Behind Digital, People

  • I get so tired of social media, published by Euan Semple, on 22 May 2015

Some days I get wearied by it all. The latest tools, the latest memes, the constant updates, the selling, the PR, the self promotion, the cats. I wonder if we’ve lost the plot and the opportunity the web gave us to change the world. I sometimes feel like giving up.

But then I think about all the wonderful relationships that I have been able to establish and maintain thanks to the online world. How much doing so is now part of my life, and a part of it that I would never want to do without.

The conversations I have with friends, relatives, existing clients and people I might work with in the future are as fresh and exciting as ever.

That’s what it is all about. It always was.

Euan Semple is a public speaker, writer and consultant.


 

  • LinkedIn Elevate: We Need More than Tech by Silvia Cambié, published on 30 April 2015

LinkedIn has just launched Elevate, an app that enables employees to share content produced by their company on their private social media (LinkedIn and Twitter).

The app is a step in the right direction. But I disagree with LinkedIn’s Will Sun when he writes: “Why aren’t companies empowering their employees to be social professionals? Because they lack the tools needed to easily and effectively curate content…”.

The reason why employees are not keen to share their employer’s content on social media is not that they don’t have the technology but rather that they are not motivated to do so.

I also don’t agree with those who think that getting employees to post company content is as easy as brand advocacy. If I like a brand so much to buy its products, then sharing my passion for it on Facebook is not too big a step. But letting my employer and what they stand for into my personal sphere by sharing their content with my friends and followers is another matter.

Here are some examples where I’ve seen employee ambassadors work:

CSR: Social responsibility is an area we can use to channel employees’ passions. Take for example, a telecom company in the Middle East, which during Ramadan supports a charity that fixes poor people’s homes. Employees donate their free time and work for the charity as part of the initiative. The employer develops a social media campaign that relies on its employees spreading the word on their own social media. Members of staff who volunteer for the charity are highly motivated to post about the experience because being a volunteer is clearly part of their personal values and something they would want to share with their friends.

The CSR piece is one you might want to consider if you are trying to convince your senior managers about turning employees into ambassadors. It is safer that other areas. If your company has a clear CSR strategy, chance is it has already talked about it a lot on its social media. Adding your employees’ voices is a logical step.

Corporate conferences: More and more companies are using Twitter in parallel to Yammer (or Jive, or Chatter…) for their internal conferences. Gone are the days when someone would post the odd Tweet about cake being served on the 5th floor… not realising the whole Twittersphere would be reading….

Corporates are becoming more sophisticated at combining internal discussions on their ESNs with efforts aimed at engaging external stakeholders through channels like Twitter.

Pearson used the hashtag #pearsonsummit to mobilise conversations on Twitter during their corporate conference in Miami in February. They selected a group of employees from different geographies to act as roving reporters with the task of interviewing the participants, capturing some of the conversations and sharing their impressions on their social media.

Natalia Jaszczuk, a commissioning editor with the publishing group, wrote a moving blog post about the power of education and shared it through her Twitter account.

The advantage of using roving reporters with an established presence on social media is that the company can then mobilise them beyond the conference. Once on board, they will continue sharing corporate content on their channels. A conference is a good opportunity to jump-start your employee advocacy project.

     Silvia Cambié is a digital strategist and consultant.


  • Digital transformation is the solution but leaders are not helping by Stephen Danelutti, published on 22 March 2015 

Social Business is dead and in its place Digital Transformation. It’s the new, old thing. As everything becomes digitised, so digital solutions are sought everywhere, anew. Digital has been around at least since the arrival of the internet and web. Focus on it is now accentuated by the internet of things. It is what will cure anemic growth rates. It is at the heart of new innovation drives. It will even drive personal productivity and health through quantifying the self.

Every second company has in its vision the ideal to transform itself through digital means. Everything is a target. The workplace, customer interactions, the production line, etc. Digital transformation programs in organisations are a dime a dozen. But all is not well in Utopia. Most often there is a disconnect with what senior executives strive for and how people deliver on the vision. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • People are not given the tools, at least not the right tools. Some organisations are still on IE6 goldarnit.
  • People are not involved in the strategy setting.
  • Often the wrong people are in the driving seat – IT for example.
  • Over reliance on the technology – the digital part of the transformation.

Altimeter put it well in their 2014 State of Digital Transformation report. “When technology is heralded above all else, there becomes an even greater disconnect between employees and the challenges that their business is trying to solve.” So what can organisations and leaders do about this to fix things?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Focus on involving people. This is not complicated. Share a view on where you want to go. Spin out a group on Yammer for example to do it. Request some feedback. Do it with authenticity and you will get genuine feedback. If any of it is good, incorporate it and show how you have done. Marvel at the commitment this garners for the new strategy.
  • Focus on the business not the tools. People will better understand the role digital can play when they see it has an impact on the work they do.
  • Lead by example. When you advocate changing the way you work, for example, make sure you practice what you preach. Be social on social tools if that is what you are promoting, for example.

