Blog Archives

Can a Social Business address some shortcomings from the first Web era?

I found an interesting article and slideshow here: The Web vs. The World : 9 Epic Battles. There are some really good thoughts in there and I would like here to quote the ones who most hit me:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Some companies have even started charging fees for letting you speak to a live support agent.”
    Despite what is often said that the Web brought the customers close to the companies, I think we all experimented the degradation of service in customer-care. We often land to some Automatic Response System that is difficult to navigate. Talking to humans sometimes does not help given the poor knowledge of the outsourced staff…
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    To keep their ticket prices competitive, airlines break out add-on fees for seat assignments, baggage checking, and other previously included (or nonexistent) services. As a result, the listed fares seem relatively low, and most people don’t notice all of the tacked-on tolls until after they’ve clicked and committed. Sneaky fees are a shady way of doing business, and ultimately they negate much of the value to consumers of comparison shopping.”
    I think anyone who travels nowadays has a clear perception of the degradation of the service. Of course, travelling 15 years ago was expensive… but was a nice experience also. Today, budget limitations force even business travelers to adapt to very poor standards. (BTW: I am surprised to see that there are still Business Class and First Class seats on traditional airlines… which are the companies which allow their employees to travel Business Class?)
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    how many times have you been at a concert or a movie and seen a group of teenagers tapping away on their phones through the entire show? Some people spend so much time telling the world about what they’re doing that they fail to experience it with their full attention.
    This is really evident with adolescents… but isn’t this also clear in the business world ?
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    But regardless of how or where you read it, professional journalism fills a crucial role in our society that casual blogging cannot.”

Reading the previous paragraphs made me thinking about Social Business. I think that a Social Business, a company managing (and “living”) its business inside and outside as a community serving its customers, can actually address these  shortcomings and provide a different experience to its customers:

  • Battle #2 : Personal support vs. Instant support.
    Engaging the whole company and, also, its partners and customers, in the co-creation process would certainly help deliver products that address the customer needs.
    And creating strong ties with partners and customers would motivate a company to consider the “customer care” as an additional channel for co-creation. Customer support is not the last step of the sale-cycle but the  “first step” of the creation of a better product.
    This approach cannot be invented in one night. It requires the transformation of a company into a Social Business, both inside and outside!
  • Battle #3: Cheaper Flights vs. Hidden Costs
    It may be strange to talk about this when the economy is getting into a new low-cycle…. but as some expensive products prove, customers are ready to pay something more for an additional value they get (iPhones and iPads are not the cheapest products on earth… but they are in the hands on anybody, regardless of their income!)
    A Social Business understands the needs of its customers, makes the best efforts to please them and to deliver top quality because the relationship with customers becomes personal. And we all behave differently when we engage ourselves personally with other people!
    Are we seeking “margin” in the volume only or in the quality of what we produce ?
  • Battle #4 : Being Present vs. Being Connected
    In order to be a real Social Business, a company must be authentic and transparent. It is not just a matter of having some presence on the web in order to get more customers or to apply analytics to electronic interactions.
    We do not want to tactically use Social Media. We must strategically transform into a Social Business, living the customer interactions with an outbound focus.
    Otherwise, customers will consider us a we do consider people who do not behave coherently and who try to manipulate others.
  • Battle #8 : In-depth news vs. free news
    I think that not everybody has the luxury to in-depth reading and studying what they think is important. We do some in-depth reading normally, but this is not enough to give us the whole spectrum of information that is required to do our job.
    What we normally do in this case?
    We ask colleagues who are expert in a given domain to give us their interpretation.
    Why don’t we ask our customers to give us their interpretation of the things on which they are expert (i.e. how they use our products) ?
    You do not refuse to help or to share your insights with someone close to you, with whom you have some link. In a Social Business, people inside and outside the company boundaries will be likely to help you get what you do not know. Because the Social Business behaves like an organism where all the organs work together to ensure life.
    Because in a Social Business the synapsis between each cell work at the best speed and at the highest efficiency.
    And, magically, the intelligence coming from others is richer than the one I could discover myself browsing around….
    Let’s remember that we have been give two ears and one mouth in order to use them in that proportion.

A Social Business is Person-Centric and, thus, Customer-Centric. It is not about changing the kind of business a company is in…. It is about changing the way in which that very same business is done. Making it Social, I think, helps re-discover the way in which humans built this world: working together, discovering new frontiers and new goods, embracing new ideas and facing challenges .

A new way of getting to Twitter and Social Networks

On my new iPad, I installed Flipboard and Zite !

What a change.

On Flipboard, for instance. I have my Twitter channel…. But it is NOT like reading tweets on Tweetdeck. It is like really harvesting the intelligence twitted by people and consuming it in the most appropriate format.

Same with Zite and its “Sections”.

Great tools.

Chrome OS and the principles of Web2.0

I read the Google announcement around the new Google Chrome OS.
I immediately went back to my article Enter the “Reign of RIA 3rd”. In that article I expressed my enthusiasm for the new Google browser as I saw, in the way it was announced, the principle for something new, a platform where applications delivered over the web can be executed fast, securely and offline…Chrome becomes a container for applications delivered over the web!
I rememberI concluded that long post saying:

Chrome, which could be the last browser but, perhaps, the first element of a different kind

I think that I missed something that, now, seems so obvious. I thought to Chrome as, mainly, a new RIA platform. Something beyond the traditional browser but still in the domain of a container.
What this announcement tells us is that Google went far beyond. Chrome becomes the OS, not just a container.

