When Social Becomes Business as Usual

Guest Post by : Miguel Garcia

These days it seems that everything has become social.

We have social media, social gaming, enterprise social networking, the social web and the list goes on. It seems that social has taken over our world, but has it really?

The very fact that we use this word simultaneously with so many different types of applications means we’re only at the verge of maximizing its real value. The truth is that we’ve always been social.

Our interactions in social networks are simply a reflection of our offline lives. The grand majority of us communicate with the same group of people every day and we have small groups of people that we trust. These are the same friends, family, and acquaintances that we keep separated in our circles of influence online. Paul Adams, author of “Grouped: How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web”, describes this in length.

He points to the changing nature of the Internet from a repository of documents linked together towards a new structure built around people and their relationships. This has implications for businesses and their customers, but when you really look at it there’s nothing drastically new about all this “socialness”. It’s simply being communicated with new tools and having a farther reach. The thousands of years of hard wired emotions remains unchanged in humans. Yet, we fail to communicate the naturalness of these tools by instead concentrating on the technicalities and market hype.

In many ways we’re being duped into believing that social media is this strange and exotic world that only a few can master. When in reality any reasonable human being can do just fine. The trick is remembering to stay true to yourself, act as you would offline, and do what you enjoy. Easy enough right?

While many of us reading this consider ourselves savvy enough with social networks there is still many that see them as something very different to what they’re used to. They fail to see that they’ve actually been social networking all their lives and just because you can now do it on a laptop or mobile device doesn’t mean it’s suddenly a foreign concept. Emotional connections need to be made so that more people can see the value of social networking in their lives.

As the social web becomes a reality and available in many forms we will find the online and offline worlds becoming blurred. A multitude of social networks may remain prevalent but your identity will travel with you wherever you go, whether in your personal or professional life. All these advances are actually returning us to our social roots in a new and improved way. However, we’re still tweaking it and much remains to be done to maximize the real value of social in our new world.

Social networks will become the normal conduits of communication and that will be when social is simply the norm, not the differentiating factor. How will we know when social networks reach this point? When we stop thinking of them as social and start thinking of them as business as usual.

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Category: Social Media

IBM Watson to add Citi Bank to its CV

So here I am watching I,Robot and doing my banking, which I do online because lets be honest, banking customer service is often lacking.

I then recall a colleague mentioning Watson, the IBM SuperComputer, was entering into the financial industry. It’s first job looks like it will be with Citi Bank, one of the largest institutions. With Watsons huge data crunching capabilities, you should be able to ask question such as: “How much money do I need to retire?” or “Should I reshuffle my investments given the volatility of the world markets?” And then imagine getting an expert, personalized response in just a few seconds time.

Citigroup, is the first to tap Watson’s enormous data-crunching capabilities and is planning on using the supercomputer to “analyze customer needs and process financial, economic and client data to advance and personalize digital banking.”

(I am are not sure what it says about the state of banking that it takes a robot to make it personal.)

‘Watson’ already has started working in health care. IBM formed a board on Friday that will explore how ‘Watson’ can help the health care industry. ‘Watson’ started working for WellPoint, one of the largest health insurers, in September.

 

Smarter Planet Blog – Financial Services

 

What does it mean to be smarter?

We are living in a time of turbulent change, putting pressure on businesses of all sizes, across all industries and even down to the individual. The world is also changing, in other fundamental ways. It is becoming smaller, flatter and smarter.

As a result, leaders across all types of enterprises are faced with new challenges in order to remain successful. Those organisations who address these challenges are best positioned to outperform in the coming years.

By smarter, we mean the world is becoming: instrumented, interconnected, intelligent.

The signs of a smarter planet are all around us.

The infusion of digital intelligence into the world’s systems is changing the way people, organizations and entire industries approach what they do—how they interact, organize and create value. Nowhere is the potential for transformation greater than in our cities. Around the world, city leaders are struggling with economic challenges, overtaxed infrastructures and dramatic demographic shifts. In more than 2,000 Smarter Cities engagements, we see forward-thinking leaders emerging with new approaches to make their communities smarter and to make them work better.

