Is this Future Shock?

musings on how technology is changing my business environment

Archive for the ‘JP’ Category

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office – social media experts?

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I’ve just remotely attended a really interesting presentation in London [OK, I attended remotely], by Media Snackers who talked about engaging with the young, through social media and so on.

Couple of things:

The world’s changed, and it’s not turning back

used to be their strapline – but they’re now emphasising

cheaper, quicker, sexier

as what the social media stuff can do. Look at their site to see what they are about.
A couple of the points they raised struck me – the takeup of social media amongst the young is astonishing; they highlighted a Forrester report which segment the social media area into

  • Creators
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

and this is segmented by age – with the creatives and critics highly represented in 16-24, with spectators and inactives being preponderantly 50+ (like me!)

perhaps nothing too new for some of us – although there are scary figures about the change in media consumption, but something he said struck a chord. More or less:

… a lot of people seem to be getting into the space; I mean, look at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – they’re a lot of suits, but they’re on Flickr, on YouTube, on Twitter, they blog… where are you? I mean, c’mon guys…

I thought, that can’t be right, can it?
Hmm…
So, I had a brief look, and found a Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and blog platform presence for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. It may not be exciting, but it looks like they do have a coherent social media strategy.

What are you doing?

If someone looks for you on Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter – what will they find? If they search for a blog presence or social media involvement – what will they see?

If you’re not taking part in the conversation… it will go right on. Without you.

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Written by SteveEllwood

February 5, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Giving customers what they want

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or, are we dinosaurs?

@jobsworth has written another thought provoking post on the customer’s voice and choice, and I commend it to everyone.

We need to be in the business of providing the customer what she wants when she wants it, where she wants it, how she wants it. We need to focus on making things that the customer wants to buy, rather than trying to get customers to pay for things they neither want nor need.

There was a time when we could decide for the customer. There was a time when we could constrain the customer’s voice and choice. There was a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

via Faster horses in the age of co-creation

I think it’s fair to say that we need to know what business we’re in, and what we can sell to our customers – and in these turbulent financial times – what we can sell that will bring us cash in, and provide us some margin for our business.

If we can’t bring in cash quickly, and make margin on what we’re selling, then we need to walk away quickly from that opportunity and fix what we do.

Otherwise, we’ll sell the customer what they want, but what we can’t afford.

read more | digg story


Image Credit: whizchickenonabun

Written by SteveEllwood

November 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Posted in customer service, JP

Even Demos says allow Facebook at work

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Facebook, Inc.

Image via Wikipedia

In an article on use of social networking sites reported on the BBC, a Demos report states that firms should allow the use of these sites at work.

“Banning Facebook and the like goes against the grain of how people want to interact. Often people are friends with colleagues through these networks and it is how some develop their relationships.”

When even the BBC and Demos are picking up issues @jobsworth was blogging about last year in Facebook and enfranchisement you figure this must be going mainstream.

Now, as long as companies can hold their nerve and not retreat into the comfort zones of “retrench/forbid/ban” – and revert to centralised command & control, maybe some of the innovation at the edges, and the contacts people build will help us get through the recession; if not, at least it will give their people some more human contact and stability in difficult times.

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Written by SteveEllwood

October 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

Weighing Contributions and Participation

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stairs

Should we reward participation?

Is adding useable knowledge to your employer useful? Should it be part of your actual job?

If it was part of your job, how would you measure it? Should you?

To save time, I think the right answers are Yes; Yes; Yes; Various ways; Yes

Why ask the question now?

As my interest in Social media and wikis has risen over the last year or so, I’ve watched JP talk about social software in the enterprise (many links), and recently been delighted when my firm started the nascent internal social networking, announced publicly by my colleague Richard Dennison

There’s a fair amount of wiki use within the firm, and I like them – despite my ongoing discussion with another colleague Sandy Blair.

We’ve now got an excellent WordPress instance running internally – I think I accidentally publicly announced that, shortly before the official announcement. I like that too, particularly how easy it is to search. I’m still amused that Sandy ranks first for “Glitter Glue” within BT.

We have had a BTpedia – an enterprise wide information wiki for some time.

It’s a source of some mild pleasure that I’ve contributed 0.25% of the content (including some of the most edited/updated articles) although I’m .00125% of the workforce.

