How I used Connections to Find an Expert
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  paul_pedraza connections social_business status_updates
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It began when my customer asked me to find an internal IBM expert who could speak about IBM's implementation of third-party antivirus products with Android devices – part of our “bring your own devices” (BYOD) initiative within IBM. Like many other Accelerated Value Leaders (AVLs) who can get these requests, I had no idea where to begin.
Where do I start? Who do I email? Gosh, this will take some significant time and work.
The old way of finding someone within our organization was sending a “blast email” to all AVLs in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Not sure why they're called blast email, but they usually contain the disclaimer:
"Sorry for the blast email but I'm looking for …"
This email probably would have given me the result I wanted, but at a significant opportunity cost — email clutter, mail traffic, follow- up questions, out-of-office notices; in other words, it would have created more work.
A cleaner, faster, more efficient way was to reach out to my Connections network by posting the question on my Status Updates — no searching through team rooms or discussion databases, no multiple email threads with potential leads, and most important, no long wait. This way would provide me with the fastest turn-around.
I posted the question on my status board and received the responses I was hoping for. After I had a name, I did use email to reach out to this person for a one-on-one discussion. He informed me that he was in China and would not be able to assist but did send me another name – Dave M. As luck would have it, Dave was going to be in Sacramento in a week and offered to meet with my customer in person. However, by coincidence, the customer CIO was at a meeting with Dave that day regarding a different matter.
We were able to increase customer satisfaction as a result of a meeting with an IBM expert – in person. It presented us with the opportunity to meet with the CIO and key customer management contacts, and it provided me an opportunity to connect with the IBM sales team. A win-win result on multiple levels.
Food for thought
Use status updates to keep others aware of what you are doing. But more important, use Status Updates to create a dialog with other people in your network and with other colleagues in your company.
Here are some thoughts and suggestions to start using status updates:
Even though you might not realize, a lot is going on out there and people are listening, want to hear from you, and are waiting to help.
For further reading, check out Carol Sumner's post “How my day has changed since becoming a social employee.”
Paul Pedraza is an Accelerated Value Leader for IBM Collaboration Solutions, he is based in Austin, TX. Paul specializes in Notes Traveler and is also a Social Champion within IBM. You can find him at email@example.com.