And not “just a new kind of OS”, but as the official announcement says, “the web is the platform”.
Ehi, this is exactly the first principle in Tim O’Reilly famous definition of what is Web2.0 !

The border between an OS and the “web as a platform” is blurring. Not only on the Internet infrastructure. It is blurring deep right onto the desktop. The Browser becoming the Operating System and the Operating System becoming an extension of the web platform itself. So, Chrome OS may be much more revolutionary than it appears. It is not simply Google attacking Microsoft on the OS battlefield. It is extending the cloud to the border.
The new Chrome OS may become the real incarnation of that principle. The operating system for the Cloud Generation. Where Web2.0, SOA and Cloud Computing meet and could shape something, this time, very different!

Craftsmen Social Network

http://www.bonartisan.com/res/img/Logo2.jpgThis evening, on the French Radio, I heard about this site: http://www.bonartisan.com

This site implements a strong reputation system which allows individuals to find craftsmen to deal with the issues that any home-owner encounters each day.

Individuals “vote” for the craftsman who just did some reparation at home. And everybody else can choose craftsmen based on the viral marketing that is generated.

Of course, nothing new in principle….
But I liked this implementation of Social Networking to this aspect of our daily life.

User as center of the Universe

I am slowly catching up with some articles I read and over which I wanted to comment. I am dealing with this one SOA needs RIA – Burton Group, because there are few sentences I liked and because it lacks, in my opinion, a proper “end”.

The Value Hierarchy of Web 2.0So, here are the quotes I liked most:

  • “We firmly believe the user experience needs to be a first level priority at the same level as SDLC, platform languages, SOA and security.”
  • “If the business depends on people and people depend on information technology, then the interface between people and information technology — the user interface — naturally has to be very good. If you have an ineffective user interface, you’re going to have a less effective organization.”
  • “…people are the platform. IT is ephemeral. It continues to change over time, but what does not change in business is that the quality of any organization depends on the quality of its workers.”
  • If developers think the goal of SOA is to provide agility in assembling loosely coupled Web services into an application that provides real-time sales data to managers and marketers, they are missing a key component in the Burton view:  “The idea is to make user experience the end goal of any IT initiative and not an afterthought.”

http://hinchcliffe.org/img/useruniversecenter.jpg

I, personally, subscribe to all the above statements. They remember me a very nice article I read a couple of years ago, from Dion Hinchcliffe, titled The Web2.0 Trinity: People, Data and Great Software. The pictures in this post are both taken from Dion’s article, and I use them consistently in my talks around Web2.0 and the evolution of Desktop technologies.

Going forward, there is another quote that my few readers may appreciate:

“We see the next step as RIAD, the rich Internet application desktop. Here you need to look at Adobe AIR, Google Gadgets, the Microsoft Widget Library, to see resident applications that provide you with a visual experience associated with RIA.”

This is even more close to what I have often written in my blog: moving beyond the browser (as we see it today) towards a mechanism where applications, delivered via the web, will be executed locally. GREAT !

What seems missing to me is the very last part of the article

In Burton’s view, the future of the UXP is in using Web widgets, portable chunks of code and gadgets, miniature objects that can be placed on a Web page to provide dynamic content.

With widgets and gadgets, real-time sales data is on the sales manager’s desktop without requiring him to do multiple click-throughs to find a table or chart, the Burton analyst said.

What I think is missing is the name to this approach, a name which already exists. It is called Mashups, isn’t it? What is needed is the possibility to define those widgets in a standard way and be able to mix and match them in different contexts: a Portal, a Mashup environment, a Rich Client, the desktop even….

From "You" to "Them"

Of course, this is NOT the official cover for the POY of Times. But it is a very interesting story (thanks Dvir for having sent the pointer). Quoting the article from Times:

[timePOY_coverImage.jpg]"Don’t get me wrong: all the things that made You You in 2006 are still there. All year long, You were YouTubing, Facebooking, Twittering, chronicling Your life and community, scrutinizing the candidates and the media, videotaping Yourself getting upset on behalf of Britney Spears.

But who made the big noise in the Web 2.0 world this year? It was Them. The professionals, the old-media people, the moneymen — all of Them, conscious that there was profit in Your little labor-of-love socialist paradise. Story of Your life, right? You make the discoveries, They make the Benjamins.

So if 2006 was the year of You, 2007 was the year of Them. Big media companies (like this one) stuffed their sites with blogs, podcasts and video. "

This is, actually, true. And I think that, overall, this has been a good progress for everybody.

How to get Immunity against e-mail?

I thought I would share another couple of sentences I read in a book have very much liked. The book is another masterpiece, The Tipping Point. In the afterword there is a little chapter, titled "Beware the Rise of Immunity". The following are excerpts from there:

The fact that anyone can e-mail us for free, if they have our address, means that people frequently and persistently e-mail us. But that quickly creates immunity, and simply makes us value face-to-face communications – and the communications of those we already know and trust – all the more.

When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead for advice and information to the people in their lives whom they respect, admire and trust. The cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen.

During this period I am seeing many posts around "Resolutions for the New Year" which explicitly state that inbox-zero is one of the priorities. So, we could say that

The proper use of Social Software can actually be the cure for immunity. 

social software for businessAnd Lotus Connections can actually provide a big help in looking for Mavens, Connectors and Salesmen inside your community.

  • RSSRSS
  • Social Slider
  • RSS
show
 
close
rss Follow on Twitter facebook linkedin