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Enterprise 2.0 News & Analysis

Business Relies on the Strength of Networks

Social Business, 2014-11-August-Helping-Hand.jpgNot too long ago it was possible for a company to make long-term detailed plans and then execute those plans over a period of several years. They could -- with fairly good accuracy -- predict the demand of their products or services over years, and match supply accordingly. Consumers remained fairly stable in their attitudes and behaviors towards products and services. Everybody needed to buy a new fridge, car or television set every 10 years or so. Since the needs didn’t change that much over the years, neither did the products -- all that was required were some new features and an updated design.

A hierarchy of managers made sure that plans were followed and executed. The role of management was to execute the business model as efficiently as possible, focusing on cutting cost in order to increase market share through competitive pricing and increase profits and returns to shareholders. Management created and refined policies and procedures to make sure that operations ran like a well-oiled machine, and all measures of success and incentive systems were geared towards efficient execution.

Needless to say, today's business environment is very different.

Where User Experience Should Fit in SharePoint's Roadmap

SharePoint, 2014-08-August-Jigsaw-Puzzle.jpgMany people have singled out SharePoint's user experience (UX) as one of the main culprits in lagging adoption and engagement numbers since the launch of the platform. Arguably it wasn't until the 2010 version that Microsoft took targeted steps to remedy this, adding important usability improvements and social capabilities. It was also during the SharePoint 2010 release timeframe that the partner ecosystem grew to support design and UX. This expansion introduced new options for customers, as well as provided feedback and direction for Microsoft, leading to further enhancements in the SharePoint 2013 release, including mobile enhancements and the support of device channels.

But even with SharePoint 2013's focus on the presentation layer and ongoing UX developments inside of Office 365 -- such as deeper integration with Yammer, PowerBI and the Delve (formerly Codename Oslo) interface -- has it been enough to improve adoption and engagement?

Adobe Boosts Web Conferencing With Connect 9.3

Adobe has released the latest version of its web conference platform including enhancements in screen sharing, its virtual whiteboard, social media integration and compatablity with Salesforce.com and Microsoft Lync 2013. 

Adobe Connect 9.3 will debut early this fall.

Rocky Mitarai, senior product marketing manager for Adobe, told CMSWire the company's offering goes beyond the standard meeting experience because it's an end-to-end solution that includes capabilities in meetings, elearning and webinars. 

It's an easy-to-use solution ("immediately jump into it without any downloads") that offers robust security options for clients such as the US Department of Defense. It also, he said, easily integrates into existing infrastructure and lets users easily build custom apps.

The Barriers to Working like a Network in Office 365

2014-07-August-Road-Block.jpgIt is frustrating to see the potential of technology and not have it realized. The solution is there but, as they say in New England, “you can’t get there from here.” Such is Office 365.

A Vision of Wearable Tech in the Workplace

2014-7-August-Hitachi-business-microscope.jpg

Wearable tech has been hot this year, with a lot of companies emerging as players in the wearable space. Everything from activity monitors to wearable cameras to smart watches have popped into the Internet of Things (IoT) market, some making more impact than others. And while the implications on the consumer market are clear, the enterprise market remains wide open and ripe for disruption.

There are some obvious use cases for wearables in the workplace like employee monitoring, health and safety monitoring, and access control. Hitachi, for example, has already introduced what looks like an elaborate employee ID badge embedded with sensors that track who employees talk to — as well as where and how actively. "A manager can monitor who speaks up at meetings and who spends more time at the coffee machine than their desk," Forbes reported this week.

More devices like Hitachi's will come along at their own pace and not really change the way businesses run.

The area that I expect wearables to have the largest impact and disruptive force is in helping to manage and augment our everyday interactions with both people and things.

Should You Blur Home and Work on Facebook?

social business, Don't Separate Work From Your Social Media Life?

It used to be church and state. Today, it's work and Facebook.

Separate. Separate. And separate.

Right? Maybe not.

Can you marry your job and your social media persona without hurting your company and getting fired? Maybe even advance your organization's brand?

"At a high-level, social media has the potential to influence the customer experience when employees are able to engage in dialogue with the customer and begin building trust-based relationships over time," said Alan See, principal and chief marketing officer for CMO Temps, LLC.

How Social Is Your Supply Chain (and Who Really Cares)?

2014-05-August-Life-of-the-Party.jpgForget sharing your results from all those surveys on Facebook. You know the ones: they determine where you should actually live, or which character you would be in Downton Abbey, or even how bitchy you are (New York, Matthew Crawley and none of your business). Business leaders now appreciate that social in the workplace isn't about any of this. What it comes down to is being able to collaborate to make better decisions.

While every industry can benefit from social technology, there are some distinct differences in the patterns of adoption. Many early adopter stories we share are about marketing leveraging social media, but social technologies are also becoming more of an operational tool and that makes them interesting for the supply chain.

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."

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.

5 Technical Keys for Employee Engagement

Social business, 2014-01-August-apathetic-worker.jpg

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.

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.

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