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Nostalgia…. and a feeling of a missed opportunity

Once again on LInux. This article is full of “nostalgia” for people who followed all of this development.
At the same time the article leaves a sense of a “missed opportunity”. To clarify I reproduce here the complete text of my online comment:

In the meantime, people at Apple, using the same unix-like baseline, developed something everybody likes and everybody would like to have.
This slideshow unfortunately represents the reality of a fight between 3 chickens in the same hen house. Instead of coalescing to produce something every user would like to have, they fought each other and, at best, "followed" what was popular elsewhere.
Just my personal interpretation of course!

It is not the first time I comment on this topic. And I will continue because I really cannot understand how someone could think that Unity (from Canonical) or Gnome could be something a normal user would like to have on her own desktop (if not because it does not cost anything)

Why (and how) should a company go to Social Media ?

I recently had the opportunity, together with my friend and colleague Willem Gabilly, to present IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines.  You can access here to the english version of the slides I presented. If you are interested in the French version of those slides, please go here. If you would be interested in the video recorded out my the session, it is available here

The end of a dream: innovation in the hands of lawyers !

Probably the news is already in your mailboxes. Samsung seems ready to counterattack against Apple and its recent claims for patent infringement: Samsung may be ready to stop the long-waited availability of the iPhone 5.

It is a strange world the one in which we live. Economists (the modern form of sorcerer) instead of Presidents and Nations, drive the world. And, soon, Lawyers will drive innovation.

What to do? (“Che Fare?”)

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 .

Living what I work

This post takes origin from two recent excellent articles I read:

When I read the first article, I felt that I was called in. Not because I am in marketing nor because I am part of any of these new approaches and committees.The McKinsey article makes some clear examples of what I call “formal engagement” (an engagement driven and pushed by the organization). But what is in for me?

I work for a company (IBM) and I am, obviously, attached to the success of my company in the market. But is it “enough” ? I mean, doing my job, trying to do it in the better way I can.. these are all good things. I am paid for this, after all!

But the article made me thinking as if I am on “the other side”. I am a customer now. (Well, I am a customer many times during my week!). What motivates me to be attentive to what other people try to sell me? What drives my choice in being more open to listening the message from Company_A instead than Company_B?

This is where I felt “called in”. Regardless from my place in the organization or the tasks I am asked to execute as part of my job…. am I able to deliver the right attention to customers and prospects and ease their life when interacting with me?

 

And here comes the second article.

Work can be more than a job when it stands for something you care about.

‘I’m feeling lucky.’ That’s certainly how I feel coming to work every day, and something I never want to take for granted

Again, Innovation and the experience Susan shared in the article, are great things. But, once again, the personal engagement in what I do, the passion I am doing it, is imho fundamental for both Innovation and for addressing the new market challenges.

I am lucky so far because I am given the opportunity to present, explain, share what I experiment each day. I am lucky because “I am living what I work”, meaning that I can really share what I think is a great way of working. The opportunity I have to talk and explain and share experiences about “Living Social” in the enterprise (and outside of it), reflects the experience I am doing each day. It is not something “I have to do because it is a good thing and because this brings me money in my pocket”. It is something that permeates my work life.

My people do not have time to do it….

Many times when I talk to customers (and many times also when I talk inside IBM Sad smile ) about Social Software and the importance of it, I get replies such as “I will not have the time to play with this stuff” or ‘(from management) “my people do not have time to do this stuff”.

I myself sometimes find it hard to get the time ad the attention. I feel caught into a spiral of activities and what in the morning seemed to be a great day, full of long-awaiting tasks that I will finally be able to do…. in the evening turned to be a stressful day, in which I worked head-down 12 hours without accomplishing any of the things that I planned in the morning.

Sounds familiar?

I read last week an interesting article : “How to be productive and still get 8 hours sleep”. It has nothing to do with Social Software but a couple of things caught my attention:

  1. Set a Value for your time
  2. Determine your priorities
  3. Do a time audit

In effect, what I start to realize when  talk about the transformation that is required in organizations and individuals in order to become a Social Business, is that it is all a matter of answering the question “What is in for me?”. If I would strongly believe that my job is important for my personal evolution and is important for the good of my company (which pays me my salary), contributing to the value of my company becomes my priority (during my work hours at least). There are many things to do, for sure. And we all do many of them during each hour we spend at work.

But is the value associated with each of the things we do aligned with my (and my company’s) top priority ?

Am I sure that, once I do an audit of my 12 hours, I could add the time associated to each minute to the value that I expect from my work (and that my company expects from my work) ?

The price of cheap

I have read the article Suicide, stupidity, and the iPhone and, I must admit, it touched me. Nothing I did not know before, for sure. But something I do not like to think about.

I have to think better to this article before writing a post which would not simply be a plain and ineffective agreement.

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