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Category Archives: Social Media

Will iPad Change How We Use Computers Tomorrow?

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When I posted a link to an article about Apple’s new iPad on my Facebook page, the first comment I got was from my Mexican friend, Armando Rangel. He commented, “Esta bonito el ipodtote.” When a Mexican adds “-ote” or “tote” to a word it usually means the superlative or a bigger version of the root word. What Armando meant was that the new iPad is a bigger version of the iPod/iPhone. I think, in essence, that my friend is right.

The iPad is ready to run nearly all the 150,000 applications (or apps, for short) that have been created for the iPhone over the past two years. I am sure thousands more apps have been developed now for iPad. Isn’t it great? I mean if you love your iPhone, surely you’ll love this iPad too!

“(The) iPad will change the way you use computers, read books and watch TV- as long as you’re willing to do it the Steve Jobs way.”  – Daniel Lyons, Newsweek April 2010 Issue

Apple’s new iPad

So what’s the buzz about the recently released iPad?  

  • Keyboard – iPad is a type of portable device without the external keyboard.  For example, laptops have external keyboards.  Similar to the iPhone, it has a touch screen.  So imagine having a keyboard on the screen but you can’t feel the keys.
  • Price – The price of an iPad depends on the memory storage capacity. It ranges from $499 to $829.
  • Media – Most of what you will do with the iPad is what you are already doing with your iPhone. If you are reading books using your iPhone, don’t you get eye strain? iPad is designed for common media – books, websites and videos, etc.
  • Versus Kindle – iPad so much better than Kindle with it comes to look and feel and sleek page-flicking animations. If you like reading in the beach and poolside, you might consider keeping your Kindle. The black and white e-ink stands out nicely when you are reading in the sun.
  • Office – As I mentioned earlier, the iPad will support the same apps you currently use with your iPhone. Apple has also developed apps for Office that can create presentations, documents and spreadsheets.
  • Simplicity – If you know someone who is not ready to use a complicated computer (probably because they are beginners in using computers), maybe an iPad is a good start. The iPad is easier to use.
  • Versus your computer – For most people, the question is: will the iPad replace laptop and personal computers?  It depends on what you use your computer for. If you use your computer for work – such as creating things (for example, documents and designs) and run enterprise applications, then forget it.

I am sure that just like me, you have seen all the reviews and commercials about the iPad. However, there are some things you need to know about this new product before you decide to buy it. Check out this article from CNN if you want to learn more about Apple’s iPad: “Before you buy: 12 things to know about the iPad”.

Apple’s Innovation

Shortly after Steve Job’s first presentation about the new iPad last January, Roberto Verganti wrote about Apple’s innovation process in his article, “Apple’s Secret? It Tells Us What We Should Love”. He wrote, “The iPad Apple has not provided an answer to market needs. It has made a proposal about what could fit us and what we could love. It’s now up to us to answer whether we agree.”

Steve Jobs is a master of creating a signature customer experience. He steered Apple to deliver products that create new “meaning” to customers. This is the reason why Apple is not afraid to propose radical innovations. They are convinced that the product they create is the one that we should love. This is not like user-centered innovation where what you carry out mostly is what the consumers or market demand. This is perfect for incremental innovation, not for Apple. Steve Jobs is persistently creating innovative products that have changed our ideas about how things should work. Will the iPad change how we use computers tomorrow? Your guess is as good as mine.

Photo courtesy of Apple.com

Imagine How Social Media Can Transform Your Company Part II – Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Challenges

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This is the second part of my series on how Social Media can transform your company. In Part 1, I talked about the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to a company. I cited three key benefits: 

  • Improved Collaboration – One of the defining principles of Enterprise 2.0 is collaboration. Groups of people and even virtual teams with members from different geographic locations and organizational levels can work together.
  • Information Discoverability – One of the key advantages of Enterprise 2.0 is knowledge sharing, retention and discoverability. Imagine how much corporate knowledge and information are held by only a handful of employees in your company.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience through Social CRM Social CRM evolved from the need to create new customer relationships through the social media channel—relationship that is built on trust. This means actively participating in social media forums.

