Wrote a post about what today’s customer expects in terms of “relationships” on SAP’s Customer Edge Blog. Here is a snippet:
Transactional CRM, the system of record technology that lets you manage a sales cycle, a customer service request and marketing activity, is critical to make official records of who did what.
But here’s what striking to me: Traditional CRM, which stands for customer relationship management is a transactional and operational technology that never really touched the customer.
That may have been OK in the past, but today’s customer who is extremely well connected and networked thanks to the social web has radically different expectations of the companies that they do business with. Beyond socializing, the social web is where we seek to research and engage with both, like-minded buyers and with purveyors with whom we want to do business. In a 2011 IBM study on Social CRM(1), 42% of those polled use the social web to share opinions about products they use, 39% use it to access product reviews, 23% said they outright rely on the “social web to interact with brands”. Yet another supporting point to CRM pundit Paul Greenberg’s assertion that “the customer is in control of the conversation.”
Let’s dispel three misconceptions about the social web first:
This isn’t about bleeding edge industries anymore. A 2009 business.com study(2) showed Real Estate and Construction, Healthcare, Media and Entertainment as top contenders for social media.
Access to social and traditional web content is now equalized. Even if you believe that a majority of your customers don’t use social media, traditional web properties such as Google and LinkedIn index even the few conversations that might exist and make positive or negative opinions about our wares visible to everyone.
No, the social web isn’t just about Twitter and Facebook where you may argue that your prospects don’t really hang out. Amazon Reviews (Retail), Trip Advisor (Travel), FlyerTalk (Airlines), Yelp (Restaurants), AngiesList (Services) and literally a hundred other topical forums are all part of the social web or what Mike Fauscettecharacterized as “systems of relationships” that are dis-intermediating your controlled marketing every single day.
Five Design Considerations
So how do we prepare for this changing interaction dynamic? The needs of this new breed of customers centers on the following 5 design considerations:
I’ve broken down each of these Design Considerations on the Customer Edge Blog, here.
Seems like I just got off a plane from this summer’s Boston Enterprise 2.0 Conference. But here we are again — the Santa Clara edition of Enterprise 2.0 is around the corner, from the 14th — 17th of November. The event has a good keynote line up that includes the likes of Sandy Carter of IBM, Rachel Happe, Founder of The Community Roundtable, Don Tapscott of Macrowikinomics fame, Aaron Levie of Box, Tim Young of VMware, and others. Some of these folks I know well and others I’ve read often. Expect a range of perspectives on social and collaborative approaches to working effectively.
The tracks represent the big issues facing organizations today and in the very near future: People Culture and Communications (HR), Sales and Marketing, Social Apps and Platforms, Architecture, SharePoint Strategies, Mobile, Video and UC, Risk and Governance, and Internal/External Communities.
In the summer, I keynoted the Boston event on the topic of “Putting back the R in CRM“. This time, we have an entire track on the topic of sales and marketing that I am privileged to chair. And so I wanted to introduce the track and speaker line up, and more importantly, showcase the real progress we have made as an industry towards delivering meaningful business outcomes.
We kick off with Social Channels Engagement, Integration and Response. Increasingly, the customer doesn’t really care which twitter handle is your official support or marketing channel or where the appropriate place on Facebook is to engage with you. This puts serious strain on organizations that have traditionally broken out functions by sales, marketing, support and the like. Social Channels require that we rethink how we engage and route the right discussions to people with the best answers – be those in traditional customer touch point roles or experts hidden inside organizations in product development, or design, or even the extended supply chain. As important, we still need to have a process and the needed technology to move social media discussions into traditional process that’s often powered by CRM, Call Center or other programs and applications. We have a panel of experienced practitioners from well known organizations that are tackling this problem day in and day out: Peter Simonsen, Sr. Director, Web & Community, QlikTech International AB, Daniel Zucker, Social Media Manager, Autodesk and Franck Ardourel, Sr. Director, Online Marketing, 24 Hour Fitness. Each of them offers deep expertise in not only shielding the prospect or customer from silo’d organization designs but have also been instrumental in helping re-cast how organizations rally around customer needs in the 21st century. John Ragsdale will be moderating this session.
Then we move on to how collaboration is critical to Sales Operation and Multi Channel Distribution. First, an in-depth case study from one of my new favorite examples of enterprise collaboration in the last few months: SuperVALU - the grocery store conglomerate that owns household brands such as Albertsons, Shaws, Shop ‘N Save and other retail chains. At SuperVALU, the leadership has chosen to follow a hyper-local strategy to cater to the unique needs of each community they serve. With hyper local comes a natural decentralization model that still needs a level of cohesiveness. A central collaborative fabric has been put in place to enable store managers across brands to share tactics on hyper-local design and service. I’m looking forward to listening to Erin Grotts as she presents the SuperVALU story.
On to channel strategy. I’ve long believed that partner collaboration is a gaping hole in the social and collaborative ‘stack’. Steve Bamberger from Toshiba is going to talk about the challenges of a multi channel sale that requires coordination between third party vendors and service providers to truly put your best foot forward. If your organization sells its wares with the help of partners, come listen to Steve illustrate how “Toshiba has improved the transparency of vendor sales support and fostered more unified collaboration and communication with their strategic partners within their dealer and direct sales channels.”
Moving on from Sales Collaboration, we’re going to deal with the elephant in the room that social media idealists often tend to stay away from: if Social Media customer engagement is all that, why hasn’t it invaded the traditional marketing mix in a consistent way? Kelly Ripley Feller, Director at Citrix System wants to lay out the big road blocks and collaborate with the audience to find realistic pathways for social media marketing and measurement. If you want to add your two cents on why the problem exists and what we as a community can do about it, come on by.
And finally, B2B customer engagement is a beast in and of itself. Lauren Vargas of Aetna will talk about how regulated industries engage with prospects and customers on social media. In her words “Discover the right blend of art and science your organization needs to execute to get people excited about doing business with your company.” In turn, Michael Procopio from HP will discuss how customer engagement works at scale. HP sells personal and enterprise hardware, software, services and more and has a market cap of over $50 billion dollars. It’s a treat to have Michael share how large companies can keep their head above the social media marketing waters. Esteban Kolsky, a very well-known name in the customer service world, will moderate this session.
If you would like to learn more about the event and register, here’s the link to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
I’m really happy with how the track has come together. Broad insights, deep case studies focused on solving gnarly performance challenges that big business faces today with decisive uses of social and collaborative approaches.
And, if it didn’t come through, this sales and marketing track has only end customers speaking. 100% pundit-free practitioner insight. -)
See you in Santa Clara.
UPDATE: Just when this track looked like it couldn’t get stronger, we now have Ted Saptountzis, SAPs Vice President for Audience Marketing joining us. Ted will join Kelly Ripley Feller at 2:30 pm to talk about post-hype use of social and what it looks like when its embedded into core marketing and sales processes.
UPDATE 2: Killer conversation going on on Google Plus about “Why does Marketing STILL not get social?” – one of the big topics were going to discuss this week at the Enterprise 2.0 conference.
(Disclaimer: I’m on the advisory board of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference)
As I flew into Orlando for SAP Sapphire 2011, I revisited a bunch of review posts from last years Sapphire Event to see what was promised. In my post last year, I summarized SAP Sapphire 2010 themes:
In-Memory / Hana
Cloud and Devices
“People – Centric”
To cut to the chase, Sapphire 2011 came back strong on 1) and 2) and has its work cut out on 3).
I’m going to quickly summarize developments on In-Memory / HANA and Mobility but point you to other posts on the topic for more detail. I’ll spend my time on the areas that promise to blend the best of people and process to improve business outcomes.
The keynote message was dominated by infrastructure progress to date. Speed was the single most important Co-CEO message at the event and as you would expect, Hana was all the rage. I’m a sucker for business execution and the customer case studies were really good. Colgate-Palmolive, Lenovo, Medtronics and many more. One striking example was that of Infosys: The global services firm uses Hana to get real time updates on margins, down to the individual project level. If you stop to think about that for a second – across thousands of projects underway – to be able to get roll up data as well as identify precise trouble spots at a unit level in near real time so you can course correct. That’s pretty incredible. More on Hana from Mike Vizard at ITBusiness Edge.