Do you have any suggestions?

Stephan Danelutti is Office 365 customer success manager at Microsoft.


 

  • Pace of Change by Arnaud Henneville, published on 3 March 2015

In 2015, one thing that is certain is that the Pace of Change will only accelerate. This year, to adapt faster to an ever changing landscape driven by customers’ needs, companies and their leaders will continue to work on two fronts. Pressure for competitiveness on the one hand means that companies will continue to look for simplification opportunities within their processes. ‘Digitalisation’ will then continue to sweep across functions as every department looks for greater efficiency. But digitalisation is not merely driven by the need for cost-rationalisation. In fact, ‘digitalisation’ also has tremendous appeal to our corporations’ fast changing workforce.

That is why the second main focus of companies in 2015 will continue to be on bringing digital products and services to digital-hungry (and often starved) employees. Naturally, the outcome of ‘enabled-employees’ is ‘engaged employees’.

Arnaud Henneville is founder and CEO of Challengera

 


  • Employees in Digital Transformation by Cecil Dijoux – Published on 11 February 2015

While digital transformation becomes a major issue for organizations, it often raises the question of what happens to employees caught in the maelstrom of these changes, various and radicals, often putting technology first.

Defining digital transformation

In his interview in #hypertextual (link in FR), Ludovic Cinquin, DG Octo France, defines digital transformation as the radical use of internet opportunities. A definition inspired by Octo’s in-depth study conducted on the Web Giants (link in FR). Through Gafas (Google, Apple, Facebook et Amazon) leaders and other online services, digitizing the company has a north star, an embodiment and models.
We are not only in a technology strategy about the virtualization of workstations or about migrating to a new version of enterprise desktop software or “cloud.” It’s a little more complicated and disruptive than that.

Digital transformation comes in four major organizational areas:

1. Customer relationships
A relationship becomes real-time through the use of social networks (link in FR), transparent and personalized. The customer is integrated in product or service design process, like at Michelin (case study presented at the last Enterprise 2.0 Summit conference in Paris) . To summarize: it is an “obsession” of the customer like at Amazon (link in FR).

2. Products or services
They have a life cycle much shorter, from design to marketing. We take advantage of the Internet radicalism (the mass of potential customers, testing in real time) to quickly test a hypothesis and to quickly adjust (the principle Lean Startup Pivot). A striking example: when Facebook wants to test a new feature, it goes into production during 45 seconds. Enough for them to get user feedback and actionable data to assess functionality.

3. Internal processes
Very fast, they are designed from the client (which is an obsession) to the client (which is the one who pays the company). In these processes, waste is eliminated: expectations, quality problems, unnecessary steps, project managers, Gantt charts. An example of the expected speed: when a standard DSI makes you wait three months to give you a development environment for your project, Google Compute Engine gives it three minutes. This radicalism internet at work: three minutes instead of three months.

4. Autonomous teams set for success
With digitization, the teams are close customers: one produces only what the customer expects, when expected; collaboration becomes an imperative. The teams have a vital autonomy to improve their processes. They are guided by strategic objectives and have a clear vision of their role in the value chain. Rapid iteration and process in small batches allow improvement and lifelong learning, which are essential to survive in this changing world.
As recalled by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in The Second Machine Age, the issue of the exploitation of new technologies radicalism is primarily a management issue. The major challenge of digital transformation lies in empowering teams. This will be critical to the success or failure of initiatives: teams and employees have a lot to win.

Cecil Dijoux is an expert on Lean Information Systems and International Blogger.

 


  • You can’t do it alone by Frédérique Henrottin – Published on 6 February 2015

One of the first lessons I learned while trying to make social media part of our corporate communication channels was this: you can’t do it alone. No matter how motivated you are, no matter how organized, no matter how talented: you just can’t.Just think about the number of interesting projects that are happening in your company right now.

Just think about the tricky/technical/financial/… questions you might be asked on social media with the sender expecting an answer within the day if not the next hour.

Just think about all those other things you have to do…

We aren’t super heroes, we don’t have super powers (unfortunately)… BUT we all can build a network of social media champions within our company. They will be your Avengers  team!

How?