Governance Model for Risk Mitigation

To mitigate risk the first thing that companies should establish in an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is the governance strategy. Some companies, for example, encourage its employees to participate in mainstream social media. They support employees who write blogs internally and externally; however, they have to follow a set code of conduct. A common component of these policies is the “don’t tell secrets policy”. Companies want to safeguard proprietary and confidential information. Go to Social Media Governance Database if you want to see free examples of Social Media Policies from almost 100 companies. Let me share with you one of the most interesting social media policy that I have read online—the Social Media Policy of Intel. Over time, Intel created a comprehensive set of social media policies. These guidelines are now available in over 35 languages designed to help everyone use social media in a respectful and responsible way.

Cultural Change a Serious Challenge to Enterprise 2.0 Adoption

There are existing solutions in the market (such as blogs, wikis) that can be easily installed and applied to foster collaboration.  So some might think it is easy to implement Enterprise 2.0.  If that’s what you are thinking, you are wrong. I think implementing Enterprise 2.0 has little to do with technology. The most important component is adoption and cultural change. When I say culture, I refer to the way of work, values, behavior, etc. that altogether constitute the unique style of the company. There should be a strong strategic principle that guides the organization through an incremental adoption approach to ensure chances of success. It can’t be forced. There are no shortcuts.

Support from Users is Critical 

Here is a key question: how important is top management support in Enterprise 2.0 adoption? Like any other initiative, senior management support is critical. But more than that, an Enterprise 2.0 adoption needs support from all levels of the organization. Yes you need management support; however, to be really successful, companies need to focus on the benefits of the users first and then the value creation for the company next. You can’t convince an employee to change the way he works just because it will benefit the company. You have to convince employees that this will make their job easier. This approach is important. It will fuel faster adoption from the grassroots. 

Importance of Training in the Adoption Process

I would like to end this post about Enterprise 2.0 implementation with emphasis on the importance of training. Like any other project that includes implementing technology and process, training is a critical success factor.  By just having Enterprise 2.0 tools and social media policies do not necessarily mean an organization’s employees will understand them or use them in how they perform daily work. It is the training combined with a clear social media policy that will provide a structure for employees to increase their participation. With that in place, a comfort level evolves between employee participation and management’s concerns.

Image courtesy of sniki.org.

Imagine How Social Media Can Transform Your Company

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If you have been following my blog since last year, I am sure you have read about these two related topics—Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. In the first one entitled, “New Internet Version” is All About Participation, I tried to explain Web 2.0 by comparing it to Web 1.0 or earlier version of the Internet. Web 1.0 is a general reference to the World Wide Web before the developments of advanced internet collaborative applications. The article about Enterprise 2.0 entitled, Web 2.0 + Application to Business = Enterprise 2.0, posted last October 2009 described what Enterprise 2.0 is and the challenges of adopting the model in the business setting. This post will take the discussion about Enterprise 2.0 even further.

Imagine This…

There are over 800 million users of social media sites in the Internet. Between Facebook and Twitter alone there are close to 600 million unique user accounts. Chances are you are one of them and you have several friends in your network. Now imagine this

  • Imagine having an “internal Facebook” in your company’s intranet.
  • Imagine your co-worker inviting you to become a collaborator. (similar idea as becoming friends in a common social networking sites)
  • Imagine becoming a fan of a project or initiative in your company that makes you a virtual member.
  • Imagine posting a blog about a marketing idea that creates a huge impact elsewhere in the company’s global operations because it matches the need of that country’s market segment.
  • Imagine being able to engage your customers in social networking sites and being able to provide value and gain value from that interaction. 

