Vernon Naidoo

Enterprise 2.0

Social networks and the organisation

About social networks

What are social networks and how can this tool help organisations better understand their employees as well as their customers? Social networks are online sites that connect people around the world and allow them to share information such as photos, videos and status updates with each other instantaneously. Most social networks are online based and require a user creating a profile which can easily be identified by other users of social networks. Social networks also allow organisations to create a company profile that allows users to connect to that company and give feedback regarding a service they received from the company as well as for the organisation to conduct marketing and brand awareness through social media.

Social Network Tools

Sure enough everyone knows about the top three social networking sites which are facebook, twitter, and linkedin but what about the other up and coming sites such as Google Plus+, Pinterest and Tagged. For organisations to be successful in web 2.0 they would definitely have to adopt most of these social sites for better interaction with customers or miss the bandwagon.  What social media tools can organisations implement within the organisation to create a better social environment amongst its employees as well as sharing of business ideas amongst colleague? Organisations can use tools such as Yammer, socialcast, chatter and Jive.  Richard Edwards, Ovum analyst and author of the report, comments: “Ovum’s current assessment of the enterprise social networking market indicates that Jive and Yammer are the two vendors that organisations are most eager to compare and contrast, but other vendors are generating significant business and revenues from their offerings.”

Social networking at the airport

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe’s 4th busiest and the world’s 14th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2011. The airport designed a unique social network experience with its travellers by allowing them to share a meal from their favourite restaurant on Facebook, and in exchange the restaurant would donate a meal to a child in need via Unicef. A short video on the campaign.

This solution helped:

–          The restaurants raise awareness of their food.

–           Users who share feel good for doing a good thing

–          The airport gets a positive brand association

–          Children in need are helped

With regards to Brisbane airport and their adoption of social networks; they currently have a facebook page but seem to only allow travellers to make suggestions about the airport and services or disgruntled travellers to make complaints. Brisbane airport could adopt a social network strategy like Amsterdam in which they engaged travellers by offering them some kind of reward. Having such an engagement with travellers allows the airport to build a rapport with travellers as well as getting noticed by foreign travellers to the city.

References

http://www.slideshare.net/shanxz/top-10-airports-on-social-media-the-2012-edition

http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=69035

http://www.schiphol.nl/SchipholGroup/NewsMedia/PressreleaseItem/SchipholSocialMediaCampaignSupportsUNICEF.htm

http://www.facebook.com/schiphol?sk=app_272864342796628&app_data=[]

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Wiki’s in the Enterprise

What exactly is a wiki and how can organisations adopt such a tool in the workplace or outside the organisation? Up until recently I was under the impression that the only wiki known to man was the great Wikipedia that seems to overflow with information about almost any topic imaginable. Wikis in the organisation work on the same concept and allow employees from the organisation to collaborate on a single document without the worry of duplicate copies of a document. Wikis are instantaneous so there is no need to wait for a publisher to create a new edition or update information. People located in different parts of the world can work on the same document. The wiki software keeps track of every edit made and it’s a simple process to revert back to a previous version of an article. I also found an interesting video that outlines the basic functions of a wiki and how easy it is to collaborate.

Advantages of Wiki’s

– Wikis are social software in that they help connect people across an organisation.  A wiki can help your staff get to know each other.

– Wikis can be used as a project management tool post meeting times, resources for a group, and for individuals to post what they’re working on.

– People can email to brainstorm ideas; then post the results of the brainstorming to the Wiki where it can be sculpted.

– The low mental overhead in wiki usage is very popular – click “edit this page” to edit the page. Much easier than wrestling with a document on a shared drive, or even on your own hard drive.

– Easy to keep track of what’s going on by watching the “recent changes”

– Keeps behind-the-scenes work out of email, freeing email for interactive conversation.

Disadvantages of Wiki’s

– Anyone can edit which can create the security possibility of a page such as something confidential but users can be restricted.

– Open to SPAM and vandalism.

– Has to have constant moderation by an administrator to prevent disorganisation.

