Perficient Digital Transformation Blog


Posts Tagged ‘social software’

11 Strategic Issues Facing CIOs in 2015

When we talk about digital transformation here at Perficient, we are often talking about big data, cloud, mobile and social.

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In a recent Forbes article titled “CIO Lessons Learned: My Approach To The Top 10 Strategic Issues Of 2015“, Mark Sunday of Oracle says, “the CIO must be adept at understanding and responding to business requirements, executing on technology projects, and supporting customers in new and better ways.”

We couldn’t agree more. Sunday then outlines 11 strategic issues that CIOs are facing in 2015, and digital transformation has a lot to do with them. I’ve summarized each of his 11 points here: Read the rest of this post »

Successfully Piloting Social Business Software

Rob Novak and Mac Guidera presented tips on how to make a pilot in social software successful. First why pilot?  A pilot is critical to success because it provides for an experimental trial on a small scale for the future change that you anticipate.A well run pilot reduces the risk of large scale failure and improves chances of strategic success.  You only have to look at the roll out of the website in October 2012 to see how a large scale failure can happen.

What are key components of a pilot?  Pilots should have a defined scope, examples include:

  • a specific business unit
  • a class of employees
  • a region
  • a particular business process.

A pilot should also be short term, but each pilot has to determine the length of time based on several factors:

  • How big is the scope?
  • Are there technologies hurdles that must be overcome?
  • Is there sufficient hardware to start fast?
  • Are personnel available for training? Are these people willing and wanting to participate?
  • How long will it take so determine measurable results?

When conducting a pilot, you must have clear goals.  Goals will vary by company and what you want to pilot.  Little academic and real-life work has been focused on pilot goals, however Rob has identified some Goal Driven Software Development Processes that may be helpful in setting goals for a pilot.

Collaborative Goal Identification is one process.  This starts with a top-level goal and then drives down to sub-goals.

Goal, Question, Metric (GQM) is another approach developed by NASA and others.  Here you have a conceptual, operational and quantitative levels for goals.  Each of these goals have specific metrics.

IBM has a set of collaboration solutions patterns that focus on ROI and strategic process.  These Customer Experience Patternpatterns show how social can be used in the processes and provide a starting point for a pilot program.  Patterns are available for:

  • Customer Engagement (shown here)
  • Innovation
  • Recruiting & Onboarding
  • Supply Chain
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Workplace & Public Safetfy
  • Expertise & Knowledge.

Gaining executive support is always mentioned as critical for success, but nobody explains how to pursue executive support.  Here are some tips for help find the right executive:

  • Open Door Policy
  • Active involvement
  • Must be identified at the beginning
  • Must have same level of decision making influence as the individuals controlling the budget
  • Project should be linked to the executive sponsor’s area of expertise.

Here are some guiding principles for a pilot:

  • Select fertile ground since a pilot is an experiment, not proving what you already know
  • Pilot team is critical, both participants and sponsors
  • Design around business applications or benefits NOT tools
  • Define scope but encourage experimentation
  • Design pilot to learn lessons
  • Provide training and guidance
  • Create visibility
  • Monitor progress and cut or expand

Of course, you need to measure outcomes based on your goals.  During the pilot you want to have interim assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of particular aspects of the pilot.

Be a Successful Social Business in a Highly Regulated Industry

Just because you are in a highly regulated industry doesn’t mean you can’t also be highly social.  You just have to be more careful about how you do it.

At IBM Connect, TD Ameritrade and IBM shared how they made became a social business despite all the regulations and compliance issues.  TD Ameritrade used IBM Connections as the basis of their social business platform, but they also integrated back end systems, gamification, and micro applications.Be a Successful Social business in a Highly Regulated Industry

The first major decision was to figure out their Mobile access strategy.  TDA heavily used mobile devices and needed to address security and authentication strategies for the new social platform.

A second big decision was to figure out how to implement metrics.  Compliance tracking was a big question and has to be addressed early on.  TDA also wanted to measure the success of the program, so figuring out which metrics were most important was a critical task.

Setting up user profiles was another major decision.  Where is profile data stored, what data should appear in the profile, which should be editable and how to sync profile data are all key questions.