The acquisition of Sybase is coming to fruition and a number of apps were available for viewing on the show floor. There’s no question that SAP has extended its process tentacles to be available where ever the end user might be. Frank Scavo has a post and a video, and ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett has a somewhat measured view on uptake and operational details.
By far, the most promising news that broke at the event, in my opinion. This piece of technology connects SAP back end applications to other apps and services at the edge. Think third party business applications, tiny and large mobile apps, Twitter, Linked and Facebook data, and more. Says customer Manish Choksi, CIO of Asian Paints:
"The pilot using SAP NetWeaver Gateway allows us to leverage the power of social media sites along with our SAP applications and create enhanced customer engagement, while deriving immediate business benefits. Insights from these social media interactions are captured through SAP NetWeaver Gateway in SAP Business Suite and are used by our product and marketing teams, providing them a true customer ‘pulsecheck.’
There’s plenty of applications for such technology, not the least of which is giving end users extensibility to marry apps and data they like at the edge with critical ERP process and data. I saw this Asian Paints demo in-person. Whilst I think those of us close to social data aggregation /sense making of said data would find the first deployment to be primitive (e.g. connecting the raw twitter fire hose to CRM and Call Center), it’s good to see SAP begin to go down this road. When it comes to customer and prospect data in particular, this move will also provide SAP with good customer feedback on the kinds of semantic and filtering technology it needs to procure/OEM/ build to really scale and meaningfully apply social ‘big’ data to improve process performance.
This technology is also the basis for Duet Enterprise – the connector that enables sharing and socializing of SAP data and workflow inside SharePoint 2010. More on Duet and the Microsoft partnership by Mary Jo Foley.
This is where things fell off the rails for me. Last year, CEO Bill McDermott said the following:“This is an era of people empowerment”. In turn, Dr. Hasso Plattner had a huge slide behind him on the podium labeled “The real Enterprise 2.0”.
But a year later, the effort to leverage social and collaborative constructs to augment transactive and workflow process with Hana providing the jet fuel, was tepid at best. To me, these three elements, combined with new extensibility offered by Netweaver Gateway is an honking opportunity for SAP to redefine how work gets done in the year 2011. Whilst I get that for many customers speed of transaction is sufficient, I was a little disappointed that the focus was solely on using Hana to do what SAP currently does, just faster. Back to the drawing board business activity redesign that blends the best of process, data and people was missing and could go a long way towards filling in those white spaces in ERP enabled process where end users scramble every day to find reliable experts, content and answers to get the job done.
Talking about back to the drawing board, Sales OnDemand is an exception and was, far and away, the best example of innovative task facilitation thinking at SAP. It shows that the company has the guts to re-think a foundational enterprise application, strip out bloat, and understand where collaboration accelerates business process (more on this topic in this older post). That’s what Sales On Demand does and here’s Paul Greenberg and Jon Reed on the topic.
However, to truly leverage the best brains to get the job done, business networking and collaboration can’t work in a silo (in this case sales) and shut others out. It needs to be cognizant of people who otherwise were considered outside the traditional loop, to truly get the best insight. And so, a sequential roll out of social capabilities ERP application by ERP application can complicate participatory patterns at execution time and seriously discount the value of a connected enterprise. SAP’s efforts to get ‘people centric’ needs to happen across traditional functional areas, in tandem.
Next up was SAP StreamWork which is yet to find its footing as a social software system of record, in spite of SAPs envious rolodex of incumbent customer. I’ve spoken to SIs implementing StreamWork and on a case by case basis there certainly is value, but from a go to market stand point, repeatability of use cases across SAP customers needs work. The good news is that SAP announced the availability of StreamWork across SAP business apps (Kathleen Lau has more, here) and to me that’s promising. With Jack Miller just recently taking over the reigns at StreamWork and along with Holly Simmons, we can expect some fresh thinking on how this product will stick its neck out in the very crowded social software market.