Continuing from last week’s post I will still be looking at Brisbane airport and how the organisation can adopt a wiki to better progress the company through web 2.0 adoptions. Brisbane airport currently has little engagement with travellers that allows them to collaborate with the airport. The airport website does have useful links of information but this could be improved through traveller engagement and giving a different point of view as all travellers like to hear about peoples experiences. A wiki can be used for numerous purposes but I will be looking at the wiki for engaging travellers at the Brisbane airport to fun and interactive tasks that could also be useful to future travellers. After scouring the internet for wiki adoptions I came across a useful wiki that highlighted the best places to go in Brisbane as contributed by travellers. So what if the airport created this fun filled wiki site that allowed travellers to post reviews of eateries, shops and transport within the airport precinct and create a space for future travellers to the airport. This wiki could also help travellers find all the basic amenities within the airport including different language translations of the wiki to cater for foreign travellers. Retailers at the airport could also get involved in the wiki by posting relevant specials and answering customer questions relating to their store.

References

http://wikieducator.org/Wikieducator_tutorial/What_is_a_wiki/Advantages_and_disadvantages

http://wikitravel.org/en/Brisbane

http://www.cio.com/article/447199/The_Advantages_and_Disadvantages_of_Using_a_Wiki_to_Manage_Your_IT_Projects

http://enterprise20.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Microblogging/Blogging in Organisation

What is micro blogging and how are companies adopting the technology within their organisation? This week I will be looking at micro blogging within an organisation or more particularly adoption of micro blogging in an airport and discussing some tactics at implementing the strategy. Micro blogging inside an organisation provides staff with the ability to post short messages to everyone in the organisation or a select group. A variety of online tools can be used, for example Yammer, SocialText or an internally built solution.

The Organisation

The organisation that will be adopting the technology would be notably Brisbane Airport.  Brisbane airport is the sole passenger airport and the third busiest airport in Australia after Sydney airport and Melbourne airport. Brisbane is currently served with 46 domestic destinations in all States and Territories and 32 international destinations. For the 12 months ending May 2011 total passengers were 20,056,416. With that much passengers passing through the airport it can definitely capitalise on the feet that get through the airport. The problem with the retail part of the organisation is that customers are very tech savvy and seem to research prices when in a particular retail outlet in the airport. So how can micro blogging help the organisation better market their products to the traveller and also be competitive with the outside retail world?

Microblogging

Let’s first look at why microblogging is such an effective tool in this particular industry. According to “Microblogging: The future of Communications?” they have given a few reasons why micro blogging is so effective to the external part of the orgainsation:

Short Attention Spans – One catalyst is that we live in a culture where ADD is now considered a coping mechanism for dealing with the constant barrage of information we face. This is characterized by political sound bites, lead news stories that clock in at ninety seconds, and commercials optimized for TiVo fast-forwarding. Social media communications are likewise short and chaotic; threads/messages are started and dropped with little warning, and are often limited to 140 characters or less. That means the previous sentence is 22 characters too long for most microblogging sites.

A Desire for Fame and Stature – All successful social networks have a built-in reward system that reflects you’re standing in the community. For Twitter, it’s your number of followers; LinkedIn counts your connections; Plurk’s karma point system gives you new icons—ribbons, if you will—for posting more often and inviting new people to Plurk.

 Strategy of implementing micro blogging

Now that we have an idea of what microblogging is, how can we implement a strategy to target potential travellers within the airport by retailers using microblogs? One such way is through twitter. An interesting article that I came across is how twitter lets marketers target ads based on consumers’ interests. Twitter’s ad formats follow two formats. Promoted Tweets appear in a consumer’s timeline like any other tweet. Like a regular Twitter post, the messages will appear in the timeline once; as the shopper scrolls, the Promoted Tweet flows with the rest of the tweets in the timeline. Promoted Accounts appear on the right side of a consumer’s Twitter homepage under the heading “Who to follow.” This way the retailers in the airport can share promotions/discounts with travellers.  They could also target customers that are going to a destination that would require the necessities for that particular destination. This could also give the traveller the option of making the purchase online and having the product picked up from the retailer before their journey.

