"My people are stretched to the limit..." Sound familiar? We've never had so many ways to connect, yet it's harder to feel connected. Do you feel that way? Are you an enabler, a catalyst, or feel like a bump in the road? Sometimes it's good to get new perspectives and I got a few last week at the Communications Technology Association of MN (CTA) annual conference in St Paul.
Keynote Speaker Lori Bocklund, President of Strategic Contact, demonstrated how closely connected we are in our degrees of separation, despite our feelings of being disconnected. She hears the statement often, on how stretched people are, but sees positive outcomes. We are globally connected through Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a mass of social media networks. We’re actually so connected that it almost becomes local as new technology enables methods to bring customers closer to businesses, reach across boarders, and spreads more information than we can consume.
Some of my take-aways from Bocklund were that 1) companies need to develop new strategies for adapting to the methods used by customers… voice, text messages, fax, mobile, social media, etc.; 2) Technology is a key to enabling the connection of people and people must understand it to be the catalyst to using it; 3) CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is now UC (Unified Communications), through collaboration, visibility, and connectiveness; 4) Social networks can provide free labor if used effectively; and 5) IT (Information Technology) liked control, but they’re losing a part of it with social media.
My take-aways from a Social Media session with Marla Geary, IQ Services; Lesley Farnham, MN School of Business; and Scott Knutson, Product Support Solutions (PSS) were that: 1) These companies are adopting to social media using; (a) Wiki’s, (b) Google Alerts, (c) Tweet Deck, (d) Blogs, (e) LinkedIn, (f) Twitter, (g) and more…; 2) Some found blogs the most successful, 3) They’ve learned to listen to tweets and post, and know their message well before tweeting and posting; 4) Companies should maintain some control over employees posts and tweets, or have procedures in place: 5) The workplace now includes home; 6) Good content is necessary to bring people to your sites; 7) Blogging can be a lot of work, and requires that you have something valuable to say; 8. Monitor what is being said about your company on social media; and 9) Employers are using social media sites to check out potential employees (and current employees), but people are also checking out employers.
My final take-away was the message from Michael Smith at Verizon was on Unified Communications (UC), but adding Collaboration to the acronym (UC&C). Verizon is looking at new ways to deal with the change, new technologies, the social media explosion, convergence of technology, budgets, mobile workforces, and globalization by using collaboration. Part of the key to this is integrating voice and applications for solutions not products. He used the example of using IP effectively for smart systems the listen, interpret, and direct based on information. Collaboration is important to this process because many people and departments are now a part of the solution.