So stuffs happening on the people centric apps side of the house, albeit slowly and in pockets. But given the rapid pace of innovation in this area, SAP really needs to step on it and in a cohesive manner if it wants to be a contender for purpose driven collaboration. Chatter + Radian6 + Salesforce CRM and Service Cloud, Socialcast Reach, Yammer + NetSuite and others, Jive Apps Market, Saba People Systems and even early whiffs of social and unified collaboration across Oracle Fusion Apps clearly shows a trend towards social and collaboration, coming to a process near you. At Sovos, we’re working with a number of clients who are increasingly executing their social and collaborative strategy in harmony with process, and some of the combinations allow customers to concentrate on strategy and execution when the software plays nice. Once implemented, collaborative systems that power a vibrant maze of relationships and conversations are extremely difficult to rip and replace (imagine trying to even re-build your LinkedIn or Facebook network on a new platform). So if they want to play, SAP really needs to get in on the land grab, pronto.
Closing thoughts on Sapphire Now 2011
Net net, SAP customers looking to do ERP faster, and where ever they want, be that in the cloud or on a tablet, will like a lot of what they saw at the event. Those customers looking for fresh ideas to improve employee/ partner/ customer activity and engagement, will want more.
The event itself was near flawless from an organizational stand point and thanks to the Global Communications Team, the influencer / blogger cadre continued to get direct feedback from the right folks – be those partners, customers or SAP leadership. SAPs social media relations team, led my Mike Prosceno and ably executed by Stacey Fish, Andrea Kaufmann and Craig Mehil, and Amisha Gandhi is, without question, the gold standard in the tech industry. They make it look easy which it certainly is not.
I’ll leave you with a killer video of Hana + Microsoft Kinnect (xBox 360) that captivated the gadget lover in me. We truly live in amazing times… – )
On the heels of SalesForce.com’s announcement of ChatterExchange this morning, FinancialForce releases Chatterbox – a rules based overlay on Chatter that allows businesses to associate the use of collaborative constructs with discrete business activity. For those of you not familiar with Salesforce.com’s Chatter, I covered the initial release, here.
For all the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 software, the biggest stumbling block has been this lingering feeling that its a solution looking for a problem to solve. And so even if you got past the skeptic managers and secured the green light to give it a shot, come adoption time, the use case for collaborating and socializing business conversations in the open via a microblogging application in favor of email just never came naturally. And at that point starts the real scramble: backfill use cases that might appeal to certain users, conduct training programs, institute herculean behavioral change management processes and devise incentive plans to get active usage up to a respectable level.
Welcome to the Enterprise Context Web.
FinancialForce, traditionally in the business of bringing Finance and Sales together on the force.com platform has built a rules and workflow facility to incorporate those very important social and collaborative elements and data triggers that make a given business activity whole. All on top of Chatter. Here’s how the finance and accounting community can collaborate over bean counting topics, using micriblogging constructs:
When an outstanding credit on a customer account goes over 90 days – finance and sales professionals linked to that account can be immediately alerted, then they can quickly identify the reasons for non-payment and act to try and solve the problem to help cash flow and prevent further sales to that client being held up.
When a specific supplier has been paid or a new supplier engaged – to help procurement and marketing departments better manage their suppliers and improve relationships.
Customer accounts that show no activity for a specified length of time – may indicate service deficiencies and help ensure customers are contacted regularly.
New sales over a specific size or won against a key competitor – to keep management and marketing abreast of sales trends.
Where unstructured and, really, knowledge access and sharing was conducted directly in email, via Chatterbox, now accountants and finance professionals can now tap into the larger community for expertise and critical customer knowledge to understand exceptions in a process (say, an overdue invoice from an otherwise timely customer). If Chatter is adopted as the central collaborative backbone at the organization, it can now becomes the common watercooler to show up at with specific business data and context and where collaboration happens. Far beyond the out of the box process integration with Salesforces’ CRM application.
