blame

The Unintentional Culture of BlameThe irony is so rich and textured that it would be a delight to behold if it were not for the pain we all must endure. For the last few years, the calls for "a culture of accountability" have been all the rage … and now the law of unintended consequences has come calling and is asking for its due.

How the Client Experience Defines the New ROI of Social Business

I remember when things were just getting started with Enterprise 2.0, then Social Business, how we were all trying to prove the business value of social technologies and even our very existence as 2.0 practitioners in the workplace. Do you remember how tough it was to justify yours to senior management? How things have changed since then ….

Fast forward to 2014, and while the conversation around measuring the business value of Social Business persists and is perhaps more relevant, the focus and intent of the questions have shifted. There is no longer a need to justify it, but rather an opportunity to evaluate the maturity of different initiatives as you progress on the Social Business journey. No one can deny the impact of social technologies at the workplace anymore — and that’s a good thing. We have finally moved on.

Hunting Unicorns: 5 Approaches to Measure Social Business ROI

2014-12-May-SocialROI-Unicorn.jpgWe face two major measurement problems when trying to measure the impacts of social business software: demanding stakeholders and intangible outputs. To grant project sponsorship, the C-Suite wants to see how you will measure return on investment (ROI). Meanwhile, from a human perspective we can inherently understand the value of engagement, dialog and innovation in the workplace, but it's very difficult to measure these intangibles in dollars and cents.

How do we begin to quantify the impacts of social business software on organizations or are we simply trying to chase a proverbial unicorn?

Distributed Collaboration is Rapidly Evolving

One of the biggest disruptors of the last few years has been the distributed nature of work. People can now work pretty much anywhere, anytime, with anyone, on any content. And though content still plays a critical part, I am starting to see context as more critical for any type of collaboration. Without a common context it is hard for two or more people to work together.

Tools like email can work for one to many interactions (if you cc the whole organization), but not many to many. Web conferencing also falls under the one to many umbrella. And though a common context is required in those instances, they do not require the deeper knowledge of context that many to many interactions do, as we see in distributed teams.

Social ROI = Return on Insanity

Social ROI = Return on InsanityThere’s no way to put this delicately, so I’ll be blunt: quantifying the financial benefits of an enterprise social network is turning your company — and the entire social technology industry — into a three ring circus.  

The ongoing demands of individual executives, archaic software evaluation processes and an obsessive focus on employees as productivity centers instead of human beings have turned collaboration into chaos, and social analytics into a spectator sport. As vendors, consultants and analysts vie for customers and relevancy in the enterprise social networking space, we’ve become elephants that do tricks for peanuts, or tigers that jump through flaming hoops when the ringmaster says it shall be so.

Microsoft Defends Collaboration Suite Against Cisco Charge

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Microsoft responded to Cisco's charges against its enterprise collaboration suite, telling CMSWire that it provides the most "complete, integrated set of social, collaboration, and communication technologies" to allow companies to "transform" the way they work.

Cisco directly called out Microsoft last week on the heels of its partnership announcement with Jive. It told CMSWire that with Jive, Cisco "supports complete communication and collaboration, end-to-end." With Microsoft, Cisco added, "you would need to get bolt-on offerings from other vendors in order to approximate this set of integrated capabilities."

Gartner Execs Redefine 'Integration' and More

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There was lots to learn at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit this week, including the definition of "integration."  Thought you knew that one? Wrong.

Managing Vice President Susan Landry and Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann kicked off the conference by boiling-down the overused buzzwords of enterprise technology to just four bon mots: engagement, digital, content and integration.

They gave a unique spin to each. For example, they said that engagement is what happens when employees actually use workplace apps to do a better job. And content isn't just a stack of documents. It's a reflection of what your company thinks.

Digital technology isn't about digitizing everything in sight, but leveraging digital technologies to reinvent your business.

The Learning Organization as Social Business

McKinsey has repeatedly published very aggressive outlooks for the value that could be created from companies progressing to the social business. In a 2012 report, the research firm estimated that social business technologies could improve productivity across the value chain as much as $1.3 trillion annually, just for the enterprise sectors of professional services, CPG, advanced manufacturing and retail financial services. According to McKinsey, two-thirds of that forecast value aligns with improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises.

But for such value to be achieved from transformative collaboration, enterprises must change culturally, operationally and strategically to accommodate new ways of learning, sharing and applying knowledge that benefit individual and organizational performance. Only through cultures conducive to widespread collaboration and knowledge sharing can enterprises find their way to the competitive strength of the Learning Organization.

My Future of Work, Collaboration and Relating

For the past eight years I’ve been boots-on-the-ground either as a practitioner or in support of practitioners who were trying to bring about change within their organizations, often from a tech first perspective. They’d identified connection, collaboration, engagement and productivity efficiencies as the rationale for these efforts. Some talked to tech analysts, pundits, consultants. They’d read books and case studies. Some even got brave enough to talk to their employees and customers about what they needed and fought through the corporate mechanisms to try to answer a piece of that call.

We chanted encouragement in the background, patted each other on the back and commiserated when the behaviors didn’t change. How could they when we were simply talking about technology? Those bemoaning their 20 percent adoption rates chalked it up to a bad integration, feature set, project management or worse, let our cynicism take over and insist change will never come, that we are doomed to dysfunction — or even worse, that it’s just tools. It really doesn’t matter if they use them or not, as long as the paycheck comes on time.

Making the Right Case for Social Business

Making the Right Case for Social BusinessIn spite of a rash of vendors flooding the markets in recent years to help us "socialize" the business, many enterprise buyers still feel skeptical that an investment in social technology will deliver a sufficient return.

Our mandate at 451 Research is to analyze the impact of innovative and disruptive enterprise technologies. We look at social business in all its forms — be it team collaboration, file sync and share, workforce management, etc.

Though we see a lot of innovation, we are not seeing that much disruption — there is clearly a distance between enterprise buyers and technology vendors right now. It's a gap that we believe can be bridged in a number of ways, but will require work from both buyers and sellers alike.

Gartner's 4 Magic Words for IT

2014-05-May-Susan-Landry.jpgDo your eyes glaze over when you see all the IT buzzwords thrown at you today? Sure they do.

Like anything involving language, words tend to lose their meaning when use too frequently or improperly. It can be a particular problem when complex topics overlap as they often do at the Gartner Portals, Content & Collaboration Summit running through Wednesday in Los Angeles.

In an effort to combat that, two Gartner execs boiled down the challenges facing today's IT managers to just four words, setting the stage for the 2,000-plus attendees attending the show in the JW Marriott. Managing VP Susan Landry and Research Vice President Jeffrey Mann focused on engagement, digital, content and integration while refining the meanings of those words to apply to today's context.

Why are those words more important than all the other techno-babble terms floating around? "Because they are bigger for a reason. They matter," said Mann as he and Landry began their keynote presentation.

Want to Succeed in Social Business? Invest in It.

This year’s State of Community Management research is the culmination of five years of defining, helping to develop and documenting the discipline of community management — a critical enabler of social business. This year’s research surveyed objective artifacts of community management maturity and enabled us to compare programs across industries and use cases.

The good news is that 76 percent of communities have approved strategies. This is a great indication that organizations and executives can now envision the value communities will contribute to their business and suggests a maturing market.

The bad news? Only 35 percent communities have approved and resourced roadmaps.