The Power of 30: It Takes 30 Days and 30 People
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibm_redbooks keith_brooks ibm_connections connections
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It Takes 30 Days and 30 People
If you can put 30 people on the task for 30 days that comes out to over 900 days, almost 3 years of effort -- and naturally no one would want to waste that time.
How do you pick the 30? Should they be line managers? Staff? Executives? Janitors? Sales people? Wait...janitors? Yes, I said janitors.
Why would we do this? Most likely yours are outsourced anyway, but if they are employees, this is your chance to get feedback on a solution that could possibly bring big benefits to your organization. Your janitorial staff knows more about your office than your HR does and their input could be quite productive. Plus they, in theory, interact with almost everyone in your company in one form or another. Is this a business benefit? It depends on the system you are putting in place and what one expects to gain from it.
IBM Connections could be used exclusively for internal or external purposes, or a mixture in between. Internally it is about making your world work smoother, faster and making it easier to save money but also earn more out of it. Your staff, from bottom to top, can do this, but you need to be all inclusive to get the full benefit. Yes, I understand, it is expensive to license every person. However it would cost not even 50 cents a business day per person, and at that cost, the reward and ROI is huge! I think so at least and so do these companies: Lowe's who spoke at Lotusphere 2012, TD Bank and many others.
External usage? Yes, create a community for your vendors, your customers or your potential customers. Make it easy for them to leave you feedback, take part in discussions and get real time product management feedback during your development efforts. Shaping your product as you go is not new, but giving everyone the opportunity to be a part of it is something new. And it takes so little effort that after 30 days you may be amazed just how fast your world grows and wonder why it took you so long to do this.
Your 30 people need to be sharing people, not fiefdom builders or owners of silos. Profiles need to be filled in, data has to start being added and repeat the steps for the next 30 days. Practice makes perfect but it also leads to populated communities, wikis, files and activities. Am I moving too fast for you? Let's backtrack a second or two.
Profiles make the world go around. Profiles can be basic information, of course, but you want to expand the fields to include anything that would be specific to your company or industry. Ask who worked with a specific client, who has IT skills or speaks a foreign language or worked in an international location. The more information entered, the better off everyone will be, more importantly, the better off your project teams or succession planning. There is no limit once you get the basics done.
Once you have a profile, the next step is up to you. Start a community where you can store important documents or assign tasks (called activities) or begin with a blog or a wiki to help people gather information. The proactive pushing of notifications from the server to everyone means the second you post something new, anyone can see it and use it. Got new prices? Sales teams get updated instantly. Have new product snapshots, slides or videos for customers? They get an email and a link to come visit your postings immediately. Boss waiting on your expenses? There's a place for that too...and the boss gets a notification.
Take the time, play with everything you see. Be a kid again, for 30 days. On the other hand, you could continue doing what you have been doing.
Thirty days of communities, activities, wikis, files and it will seem like your whole world is inside of IBM Connections. Really, try it, you might like it.
*Read more about building daily habits
Keith Books specializes in Collaboration and Social solutions for Voicerite, an IBM Business Partner. Keith has spoken at SugarCon, Lotusphere, the View Admin conferences and other industry events on subjects around messaging and social leadership. Keith has written articles, books and blogs around IBM products and solutions for over 20 years.
Keith is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader