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Business & ICT Trends, Applied to Your Organisation

The “Presence” concept?

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by TimClaes

The Holidays…

Today it is the 1st of september. The holiday period is for many of us behind us. The kids go back to school, so time for me to go back to my ‘Trends Applied’ blogs. And what would be a better topic to start with than the “Presence” concept. I’m sure many of you have encountered similar challenges as I have during this holiday period. Trying to reach out for people that weren’t there, checking social media updates from certain people that were still showing their latest post and many similar situations where a good introduction of “presence” could come in handy. Let me elaborate.

The power of “Presence” in the high performance workplace

 The book “Employees first, Customers second: turning conventional management upside down” by Vineet Nayar clearly illustrates that our employees are our most important assets. Not only the managers, but especially the people in the field, the people who actually create value for the company.

It is therefore important to set up a high performance workplace for these employees, recognizing that each one of them has specific needs to realize the necessary results for the company. The “presence” concept is one of these needs.

Presence Concept

What is the “presence” concept about? Well, in essence it allows you – as an end user – to check whether other people in the company are available, busy or not on-line. This will avoid unnecessary e-mails to other people that are not available and help you to get in contact with the available people in an easy way.

Some tools – like Lync from Microsoft – visualize the “presence” concept simply by adding a green, yellow, orange or red bullet next to a person’s name.

You also have the possibility to link “skills” to people, and then the “presence” concept starts to get interesting. Imagine that you’re working on a certain task which requires an in-depth opinion about a certain topic. Then you can start looking in your organisation to the people who work a lot around these items. This last feature is in my opinion still undervalued and could help us in working better together more efficiently.

Another area where the presence concept is undervalued are the social media tools.

Should the “Presence” concept be integrated in social media tools?

Last month I’ve enjoyed my holidays and most of the time I was completely disconnected from the digital world. In the beginning it felt a bit strange, but after a while I started to get used to it, and now – to be honest – it took me quite some time to start off again. (I know… I’m a digital immigrant…)

But what happened now during the last holiday period? When I looked at my profile on twitter or linkedin for instance I noticed that my last tweet and my last activity was still present. So this means that during a complete month people associated me with my latest message. That is something to think about, no? Could the “presence” concept not be of help here? A simple ‘out-of-office’ message or something alike?

Anyways the “presence” concept is something people understand, but ’til now I must say that the potential behind this presence concept – in my opinion – is truely undervalued. It is not about inventing new thing, it is about using the existing technologies smartly together.

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2 kinds of private social networks

Posted on June 9th, 2011 by TimClaes

Private social networks – To be or not to be?

 

Social media is a powerful way to communicate with your peers, your friends, your customers… But how do you determine who to follow on twitter? Or how do you decide with whom to connect on facebook? And what about the linked in groups, which are the interesting ones? So basically where will you find the people you are truely looking for and how will you limit the overflow of incoming information.

And that is where the private social networks come in. In my opinion you actually have 2 kinds of possible private social networks.

1. An organization-wide private social network

 

Within 1 organization you set-up a social network, making use of tools like “Yammer” for instance, giving people within your organization the possibility to connect and to follow each other. In many occasions however this results into a platform for union talk, internal complaints and useless information. However if some ground rules are set up right from the start, it can be very helpful in your organization. I added 7 tips for you which I found on the web myself and have proven for me to be very useful in the field.

private social networks

 Tip #1: Set standards for Yammer profiles. Require real pictures of real people and insist on employees using their real names. Don’t do, as some people do, name your profile “Wonder Man.”

Tip #2: Create rules for messages on the site, the most obvious of which is: Company business only please. I’ll go further—practice Refrigerator Journalism by posting tips and information that is so helpful to colleagues, so practical and immediately useful, that in the pre-online days they would have tacked it to their refrigerators.

Tip #3: Yammer allows groups. Define what constitutes a group or you’ll see rapid proliferation. Within some companies, new groups sprung up under the titles: Editorial, conference division and The Millennial Mafia. 

Tip #4: Make sure you list your skills in your profile, yes, even if you’re a small company. This is huge help for new employees.

Tip #5: Think before you send a message. No one wants to hear about that bar fight last Friday night or your most recent blind date.

Tip #6: Like all social media tools, Yammer allows you to share links to useful articles relevant to your group or to employees companywide. No dancing panda videos from YouTube, please.

Tip #7: It’s OK to post questions—indeed, this may end up being the most efficient way for remote workers to get answers quickly—but remember the Golden Rule of social media: Return the favor by lending your expertise by answering queries from your colleagues.

2. Community private social networks

 

The key word here is the community. Anything that connects people together through a similar interest. I recently learned for instance that Toyota launches a social network for all toyota owners. You can think of any kind of community building here: politics, associations, big families, lawyers, doctors, patients… you name it and I’m sure you will find it somewhere on the internet. And if you don’t find it, you can build a private social network for free by using tools like “social go” for instance.

private social networks

But what are the chances of survival of these kinds of private social networks? Everything starts with setting up some ground rules as well and strict regulations on the content that can appear on these private social networks. The communities are brought together through their interest or their job, so the content in this private social network should go about that, and nothing else. The more you have the possibility to uniquely identify the persons, the better your chances are that the private social network will work.

I’m curious what the future will bring in this area. I believe we still have some exciting times ahead of us…

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