This stuff is really taking off, internally

Why the fuss about job descriptions/measuring etc?

One reason that is suggested for non-participation in wikis/social media is the “not real work” argument. People express concern that their management will think they are slacking if they add to wikis/blogs.

Make adding to corporate knowledge part of people’s jobs, with some sort of weighting to it, and people *may* be more willing to do it

As far as measuring goes, until we move to a more Deming driven organisation, you have to show what and how you contribute. Measuring something about your contributions might provide that.

What should we measure

As is often the case, I’m again somewhat beaten to the point by Richard, who in his excellent recent post says

Leadership will be a combination of willingness to engage and connect, and the value of those engagements and connections to the community of users and to the complete enterprise ecosystem. Leadership won’t be about power but influence. And, value to the ecosystem will be measured in terms of contribution rather than achievement

he then highlights

Everyone in a enterprise ecosystem will need to understand that while every perception/view is equally valid, they are not of equal importance… Importance will be a combination of that inferred by the enterprise (as currently happens) and that inferred by the community (willingness to connect/engage and value of those connections/engagements as measured by the community).

To me, that suggests a combination of

  • objective measure – perhaps a combination of separate views, incoming links, other citations, and maybe number of comments/edits
  • subjective measures – post ranking/karma awards

What do you think should be measured in Enterprise Social Media?

Picture Credit Capt Kodak

Written by SteveEllwood

June 23, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Wikis, social networking and Facebook

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Wikis 
I’ve written before about wikis and the intranet, and how I saw advantages in their use.

My colleague Sandy – who has the patience of a saint – sighs, and explains that scalability and control are a bit more of an issue when you have 100k users rather than 30.

I counter with Knowledge Management working better when you have involved Communities of Practice, pointing out that wikis are ideal for those and we go round again.

I was interested to see Abigail Lewis-Bowen’s view at the Intranet Benchmarking Forum which suggests that

“it’s important to provide Wikis and Blogs only after processes for publishing “formal” information channels to the Intranet are well established.  If the right people are publishing to the right place on the Intranet, and there is good editorial workflow and governance, then the Intranet is sturdy enough to add an open, less-structured layer of content.”

Basically, if your intranet functions OK, go for it; require authenticated log-in, provide good how-tos and link the formal stuff to the “under-Web” [lovely coining by Paul Miller in his Trends for 2008]

Social Networking

Still lots of interest at work in:

  •  what this is (yes, I know you know, dear reader, but I’m still working it out; so have patience).
  • what can we get from this – and an interesting term I hadn’t heard before – Social Capital. I mean, I now know it’s been around for years, with the first cite being around 110 *years* ago.
  • how we can facilitate it – what tools, what processes?

I think it’s partly culture, partly tools,  and partly process.

As part of my Personal Development Plan(PDP), I’d decided this was a key area to understand and try and utilise. My company’s culture encourages us to drive robust PDPs. I’d found a range of tools – each new one pointed to by posting on previous tool, and learned from them. The process is the bit that is currently blocking wider acceptance of this; how do you measure the value. As long as nobody starts talking about a business model  I’ll be happy.

Facebook

I’ve had Facebook for a while, but following the irritation I – and a number of other friends – had been feeling with Vampires, “funny” videos, LOLcatz I removed FunWall and SuperWall. I update my status via Twitter  – and so do many others, and am currently using Twitter more – but I still use Facebook.

It’s still a nice application for seeing what your friends/colleagues are doing and provides a way of managing the various contacts – true, I want to be able to escape from the walled garden – but that looks like it’s coming.

I’ve been able to build

  • online relationships with the people I’ve “friended”
  • knowledge of Web2.0
  • understanding of some of the tools
  • links with people I’d never have heard of…

 JP Rangaswami says

“The information that flows through a social network exists in three dimensions. One dimension is time, past, present and future. A second dimension is number, one to many. A third is movement, static to dynamic. When I share my contact details with another person, I am providing static, present, one-to-one information.  When I share what I am intending to do with a whole community, I am providing dynamic, future, one-to-many information.

The motivation to provide information is, at least in part, driven by an expected value of the information coming out of Facebook. And one other thing: the comfort level of providing, to a community, what is essentially private information.

Generation M and their successors are comfortable with sharing their past actions, current state and their future intentions with the community they belong to; they’re comfortable with sharing changes to states and intentions as well. They do this because they believe new value will emerge from that sharing. Collaborative, communal value, shared value.”