Are you still with me? I used to just imagine these things too. Now I have seen and read about companies adopting Enterprise 2.0 early. It is quickly becoming a reality. There are significant benefits but as well as serious adoption challenges. 

What Benefits does Enterprise 2.0 bring your company? 

Improve Collaboration – One of the defining principles of Enterprise 2.0 is collaboration. Groups of people and even virtual teams with members from different geographic locations and organizational levels can work together in a project. Enterprise 2.0 tools are designed to change the way we collaborate with our extended network. It is designed to provide less structure, simple mechanics, and allows users to lead the way. This approach requires employees to communicate, to share, to interact and to generate contents and value output. 

Information Discoverability – If collaboration did not convince you about the value of Enterprise 2.0 maybe this one will. One of the key advantages of Enterprise 2.0 is knowledge sharing, retention and discoverability. Imagine how much corporate knowledge and information are held by a few employees in your company. How much information is stored in servers and shared drives? How many manuals are printed, book-bound and stored in filing cabinets? How much information and knowledge is amassed in emails? Sharing and finding information is one of the defining characteristics of Enterprises 2.0. If information and knowledge cannot be found, it is useless. There is no value. It is best to visualize this advantage by thinking about Wikipedia. If you have your own internal Wikipedia that houses your company’s process manuals it will be easier to find up-to-date and useful information. In this case you don’t need to get your own copy of the manual; you will have access to master versions that are kept updated by the entire community of experts and users. 

Enhance Customer Experience through Social CRM – Successfully maintaining a meaningful and sustained relationship with customers has become an integral component of a company’s commercial strategy. If close to a billion users worldwide participate in social media—the chances of finding your customers in that channel is high. Social CRM evolved from the need to create new customer relationships through the social media channel—relationship that is built on trust. This means actively participating in social media forums. Enterprise 2.0 enables this connection between the managers and operators of the business and their customers.    

Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Challenges 

It will be interesting to see how the governance model will evolve as more and more companies are adopting Enterprise 2.0. When deployed Enterprise 2.0 fundamentally changes the dynamics behind how people work together as well as how they share and find information. Implementation strategy should account for the cultural change that needs to happen.

Risk management in Enterprise 2.0 is a serious challenge. The first thing adopters do during an implementation is to establish a policy for the types of information that can be disclosed. There is always risk (as in any other initiatives) but what I think is important is that managers study and understand the risk versus the reward.   

Governance, cultural change and risk management are some of the serious challenges that Enterprise 2.0 has to overcome to gain momentum. This will be discussed in more detail in my next article.

Connecting to Customers through Social CRM

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Connecting to current and potential customers is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Significant resources are invested in creating and improving customer experiences. Even at this time of economic uncertainties, it’s hard to find a business that is not actively pursuing customer service improvements. The competition is stronger than ever as the economy begins to show signs of recovery. Initiatives related to customer relationship management (CRM) are embraced by many companies as a critical component to their overall business strategy. Organizations continue to spend heavily on CRM — $11 billion annually starting 2010 according to Forrester. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has evolved through the years. It started in the early 90s out of the need to store customer information. Today, through the fast development of social media, a new CRM dimension is starting to gain ground—social CRM or SCRM. Social CRM is the process of monitoring, engaging in and managing conversations and relationships with existing and prospective customers and influencers across the Internet, social networks, and digital channels. This article aims to differentiate between traditional CRM and Social CRM. 

Traditional CRM 

I think in order to understand what Social CRM is, we first have to understand traditional CRM. The strong suit of traditional CRM has been the following— enhanced customer analytics, improved operational effectiveness and improved coordination between areas that provides customer service delivery. 

CRM developed out of the need to store customer information. It started with businesses trying to build databases of customer contacts and converting filing cabinets full of customer files into easily accessible databases. Many organizations today are capturing terabytes of information about customers: interactions, cases, interests, demographics, responses to marketing efforts, and buying cycles. The key challenge for most businesses is how to capitalize on this information.

