This week's features had a common thread that tied many of them together: it's time to take a step back and reassess the work that we are doing.

Questions were raised about perspective: is the push towards connectedness and social business a fad comparable to the Dot-com bubble? How well do you know your customers? Your organization?

Do you have the answers to these questions? Read on.

Is Social Business the Way Forward or the Way Downhill?

The Connected World: This Decade’s Dot Com Bubble?

Barry Schaeffer: It’s everywhere these days: in class, on the street, or at a conference -- as I found myself recently -- and people around you are glued to a PDA, iPad or other wireless device. You would think we have entered a new world of connectedness; making the Internet literally our assistant, teacher, confidant and, in many cases, friend. There is, it appears, no looking back as we glide into a new digital world.

But today’s fascination with wireless technology is not unprecedented if we look closely, and it may follow the same rules that have applied in the past. In short, it may be a fad and if we fail to recognize its patterns, we could be heading for a rude awakening.

How Spam Paralyzed the Enterprise and Other Ways Social Business Misses the Mark

Kevin Conroy (@seattlerooster): Imagine being in the throes of an exceptionally busy time at work, only to have your email box regularly deluged by a multi-week series of alerts regarding feminine napkins. Yes, this is a true story.

One of our clients has had a recurring issue with the topic of feminine napkins for the past several months within their current Jive solution -- not a lot of productive social collaboration going on when talking for months on-end about anything in the bathroom! This was not exactly a proud moment for social business, but it brings up some important lessons and reminders for us all.

3 Ways Communication and Intranet Professionals Can Become Linchpins

Andrew Wright (@roojwright): Seth Godin describes a Linchpin in his best selling book "Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?" as:

the person who is indispensable, because they refuse to become an interchangeable part, someone who merely follows the manual…the linchpins leverage something internal, not external, to create a position of power and value.”

In a way, it’s a paradox to be writing an article (or a book for that matter) about how to be a linchpin because, according to Godin’s definition, a real linchpin doesn’t follow instructions. Instead, they create them. Following instructions is for the proles and factory workers. Godin has support from Steve Jobs who says “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

How Do Customers Rate Their Experiences?

The Disconnect Between Real and Perceived Customer Service

JR Sloan: A recent survey of U.S. IT decision-makers conducted among 227 senior IT professionals by Kelton Research on behalf of Enghouse Interactive reveals that 93% of U.S. companies feel they deliver good or excellent customer service. Six of the remaining seven percent felt they delivered average customer service and just one percent believed their customer service was poor.

While this majority of businesses may be congratulating themselves on a job well done, it is highly doubtful that consumers would agree with this assessment of most customer service. 

Smartphone or Dumbphone? NICE Mobile Reach Rethinks Customer Experience

Virginia Backaitis: Ask someone about a recent customer service experience, and you’re likely to get a diatribe about self-help menus that don’t help, voice response systems that fail to understand you or what you want, having to repeat (or enter) the same information over and again, and so on. The rant typically ends with the oath, “I’m never going to do business with Company X again.”

It’s a far cry from every enterprise’s desire to “delight the customer.”

Search and Find: A User Centric Approach to Customer Satisfaction

Rob McCarthy (@robmmcarthy): For several years, usability guru Jakob Nielson has had “bad Search” as his number one "Top 10 mistakes in web design.” The reasons for this are obvious. If users who come to your site cannot quickly find the information or solution they are looking for they will leave and go to a competitor.

Bring On the Mobile Experience 

Using Web Standards to Create a Great Mobile Experience

Simon Lande: Mobile is a rapidly evolving medium, with a constantly expanding range of devices. As a result, designing for mobile sites can be particularly challenging -- even more so given the need to keep your brand strong by maintaining cross-channel consistency.

Which Way Forward for DAM?

The Social Enterprise: What’s the DAM Point?

Jody Vandergriff (@jodyvandergriff): We have come a long way from corporate wikis. Today, smart enterprises are leveraging advanced social platforms to promote communication and openness.

Much the same as we use Twitter and Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and share thoughts and ideas in our personal lives, social applications in the enterprise have the power to connect teams with common goals and objectives. Gone are the days of corporate silos. To be competitive in today’s market, companies must encourage collaboration and break down the barriers of enterprise-wide communication.

Marketers and DAM: Taking the Relationship to the Next Level

Nicolas Antonio Jimenez (@nicolasajimenez): Back in 2008, Real Story Group’s Theresa Regli referred to the digital asset management industry as being stuck in a “bridesmaid” role. As Regli put it:

despite the continued 'on-the-cusp' feel of the DAM industry, it has yet to explode. And, frankly, we question if it ever will. DAM's growth has been more like that of a trusty, stable bond investment than a late-'90s software stock. All the better, perhaps, if DAM grows slowly but surely, even if it's a bit in the shadows."

Marketing and the broader communications landscape have changed drastically since then, of course. It’s hard, but if we try, we can all remember a time in the distant past when we weren’t being bombarded with advertising on our phones, watching video on our tablets, or catching up on the news using our gaming consoles.

The DAM Shift: Enriching the Online Customer Experience

Ron Selvey (@rselvey): The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) role is evolving in most companies with the growth of analytics, CMS, mobile and today’s hottest topic -- the online experience.

As this evolution drives exponential growth of creative files, Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions simultaneously move closer to becoming the holy grail for marketing professionals, particularly due to inter-connectivity.

Do You Know the People Within and Without Your Organization?

ERP in the Cloud: Know Your Customers Before You Scare Them Away

David Szabo (@saasincloud): Yes, I know, it’s a pretty harsh title, but I experience this week after week: ERP vendors coming up with the cloud-hosted copy of their ERP software and not understanding why it doesn’t sell. I wrote this post to stop them repeating this mistake and to share the lessons I’ve seen at least 10 times in the last three months.

Using SharePoint to Communicate Organizational Structure Effectively

Chris Wright (@scribbleagency): The humble "org chart" might feel like an outmoded concept, but they can serve a very important purpose for many companies -- especially in a turbulent economy.
Most companies maintain organizational information in one form or another. This information is often stored in payroll systems, Intranets or even in good old Excel. Visio is another firm favorite, and it will often fall to the HR department to keep the data in sync with staff movements.

Being Human: Why Knowledge Workers Need Adaptive Case Management

Deb Miller (@debsg360): If a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire can appreciate how difficult it is Being Human, so can a BPM practitioner” -- Anonymous  

How important is the human factor in driving meaningful process improvements for your business?

I believe it is THE most important, and arguably the most difficult, aspect of any effort to improve performance.

[Video Blog] Leveraging Office 365 for Project Collaboration: Mobile Note Consolidation

Pamela Flora (@puckish222): You may not be as familiar with OneNote as you are with Outlook. OneNote is an app that lets project teams take notes (including multimedia entries, like pictures), then share them on a common project site.

Check in again next week as our experts dive into the Mobile Experience.

Title Image courtesy of Christophe Testi (Shutterstock).