 

Smarter Law Enforcement

30% decrease in serious crime. 15% decrease in violent crime.

Memphis Police Department
Memphis Police Department precinct commanders start their day with data. A predictive analytics system looks for patterns in criminal activity that help the department see emergent trends in their communities in time to make a difference.

Inside the solution:
The system relies on predictive analytics software that correlates historic data with the latest incident reports to create multilayer maps of “hot spots.”

“Memphis Police Department now has the invaluable insight all of our staff can use—from the commanders to the patrolling officers—to specifically focus investigative and patrol resources with the goal of preventing crime and making our neighborhoods safer.”

– Colonel James Harvey, Commander, Ridgeway Station, Memphis Police Department

 

Smarter Water and Sewer Systems

70% increase in ability to track critical assets. 11% improvement in the ratio of preventative to corrective maintenance.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Drawing on usage data and many other variables, San Francisco is predicting and preventing breakdowns and reducing pollution from its sewer system’s 1,000 miles of pipes and three treatment facilities, which together process 500 million gallons of wastewater and storm runoff per day during the rainy season.

Inside the solution:
The system integrates asset management and geographic information software to locate and monitor assets such as pumps, fittings and other parts of the water infrastructure.

“Not only can we solve most problems within 24 hours, but we’re able to use insights from the data to reduce water pollution.”

– Tommy Moala, Assistant General Manager, SFPUC Wastewater Enterprise

 

Smarter Government Services

80% of participants felt more secure. 70% improved their mobility through exercises.

Bolzano, Italy, Remote Patient Monitoring
As part of a pilot to extend healthcare services without increasing costs, elderly citizens in Bolzano, Italy were given access to advice and medical attention from their homes, via mobile devices. In addition, wireless sensors monitored the environment within the homes, generating alerts delivered via SMS text message, email and Twitter to family members and social services professionals.

Inside the solution:
The solution was created by IBM with the support of TIS Innovation Park, developed on an application server, with data management and messaging software integrated with Android mobile devices.

“The monitoring network allows us to provide services with a human touch—but it’s now the right touch, at the right time.”

– Michela Trentini, Director of Social Planning, Bolzano

 

Smarter Transportation

80% reduction in lost transactions due to system issues. 100% increase in performance capacity to 20 million fare transactions per day.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority
Singapore commuters move easily among all forms of public transportation, thanks to a smart system that charges by distance, not by mode of transport. A highly intelligent algorithm constructs the ideal journey for each commuter across rail and bus lines. In the process, the Land Transport Authorty gets real-time insight to anticipate capacity needs.

Inside the solution:
The Authority’s fare processing clearinghouse uses data management, analytics and transaction processing software running on Power systems.

“By unifying our payment systems, we can build composite models of typical journeys, such as a person driving a car into the city, being charged for congestion, parking his car, catching the bus and then the rail.”

– Silvester Prakasam, Director of Fare Systems, Singapore Land Transport Authority

 

Smarter Operations Center

30% decrease in emergency response times.

Rio de Janeiro’s Integrated Operations Center
Rio de Janeiro’s operations center provides a single dashboard of the city’s critical systems. Information on weather, traffic and medical services helps city agencies anticipate looming problems, engage citizens as part of the solution and plan for major events, like the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games. A predictive weather forecasting system designed by IBM researchers helps model flooding patterns, identifying where events such as mud slides are likely to occur.

Inside the solution:
The Intelligent Operations Center combines patented analytics technologies, created by IBM Research in collaboration with the city, and collaboration, analytics and asset management software and systems integration expertise.

“Communicating with citizens about Rio’s day-to-day life is key. When people are well-informed, they act in ways that help the city work better.”

– Eduardo Paes, Mayor, Rio de Janeiro

 

So the above are some great examples from around the globe. In my opinion there are six imperatives that are fundemental for the enterprise to suceed. These are:

 

Smarter planet in the UK

Watch the video to learn how and why the UK is getting smarter.

 

Category: Smarter Planet

Twitter Etiquette

I am addicted to Twitter.