First, you’ll need to identify the right people within your organisation. Don’t think they don’t exist. They do. But sometimes they ignore their own abilities, sometimes they are not even active on social media yet. Look for the colleagues who are highly motivated by their job, people who are always ready to explain things to you or other colleagues, people who are curious about the future of the company…

Then, you’ll have to meet them and ask them to help you. If you explain correctly what you’re trying to do and why, they’ll usually be ready to help but they often won’t believe they can really bring something to your project. You’ll have to convince them they do by showing them they have interesting stories to tell.

Next, give your champions an official role. Name your team of champions (we call it « The spokes team »), organise regular meetings with them (show them they’re not alone), keep them up to date of your social media activity (send them statistics, reports, showing you’re making progress…)

Finally, listen to what your champions tell you. They might be asking for support to get to know the basics of Twitter, Yammer or any other social network. They might tell you about some negative comments they hear from colleagues about social media, a valuable information that will help you debunk the myths that are preventing people to embrace the digital transformation

All of this will take time. You’ll need to invest a lot of energy at first to get this to work. There will be moments when you’ll believe it will never work. But after a while, you’ll see the results and looking back you’ll realize it would have been impossible to achieve that on your own.

Frédérique Henrottin is Social Media Manager at Elia.

 


  • Two Social Behaviours that Build Trust by Silvia Cambié – Published on 4 February 2015

A culture of trust needs to be in place for enterprise social to prosper, for senior management to endorse it and for employees to use it on a regular basis. And this does not seem to be happening yet to the extent that many digital strategists would like.

However, help might be at hand. If we look at the current developments in the digital world, a couple of them are particularly promising.

One of them is branded communitiesForrester predicts a comeback of these communities in 2015. Branded forums are online spaces set up by companies where existing and potential customers discuss products in a more “intimate” environment than Facebook or Twitter. When people research products and services they often end up on these communities. Advocate communities are used for both B2B and B2C marketing.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.32.39The case for external social media has already been widely made in the corporate world. Senior executives understand the importance of having Facebook pages for their major brands. That’s why they are now willing to give advocate communities, a hybrid between external and internal social media, the time of the day. This development might be an important step on the road towards a broader understanding of enterprise networks. Someone remarked to me the other day that employees always seem to come last on the list of corporate priorities. External audiences always seem to get more attention. Well, now it seems that we might be able to use the attention given to branded communities to make the case for internal networks. Those corporate leaders who understand what an advocate forum can do to increase customers’ loyalty will also get how enterprise networks can increase staff’s productivity and help generate new ideas.

We spend a lot of time guessing how our employees are likely to behave on an internal network. I believe in monitoring current behaviors on external channels and getting clues from them. The fact that Twitter has just launched a much-awaited new feature that enables users to DM a group of people is interesting. It is in line with the Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 15.26.44success of messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat. People want more social channels they can use to conduct chats with private groupsMary Meeker had talked about this trend her 2014 internet analysis.We are witnessing the evolution of social from “broadcasting messages to large audiences” to “frequents interactions with smaller groups of close contacts” .

This is good news for enterprise social networking. The more this behaviour becomes part of how people communicate in their private lives, the easier it will be for employees to understand the benefits of using internal social platforms to connect and work with their colleagues.

     Silvia Cambié is a digital strategist and consultant.

 


  • Digital Transformation by Euan Semple – Published on 1 February 2015

Trips off the tongue doesn’t it. Sounds exciting, dynamic, purposeful. But what does it really mean? Digital  is fast becoming one of those words that means so many things, to so many different people, that it means nothing. It is joining “social”, “big data”, “cloud” and “agile” on the junk pile of words and phrases that have been picked up and thrown around until they are worn out.But they all signal a deeply felt awareness that things need to change. That they are not right as they are. They are a sign that those in charge of our businesses and institutions are finally realising that the internet is not going away but they also indicate that they underestimate it’s full import. They still think that it is “just about technology”. But it’s impact goes way beyond the confines of the simply technological. It is cultural, social, political and personal. It will also transform us whether we want to be transformed or not.

The very idea of digital transformation implies that it is something we proactively choose to do, that we are in control of it, that we can manage it in the ways we have learned to manage all the other projects that we have instigated. But what is happening is more slippery than that, it is more complicated, it is more profound.

For a start we are not making it happen, it is trying to happen all around us. Our customers are talking to each other about our products as never before; our staff are working out faster than we are how well we are running our businesses, and how to improve them; out there on the internet people we don’t know are imagining a world where our business or institution doesn’t exist, where it’s functions are no longer needed or are provided in radically new ways.

Yes this is all exciting and dynamic but, for many, it is also terrifying. It is little wonder they hold it at arms length. They need help and support in embracing it and making it work for them. There is much work to be done.

     Euan Semple is  a public speaker, writer and consultant. 

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