Why is the corporate world going “social”?

  • Why are organizations massively introducing modern social collaboration technologies?

According to professional research, collaboration traditional tools are not that effective: staff spend 50% of their time searching for information, and on average, take 18 minutes to locate each document (Gartner). For an organization with 1,000 people, addressing the related time wasters is tantamount to hiring 213 new employees (IDC and Adobe 2012). On top of these productivity issues, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged (Gallup, 2013).

For all these reasons, it does not make any more sense to invest only in them. Moreover, it is widely recognized that organizations need to adopt the modern social collaboration technologies, which have entered the market since 2000s. Using these tools has led to significant improvements in employee productivity, strategic alignment, talent management and job satisfaction in companies such as BNP Paribas, Orange, Proximus, Deloitte or Adidas, or in government administrations, such as the European Commission or the UK Government.
As the world gets more complex, the corporate sphere is going « social » to simplify processes and increase performance.

  • What are the latest trends and innovations in the field?

Office 365, Confluence Wikis, Google for Work, Slack, Facebook at work, Jive, Chatter, IBM Connections, Zimbra, BlueKiwi… are some of the internally hosted solutions and cloud-based softwares available on the market. These technologies evolve exponentially!

From my own experience, cloud-based softwares have less technical limitations than internally-hosted solutions and are often more cost-efficient and elastic. But to each virtue, its corresponding vice, they are also considered less secure.

Until now, there is not yet a single product that is the best-of-breed with all features that satisfy all needs. Employees will always request the latest technologies available on the market. This is why it is often better to go for an eco-system approach, where functionalities will be integrated as the new needs emerge. The aim of any organization should be to offer a “one stop shop portal”, a real digital workplace for both informal and formal contents.

  • How can we be best equipped to overcome the challenges related to this topic within our organization?

The adoption of a new social collaboration tool often implies a change in the way employees work.  In working environments where collaboration is limited and characterized by silos, successful cross-cutting collaboration requires a cultural change within the entire organization.

Staff will only use the new tools if they are guided towards them with a clear purpose and vision, as well as a clear understanding of the benefits and code of conduct. You will need to count on change agents, who will accompany small and large changes, in a positive way, facilitate conversations, and train employees at every level. In order to energize the collaboration, some supporting strategies and behaviors will be necessary. Obviously, a lot of efforts will be required during the transition period, but the return on investment can be high. 46 percent of workers say their productivity has greatly or somewhat increased because of social media use in the office (IPSOS, 2014).

This post was originally posted in IFE Learning Lab, Management and Innovation blog on 15 June 2015.

The end of communication as we know it

Recently, I delivered a speech about Innovative Communication. The purpose was to share with a group of communicators what it takes to be at the same time innovative and efficient in this fast-evolving world. In this post, you will find the content of this presentation.

First of all, let me give you a bit of context. 1. The pace of change is is going to accelerate. Technologies change exponentially. Organizations carry out their digital transformation. New usages and new ways of doing business emerge everyday. 2. We are heading towards a new map of the world, without frontiers, with always new influencers, new behaviours… no limits? Networks and communities grow fast in an often unpredictable way, with limited existence but huge impact on History. 3. Slowly, but surely, more products will cost “one euro”. Expectations are high for services, this is also how brands will make a difference.

In 2015, it is all about shouting very very loud, or:

  • Think twice before developing new communication spaces. With the current proliferation of data, it becomes harder to attract audiences. Be where your audience is has never been so crucial as communicators can spend a lot of energy trying to make people come to their content…
  • …Except for niches ! Smartphone owners aged 25-44 use the greatest number of apps per month, 29 apps, on average. Even those aged 55+ spend more than 21 hours across an average of 22 different apps per month (Source: Nielsen). Shifting from one channel to another for a specific purpose becomes the new habit and is not just a generation thing. In other words, if communicators make a proposal with high-value, people will follow, without too many difficulties.
  • Relationships and authenticity. Communicators need to use their employees as first brand ambassadors. They will have to stop communication means that reflect internal bureaucracy and develop new ones based on values.
  • Personalized communications. People expect from communicators to become community managers and get to a segment of one. On their side, organizations need to understand new behaviours in order to offer services that really respond to needs. Communicators will play an instrumental role in delivering this service.
  • Crowdsourcing and co-creation. Organizations will ask their customers and stakeholders to improve their services with them. Communicators need to learn how to make effective crowdsourcing. They will also communicate more successfully if they promote experience to share.
  • Dynamic and mobile first. 1 billion people will connect to Internet from their mobile phones only, in 2015 (source: Ovum). Mobile drives the shift. “Content is king, Context is King Kong and Distribution is Godzilla”. It becomes even more important to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. Flash content, very short, personalized, responsive. Native Advertising works well.
  • A more strategic approach to digital in an omni-channel strategy. Communicators are requested to understand the real value brought by Digital and to mix it with other channels to offer the best value. It is time to reintroduce face-to-face which is still the most effective communication channel. We are all phygital animals, people expect the same responsiveness from Digital than face-to-face.
  • Visual Marketing Domination: Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits than without. 90% of the content shared in 2016 will be videos.
  • A close look at the Learning revolution. Communicators need to understand the new way in which people learn. This provides great opportunities to communicate effectively: MOOC, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Enterprise social media, etc.
  • And content curators. Communicators have become essentially content curators. On top of this, they need to invest more into curation sites: in this world saturated with information, it has become a very powerful tactic to attract new followers. Especially for Institutions.

Obviously, it is not enough to optimize our traditional methods. We really need to reinvent our role, developing new types of innovation and creativity. I believe the communication function is going through a deep digital transformation. Like in any other business, the only way to survive is to be connected and Social Listen. In some organizations, we have become knowledge managers, collaboration specialists and digital transformation experts. That is ransom of success!

I will give a presentation on a related topic at King Baudouin Foundation in Brussels on 13 February.

Behind Digital, People

In my professional experience, I had the chance to meet many amazing people who have inspired me. Now, you too will have the opportunity to get to know them and read them in the “behind digital, people” section. Euan Semple did me the great honour of being the first contributor. Then, Silvia Cambié published a very interesting article about new Social Media trends. Follow this section, many contributors will join us in the coming weeks. You will also be able to find these articles translated in French in the “En français” section of this site.