References

“Brisbane Airport – Passenger Statistics”. Bne.com.au. 2009-12-03. Retrieved 2012-02-10.

http://www.flyte.biz/resources/newsletters/08/09-microblogging.php

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/10_micro-blogging_tools_compared.php

Return on Investment (ROI) and Web 2.0

Organisations have made huge investments introducing web 2.0 technologies in their organisation but what is the return on investment gained and what does return on investment really mean to a company? Return on investment allows an investor to evaluate the performance of an investment and compare it to others in his or her portfolio. Maybe companies need to look at ROI in a different perspective as “Return on information” when trying to weight out the benefits of web 2.0 in the organisation.

According to How to calculate the ROI of enterprise 2.0 they have broken down ROI into three main areas and are able to measure this investment as I will be discussing below.

Increased employment Engagement  

Employees using enterprise social software platforms in the workplace are more engaged than similar employees who do not use these tools. Employees are more engaged because they become part of something larger than themselves and their immediate departments. Knowledge and work become more transparent and employees are able to get real-time feedback, visibility, and gratification.

How to measure:

  1. Use the engagement ratings from your company’s employee engagement surveys.
  2. Gather data about each employee’s usage of your enterprise social network
  3. Gather data for other factors that could impact employee engagement
  4. Using regression analysis, calculate the impact the usage of the enterprise social network has on engagement.

Decreased Turnover Rate

Employees using enterprise social software in the workplace are less likely to leave the organisation than those that don’t. Social collaboration software helps employees adapt more quickly, and get the information they need to be successful in their position.

How to measure:

  1. Indentify the employees that left since you launched your network.
  2. Get data on employee usage of social software and other data that impact turnover rates.
  3. Analyse results

Sales

Enterprise social software platforms allow sales departments to react faster to customers’ requests, news about the competition, and share insights into key customer accounts, resulting in more closed deals and an increase in sales volume.

How to measure:

  1. Obtain the sales results for each of your sales team members.
  2. Gather data to reflect each person’s usage of the enterprise social network.
  3. Account for other factors that could have impacted sales results.
  4. Analyse the relationship between the use of enterprise social software and sales results.

So it basically comes down to the organisation and what kind of return they are trying to achieve when it comes to ROI. I am open to other suggestions of ROI calculations in enterprise 2.0 and feedback, so please drop me a comment.

References

http://visual.ly/how-calculate-roi-enterprise-20

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hinchcliffe/determining-the-roi-of-enterprise-2-0/334

http://blog.socialcast.com/e2sday-how-to-calculate-the-roi-of-enterprise-2-0/

Social media and the legal risks

I have looked at a few companies over the past weeks implementing web 2.0 technologies and also the risks and benefits of these implementations but are all companies aware of the legal risks of these adoptions? This week I will outline some of the legal risks that these companies are plagued with and in particular will look at Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA). Let me re-iterate that the material covered in this blog is just general commentary on the law only and is just my opinion.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) operates the Vodafone, 3, and Crazy John’s brands. Formed in June 2009 following a merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia, VHA provides mobile services to over 7 million customers in Australia. In Australia, Vodafone is operated by Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA); a 50:50 joint venture between Vodafone Group Plc and Hutchison 3G Australia.

Reputation Risk

According to Dundas Lawyers “Reputation risk is probably the most imperative risk to minimise in the social media environment, as the intangible loss of reputation can significantly damage the hard earned brand, in a very short time. Numerous example of reputation of organisations being harmed on Social Networking Sites occur on a seemingly daily basis.” Vodafone has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons due to network failures and losing more than 700,000 customers. Disgruntled customers have formed a vodafail website that allowed customers to vent their frustration on the poor network infrastructure. A parody of the merger between Vodafone and three was also posted on YouTube with about 200 thousand views.

To makes matters even worse the company has been involved in an internal social media crisis lately when an employee, Arthur Kotsopoulos, tweeted offensive remarks about customers and vendors.

On the employees LinkedIn page, he lists his role at Vodafone as a “social media expert” and on facebook and twitter his role at Vodafone is “TNT Ambassador”. The Telco said it ran a program for retail staff called “Talking New Technology” that encouraged staff to give feedback on the technology the company sells. Vodafone has referred to people in this group as “TNT ambassadors”. The employee has since been suspended pending a full investigation. The article about the incident.

