Peter Crosby

Here’s why you should stop trying to predict the future of your business.

Joi Ito Who wouldn’t want to know what the future holds? Especially in business, where inventing the Next Big Thing could mean market-share domination for decades.

Yet predicting the future is all but impossible (unless the Next Big Thing you come up with is a time machine). Despite the best efforts of psychics, astrologers, and scientists, nothing has ever consistently worked — crystal balls and studying the past are no more effective than a blindfolded monkey throwing darts. In short, you have absolutely no hope of predicting the future.

On the bright side, neither does anyone else. In fact, when it comes to determining the future, it’s a pretty level playing field. Every company in the same boat regardless of size — larger companies have more resources but are slower, while smaller companies have fewer resources but are more nimble.

But, for all practical purposes, there’s really only one way to know for certain where the industry is headed.

Don’t try to predict the future, invent it yourself.

That’s right. Instead of waiting and reacting to competitors’ innovations, you have to disrupt your own industry yourself.

In this recent TED talk, Joi Ito, head of the MIT Media Lab, spoke about how the Internet has democratized innovation in every field. (continued…)

Peter Crosby

How lengthy emails damage your business, and how to put a stop to them.

Hands Typing Email Novels.

I stumbled across a nice blog post the other day suggesting that there’s a simple solution to the problem of email killing employee productivity, and it’s basically this: “Keep emails short.”

While that may seem obvious and self-evident, it’s nevertheless something nobody seems to be able to do — far too many people write emails as if they were authoring the next great novel or a dissertation on the meaning of existence under the mistaken impression that more words are better.

But when it comes to email — as Robert Browning taught us all in his 1855 dramatic monologue, Andrea del Sarto (Called “The Faultless Painter”) — less is more.

The email window itself may be at fault — its wide-open textual expanse all but cries out for logorrheic verbosity. Like the mythical siren’s call, it incites our childhood passion and unrealized dream of being a best-selling author of pompous word-smithery!

Or…it could be that people just can’t cut to the chase.

Regardless of the cause, shorter messages are better messages for one, simple reason:

Short messages get read.

no-email_smallThat’s right. Short messages get read while long emails — even the most carefully crafted ones — get skimmed at best, if not ignored altogether. (continued…)

Internal Communication – Why Enterprise Social Networking Matters

Businesses are using enterprise social networking to improve internal communication.

The other day I was having a conversation with my friend who works at a relatively large and successful tech company. To my surprise she said she was thinking of leaving her job.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because everything is disorganized. Most of the key decisions are made behind closed doors and then not communicated to the staff,” she said.

Then my friend listed a slew of examples where things went awry because the latest decisions, changes, answers to questions, material and so forth had not been communicated to the team.

It turns out these communication issues are all too common in the workplace. A study of business communication practices, revealed that 40% of the work week is lost to communication inefficiencies, which is rather startling given that the majority of respondents were in customer-facing and decision-making roles. 68% of employees experience difficulty communicating even between team members.

Internal communication is never perfect at work, but organizations are finding ways to make communication more clear and transparent. 56% of employers use using internal social networks “as part of their internal communication initiatives to build community — creating a sense that employees and leaders are in it together, and sharing both the challenges and rewards of work.”

Social technology not only allows managers to broadcast the latest policies, branding message, dos and don’ts etc., but also lets employees respond, ask questions and feel more engaged overall. (continued…)

Retail Gets a Much Needed Makeover with Enterprise Social Networking

In a rapidly evolving e-commerce world, retailers are using enterprise social networking to rev up internal communication and gain a competitive edge.

Retail certainly isn’t what it used to be. Online and mobile commerce has fundamentally changed the way we consume. Amazon.com now accounts for a quarter of all online purchases, plus purchases from mobile devices grew by more than 81 percent within the last year.

With the ability to do comparison shopping from anywhere, shoppers are smarter and quite frankly, harder to please. Nearly 50% of shoppers who use their smartphone believe they are more informed than store associates.

The sudden shift to e-commerce along with the economic crash of 2008, has no doubt impacted many retail stores. Stocks fell, employees were laid off, and there were several casualties (Circuit City and Borders to name a few).

Retail executives in the U.S. don’t anticipate a substantial economic recovery until 2014 or beyond (according to a recent report from KPMG.) So how can retailers ramp up their efforts, especially as they enter new territories?

Whether it’s maintaining a competitive storefront or strengthening their multi-channel-selling opportunities, retailers need to adapt quickly, stay on top of new technology and strengthen internal communication. (continued…)

tibbr Launches Web-Conferencing Meetings for Enterprise Social

We’re excited to announce tibbr Meetings, a solution to integrate web conferencing—Cisco WebEx, Skype and Google Hangouts—within your enterprise social network. This builds on our vision to create a platform that integrates with an employee’s application of choice, and to get work done faster.

