“Social” is the future of your business…

The last couple of decades saw the ascent and peak of Web 2.0. It was the beginning of the era of Collaboration. People crossed all barriers of time, geography and culture and were connected to each other by common interests. People networks flourished on the internet in a never-seen-before way.

Twitter Addict

Anything that let people connect and communicate was in.  The “Social” trend was born. Interesting statistics emerged about how people used their people network and social connections to gain information which was of direct value to them. Online reputations took precedence in decision making and forming opinions.

Businesses and enterprises soon realized the vast potential that could be leveraged off of this new phenomenon. When people discussed what they liked and what they did not, it was an opportunity for identifying Market Trends and Business Opportunities.  By penetrating into people’s networks and becoming a part of people’s connections… by understanding their needs, making people aware of what they had to offer, why they were better and by managing good online reputations, businesses secured a loyal customer-base.

What started off as a trend is pretty much way of life for businesses now. Enterprises, however big or small, invest millions to put their best social foot forward. Direct interactions with customers to understand what they need and with business partners to better enable them have proven to be the key differentiators in the market today. According to the IBM 2011 CEO study, getting closer to customers was CEOs’ overwhelming top priority.

social enterprise
Obviously, this is taking it a bit too far.. but if done right, highly networked social enterprises are 50% more likely to be profit-consolidators in their industries.  In addition to their customers and business partners, providing a social collaboration platform for their employees to share and brainstorm ideas enables more fluid information flows, helps deploy talent more flexibly to deal with problems, and allows employees lower in the corporate hierarchy to make decisions.

The seriousness of it all can be gauged by the fact that social strategy organizations like Social Business Index, which ranks/scores the social performance of top global companies and provides analytics and competitive intelligence to improve social media performance has most stalwart organizations like Google, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Dell, Target, and even IBM listed on their site.

Social is indeed the future of all businesses. It has the potential to generate this vast amount of data to augment what’s already out there in the web. It is time to make sense of all that data. According to TheNextWeb, “That treasure trove of data and potential insight is ripe for analysis and insight to understand the impact and value of a particular activity. That insight can be immediately acted on to optimize the strategies of a brand because of the unique nature of social’s authentic, two way communication with the market. Not only does this provide the potential for superior marketing results, but creates the opportunity to test many messages with many segments and measure them individually ”

Notes or Connections?

I happened to listen in on a debate recently about why we keep going back to email when we harp about social tools to communicate.

The premise is interesting:

We have Connections that lets people share and collaborate via Activities, Blogs, File sharing and posting messages on your Profile board.

We also have Lotus Notes which is the traditional email that we’re so used to accessing every now and then to check if someone has something to say to us.

While most of us have Lotus Notes open and running the entire day, very few of us can say the same thing about being logged into Connections all day long. Email still is our primary mode of communication. Primarily, we all belong to the email culture. When I have some piece of information that I need to share with my team mates, the first urge is still to open a new email message and send it out. It is a habit that will take some conscious efforts to move away from.

I know a few who have successfully managed to move to Connections as their preferred mode of communication, but they are not very many in number.  They too, however, need to have their mail apps running all day. Reason? Communication is a two way thing. They may use Connections but most people they interact with are still email-first people.

While i’m an email person who knows i should be using more of Connections rather than Lotus Notes, i’d like to know about you:

Smarter marketing

This one is totally for laughs!!

Break Window for window repairs

Well, maybe not!!

This pic reminded me of the time we were driving on the highway and suddenly had a flat tyre.. only to find that the tyre repair shop was very conveniently located just a 100 mts ahead!!

Have you had a real-life experience that the above pic reminds you of?

A penny for your thoughts…

So, what do you think it is, that really makes a planet “smart”?

Smart people? Smart Technology?

I can go in circles 🙂

Without smart people there would be no smart technology.
However, the technology is not smart if it cannot be used easily by masses and not just by a handful of smart folks who created it…

Go ahead.. share your thoughts:

Giving back

There’s been a lot of buzz around the IBM centennial year and rightly so. There aren’t a whole lot of companies out there who can boast of a rich legacy of innovations for a century.. and what better way to celebrate this milestone than engage in something that defines your legacy best: Service!

The opening line of Sam Palmisano’s foreword in “Making the World better” goes: “One simple way to assess the impact of any organization is to answer the question: how is the world different because it existed?”

As a CEO, it is his confidence and belief in the organization he leads, that would give him the courage to openly put forth such a question to general public. He would know that when it comes to IBM, the bullet-list of answers to this question is both impressive and well, endless… with community service probably somewhere at the very top.

It is this legacy of community service that tops IBM’s agenda of celebrations as well. Per StreetTalk, Forbes, as of June 9th, more than half of IBMers worldwide have pledged their time for public service in honor of the centennial.

That was a week before the actual centennial day. I’m sure the numbers will be much higher come June 16th.

Dr Watson for rural healthcare?

In February this year, IBM held an Innovate JAM for all it’s India employees. While the participation was overwhelming, what was really interesting to note was that there was a lot of discussion and ideas around the “Smarter Planet” theme. IBMers chipped in, trying to identify real problems in India, rural India in particular, and more importantly, trying to identify how these could be solved!!

A discussion i personally remember reading and contributing to was regarding healthcare in rural india and what we could do to improve this. The crux of the discussion was to pretty much set up manned/unmanned kiosks with computers who can diagnose symptoms, suggest treatment options and the closest available hospitals/specialists who they could go to.

With IBM’s very own Watson now being prepared to work as a medical tool, the real-world implementation of something like this does not seem far away anymore!

Well, maybe building a smarter planet is not impossible after all.. if we just decide to take it one problem at a time and use our expertise to best solve it. I trust our intentions, i trust our expertise too!!

That is a good feeling…

Facebook without internet? Sure…

All you need is your mobile phone!

With the new mobile phone application developed by Singapore based U2opia Mobile, users would be able to access Facebook from all kinds of handsets. The full-feature application would enable viewing news feeds, commenting on or liking news feed stories, posting on friends’ walls, confirming friend requests, viewing notifications and finding as well as adding friends. All this without having internet connectivity on your handset. It’s simply going to be as easy as sending an sms today is.

So the next time you are out travelling, you won’t really have to worry about being out of touch with your friends. Read more details here…

I’d vouch for this to get viral and garner a lot of limelight in the days to come… and i’m sure somebody out there is already thinking of extending this to Twitter next!

And on my part, i’m just wondering how cool it would be to be able to send a Sametime chat message from my cell to my colleagues at work, without actually requiring internet connectivity…

🙂