In fact my addiction is bigger than just this one site. If I had the time I would be everywhere. Why? For me its the buzz that someone somewhere finds the information I provide of value. So how do I get my fix?  These consist of ReTweets, Comments and mentions.

But lets get back to Twitter, I love it, it has given us all a way of communicating in a completely new fashion. But what is the etiquette for this fast paced, communication platform.

Whilst its seen that newcomers to this platform can often make choices that could be perceived in a negative manner that could result in an unfollow of a block, believe me, the most experienced users can often trip up too.

So with the above question in mind, what is Twitter etiquette? Here are some guidelines, not law and least of all dont take my word for it.

-A complete bio and picture – yours (everyone likes faces) is always a good move. We like to see whom we are talking to. As a side note, make sure its the same in all your other platforms, consistency folks.

-If your Twitter is going to have mentions of your day job, list your employer in your profile.

-Don’t worry about the new stalking law, its ok to follow people you don’t know.

-It’s ok to unfollow, your not saying “I don’t like you”.

-Keep the conversation open, to a point, use the @reply function, you will find others may share their opinions or perspective.

-Use direct message when the conversation is more focused, personal or evolves to 1:1 planning.

-Don’t direct message someone you hardly know with automated messages. They may see it as SPAM.

-Remove auto update from location notification apps. You know the one I mean.

-We don’t like to see that you’ve gained 300 followers by using something.com services. Better to gain followers from valued content.

-Promoting others and talking with others is a great way of raising you visibity.

-That goes for blurting your information all the time it is not considered community sharing.

-More information on replies. Turn “Yes” into “Yes, I enjoyed the latest Bond movie too”.

-You don’t have to read every tweet.

-You don’t have to respond to every mention.

-The more you can respond though the more people tend to stay with you.

-It’s ok to have multiple twitter accounts.

-It’s OK to actively BLOCK followers you don’t want following you.

-If you’re running a customer service Twitter account, it’s polite to follow back the people following you.

-Check your links before you tweet them!

 

So these are my thoughts on guidelines. I look forward to seeing the comments on your advice to Twitters old and new

Is Email Dying?

I am fortunate enough to work with Luis Suarez and get to share his thoughts and comments on a daily basis. If you not following him on twitter or reading his blog post please do, you wont regret it.

Unfortunately, as we sit in different parts of the world, it is not often we meet.

However it was fantastic to meet and hear him speak at the UCExpo in London this week. He was there to discuss “A world without email”, and whilst I will not rewrite his superb work, find it here. I will note a couple of things we should all consider when using email in business.

Noticeably:

Email is no longer king of collaboration, if you want to collaborate effectively you need to be using the right tools.

Email should be a messaging and notification portal NOT a repository of information, where is becomes lost and provides no value.

Of course there are use case’s for email, so whilst you can reduce the amount of emails you receive, it will never be none. Luis states that his personal reduction is from 100’s a week down to an average of 16. Thats staggering right!

I would value your thoughts on the use of email, such as ; Do you see it as a to do list? Is it the only way you communicate now?

Category: Email, Social Media

ibm.com: IDC White Paper – The Future of Mail is Social

IBM has just posted a new white paper on the evolution of email, written by IDC analyst Michael Fauscette. The paper discusses the history of email, how companies are viewing email in the context of collaboration and social business, and then takes a converged view of the future of email and its evolution into a social business tool. Social mail consideration and adoption are then discussed.

As social collaboration tools become more available and are deployed to more employees, some companies and individuals are looking for these tools to alleviate the growing complaints and irritation of traditional enterprise communication tools, particularly email.  This IDC study takes a look at the current state of enterprise email and the perceived and real problems that surrounds its use.  Rather than envisioning “a world without email”, instead, a future is revealed where email converges with social tools and grows into an innovative hybrid productivity tool to help support the new collaborative enterprise.

The paper is available on ibm.com, with an optional opportunity to register and allow IBM to follow up with you. Please share the web page link rather than the direct file link, as tracking the success of papers like this is what allows us to justify doing more of them…

Link: ibm.com: IDC White Paper – The Future of Mail is Social >

Category: Email, Social Media