I think that’s fair – and I look forward to how we’re going to use “Facebook for the Enterprise” to leverage the social capital we’re looking for.

Written by SteveEllwood

January 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Facebook, JP, Twitter, Web 2.0, wiki

Trust, OpenID, VRM, Data Portability and how does it hang together?

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… or who am I, anyway? Do *you* trust me?

I’m a moderately keen Facebook user. I have a number of friends, and am in a few groups – although I avoid all zombie battles and the like.

I’m a member of a number of web forums, and a newsgroup user.

I also blog in a couple of places, Twitter, and use some other Web2.0/blogging tools. I use last.fm intermittently.

I don’t think any of my online contacts know all the places I am, and I have differing reputations/standing in all of them.

None of the DVD/bookshops I use know enough about me to target me precisely – except Amazon – and while they provided the infrastructure to learn about my *purchases*, I provided large amounts of rating information to them – and told them which of my purchases (for others) not to use for recommendations.

I became interested in VRM following some posts by JP, whose other posts on ownership of information have exercised me a bit.

I’d also heard about a bit about OpenID but thought that would be a bit taxing to understand for a neophyte like me – when I suddenly discovered that I could use this blog as an OpenID… it now makes commenting on other folks blogs a bit easier, and helped sort out my QDOS application [FWIW, I have a shamefully low QDOS of 1100].

Once again, JP in a series of tweets including here, here and here started discussing communal ownership of information and its relation to identity.

I can use my identity here to let me comment on folk’s blogs. I’m an unknown blogger, and so not trusted as an authority.

One of the forums I frequent, I’ve been a member since near inception; I posted a lot; I’ve accrued karma/reputation points; I know some of the moderators; I organised group buys (basically taking on the hassle of ordering scores of items worth hundreds/thousands of dollars for members). I’m *trusted* there.

Now, does my reputation there belong to me, or to the community who accorded me the reputation?

In fact, some of it does seem to belong to me, as I posted on another related forum (to do with bushcraft, if you must know) and I was challenged about something. Another poster (who I didn’t think I knew) said something like “Nah, he’s alright. I know him from x, and he’s been about for years and knows a lot about this.” He “knew” me because he recognised my nickname and location. He used differing nicknames, so I couldn’t have vouched for him. If I’d logged in with my OpenID, it would be more obvious.

I’d like to take my data with me and share it with whom I want. Is Data Portability the answer? Well, yes. For some of it, and seeing @jowyang’s post encourages me to believe there’ll be some movement.

And no, not unless we sort out which data is mine. The karma others gave me in a bushcraft group? My technorati rating (as if!). Even if it was mine, how we going to transfer that?

I’m going to watch the debate with interest – and learn more, I hope.

Written by SteveEllwood

January 11, 2008 at 3:55 pm

So, how’s your outsourcing going?

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If you look back, perhaps you can occasionally learn what the road ahead may bring.

JP Rangaswami, MD of BT Design used to work at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, and was a believer in outsourcing – as are we all in this day and age.

He had some useful warnings, listed here:

http://www.watersonline.com/public/showPage.html?page=129216 

But what about outsourcing, which has become Wall Street’s cost-saving darling? Isn’t this one way banks can rid themselves of routine tasks? Rangaswami warns investment firms of the seduction of supposed cost savings. “What I lose with offshoring is far more than I gain,” he says of DrKW’s own experience, which was “focused on the war for talent rather than wage arbitrage. With outsourcing I may reduce the core execution cost but I pay for it by increased coordination and training costs.” DrKW found in some cases that the local offshoring staff had to be spoon fed and that the typical attrition rates of 40 to 50 percent meant they were often training staff to ultimately benefit others.

Rangaswami also urges firms who do embark on outsourcing contracts to “clean up their garbage first,” rather than dumping it onto the vendor, who will most likely charge a considerable premium for the cleansing. “In the current climate, we cannot afford to feed the mouths of outsourcers. The focus has to be on getting rid of the layer of fat and then parceling it off neatly to someone who has the critical mass to provide economies of scale,” he says.

Sensible really. Work out what you’re outsourcing; why; and what the likely true return is.

Written by SteveEllwood

November 23, 2007 at 10:37 pm

Posted in JP, Management