I still don’t believe that this eradicates adoption planning and more importantly incentive structures that encourage wide scale usage, out of the box. As I discussed with the FinancialForce folks, with respect to finance and accounting professionals, making it second nature to use a microblogging format to notify people over email needs to be preceded by showing the value of ambient outcomes. Accountants by the nature of their job do in fact need to conduct a lot of business in private and so subconsciously knowing when to going private vs. open might be a bit of a struggle. Add to that, most finance and accounting folks especially at smaller companies already know the 5 people at the company that might have the best answer for what generally are very specific questions. And on the topic of receiving data alerts in the microblogging stream, well, native enterprise apps have had email alerts per se for decades. Where process knowhow and training comes is to show communities wrap around critical alerts to respond to an event, thereby enrichening the outcome. Data events bring context out of the gate and that makes adoption and showing business benefit far more straight forward.
One smart thing that FinancialForce has done is to not limit the use of Chatterbox to its core financial product. By offering Chatterbox as the rules engine for any application on the Force.com platform, it limits its reliance on the financial and accounting user and that’s a really smart move.
Microblogging and data access is not new to the Enterprise Social Web. Pure play Enterprise 2.0 providers such as Socialcast and Socialtext both offer similar features and the upcoming release of Tibbr from TIBCO boasts this as a central theme to its own microblogging offering. But it’s all about distribution. And force.com brings awareness and distribution. And the rules engine offered by Chatterbox brings needed context to enterprise 2.0 constructs that’s been missing for far too long. As my friend Megan Murray commented to me, that’s Peanut Butter and Jelly or Carrots and Peas. Finally.
Dennis Howlett, an accountant by trade originally is optimistic, saying:
One off surgical help is useful, but the larger opportunity comes in activity pattern discovery where what� Sigurd Rinde might call Barely Repeatable Processes are captured and become actionable in the context of business processes that matter. Does this excite you or is it a huge yawn? I know where I am placing my bets
Some links on Chatter Exchange here aswell and Paul Greenberg puts it all in context on his Social CRM ZDNet blog
Will it make it? I think so. Is there still a need for proper strategic planning and follow through for large scale uptake? No question about it. But that’s no different from any other enterprise software category. One things for sure – having the software make it simpler to illustrate business cases out of the box makes it a hell of a lot easier to pass the initial litmus test.
These were the most visited posts from December 1, 2008 to December 1,2009, per Google Analytics.
I just realized that this blog is only little over a year old. Feels like I’ve been writing for much longer.
A sincere thank you for reading, commenting, referencing and re-tweeting my posts. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how much I’ve learned from the debates and exchanges we’ve had here and on Twitter.
Ok, back to the topic of this post. Top posts here, as follows:
Summary: A software market perspective on where we’ve been and where the category may end up given the entry of free and open source alternatives. This post could use an update given the entry/imminent entry of Microsoft, Salesforce, TIBCO and SAP – all of whom have chosen to build and not buy.
Summary: Taking the battle to the enemies turf. This is in response to “Enterprise 2.0: What a Crock” by Dennis Howlett, addressing what I hope is a balanced view on where process pundits are wrong about Enterprise 2.0 2.0 and the value of ERP that they closely guard. As well, it shows tangible examples of where social computing has in fact accelerated performance and suggests what we in the E2.0 community can reduce this friction between process and social. Dennis comes around with his balanced opinion as well.
Summary: An early post – one of my last on definitions and naming – a topic that I generally stay away from. This post suggests focusing Enterprise 2.0 as a state the enterprise achieves via strategic use of social computing.
Summary: How you can leverage existing ECM/CMS investments and Social Computing to drive better outcomes for your marketing investments. Also included was a conversation with Billy Cripe, then Director of ECM at Oracle.
Happy New Year. See you on the other side. I’m pumped about 2010.
Salesforce.com may well be the poster child for hip and cool apps that bring the consumer experience to the enterprise but it will likely find CXO’s baulk at the idea of Chatter as a useful addition to their Salesforce.com environment. Only time will tell whether Salesforce.com marketers have judged this correctly.
Regardless of where Salesforce decides to take Chatter, the announcement demonstrates that social computing space is reaching a tipping point, which I think is great.
I’m baffled by the name of this service but on the whole, my sense is that this is a huge development for the enterprise software business, as well as a definitive stamp of validation for Enterprise 2.0 constructs and technologies. Assuming of course that Salesforce.com gets this to market as promised.
