MAD Perspectives Blog

Developing a 360º Perspective

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 16, 2010

As I was watching the women’s mogul skiing competition at the Winter Olympics on Saturday, I saw how they bounced down the moguls, taking great care to maintain the correct form.  Then they would flip head over heels with in layout positions or skis crossed or spin 360º, only to land and ski through more bumps.  I thought about how companies struggle to integrate digital media solutions into a 360º interaction with customers.  What do I mean by this?  I’m thinking about how companies reach out to their customers or business partners via their website, press releases, events, in-person or online training or customer support.  There are new solutions for managing your access to or accessibility by customers, emerging every day.

Does digital media make this easier?  Harder?  Or just more confusing?  Hopefully it makes it easier, but it does require some thinking on several topics.  First, think about who your customers are and how they prefer to consume content.  While face to face meetings are always preferred, depending on the information being shared it can be equally effective, and less costly, to reach a geographically dispersed or broad range of customers through live and on-demand webinars.  What level of interaction do they prefer?  While some webinar solution allow for instant messaging or audio interaction, others don’t.  Or, perhaps a webinar is too broad and complementing in person meetings with video conferencing makes more sense.

Second, think about the kind of information you are sharing.  We have been in the mode of pushing content, through formal, relatively static channels, to our customer and business partners.  With the variety of solutions now available, we are increasingly sharing content in a more casual manner.   How can the information being shared be best presented?  A simple, concise press release can inform a very wide audience, but does not allow for interaction.  On the other hand, using social networking platforms, to reinforce the press release and listen for feedback, does enable interaction.  The goal is to strike a balance across the variety of communication channels. 



Simplistically, you can consider the following
         
  •  Company website:  informative content about your company and its products
  • Press Release:  announce compelling news about your company, its products, partnerships, customers or   executives   
  • Interactive Marketing:  online advertising and promotion of your company
  • Online Video:  one way communication of information about your company and its products
  • Webinars:  communicate targeted content about the company and its products with the ability for structured   interaction between the presenter(s) and participants
  • Video conferencing:  live interaction between a defined set of participants; enable geographically dispersed participants to meet more frequently
  • Events:  targeted representation of your company and its products based on the focus of the event; enable face to face contact
  • Social Networking:  less formal communication with a broad audience with the ability for immediate feedback

    • How do you connect with your customers and partners? Who and where are they?  Where are your competitors and how are they connecting?   How does each element of a communication strategy enable you to connect or collaborate more effectively?  Think about developing a strategy to allow your customers or partners to get a 360º perspective of your business.  In return, you will gain a 360º view of your customers and their needs.
    • What’s your perspective?

     



    Yes, you need a Social Media Policy!

    Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 09, 2010

    There is a lot of buzz in social media circles this week since it became known that Forrester Research, Inc. has established a policy prohibiting their analysts from having personally branded blogs that discuss Forrester research.  Forrester CEO, George Colony, has recognized the ability for analysts to build a personal brand (i.e., Jeremiah Owyang) based on their expertise in their market segments.  I don’t want to debate whether this decision is good or bad for analysts or whether this policy is a result of Jeremiah’s departure from Forrester as their leading social media analyst.

    What’s more interesting is Forrester’s implementation of a social media policy.  They are not the first, nor should they be the last firm recognizing the power of social media, yet focused on protecting their intellectual property.  The value of any company, be they an analyst firm, services business or product company, lies in their “secret sauce”.  This can be their knowledge, their processes, their technology or their innovation.  It’s not surprising that they want their revenue generating value to remain inside company walls.  So, how do companies become more accessible, more human, and more open while protecting their IP and their brand?

    One step they can take is to establish a social media policy.  This should be a core component of your overall social media strategy.  Policy, "a definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.”, allows companies to establish guidelines for its employees as to how they will behave or communicate.  Several companies have been very public about their social media policies.  They include:  HP, IBM, Intel, Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Mayo Clinic, International Olympic Committee (IOC), and many more.  For visibility into these policies click here.  In many cases, these policies are an extension of existing statements regarding employee conduct.

    Many social media pundits have shared their thoughts on the ‘must haves’ for a social media policy.  The primary goal for most social media policies is to remind employees that when they blog or chat on behalf of the company, they are an extension of the company.  They should be transparent about the fact that they are an employee and should remain as professional online as they would be in person when communicating with customers, business partners or competitors. Would you share product roadmaps without a non-disclosure agreement in place?  Would you discuss company financials while online at the supermarket?  A social media policy services as a reminder that while social media can provide great benefits to companies in terms of visibility, transparency, accesibility and marketing, it is a forum with open access by and for anyone.

