Tag Archives: enterprise 2.0

How to get started with social media

A few months ago I wrote a post on how I use various social media sites, but realized I didn’t share how I arrived at those use cases/decisions so here it is.

First and foremost  identify what you hope to get from your social media experience. If one of your goals isn’t to share knowledge then re-think why you are trying to use social media.  I have heard, well read, that Twitter is one of the largest groups of people who love to share their knowledge and experiences.  When I decided it was time to be more involved I had several reasons – becoming more involved in a community I was passionate about, learning from others, sharing my experiences and meeting others who shared similar interest were my key drivers for getting started with social media.

Next you will want to identify the key areas you want to focus on.  For me this was an easy task as I had decided to veer off my (at the time) current career trajectory and re-focus on more hands on/engineering type roles that would hopefully revolve around virtualization, VMware and other related technologies.

Once you know what information you want, do some research and identify what networks are most active in that area.  I find Twitter to be much more active with others in the VMware/engineering space versus Facebook so I started with Twitter and later expanded into other networks.  While I use some platforms in a similar manner, I also have specific uses for others.  For example Twitter is my primary social network where I will engage openly with everyone, and use Google+ in a similar fashion while leveraging circles to share more personal information such as pictures of my family with just a limited subset of circles.  You will likely also find yourself involved in groups with no real tie to a particular social media site/tool such as local meet up groups, blogs or webinars.

Now, develop a plan.  Once you have identified the reasons why you want to be involved, and which communities are most active your plan could be as simple as taking time to focus on one specific aspect and expanding into other areas as you become comfortable in others.  For example, after several attempts and “figuring out” Twitter, I focused simply on using it as a tool to stay up to date on information from various vendors who I enjoyed working with.  This made an easy transition into following others who were talking about the same topics, learning from and meeting those people.

Finally –  push yourself.  It is easy to stay in an area you are comfortable – with people you know, information or skills you may already excel at but you won’t grow if you do not challenge yourself.  One area that I just stumbled into was being more out going, as typically I am quiet and reserved and don’t go out of my way to talk to people.  One night I just happened to see someone I follow on Twitter who lives out of state ask where he could get dinner just a couple towns away from me as in was in the area for work, several other people who already knew him suggested some places and others even were going to meet him there so I just threw myself into the mix and had some great conversations over dinner with people I had never met – that was far outside my comfort zone.  Of course in a scenario like that, ask first don’t just show up!

If you are struggling with how to get started, leverage social media as a means to get information and learn and you will likely find that over time you will start engaging and sharing more information naturally as others are already doing.

 

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What To Do in the First 90 Days of a Turn-Around by Sallie Krawcheck via LinkedIn

There was a great post last week on LinkedIn by Sallie Krawcheck about what to do during the first 90 days of a turn around.  I highly recommend everyone read the article as many of the concepts can apply to you very quickly (you are acquired, management change etc…).  You can find the full article here (https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20121113154043-174077701-what-to-do-in-the-first-90-days-of-a-turn-around?_mSplash=1) but there were a few key points that I really loved.

Listen – probably the most underrated tool in your arsenal anytime you are going through a change.  While past experience is certainly great, not everything will fit into the same box.  For example if your company acquires another, they might seem like a typical remote office to you but they are probably more like your corporate headquarters in terms of complexity and politics than one of your small remote offices with limited people, departments and infrastructure.

Don’t put down the team that came before you – another important option and one that can be sometimes hard to ignore but its important listen to both sides of the story.  I once worked at a company where the IT manager was replaced, for seemingly a multitude of reasons but the ‘last straw’ was a project that was perceived to go very poorly.  In actuality, the request from senior management was a no win situation for him – do something he had never done, in a condensed period of time with no budget…. the IT manager didn’t stand a chance in that project.  In fact, what he was able to do in 3 days (versus 2 imposed on him by management and what I would argue could have and should have been a 2-3 month project with their resources) was nothing short of amazing and he would have received praise from me for what he did.  Coming in and bad mouthing the previous manager would have been easy, but I also would have been wrong.  Months later when I uncovered the entire story I brought it up in a meeting when the former manager was being put down – he was never spoken of poorly again (at least when I was in ear shot).

The last point Sallie makes is to move quickly.  This is important – I have been through several acquisitions and the one that was by far the best was also the quickest.  The day the acquisition was announced a guy showed up (well not any guy he was a systems engineer with the new company) with a server under his arm.  In less than a day we were on the corporate VPN, had new VLANs defined that fit into their existing structure and a domain trust and new domain controller on the network.  Now it was just flipping switches – email person by person was flawless and didn’t impact anyone but for more than a couple of hours, user accounts and existing systems were moved and readdressed but no one lost access.

