Thursday, July 30, 2009

Understanding the business benefits of Enterprise RSS

In order to understand social media and the technologies that power social media you need to participate in social media. This has been said many times already but needs to be repeated.

The same reasoning applies to RSS - there is no other way to fully understand the benefits of RSS. Although it is quite easy to explain the benefits of RSS when compared to traditonal information seeking, you will not truly understand these benefits until you let RSS change your own consumption patterns. When you have done this, it is fairly easy to translate these benefits to a business context and to envision how RSS could be used within an enterprise context.

I am personally a strong believer in Enterprise RSS, although I understand and accept that it will take some time before the business benefits are realized, the main obstacle being the relatively low user adoption of RSS. Another obstacle is that it is about infrastructure, something which both takes time to build and requires a strong business case with clear ROI.

RSS has rocked my world in the sense that it helps me to come across relevant and trustworthy information in a timely manner. It has also increased my capacity to digest information:

1. Much of the time I previously spent on information seeking, I can now use to consume information instead. Passively monitoring and discovering information is much less time and energy consuming than searching and browsing for information. And as I have argued before, it is much more aligned with human nature.

2. As the information that I receive via RSS is received in one place, in a consistent format and with the same way to navigate regardless of the source, I don't have to waste unnecessary time and energy on navigating and adjusting to different formats.

Over time, I have found a lot of high quality blogs and sites by people I have learned to trust. So now I have relevant and timely information at my fingertips.

Twitter works in pretty much the same way, although it is more informal, interactive and freeform. I have come to see it as a "social discovery engine" for discovering and disseminating information and as a conversation platform. To use an analogy - it is a public square with room for (in theory) everybody and where anyone can speak his mind. Anyone can start a conversation with anyone. Noone is above anyone else. That is truly sensational. It almost sounds like science fiction, but it isn't.

Now back to RSS. The best evidence of the value I get frm RSS is that I cannot imagine being without it anymore. How else could I possibly monitor 100+ sources with the same time and energy I would need to monitor 5 sources? How could I possibly cover such a broad number of news sources if I hadn't hundreds of people (bloggers and tweeters) digging up the most interesting pieces and pointing me to them?

Friday, July 3, 2009

This week in links - week 27, 2009

This is it, now I'm finally leaving for a well-deserved vacation. Enjoy the summer, everybody!

...for most of us to really get strategic value from social business, we'll need to understand the ground rules. In other words, let's ask and answer the tough questions in making this transition:
  • Are social business activities generally better than non-social business activities?
  • How does having a social business help the bottom line and the long-term health of an organization?
  • What, in the end, does "taking a business social" really mean?
To answer these questions, and to put some of the meaning back into the social Web, here are 12 rules that can help you focus on what really matters and how to access the fundamental value inherent in social business:
  1. Social businesses are made of people
  2. The right tools and infrastructure naturally enable good social business
  3. Foster conversations with your customers, partners, employees, and everyone else that's interested
  4. Popular social channels and services are important but are the smaller part of the social business story
  5. Put the community first
  6. Add a social dimension to your business processes
  7. Rethink your views on intellectual property in a highly social world
  8. You manage to what you measure; use a social yardstick
  9. Do not use social channels for traditional push communication
  10. Censorship kills participation
  11. If you're not sure where your organization ends and the network begins, you're doing it right
  12. Healthy social businesses explicitly extract value from the network
The intranet currently forms an integral part of the internal communication strategy in most organizations as an information provider and collaboration tool. But social media also allows collaboration, dialogue, documentation and much more, at a lower cost and with much less back-end work involved.

One aspect that social media is already to existing intranets across the globe, says Marshall, is the improvements it can make to existing tasks. One aspect that social media is already to existing intranets across the globe, says Marshall, is the improvements it can make to existing tasks. “I spent years in knowledge management trying to get interest in employee directories that included individual profiles, personal networks, skills and interests but didn't get very far. Now employees are asking me, 'why can't we have an internal Facebook?'" Over time this will drag corporate phonebooks into the 21st century and hopefully put the emphasis back where it belongs - on the people and relationships behind the information rather than a bunch of documents and pages.
"A Corporate Guide For Social Media" by Joshua-Michele Ross:
...here is a set of guidelines for corporations considering how to integrate social media in the workplace:
  • Lead by example
  • Build your policies around job performance, not fuzzy concerns about productivity
  • Encourage responsible use
  • Grant Equal Access
  • Provide Training
  • Begin from a Position of Trust