Social Software: The Heads Up Display for Today's Businesses
Louis Richardson 120000HRWE firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social-business social-software connections | 3 Comments | 2,073 Visits
Very few of us are probably aviators, but I bet everyone of us has what we would consider our "business cockpit". For many of us, it's our email application. For some it might be a CRM or ERP system, an authoring application or maybe a corporate intranet homepage. In any case, there is a place where we probably spend a good bit of our time and from which we conduct our business. In my role, I spend a lot of time collaborating with others...which includes communication and content. So my Lotus Notes application became a major "business cockpit". Every day I checked out my inst
I get dozens of emails a day asking questions or needing information. One such question was about the differences between Connections and Quickr (2 of our social solution products). Previously I would answer each question in email reply. When someone else asked the same question, I might search for my previous response and cut/paste the answer into a new email reply. Sound familiar? Well, this works...but with social software, I was able to lift my head up and look around. I was able to see that this was a common question...so I posted it (as a blog) in my internal IBM social network and pointed people to that response. Before long, one of my co-workers pointed out that our customers had the same question, so I reworked it and posted it (as a blog) on our external social network (this one...the collaboration soapbox). Within days, the entry was read hundreds of times. This is where "heads up" really comes into play. If I had addressed this with my head in the instruments (email, replies, etc.), (1) it would be unlikely that I would have been able to provide the answer to the volume of people with the question, (2) it would not have provided an answer to many who may have been troubled by the question, but didn't know who to ask (it got their heads up), and (3) nor would it have provided an "out of the cockpit" view of a real business need...the need to clarify product positioning.
The same "heads up" value comes from the fact that we don't just provide a social application, we make your applications social. So while you're in your CRM application, it can be socially aware. You can reach out (heads up) to people and provide credibility to information from within your application (cockpit instruments). The same goes for your email or authoring application or your company intranet.
People are the core to your business and being able to reach them, from within the context of your current business provides a "heads up" experience that results in real business value.
After thought: For those like me who have taught teenagers to drive, how important was it to make sure they didn't focus on the dashboard instruments, but instead insist they focus on what's around them and to use the instruments as a reference point? One reason automakers are beginning to incorporate heads up displays in new models.
Louis serves as a Worldwide Social Business Executive and can be reached at Ric