Some results that TDA shared:

  • Launched in May 2013
  • Now (January 2014) over 50% of employees engage in social on a daily basis, even though the social platform is not part of the intranet
  • 1000 communities have been built and 85-90% of those are business based communities. 65% are hard business use, 25% are soft business use and 10% are non-work related.
  • About to release a mobile version

TDA had to overcome lots of perceived risks to start with a social platform:

  • Why disrupt our business?
  • Cultural shift?
  • Creating more channels?  Its not about creating more channels, but creating the right channel.
  • Non-business use?
  • Increased managerial duties?
  • More governance and compliance issues?
  • Productivity Drain?

How to get beyond compliance:

  • Partner with Compliance/Legal/Risk Management early on and make them an ally in the effort
  • Leverage monitoring and archiving tools which helps compliance
  • Create simple, practical governance that is based on your organization and includes cross departmental representatives
  • Create rules of the road – don’t post illegal activity, no posts about trades, no client info, no personally identifiable information (PII) etc.

Everyone wants to know about moderation.  At TDA, they do not moderate posts before they get put out.  Everything is moderated by the communities after posts are available.  In one year, they have only had 3 posts that had to be removed.

TDA used several tools to manage compliance and eDiscovery which helped ensure they were meeting state and federal regulations.

  • Everything is using SSL to ensure messages are encrypted
  • Real Time keyword flagging and notification (Actiance Vantage)
  • Uses Global Relay worm device to grab all messages going through the cloud, which aids with eDiscovery
  • Passive moderation is done by employees (crowd sourcing) when they see something inappropriate




HootSuite connecting to IBM Connections

One of the challenges with managing social media is getting your message out to the many, many social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.  I wrote recently how I use IFTTT to send blog post announcements to various sites from our WordPress blog.   Companies like HootSuite have created platforms that solve this particular problem.  So using HootSuite and others, we can easily publish and manage content across lots of social platforms.

However, none of these platforms that I know of let you cross over from external social sites to internal social sites. If you want to publish to Facebook and your internal social platform, you had to do it twice.  Not any more.  HootSuite has announced a new integration with IBM Connections.  This program is in a beta stage right now, but the potential synergies look good. hootsuite

According to HootSuite, here are the things you will be able to do with this new integration:

  • Access IBM Connections communities and content in HootSuite streams, alongside social network streams for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
  • Share social content and messages from Twitter and Facebook with colleagues and communities in IBM Connections.
  • View and interact with IBM Connections community updates, including viewing and leaving comments, viewing and downloading file attachments, liking posts and more.

I didn’t see an anticipated date for a non-beta release.  You can request access to the beta version here: HootSuite IBM Connections Beta.

Hashtags for Cancer

Over on, Dr. Michael Katz talks about connected health care.  In this blog post, Hashtags in Cancer Care: Embedding Meaning in Digital Health, he proposes a more formal set (“ontology”) of hashtags for cancer information.  While hashtags have traditionally been a means of spontaneously organizing Twitter  tweets, I think Dr. Katz’s idea has a lot of merit.  Let me explain why I think this.

Dr. Katz points out that many of his patients are reluctant to search the internet for information about cancer because they can’t trust much of the information they find.  What they want, I think, is more expert guidance on what to read.  One way patients do this is to “follow” their doctor and other respected healthcare providers on social media sites to “hear” what they have to say and recommend.  Very often a doctor may tweet or post on Facebook a link to an article that they find worthwhile, and their patients want to read the same.

Since hashtags are a way of organizing things on social media, it makes sense to try to organize posts about cancer under the #cancer hashtag.  But that is to broad of a tag, since there are many types of cancers.  Left to grow organically, hashtags for cancer might lead to more confusion and less access to content.  For example, how to hashtag a tweet about breast cancer?  #breastcancer takes up to many precious characters.  #bc really isn’t descriptive. #brstc maybe.  #brcncr maybe.  But when each person is left to come up with something that makes sense, we are left with thirty different tags and a loss of organization.

So Dr. Katz has proposed a “structured system” for cancer hashtags that allow tweets to be organized in a commonly understood and accepted fashion.  While it may take some time to learn the ontology, it should make it easier to find information by being able to look at well known hashtags.  For example, if you are interested only in breast cancer, you could look for content under the hashtag #bcsm and not have to wade through the thousands of other tweets.

Dr. Katz recognizes that a top down approach to hashtags doesn’t usually work.  But I think this effort is a worthy one.  Social media can easily get out of control and then people will be back to the point of having to search blindly for content.  Providing this structure and leadership to our social networks is important to the people who want expert guidance to information on the internet. Over time, these hashtags can be tweaked where needed, but it provides us with a great starting point.