So how such a social media fiasco could could have been averted even though Vodafone had the proper social media policies in place? With the case on the poor network performance Vodafone has a ‘Vodafone Network Guarantee’. Should the customer be dissatisfied with the Vodafone experience within the first 30 days of the contract, the device can be returned and the contract cancelled. With regards to the employee the network has taken all the necessary steps of having a social media policy in place as well as suspending the employee and further investigating the issue as well as making a public apology to its customers and vendors.

Advertising and reviews

According to practical ecommerce they have written an article on “Social media: 5 Legal Risks to Your company” and go on to say “Whatever the platform, you should be careful when describing your products or services to make sure that the descriptions are truthful. Any false or misleading statements about your products or services can create liability. Opinions are acceptable — such as, “this is the best sink on the market” — but claims about features or other specifics should be carefully reviewed.” To take into account Vodafone’s situation they should be careful when comparing their phone plans with other phone providers. An example of such misleading advertising is when Vodafone introduced the “infinite plan” but in fact the plan wasn’t entirely infinite on all price ranges as 1300 & 1800 numbers and voicemail is only unlimited on the “$100 infinite plan”. In Vodafone’s case they have a blog in place that outlines all these plans to the consumer as well as a community forum to answer customer concerns about products and services.

I would be interested in hearing about other companies that have been in the spotlight due to legal risks arising from social media so please comment.

Enterprise 2.0: Benefits and risks

So what is all the fuss about companies jumping on the band wagon and implementing all these web 2.0 technologies? What are the risks involved in these implementations and how can it benefit these companies in the long run? This week I will be covering the risks and benefits of introducing web 2.0 technology in an enterprise environment. So I began looking at companies that have successfully implemented them and one that stood out for me was Yum! Brands. Most people wouldn’t actually know what products or brands Yum! Brands are associated with but when I say KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell then that conjures up images of southern fried chicken, pizza and tacos.The international food giant consists of all of these three top brands and a few lesser known brands. The company has 330,000 workers in 110 countries with combined annual revenue in excess of $11 billion.

The implementation of the software was introduced to the company by the Vice president of IT, Dickie Oliver. The software consisted of four collaboration tools that kept the 6000 worker capability back office working smoothly with their global operations.

– iCHING: Used for social networking and had a facebook-style interface that allowed connections between workers, sharing documents and generate a flow of information based on the news feed/activity stream model.

– Coveo: Used as an enterprise search tool to extract relevant information gathered on the intranet.

– Tandberg: HD video conferencing tool

– Saba: online learning tool that made employee learning consistent across the company irrespective of culture and language.

The company also used a combination of IT, policy and culture change to get employees to use the system and also enlisted targeted activation squads at each brand to drive efforts to reach 100% adoption before the one year mark of launch.

After looking at the successful web 2.0 adoption by Yum! Brands; let us look at some of the benefits and risks associated with such an adoption as well as the risk of doing nothing at all.

Benefits

Productivity and Efficiency: Allows employees to collaborate easily amongst each other with effective team management. Reduced email overload and a good example of such a company deciding to ban emails is French IT giant, Atos. The company CEO, Thierry Breton determined that only 20 out of every 200 emails received by his employees every day were important.

Knowledge: Uncover knowledge amongst employees and share this knowledge in a central location that is accessible by all parts of the organisation. Knowledge can also be found outside of the organisation and a good example of such a company is Salesforce.com Inc. A producer of customer management software; the company was plagued by a major problem related to the preparation of new software updates and what features to include in these new upgrades. After implementing a piece of software called IdeaExchange that involved their customers by suggesting new features as well as voting for them, the company was able to produce new releases that contained three times as many features as previous ones as well as more frequent updates throughout the year.

Risks  

Security: This seems to be a high risk amongst companies using web 2.0 tools. Security threats can come from internal sources such as employees and from external sources such as malware. Employees should be educated on the risks of leaking out sensitive information as well accepting unauthorised files that have not been safeguarded with some kind of encryption software.

Productivity: How do we monitor social networking tools and make sure staff spend time supporting business outcomes as? By implementing group policies amongst the users, tying to implement fun activities amongst employees to create a better working environment and enhanced productivity amongst individuals.

