As the tech world takes to the skies on their way to Austin, TX to sample the bbq, music and information insights that #SXSWi brings, our experts reminded us this week that technology is only one piece of the puzzle. At the end of the day, it’s about the people, both those outside the enterprise and those doing the day to day work.

Businesses were put on warning that the end of metrics and the sales funnel is here, that social tools for social’s sake within the workspace just won’t cut it if there isn’t a clear benefit and reason for using them, and we were shown how an information architect is like the manager of a large office block.

Intrigued? Read on and save some bbq for me!

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Why Social, Why Now?

If Social Business is the Answer, What is the Question? 3 Driving Forces

Deb Lavoy @deb_lavoy: Social Business takes its place right after art, love and pornography in the list of essential concepts that are difficult to define, discuss and create systematic approaches to.

Like those other subjects, a wealth of insightful and inspiring writing wells forth from experts, philosophers and practitioners. It is early days for social business, having been around somewhat less long than the others. Even so, there are some good bits of wisdom and best practices that are out there and ready, if not universally adopted.

What are the fundamentals of Social Business? Tough question. Maybe even the wrong question. Maybe the question is “What is different now, and why does it matter?”

If Social Business is the Answer, What is the Question? The End of the Sales Funnel

Deb Lavoy @deb_lavoyFollowing up on yesterday's post exploring the mechanics and driving forces of social, today I will delve into the implications for business. And let's just say it now: some of your old sales practices need to be reconsidered.

The Big "Why" for Business

I have recently heard people argue that the only reason for a business to participate in public social networks is to generate leads and revenue. That any “relationship” formed with any kind of businessperson in social networks is by nature manipulative and false. When it was a work colleague of mine saying this, I thought ah — this person needs a bit of re-education. When it was a friend on twitter, I nearly wept. So here is my response.

People invented business for a reason. I don’t want to spend all my time growing, harvesting and milling flour and baking bread. So I pay you to do it for me. I don’t know how to make a car, so I pay you for that too. In other words, people need business and vice versa. This is a symbiotic relationship that became grossly distorted in the 20th century but is recovering in the 21st.

Social Business in 2012: Like Having a Party and No One Shows Up

Virginia Backaitis: They thought that they’d be strutting around corporate halls like the kings of cool right about now. But instead a good number of the IT Execs who introduced Social Enterprise tools into their workplaces are sitting around like wallflowers who can’t get anyone to come to the dance.

“Who knew that people who are addicted to Facebook in their personal lives would refuse to sign-up for a corporate facsimile at work,” says one CIO. He and the other corporate executives quoted in this article agreed to be interviewed with the understanding that neither their names, nor the names of their employers, be used.

Engaged, Informed Employees Get the Job Done

Jed Cawthorne @jedpc: This month's theme for CMSWire is about taking the focus of Customer Experience Management (CXM) and applying it internally to the enterprise, particularly to Enterprise Information Management (EIM) environments.

Initially that gave me pause for thought, because although I work for a large organization where the focus is very firmly on the customer first, and everything I do, even in an internal role, has to be linked to a positive impact on the customer, I am certainly no expert in CXM. So, while I think I understand the overall focus of CXM, my first step was Wikipedia to check on the definition of the term!

Intranet Management: Shaping the Internal Customer Experience

Martin White @intranetfocus: Good intranet managers are able to slice and dice their customers in many ways. Thanks to all the work they have done with personas, they may even have pictures of them up on the wall of their office, or more likely, desk divider. Each day they will be worrying about the user experience of these customers, and it’s difficult to tell them that their customers are actually not that concerned by the user experience.

These customers are captive and clever. They come to work each day knowing every twist and turn of the corporate intranet, together with a list of quick dial numbers they can use when they need information urgently and cannot find it. Even if they are performing multiple tasks and multiple roles I suspect that these customers will only be using a small percentage, may be only 0.5%, of the pages on the intranet. Don’t be too depressed — that is still a lot of pages in most companies.

Office 365 and SharePoint Insights

SharePoint Applications: System Design and Testing

Joe Shepley @joeshepley: I’m in the middle of a series on how to build and deploy successful SharePoint document management applications, with the goal of migrating end-users off of the most prevalent legacy document management system out there: that unholy trinity of shared drives, hard drives and email.

In this post, we’ll dive deeper into system design and testing, one of the most exciting parts of the process.