    The social media policy helps the company articulate its goals for using social media.  It provides business units and employees with the guidelines that enable them to take advantage of social media for the benefit of the company. Is your company utilizing social media?  If so, do you have a social media policy?

    What’s your perspective?



    Adjusting your Organization Structure with Digital Media

    Peggy Dau - Monday, February 01, 2010

    So you’re thinking about jumping on the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon.  You’re not only thinking about incorporating social networking into your marketing plan, you are thinking about how Web 2.0 and social networking platforms can facilitate the way you do business.  You may be thinking about enhancing your customer support capabilities through customer support forums.   Or, you may be considering how you can create an internal social network to simplify the ways employees connect, collaborate and communicate with each other.  Or, you may be considering a plethora of other ways that you can enhance the way your business works.

    If you believe that Web 2.0 tools and platforms can help your business, you are right!  However, be prepared to invest the necessary time to build a strategy and consider the organizational impact.  OK, now you’re thinking, am I biting off more than I can chew?  No!  It’s only that in many ways implementing these solutions can change the way your current business processes work.  In fact, it can streamline many of them.  This is why it is important to think about how these solutions may change existing formal or informal organizational structures and processes.

    The organizations that we work within have evolved based on number of norms.  These norms are institutional, social, community and individual.  They informally define how we process information and interact with others.  They are the underlying factors that drive the structure of an organization   Look at the differences between how Baby Boomers and Gen Y work, learn and motivate:

     

    Baby Boomer (born:  1946- 1964)

    Gen Y (born: 1978-1994)

    Work Style

    Time management

    Multi-tasking

    Learning Style

    Instruction

    Experience

    Collaboration

    Collaborative

    Independent (resists collaboration)

    Motivations

    Independence

    Competition

    View on Authority

    Respect for others is earned

    Respect for Authority

    Structure

    De-centralized, non-hierarchical

    Centralized, hierarchical

    Information Access

    Access for all

    Access to those in power

       Source:  http://ekarine.org/wp-admin/pub/IAMOT_DN_2008.pdf

    Today, much of corporate America reflects organizational structure and business processes that reflect the influence of the Baby Boomer mindset.  However, with the increasing adoption of digital media solutions which inherently broaden communication, increase collaboration and expand employee connectivity, traditional structures will need to adapt.  There has been much talk within the Fortune 100-500 in the past decade about the Adaptive Enterprise.  This term was coined by Stephan H. Haeckel in his 1999 book the Adaptive Enterprise.  Much of Haeckel’s theory resonates today when speaking of sense and respond organization.  However, have organizations really adopted employee empowerment,  de-centralized hierarchy and open communication, only to retrench to what is familiar and comfortable.

    Digital Media, through its use of video, instant messaging or chat and blogging, increases the capacity for any company to quickly understand shifting market trends, customer concerns, product adoption, technology innovation and more.  When moving forward with digital media solutions think about the impact on your information systems, organization culture, communication practices, employee abilities and reward structures. 

    The knowledge you can gain as a business and as an employee is increases dramatically when using social networks.  As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”.  Think about how to engage to gain beneficial insights and how this will shift the conversations in your business.  How will it impact your organizational structure?  How will it provide process improvement?  How will it improve employee productivity?

    What’s your perspective?



    Aligning your Digital Media Strategy

    Peggy Dau - Monday, January 25, 2010

    Is there any other word other than “align” that says what we mean when we say align or alignment?  We know implicitly that when we use this term, that something is out of sync.  It could be goals, people, things, projects, budgets or tactics.  A colleague of mine, Kristin Kaufman of Alignment Inc., provides leadership coaching techniques to align individuals and teams to an organization's strategic direction.   She takes a 360⁰ view to align internal and external factors.  Working with Kristin validated my thoughts on the importance of alignment when it comes to establishing digital media strategies.   It is crucial that you look at your “current state” and validate that perspective before planning for your “future state” and aligning necessary resources (people or financial).

    You’re thinking, well sure, we all know what our goals are, we are in agreement on how to move forward, we have alignment!  But do you?   As you’re thinking about the benefits that digital media can provide to your organization, are your goals in sync with those of the other business units that may be impacted?  Does your digital media plan support your key corporate initiatives?  Have others been considering the use of digital media (i.e., video conferencing, social networking, employee generated video, product training videos). If so, do they already have a plan in place?  Do they understand what they want to accomplish and how to track and measure their success?  Have they assessed vendors?  Have they already invested their budget?   