Traditional CRM applications provide necessary flexibility to implement and automate front-end processes. It is focused on operational efficiency and improving collaboration. Forrester, for instance, identifies 6 key processes that comprise the common CRM Processes Framework.  They are— Marketing, eCommerce, Direct Sales, Indirect Sales, Service and Field Services. Companies looking to implement these processes would turn to CRM.  There are many solution providers out there that cover the complete package. SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft are among the biggest providers of CRM solutions. Traditional CRM ensures that the proper activities and tasks will be performed by the appropriate people, in the correct sequences.

What is Social CRM (SCRM)?

According to Brent Leary, an SCRM expert who authored Brent’s Social CRM Blog, “Social CRM is growing out of a completely different need – the need to attract the attention of those using the Internet to find answers to business challenges they are trying to overcome.” The way I see it, Social CRM extends beyond traditional CRM by focusing on people and not on processes. Processes and information are covered by traditional CRM. Social CRM centers on meaningful engagement—it focuses on content and conversation.

Social CRM evolved from the need to create new customer relationships built on trust. This means actively participating in social media forums with your customers by:

  • Interacting with customers through wikis and blogs
  • Enabling customers to critique your products
  • Encouraging customers to share ideas
  • Creating platforms in partnership with customers that improve the company’s value proposition

To illustrate capabilities of Social CRM, I think it’s best to explore one of the leading providers of SCRM solution today—Lithium. Lithium provides SCRM solutions to build enterprise communities on-demand including forums, blogs, ideas, and a Social CRM platform. Barnes and Noble and Best Buy are two companies that implement SCRM. If you click on the links associated with these companies, it will bring you to their respective community pages. You will see that both companies are using the platform in different ways. Barnes and Noble uses it as a platform to recommend and discuss books while Best Buy collaborates with their customers to talk about electronic products and solve technical issues. You are welcome to participate in those forums as a customer or a potential customer of Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.

Social CRM adds a whole new dimension to customer relationship management but it does not replace the latter. I see it as a much needed complement to traditional areas of CRM. In today’s competitive business environment, you’ll have to go beyond CRM to create new relationships based on conversations and trust. Be reminded that the end goals are the same— customer attainment, retention and profitability.

Photos courtesy of Best Buy and Barnes and Noble.

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Web 2.0 + Application in Business = Enterprise 2.0

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People as the platformIn the world of Information Technology, many buzz words and phrases are created everyday. It’s hard to keep up. It’s not only because too many of these words are thrown at us everyday but also because their definitions often change rapidly. One of these phrases is Web 2.0 – which I talked about in my previous article.  Now, let me throw you another one of those technology buzz words – Enterprise 2.0. 

The term Enterprise 2.0 was coined in the spring of 2006 by Andrew McAfee. As an Associate Professor of Harvard Business School, he studies the ways that IT affects businesses. His research efforts are focused on investigating how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves and compete. Andrew McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers. It is quite simply the application of many of the Web 2.0 ideas to the enterprise.

AIIM, a non-profit organization that provides education and research, takes this further. According to AIIM, Enterprise 2.0 is a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise. 

Enterprise 2.0 Adoption 

Until now, many firms have yet to recognize the potential advantages Web 2.0 could bring to the business. Traditional command and control management is directly opposed to the distributed and collaborative style advocated in Enterprise 2.0 and there are always a set of rules that discourage change. For this reason, adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools is happening from the bottom up. Enterprise 2.0 is being brought up gradually by ordinary users. It is uncommon to see adoptions and initiatives – such as establishing a corporate-wide blog or wiki – spearheaded by top management. More often, blogs are started by individuals and small groups in one department as an independent initiative. In some cases, these blogs, social media sites and microblogs succeed and evolve as key components of the corporate internal and external communications arsenal. 