The Art of SharePoint Success: Architecture – The Services Concept

Symon Garfield @symon_garfield: Hopefully you’ve recovered from the excitement of our last installment in the Art Of SharePoint Success? It’s time to think about how we deploy SharePoint into the organization, and don’t worry, we’re not suddenly talking technology.
With the last article, we've completed the second of the four elements that make up the Art of SharePoint Success framework. The four elements are:

  1. Governance
  2. Strategy
  3. Architecture
  4. Transition

This is article number 13 in the scintillating series, if you’re just joining us then where have you been?

#o365redmond Enterprise Data in the Cloud Using BCS & WCF

Mimi Dionne @cawprhyd: I’m a big fan of People Who Share and Fabian Williams is one of them, which is why I was so excited to meet him at the Office 365 event in Redmond this past weekend. He delivered.

Mr. Williams gave a talk on Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Business Connectivity Services (BCS) to migrate enterprise data into the cloud.

He opened his session with two objectives:

  • Understand the mechanics on how to surface enterprise data in the cloud through SharePoint Online, and
  • Show how to leverage the power of BCS through SharePoint Online (Office 365) using WCF and Azure.

His key takeaway: SharePoint Online and BCS make it easy to bring enterprise data into the familiar user experience of SharePoint and Office.

Breaking Down SharePoint Information Architecture Silos #o365redmond

Mimi Dionne @cawprhyd: Virgil Carroll’s presentation was a perfect conclusion to a fun, informative day at Office 365 Saturday Redmond. Mr. Carroll introduced his talk with the declarative: SharePoint implementations fail more often than succeed because of poor information architecture. He stated, “Information architecture (IA) is a practice, not a strategy. But there is good news. In IA, there’s no such thing as a right answer. There’s only what fits for your organization.”

The 7 Most Important SharePoint Online Success Factors #o365redmond

Mimi Dionne @cawprhyd: The impressive Mr. Richard Harbridge of Allin Consulting presented his discussion, “The 7 Most Important SharePoint Online Success Factors” at Office 365 Saturday Redmond. It was a last-minute change to the agenda, but a welcome one. Few of us in the audience knew that he posts a number of resources here on the interwebz.
He opened his talk with the following SharePoint Online objectives:

  • to help the audience understand corporate business needs and to identify appropriate decisions in the SharePoint environment,
  • to fix problems and to develop the SharePoint environment further,
  • to implement successful governance, and
  • to foster growth.

Essentially the presentation addressed the importance of planning. Let’s focus on what’s important on the non-technical side and what you can do about it as the project manager, Mr. Harbridge said. “In this room, I want to create a sense of confidence, a level of enthusiasm, and a sense of ‘yes, I can do this.’”

Video Blog: Leveraging Office 365 for Project Collaboration Consistency

Pamela Flora @puckish222: Is your project management environment prone to haphazard solutions, sometimes resulting in success and sometimes…not so much? Do you find yourself lacking the tools that will let you enhance your projects’ collaborative processes?

If you’re working in an enterprise where most project management efforts are ad hoc and not organized for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, you may be used to using email, spreadsheets, Word documents, a file share (or, ideally, SharePoint) and mobile devices to manage your projects.

Understanding the Pillars of SharePoint Governance with 21apps Ant Clay

Christian Buckley @buckleyplanet: With the widespread adoption of SharePoint across the enterprise, and the steady growth of the small to medium-sized business deployments of both SharePoint on premise and in the cloud (with much of that coming from the success of Microsoft's Office365 platform), organizations are tempering much of their IT-centric push for anything SharePoint.

Understanding the business value proposition and how the platform aligns with corporate and IT governance planning has become more common. Organizations want to get the most out of their SharePoint investments, and the alignment of policies and procedures surrounding SharePoint is essential to understand the true costs and benefits of the platform.

Analytics & Governance

The New Google Analytics: Site Speed Reports

Bob Clary @webucator: This is the sixth in my series exploring the new Google Analytics Platform components in detail. For this article, I'm going to spend some time going through the new Site Speed report that Google has added to the new platform. This report is a great way of checking in to see what pages on your website are not loading quickly.

Threat Intelligence Without Action is Not Intelligent

Rob Kraus @solutionary: Organizations must invest in threat intelligence to help predict and mitigate threats. However, organizations that don’t combine intelligence with actions to protect themselves from malicious attacks will experience the equivalent of being stranded on the side on the side of the road with an excellent map but no way of getting to the destination.

Threat Intelligence is something the security industry continuously strives to acquire and a vital component of any information security program.

That's it for this week. Check in next week as our experts continue to explore how to create the best internal customer experience and look for more video instructions on how to best leverage Office 365 for collaboration. Thanks for reading!

Title image from 3D Stock (Shutterstock).