How To Do Social Marketing Wrong and Pay a $340,000 Fine

According to Christian Ziberg in the iDownloadBlog, Samsung was recently found guilty of violating fair trade rules by hiring a large number of writers and having employees trash-talk their competitors.   It looks like Samsung asked these people to post anonymous comments on various websites talking up Samsung and talking down other phones.    

Samsung admitted guilt, stopped this marketing activity and blamed it on an “insufficient understanding”. However, says ZIberg, the Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission recently hit Samsung with a fine of $340,000 for the infractions.

This is an important lesson for a lot of companies around the world.  Technology and the pervasive social networks are making it easier to run these kinds of campaigns.  Many sites allow anyone to enter comments without knowing who is the commenter.  Many other sites require you to register to post comments, but its so easy to supply fake information when registering, you can still be anonymous.

Likewise, social marketing tools are now making it easier for marketers to post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc with the click of a button or two.  While these tools don’t post anonymously, you can easily set up accounts that hide your true identity and post away.

So, be aware that activities like those described here are against the rules and you could be held accountable for your actions. Make sure you have clear policies in place about social media, make sure employees are following the policies, and then monitor how you engage with the network.


Consumers are more open to sharing some data about themselves

Here in the U.S. we take privacy seriously and often go to great lengths to avoid asking customers for personal information. It appears that global consumers are more open to sharing personal information about themselves than maybe what everyone assumes. Sandy Carter recently posted on her blog Social Media to Social Business about an interesting study  IBM recently conducted on this topic.  Global sharing trends

According to the study, 75% of consumers are willing to share data about their media usage and demographics.  60% are even willing to share lifestyle and location data.    In the image shown here, it is important to note that these numbers hold true when consumers perceive there is a benefit to sharing that information.

Its not clear what benefit a consumer would want in exchange for sharing personal information, but having a personalized experience may be something worthwhile.

As we look to personalize content more and more, this is good news. You can use this survey data to justify asking your web customers for additional personal data.

But you better make it clear how they will benefit.  If you fail to complete this two-way implicit transaction, customers will stop providing you with their data and business.

IBM Connections theme update

In working with our IBM Connections clients, we usually recommend not changing the standard Connections theme much.  The theme controls the color scheme, fonts, headers, footers, page layout, etc.   Making significant changes can impact features on the system as they can be somewhat connected to each other.

IBM has recently introduced a new theme for Connections.  Luis Benitez, with IBM announced this new theme on his Socialize Me blog.  This new theme was shown at IBM Connect in January this year.  The image below shows Connections using the new theme.

The new theme removes some of the boxiness of Connections and introduces more background color on the left and right sides.

Overall I think this is a nice improvement over the existing theme.

Newsgator Introduces Internal Communications Solution

So what do you do if you are a vendor of social software running on SharePoint and Microsoft includes many of your capabilities in SharePoint 2013?  Well if you are NewsGator, you introduce a solution that leverages your expertise in social systems and delivers to a very important stakeholder of the corporate intranet.

Essentially that is what NewGator has introduced in their Internal Communications Solution.  Using a combination of NewsGator and SharePoint, your internal communications department (Corporate Communications, Public Relations, HR, etc) can bring up a fully functional communications site that integrates social tools with direct to employee communications.  This can be a great home page for the corporate intranet.

With this solution, corporate communications departments can ensure that their message is getting out to the intranet.  For example, in the activity stream, you can insert a persistent “What’s Happing” tile that users’ can’t delete.  This sounds similar to the Facebook capability to promote a status in user activity streams.

You can also lock those kinds of tiles on the home page for broadcast messages, campaigns, announcements, etc.

A really nice addition provided by NewsGator is a console for the communications professionals to manage the content, target it to specific users, and schedule content to appear at the right time.

NewsGator has also included content analytics, so you can see how the content is being received by the company.

In the second image, I show an example of the analytics that come with the NewsGator solution.

Since Perficient is a NewsGator partner, we can help you understand all the great capabilities of NewsGator in your specific environment.  In fact, Perficient was NewsGator partner of the year in 2012. You can see learn here about our relationship with NewsGator.


McKinsey survey shows social tools usage continues to rise

Anthony Myers posted an article on CMS Wire with results of McKinsey & Company’s latest survey about the use of social tools inside corporations.  I highly respect McKinsey & Company, so I want to pass this information along.  The main results are shown in the image here. Read the rest of this post »