Social Business

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Image courtesy of Steelcase Inc.

The Workplace of the Future

Thanks to technology, business is evolving into an office-less enterprise that’s more mobile and fluid than the “desk jobs” of the past. In a Q&A, Steelcase vice president of Strategy, Research and New Business Innovation Sara Armbruster explains how Steelcase is approaching the challenge as a supplier, changing how they conceptualize the physical environs of the workplace. “In our view, technology is actually a form of culture, a manifestation of our culture and what we value,” she says.

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Social Media Expands Horizons for Workers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Social media is a tool that allows autistic workers to better express their unique abilities — and tech companies are taking notice. Software giants such as SAP and Microsoft are now actively looking to hire people with autism, and SAP plans to have autistic employees make up at least 1% of its workforce by the year 2020. “Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century,” says Luisa Delgado, a member of the SAP executive board.

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Thinking Outside the [Penalty] Box

When you think of sports teams using social media to great effect, you probably don’t automatically jump to the NHL’s use of Pinterest — but you should. The league has far outstripped all other sports leagues in gathering a following on the fast-growing social media site, with nearly 50 times the followers of all other leagues combined. Impressive as those results are, its path to success involved following some fairly simple, basic rules of social business.


Are You Part of the Email Problem?

Over-reliance on email as a communication tool is sapping people of their time and energy. Author, speaker and consultant Phil Simon says there are better ways — and many new and better tools — to do things. "As consumers, it’s never been easier. Hundreds of millions of us use Dropbox, Facebook, Snapchat, texting, Skype, and other tools to communicate with each other," says Simon. "Why do we resist change at work?" Embracing new tools, he argues, will result in better communication and far less wasted time.



‘People Analytics’ Through Super-Charged ID Badges

The data points employees generate about everything from how often they interrupt others to how many people they sit with at lunch tell surprisingly useful stories. Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze, describes how his company is providing the tools and analytics to interpret this social data, helping businesses identify the best collaborative practices of their most effective people.

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Social Media’s Expanding Relationship Universe

Social psychologists studying technology have created new classes of relationships among people. To understand the potential value of social tools within the enterprise, technology platforms need to take into account four factors identified by researchers studying offline social networks — proximities, interactions, relationships and flows.

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Are Social Media’s Benefits Getting Lost in Translation?

One key positive of social media and social networking is that it encourages communication — between the organization and its customers as well as among employees in different departments or even different business units. But particularly among multinational companies, there is one key drawback: language. Even when companies designate an “official” language for communication, the language barrier can impede both outward-facing customer interactions and internal collaboration. One solution: employ a multilingual approach tailored to the organization’s needs.


Are You Ready For the Certainty of the Unknown?

The skill set for both companies and individuals of the future will be to embrace impermanence and continual reconfiguring, according to Benn Konsynski, a professor of information systems at Emory University. He says both organizations and employees need to prepare for the “the remix era” and “the certainty of unknown.” He sees “improvisation” as a personal and enterprise necessity in the 21st century.

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Should Employees Be Encouraged to Tweet?

At Mitel, an Ontario business communications company, managers have enlisted 1,600 people to become actively involved in social media. The company believes that all employees are stewards of the brand — and therefore can be trusted to represent it well on social media. Many large companies “do their best to inhibit and restrict employee participation in social or major brand initiatives,” says Martyn Etherington, Mitel's CMO. “We, on the other hand, have tremendous faith and trust in our employees.”


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Simplifying the Enterprise Social Media Landscape

Social media platforms provide two key capabilities in the enterprise context — managing networks and sharing digital content. The problem is, with multitudes of platforms available — and features changing daily! — it’s hard to pick among them. Blogger Gerald C. Kane outlines a simple method for making optimal decisions about which social media platforms an enterprise should use.


Remaking a Company for the Digital Natives

At USAA, the financial services group, social business is helping the company productively engage both its 26,000 employees as well as its customer base. Renee Horne, the vice president of social business for USAA, says that’s just part of the larger opportunity to make social tools a more holistic and integral part of the company.

Image courtesy of Flickr user deadmanjones.
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Social Business Is Dead . . .

In recent years, social business has exploded onto the landscape as the centerpiece of the digital economy. But is it, after all, just a passing fad? No… and yes, says blogger Jerry Kane. While social business is here to stay, it is undergoing transformative changes that will make it something very different from what we see today — and business professionals, particularly those in the vanguard of current social business activity, need to be on their toes to be ready for what’s next.


Customizing Social Media Marketing

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. Instead, companies need to tailor campaigns to fit their products. Recent research suggests that one key question that can guide the approach is whether a company’s products are primarily useful or fun. For instance, consumers expect to encounter messages about fun products on platforms like Facebook. In contrast, they will only glance over recommendations for useful products. Because reactions differ, so too should the social sharing mechanisms used to promote these products.


The Unexpected Payoffs of Employee “Eavesdropping”

In an experiment with social media, researchers uncovered an interesting and unexpected outcome. When employees were asked if using an internal social network had helped them learn about coworkers’ skills, they all said “No” — yet their ability to identify coworkers who could help in collaborative projects had skyrocketed (as had their performance). How was this possible? The answer: employees had acquired information so incrementally, they were unaware that they’d learned something of value.



Can You Really Let Employees Loose on Social Media?

At Mitel, a $1.2 billion communications technology company, employees tweet about the company and are proactive on LinkedIn with only one rule: “Use your best judgment at all times.” Martyn Etherington, the company’s chief marketing officer and chief of staff, has no problem with that. “We have to enable the majority and not hold them back by implementing catch-all policies that are aimed at a few.”

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Online “Chatter Data” is Big Data Gold

Brands are extremely interested in finding out what people are talking about on Twitter and Facebook — what’s known in the industry as “chatter data.” This is a kind of real-time knowledge that Facebook, for one, has the ability to capture — and share. Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, says that Facebook is working with brands such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever to help them understand their consumers through this detailed social data.

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Why Your Company Is Probably Measuring Social Media Wrong

If a teenage girl retweets you in Japan, will your video go viral in Brazil? Social business expert Jerry Kane argues that it might — because social media is a complex system, where small or seemingly unimportant factors can converge to produce large or unexpected effects. The challenge for managers in the social arena is to consider the unexpected instead of the linear “X means Y” thought processes. Managers should pay attention to four characteristics of social media that can affect outcomes.

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Interactive Tool Explores How Companies Generate Value With Social Business

The 2014 Social Business Interactive Tool explores how survey respondents say their companies are using social business to transform their organizations and get more from their social business efforts. Users can explore and customize each interactive chart by filtering and isolating the data on the fly — and create customized visualizations to share. Statistics are from the 2014 Business Global Executive Study and Research Project "Moving Beyond Marketing" conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte.

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Why Social Media Will Fundamentally Change Business

Of you haven’t yet jumped on the social media bandwagon, you may want to hurry up and join. Social media is not a passing fad, but a permanent, transformative technological change to how companies conduct business. Social business expert Jerry Kane explains how social media is likely to fundamentally alter the business environment in the near future.

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