Context Built In
Chatter is different. Its got the one thing baked in that other applications don’t – context. Built in from the ground up.
Media watching is not a sport for sales reps. Feed them the good stuff and they’ll consume it.
Data/Intelligence extraction over collaboration. “Give to Get” doesn’t fly with most sales reps.
Good reps know exactly which 8.75 data types help them bust quotas. No more, no less.
In spite of the above, don’t expect them to dig for it. They’d rather use the time to cold call a lead.
Sales reps often ignore a lot of what marketing might offer or recommend.
They don’t personalize portals & intranets.
They rather search than browse; they want answers, not search results. (ok, who doesn’t!)
CRM apps often morph into reporting mechanisms that sales reps are mandated to use.
Pre-sales engineers (in the case of High Tech) often do most of labor intensive tasks in the sales cycle (assembling proposal components, finding SMEs and references, etc).
Super impose these characteristics on the features presented in the Chatter demo and I say we have a solid start. Chatter’s got context and intent built in for the sales organization given its close out of the box linkages to Salesforce.com’s flagship CRM application. Next, the activity stream/ feed metaphor was made for the sales rep: Why? Given how they prefer to work, it 1) enables them to pluck important nuggets out of the stream that support the sales process and 2) lets the best minds wrap around a task at hand (RFP, prospect inquiry, customer support issue and the like). It won’t all just happen out of the box but the application has the potential to make it a hell of a lot easier.
Process + Social
Last week I wrote a post called “Why Process Barfs on Social”. My central point was that unless we see a social + process in context, Enterprise 2.0 won’t realize its full potential. Whilst tools certainly won’t provide the solution alone, Chatter has the capability of being the first integrated showcase where social concepts are unleashed to enrichen discrete processes (in this case, closing and keeping customers) towards established performance goals.
There’s no question that some of the most important data that sales reps need reside outside of the confines of traditional CEM and sales applications. They sit in home grown contract registries, support agreement databases, 3rd part news and social media platforms, ERP systems and very important – the minds of known and unknown colleagues. Chatters’ platform capabilities enable access to these data sources and people. This, along with the ability to collaborate around an object ( a lead, a competitor, a customer, a topic) brings process + social closer than ever before.
One Part Offence, Two Parts Defense
Despite the very convincing assault on Microsoft SharePoint by Marc, my sense is that this is more defense than offence on Salesforces.com’s part. Taking on the installed base of SharePoint may be a longer term goal but for now SalesForce needs to make its existing applications useful to sales reps and move away from being a glorified reporting application for operational bean counters or (as Scott Schnaars suggests), a contact management system. Not to mention the rising interest in so-called “social CRM” services. Chatter gives reps a reason to stay within Salesforce.com a little while longer and amps up the sustained utility of the service.
Whilst this is validation around the concept of social computing in the enterprise and pureplay vendors will see a rising tide effect, there’s a downside as well. Its tempting to say that pureplay vendors had these capabilities for a while and can hold their own. The reality is that feature shoot outs play but one role in enterprise purchase decision making. Salesforce brings its powerful distribution channel, out of the box process integration, and a now social marketplace in AppExchange – together providing a very compelling reason for enterprises to consider this as a company-wide social networking platform.
This, in my opinion, was the biggest lost opportunity in the launch of this service.
One of the reasons for Bloomberg LPs ungodly success is that every single employee’s bonus is tied to new sales and renewals. IT, Product, Marketing, Support, everyone. That means everyone prioritizes their work around revenue. That’s extremely difficult to do especially since only a chosen few at most companies have any control or even insight into the sales process. Now, with Chatter being seeded in the nucleus of managing customer relationships in the enterprise (i.e. CRM), there’s the opportunity, for the first time, to provide a universal lens into the process of courting, converting and servicing a customer. Everyone can see the sales and support process live and chime in with expertise, helping cradle the process to revenue and customer satisfaction. The big value proposition of the enterprise social web is improved customer centricity and there’s a unique opportunity for Chatter to make this a reality. I wish Salesforce had seized this opportunity to present a model that can transform how organizations and their partner ecosystems can be structured around the customer.
$50 bucks a user per month? Ouch!