Risks of not Adopting Web 2.0

Many of these risks include:

– Inability to engage in two way dialogue with customers, and possibly build goodwill

– Graduates and young employees perceive the company as old fashioned and competitors attract talented, younger staff

– Potential customers may not be aware of the company – Customers may develop a positive attitude without actually purchasing products, or interacting with staff

– Many customers will form an online opinion, whether you are there or not – it is better to positively guide this experience

– Inefficient practices of emailing pdf or word documents continues

This list can increase if web 2.0 is not adopted early on in a company and leave companies trying to play catch-up. I would like to hear about some other success stories about companies that have adopted web 2.0 technologies so feel free to comment.

Web 2.0 Tools for Personal Productivity

Using web 2.0 tools can be a daunting task for the novice user but after the initial setup it can have numerous advantages to assist with personal productivity. I will try to break down some of the services that I have had exposure to. Some I have used for years such as podcasting and social networks such as facebook, and others I have just been introduced to such as twitter, blogs, rss feeds, wikis etc.

Social networking:  Has huge advantages for personal productivity. It helps with interconnecting people around the world, keeping in touch with family and friends. With this connectivity it allows people to find jobs, love and other interests with other like minded people. An early form of networking required a person to physically meet another person to create this bond but through the advancement of the internet and social networking sites this has advanced dramatically and a user never has to leave their home to meet new friends or discover love and job opportunities. One popular example would obviously be facebook.

Twitter: I have never been a fond user of twitter but it does have its advantages mostly for celebrities and companies. Twitter for me is like texting but with multiple recipients. Lately television shows have adopted twitter as a means of viewers interacting with each other on their thoughts of the current show.

Podcasting: Allows users that are subscribed to a particular podcast show to receive regular updates on their mp3 player or computer to listen at their own convenience. This technology enables anyone to broadcast their own audio channel without all the overheads of having their own radio station.

 

RSS Feeds: I haven’t used this technology until this weekend but it’s something that I will be using quite often from now. The practicality of having your favourite reading websites sending you notifications when their content is updated without the need for a user to constantly visit the site to check if the site has been updated. RSS feeds are very useful if you follow news websites and blogs.

Wikis: Another web 2.0 tool that I only discovered this weekend. Funny enough I thought the only wiki on the internet was Wikipedia until I explored that a user could create a wiki for personal use and allow a group of users to edit the wiki. In a work environment management can deligate various tasks in a wiki and workers can update the wiki as tasks are completed. If you haven’t explored wikis before the technology allows numerous users or a group of users to collaborate ideas on one central webpage. It is similar to a blog post but with numerous authors.

After exploring all these different tools you can be rest assured that users of the worldwide web are not short of tools that brings the world closer together without leaving the comfort of their home or work.

I would really like to find out your views about web 2.0 tools that have assisted you in your everyday lives, so feel free to comment.

 

Blogging and Personal Branding

Why do we blog? Is it to convey an idea or tacit knowledge to further educate or enlighten people or is it merely for personal gratification of building a personal brand about oneself. Whatever the reason may be it is all about human interaction and connecting individuals together through this online community. Initially trying to get my head around the idea of blogging has been a personal hurdle since this is my first ever blog posted, but I’m sure that as I post more blogs, I will get the knack of it. The main focus of blogging for me is try to connect to the reader.

Image

In my blogging strategy I would like to get people to interact in my posts and create a fun environment in conveying my ideas and personal opinions. I like the idea of “Less is more” in which it’s not about how long your post is but about the quality of writing and getting your idea or point out there with the least amount of words. People are attracted to short posts with useful information that they can relate to as opposed to long posts. With this in mind I have come up with a checklist that I will stick to, to blog effectively:

–          Effective titles that attract readers

–          Commenting on other blogs

–          Tie in blogging with current events

–          Effective use of pictures to illustrate my opinion or idea

Neil Patel has a successful blog because he introduces his readers to different search engine optimisation techniques and has a dedicated following of readers through this niche in the market. I think his blog is a classic example of ROI with annual revenues of $1 million+ and maintenance cost of $160k to $200k. Another blog that stands out for me and is not like any other conventional blogs would be OzBargain. The blog allows sharing of bargains amongst its users as well as commenting to either give positive or negative feedback about the bargain.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to add comments.

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