Teach why before you teach how

I had a great conversation the other day about IT strategy and how IT can be a strategic partner to the organization.  Now maybe I am a bit biased, but I would like to think one of my strong points is my ability to look at a technical request, from the simple to the very complex, and consider the organization’s goals; whether for the entire organization, a specific line of business or an individual, and think about how that request aligns to those goals. I began to wonder if I am really as strategic as I thought, and as I reflected on my career I realized I was extremely lucky as a  young professional to have several managers / mentors, as far back as a summer job after my senior year in high school, always focused on why something should be done – and in many cases left it up to me to figure out the how.  I think this is important for several reasons, but most importantly if you are always thinking about the why, it almost becomes second nature to think strategically about almost everything you do even if its just as simple as understanding the need of one specific person or as complex as understanding the needs for an entire accounting/SFA/ERP system across an the organization.

As we move to a more social world, a more social enterprise it is more important than ever for managers and other senior level people to focus on teaching why something should be done versus just how something should be done.  If your teams can think about the why, inevitably this will spark conversation about the best way to accomplish a goal and lead you to a better solution, a more strategic solution and one that will likely have buy in and acceptance across the organization.

Enterprise Social Media Platform Evaluations

Recently IDC released their rankings of enterprise social media / social enterprise platforms, and it was clearly Gartner like in its pay for rankings play (I used to work for IDG so maybe I believed IDC was better than that).  Having recently gone through an extensive search for such a platform I thought I would share my insights on the various platforms we considered.  No vendor has paid for anything stated in this article nor do I have any affiliations with any of the vendors (unless you count my VCP5-DV certification with VMware as an affiliation with SocialCast).  Furthermore, I did not look at company size, revenue or any other means of measurement outside of features, innovation and user experience.

Ranking Enterprise Social Platforms based on a recent effort I lead within my company.

There were 4 vendors clearly head and shoulders above the rest – Jive, MangoApps, Yammer and SocialCast in that order.  Jive, from the features we were looking at, the innovation in their new products and the user experience delivered were what I would expect from such a platform.  MangoApps is a close second, their latest version is extremely impressive and anyone looking at Jive, Yammer or SocialCast should put MangoApps on your radar now.  SocialCast and Yammer round out the top 4, with a slight edge to Yammer in terms of features.  One concern I have with both is their ability to innovate given that they are owned by much larger companies (with a slight edge to SocialCast/VMware in terms of being able to innovate new solutions).

After that there is a pretty major fall off to the next tier with only SAP Jam (really a SuccessFactors product) nearing the leaders quadrant.  Other major players hovering between niche and major players are SalesForce Chatter, WebEx Social (aka Cisco Quad), SharePoint and SocialText.  I almost left WebEx Social off the list since, best I can tell, its still vaporware but since Cisco Quad actually existed I will give them the benefit of the doubt since I was impressed with the demos I saw.  Microsoft needs to realize quickly that Yammer is the front end that SharePoint should have always had and create a compelling cost benefit for SharePoint customers to adopt it or simply lay it on top of SharePoint now and continue to sell Yammer to companies who don’t want/need SharePoint in the background.

There are several other niche platforms that might provide you with some new features/functionality that you do not have in your corporate intranet today but are lacking in terms of features or user experience and don’t bring anything new to the table that isn’t copied by the others in front of them.  Also, there are still a few old school players who bring basic profiles and forums but I don’t live in 2002 anymore – I want more than forums and glossy icons.

Time won’t permit me to get deep into a hands on review with each of these platforms but am certainly willing to speak with anyone who is working on a similar project to share my views and experiences in more detail.

The business case for the social enterprise – step 1A and 1B

I had an interesting discussion about the “Consumerization of IT” and how it is much much more than just BYOD.  Consumerization of IT, while inclusive of BYOD, is also the expectation on consumer like user experiences in enterprise applications.  Enterprise applications that have focused on UX are the leaders in their industry.  Look no further than Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer – and Yammer isn’t even the best but Microsoft recognized that SharePoint did not match the experience we have as consumers on platforms like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

I have been involved in implementing ‘communities’ for both internal and customer facing purposes as far back as 2004 why MySpace ruled the world and there are 2 critical steps to ensuring you have success in starting your project.  First, identify clear use cases and needs across the entire organization or function where you are looking to implement this solution.  You should always tie these to business initiatives as well – for example ‘increasing customer engagement’ or ‘increasing sales by n’ since these platforms can have positives effects in both areas.

The next step I feel is important, really more of a 1B than a 2 (and can argue with myself as to whether this should be 1A) is secure budget early.  For as many successful implementations I have seen, I have seen just as many never launch even though you did step 1A flawlessly because we were never going to get finance to sign the check.  Make sure you have a clear dollar amount, approved by your highest level finance person and the CEO.  Money can always disapeer, but make sure you have  a clear understanding with your execs on this project moving forward.