Yes it’s a lot. But what strikes me as odd was that Salesforce did not offer some sort of basic/read-only access to Chatter for non Salesforce users at a given customer. What better way for others to see where their input is crucial to an ongoing project, RFP, discussion etc and make the case for purchasing that additional seat? That’s free marketing and a straight forward conversion strategy for Salesforce to move laterally, out side of sales and marketing. It’s still early so I won’t be surprised to see something similar to this.
All up, this is excellent news for the Enterprise 2.0 space and I’m thrilled that a process facilitator such as Salesforce has dipped its toes in the social computing arena. Its about time Enterprise 2.0 grew up and started talking business. And Salesforce is one of the few companies that can lead that charge. It’s a separate post but pure plays will gain more than they will loose with increased awareness of the business association of social computing concepts. Good for the entire ecosystem.
For a detailed look at Chatter, see Marc Benioffs (very long) interview at TechCrunch’s Realtime Crunch Up Event.
In my most recent post about how to avoid Enterprise 2.0 failure, I suggested that it’s important to understand and respond to human behavior if there’s any hope of accelerating business performance via social computing concepts. Here’s an excerpt:
What’s in it for me’. Not just ‘What’s in it for us’
The single biggest point of failure occurs during the initial
planning phase: focusing primarily on organizational benefits and putting individual incentives and therefore, behaviors, a distant second. The former helps crystallize the big picture and to justify the initiative to bean counters. The latter ensures sustained engagement, which in turn delivers improved performance.
The emergence of true Enterprise 2.0 transformation is unlikely to see the light of day if it’s designed to change how we as individuals or user constituencies behave. It might be called Enterprise Social Networking or Social Business, but honestly, if you haven’t considered and responded to the psychological drivers for each user type, a vibrant socially networked business ecosystem won’t emerge. Consider the typical sales rep: She wants to consume as opposed to contribute. She searches, never browses. And she almost never personalizes interfaces. On the other hand, an engineer wants to collaborate, share, learn how to code better from others and contribute to a larger team success. Two very different behavioral models based on different incentive structures. Designing interaction models around the behaviors of each user type before selecting software and launching mitigates significant programmatic risk.
In the business world, incentive, intention and design context influences behavior. Understanding and accounting for these constructs are crucial to programmatic success and ultimately, performance acceleration.
I saw this post by rock star social web designer Joshua Porter of Bokardo that describes the thinking behind the design of a SocialCast feature. Joshua writes:
One of the guiding principles of interaction design is to support existing behavior. This means to figure out what is already happening, what activities, tasks, and interactions people are already doing, and build support for them into software.
This may not seem like a glamorous way to approach design, but from my experience it’s the fastest way to make people happy. Let them do what they already do faster/better/easier, and then you’ll have their attention in order to push the envelope after that.
Earlier this year, I wrote about a similar topic: Design, but in a programmatic sense of which interaction design is certainly a crucial component. (Post: how social computing can accelerate business performance for sales teams.) Central to this strategy and execution plan is understanding how the typical sales rep wants to work with people and data. And then exponentially improving that interaction via social computing constructs and technology. That’s very different from trying to design software or programs that want to fight known human instincts and behaviors.
Social software is but one component of overall enterprise 2.0 success. There’s a litany of factors to be considered to successfully realize true business performance acceleration and to manage risk, not the least of which is accounting for interaction patterns of each user type. That said, there’s no arguing that its a hell of a lot easier to improve probability of success if the software does its part to make this process easier. And so Joshua’s post really struck a chord with me.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing interaction designers and I’ve always felt that good interaction designers never get due props for their role in the overall success of a given initiative. Thanks to Joshua for writing about this topic.
Update: A few hours after I published this post, Steve Wylie, GM of the Enterprise 2.0 conference (Disclaimer: I’m on the advisory board) just announced that Thomas Vanderwal will be speaking at the conference this fall in San Francisco. Thomas, a well respected social web designer, will join social software luminary Stewart Mader to talk about “Five Things Companies Learn After a Year of Enterprise 2.0 Adoption”. Its great to see a designer joining a strategist to talk about adoption strategies and inhibitors. Full post here.