Think about how long it used to take to set up a meeting. First you’d have to call so-and-so to find out whom to include. Then you’d have to create a calendar invite, add all of these usernames to it, copy and paste some webinar information, provide an agenda, include a supporting document after sorting through some file system … dial in, enter meeting codes and so forth. What’s more, you needed to figure out how to get a recording and send it out to everyone. All told, this usually involved toggling back and forth between several different systems.

With the announcement of tibbr meetings, the whole process has been made much simpler. In just a few steps employees can access their meeting platform of choice (WebEx, Skype or Google Hangouts) without leaving their enterprise social network, add their group, easily include documents, and then they’re set to go. Plus, meetings can be recorded and posted back into the conversation thread, so employees can revisit the details later. (continued…)

Live Webinar: Transform Sales and Marketing to Boost Revenue

Enterprise social networking is rapidly becoming a must-have in the 21st century. Businesses like Yellow Pages Group are replacing traditional technology like SharePoint and using social technology to revamp the critical connection between sales and marketing. Discover how Yellow Pages Group is integrating enterprise social networking into their business processes to drive higher sales and increased revenue.

Join Angela Ashenden, Principal Analyst at MWD Advisors and Andre Boisvert, Chief Architect at Yellow Pages Group for our live interview-style webinar on how to Transform Sales and Marketing to Boost Revenue with Enterprise Social.

Why you should attend:

  • Discover how Yellow Pages Group employees use enterprise social networking to boost collaboration across departments and drive revenue
  • Hear their business objectives and the plan that was put in place
  • Learn how private social networks naturally gather feedback, so the efforts of Marketing don’t go unnoticed

Register Now!

 

Andre Boisvert
Andre is the Chief Architect at Yellow Pages Group. YPG is a Montreal-based holding of leading digital advertising and marketing solutions companies. With offices coast to coast, Yellow Pages Group employes over 2,800 people.

 

 

Angela Ashenden
Angela is MWD’s Principal Analyst for Collaboration. With Experience in many areas around collaboration and information management, she has advised clients on technology and management issues relating to collaboration, enterprise content management, portals, workflow, enterprise search and e-learning. (continued…)

CEO vs. Gangster – Who Would Benefit More from a Private Social Network?

Organizational heads exist on all sides of the law. On the one hand you’ve got the c-level executive of a global corporation, and on the other, the gentleman like Al Capone, Frank Costello and yes, even the Hollywood glamorized Tony-Soprano types. Both manage a complex organization of individuals and build relationships with an “If I provide for you, you provide for me”-type foundation. Both are willing to take risks, maintain a level of coolness under pressure, and are concerned with results. And both wear suits and chomp on cigars, to play out the perfect archetype.

So who would benefit more from a private social network?

Both “bosses” need a way to communicate a collective purpose. At the same time, they need oversight into what people are doing—their struggles and accomplishments—so they can influence a new direction as needed. Private social networking provides the platform for leaders to share their thoughts and vision, as well as take a pulse on what’s going on within their organization. People share what they’re working on, collaborate on the latest tasks, and everyone is connected from their mobile device. So if a CEO needs to know what’s going with the latest corporate communications campaign, he or she can tap in. (continued…)

How to Get Around the 160′ Barrier to Collaboration

It may come as no surprise to you that the greater distance between employees, the less employees collaborate. What’s astonishing is that once there’s about 30 meters (160 feet) of distance in between employees, collaboration drops completely (according to a study by T.J. Allen, the author of Managing the Flow of Technology). Two people could be working in the same building for years, and still have no idea who the other person is or what they’re working on.

Organizations face the challenge of improving collaboration across employees, especially when they are remotely dispersed. This, as principal of Chess Media Group Jacob Morgan puts it, is exactly why enterprise social networking platforms are becoming so valuable to organizations.

It’s the people around you and on your team, who quickly bring you up to speed within an organization. But, when it comes to expanding outside of your nearby network and having more insight into what’s going on in your organization, your email system won’t do the trick because it’s limited to the conversations with people you already know. Enterprise social networking helps employees quickly figure out who’s whom within their organization, what employees are talking about, their ideas, and the projects they’re initiating. (continued…)

Internal Social Collaboration… On Demand

Modern business is predicated on collaboration, but most companies struggle when it comes to creating and managing the technologies, processes, and people that enable the effective exchange of information within a company. According to McKinsey, the disconnect is huge, with close to 80% of executives believing collaboration is critical to growth, but only 25% describe their organization as being effective at collaboration. It’s startling that so few executives are satisfied with their collaboration efforts given that what these executives want is remarkably simple – for employees to be able to collaborate on demand. Imagine if collaboration was as simple as making a phone call where anyone is able to pick up the phone, hear a dial tone, and know that there is a ubiquitous network capable of connecting them with people around the world.

How can companies achieve the promise of collaboration on demand? There are countless tips on improving employee collaboration, but here are three that should be considered the fundamental building blocks of internal collaboration.

First, companies should analyze pre-existing forms of collaboration, no matter how flawed, to learn how employees collaborate currently. Simply talking to employees about the technologies, processes, and people they currently depend upon for collaboration will expose a variety of networks, both formal and informal, that employees already use. (continued…)