Few companies right now are pioneering the use of Web 2.0 platform. One of then them is Sun Microsystems. Sun uses Open Source and Enterprise Social Software to build a YouTube-style portal for social learning. They have implemented a learning environment called Sun Learning Exchange (SLX) to provide training programs to employees and contractors in more than 50 countries. The entire solution was built for $60,000. One week after launch, there were more than 3000 unique visitors and hundreds of unique content were uploaded. The viral rollout strategy proved to be a success and allowed Sun to create more value with less investment in training. 

UniversalIn my article last month, I talked about how Universal Studios used Web 2.0 platform to announce the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter project. They invited seven avid Harry Potter fans to a top secret webcast and informed them about the plans for the new theme park. By word of mouth, these seven people told thousands through emails, internet forums and blogs. Eventually, mainstream media picked up the buzz and wrote about it in magazines, news, and TV reports. In a few days, the news reached millions of people. Universal was able to reach its global audience by first reaching out to a select group of fans through the Internet. They were able to save thousands and perhaps millions in advertising costs. 

Enterprise 2.0 Challenges 

It is understandable that in spite of the current momentum, Enterprise 2.0 is experiencing strong resistance from business managers. I think the challenge is two-pronged: cultural and structural. There will always be cultural challenges when you are trying to make people work, collaborate and organize in a different way. Companies are so used to the traditional management and coordination style that it’s hard to imagine a quick transition. On the other hand, the Enterprise 2.0 model and its supporting structure also need to strengthen. Experts argue that it’s hard to implement something that has no commonly accepted business model and runs in an immature services landscape. Application management, support, security, ownership and identity are also common challenges being confronted by early implementers. 

To be continued… 

We already discussed about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 in two separate articles. We’ve laid out the groundwork. In my next post, we will further explore these topics and talk about how to incorporate cutting-edge Web 2.0 services within the enterprise networks, create internal social networks, blogs, wikis and manage Enterprise 2.0 security and compliance.

Manila Flood Disaster Update – Social Media as Channel for Disaster Coordination

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I won’t have my usual article this week. I want to use my free time following updates about the flooding in Manila, which happens to be my home country’s capital. The widespread flooding was due to tropical typhoon Ondoy (international codename Ketsana) that brought record-breaking rainfall. The most affected region of the Philippines is the Greater Manila area which has a population of around 20 million people. A state of national calamity has been declared over 27 provinces in 7 regions.

According to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), the average rainfall in Manila during September is about 390 millimeters.  But last Saturday, according to the Philippine Inquirer, the typhoon poured 340 millimeters of rain in a period of six hours. This is more rain than 2005’s Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The six-hour flood surged across Manila and submerged houses, swept away thousands of cars and turned main thoroughfares into raging rivers. It forced residents to seek refuge on rooftops where some waited for more than 24 hours.

Rising Death Toll

According to Philippine Star, the typhoon left the country yesterday, leaving behind a trail of 95 people dead, 29 missing. According to the NDCC (Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council), the number of affected people across Luzon has swelled to more than 300,000 people. This agency also reports that the partial total number of evacuees has reached nearly 60,000 people in 118 evacuation centers.  The Philippine government expects those numbers to rise.

Social media as channel for disaster coordination

twitter2I followed updates regarding the flooding from Facebook, where friends and groups posted up-to-date photos and news of what was happening on the ground. Many of those sites turned into assistance centers and channels that ask for and provide support for rescue and relief efforts. Through social media, I saw the resilience of the Filipino people in the face of adversity — showing once again our strong Bayanihan spirit.

I am also overwhelmed by the support of famous people in twitter like Aston Kutcher, Josh Groban, Demi Moore and Paulo Coelho. They have helped rally support for flood victims in Manila. These celebrity twitters have huge followings—Aston has 3.7 million followers online. Below are retweets from their sites.

  • @joshgroban RT The situation in the Philippines is becoming very dire. this is a good way to start helping. http://www.redcross.org.ph/
  • @mrskutcher: typhoon victims in Philippines in need of food/clothng. Call the American Red Cross to help. 18004357669 @aplusk RT
  • @RedCross: U have mobilized 4 Philippines flooding in a big way. Philippine Red Cross is on the ground. http://www.ifrc.org/
  • @paulocoelho @philredcross I already made my donation by bank order. Ur link does not have online donations. Paypal is not an option. Open online link

I have started my own donation drive here in the US starting with my friends. We will be sending voluntary donations through CEMEX Philippines Foundation. This can assist poor families in the evacuation centers who lost their homes and belongings. If you want to help also, please let me know. Our assistance, however small, goes a long way in my country; a dollar can buy half a kilo of rice and some canned goods that can feed a family a single meal while $20 could feed a family for a week.

Thank you for taking time to read this article. I will continue to post updates and news about the aftermath of the flooding and relief efforts of different concerned groups.

“New Internet Version” is All About Participation

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Just by reading this article in this weblog, you become an official user of Web 2.0.  If you have a Facebook account, keep track of 200 or more friends, tweet at least once a day, have a professional LinkedIn account and rely on Wikipedia for the definition of things – you are an active user of Web 2.0. Congratulations! You are officially part of “generation Web 2.0 plus”! It might surprise you to know that although you might be hearing about Web 2.0 for the first time, you have actually been active users of it for quite some time.   

Comparing Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0

I think the best way to explain what Web 2.0 is to compare it to Web 1.0 which is its earlier version. Web 1.0 is a general reference to the World Wide Web before the developments of advance internet collaborative applications. This was during the period when the internet was dominated by companies who maintained heavy and static sites for promotion and marketing. At that time, it was difficult to maintain personal websites. Many attributed the dot-com-bubble in 2001 as the turning point of the internet. 

Web 1.0 and Web 2.0Basically, what happened was a change in paradigm. This was due to two main factors: people and technology. With people, I refer to us.  Yes — you and me. We who make up the critical mass of internet users who use the internet as a platform for simple, light-weight services that leverage interactions for communication and collaboration. Additionally, advancement in technology enabled these platforms, network and services. The attached illustration contrasts the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Look at the boxes closely and try to imagine how the internet has evolved from the time you started going online until now.

Web 2.0 is the portion of the Internet that is being developed continuously and interactively by participating Internet users. It is commonly associated with web development and web design that facilitates interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design. Web 2.0 is a catch-all term used to illustrate a variety of developments on the web and a perceived shift in the way the web is utilized. This has been characterized as the evolution of web use from passive consumption of content to more active participation, creation and sharing – to what is sometimes called the read/write web. 

Example of Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 is a platform that enables the user to comment, tag, modify, improve and rank. The most well-known examples of this technology are found in sites like YouTube, Amazon, and Google where user ratings make it easier for other users to find what they are looking for. Social media tools like Facebook and Blogs allow users to write stories and stay connected with friends. Twitter opened up the world of sharing short thoughts. And Wikipedia is powered by users who provide and keep content up-to-date and accurate. 

Personally, I am particularly attracted to the aspects of communication and free online expression of ideas. That’s the reason why I invest time writing articles. A few years ago, it would have been extremely difficult for me to find a medium to express my ideas.  Web 2.0 tools have reduced barriers to the publication and distribution of information. 

In its most basic form, Web 2.0 is about participation. It is about communication and collaboration. It has indeed change the way of life of this generation and it is still evolving! 

Enterprise 2.0 – A Peek into my next Post 

Many of the Web 2.0 platforms began as customer-facing sites designed for marketing and communications until people looked for ways to apply these ideas to the enterprise. You might have noticed already that blogs, social media and microblogs have evolved as key components of the corporate internal and external communications arsenal. This use of the Web 2.0 paradigm and technologies in business is now widely known as Enterprise 2.0. On my succeeding posts, I will elaborate on this further and provide business practical applications of Enterprise 2.0.

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