    Digital media solutions can impact several groups within a business.  Here are some thoughts on some of those groups and their role in gaining alignment to a digital media strategy:

    Executive Office –Your C-level executives (or at least one of them) must support and champion new initiatives.  Whether it is blogging, video conferencing or internal social networking, without their support digital media projects may never realize their true potential.  The executive suite will not necessarily be involved in the implementation, but they will benefit from the deployment and use of digital media.

    IT – This group will likely own responsibility for assessing the functionality, features and performance of specific solutions.  They will want to understand the alignment of these solutions with existing infrastructure from platform, operating system, integration, management, security, support and budget perspectives.

    Network (this group may be part of IT in some companies) – this group will want to assess the impact of the solutions on bandwidth and firewalls.  Is the solution internally focused, externally focused or both?  They will want to understand if there will be changes required to the network architecture.

    Marketing/Corporate Communications – this group may be the group leading the charge.  They will probably see these solutions as an extension of the solutions they employ already.  This group understands the impact of digital media in the communication cycle.  However, are they aligned in setting priorities for usage?  Can they define at least 3 use cases or business cases for how digital media will be deployed and how it supports corporate goals?

    Customer Support – If the goals for digital media include enhancing customer loyalty or retention.  This group has the most insight into the challenges customers are facing.  They are the front line providing resolution to customer questions.  Digital media may provide them with alternatives to address some of the most frequently asked questions.

    These are just a few of the internal groups that should be aligned.  Others such as finance, legal, product engineering, R&D should also be involved depending on the focus of the project.    Gaining alignment requires a time investment to review goals, define benefits, review options, assess resources, determine metrics and prioritize tasks. Most importantly, it requires listening and honesty.  By working across impacted groups to gain alignment, teams can move forward with confidence as to plan and implement digital media strategies.

    Creating a digital media strategy is important.  Leveraging the plethora of tools that will help your company connect, collaborate and communicate with bring drive incredible tangible and intangible benefit.  Don’t sabotage your best intentions by forgetting to gain alignment.

    What’s your perspective?



    Is Video Social and do we need to Manage these Digital Assets?

    Peggy Dau - Monday, January 11, 2010

    In early December, I participated in a webinar hosted by North Plains.  The focus of the webinar was about video, social networking and digital asset management.  I want to thank Joshua, George and Robin at North Plains for inviting me to join a discussion that started with basic question.  Is Video Social?

    There are two ways that we can interpret this question.  The first is that video tells a story.  The story can be a comedy, a drama, a sporting event, a news topic or a personal moment.  Regardless of the medium by which the video is viewed (TV, PC, cell phone), the story incites a response.  This is the social aspect of the video.  Back in the old days, we had informal chats in the coffee room or by the water cooler to laugh about the latest Seinfeld episode or to exault about the Yankees latest win.  Today, these thoughts and comments are posted and shared in online communities.  We share our stream of consciousness with our friends and colleagues, enjoying the socialization that evolves.

    The other perspective is that unless the video is interactive (i.e., video conferencing) it is not inherently social.  Social implies a two way conversation with give and take between the parties.  However, this perspective is weak as their is not requirement for social networking to be accomplished in real-time.  Social discussion can take place over a period of minutes, hours and days.  So, we can agree that video is social.

    If video is social, do we need to manage it as we manage our other video assets?  Up until now, Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors have provided solutions to manage the process (aka workflow) surrounding the creation, storage, repurposing and distribution of Digital Media.  Digital Media is the assortment of photos, audio files, video clips, animations, computer graphics or banner ads created, owned or licensed by a company.  The uses of these assets may be for internal or external purposes. 

    Up until now, most of the video addressed by DAM vendors was created by "professionals", meaning the studio, broadcaster, agency or enterprise itself for their purposes depending on their business model or business goals.  However, as video has become "social" it has become less professional and is created by individuals.  How does these businesses incorporate user generated or employee generated content into their DAM system?  The DAM is supposed to be the key to managing their digital assets.

    In the end, it comes down to policy and governance.  As we move forward and the creation and capture of video becomes easier and less expensive, there will be increasing amounts of non-professional content used by businesses.  In fact, many are already inviting it (i.e., Doritos).  As companies move forward in using video to educate, entice, inform and entertain, they will need to consider guidelines about how the content will be used, who will see it, how it will be distributed, how and where it will be stored, how it will be consumed, etc.  These companies will need to establish guidelines and educate their content creators and digital asset managers on how to incorporate social video into their DAM systems.

    So, yes video is social.  Video will become more casual just as social networking became a more informal method of communicating.  Check out further perpsectives from this North Plains webinar.

    What's your perspective?



    2010: Let's get connected

    Peggy Dau - Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    How did it get to be 2010?  It seems like only yesterday that we were all frantic about Y2K computer issues.  The decade moved so quickly and brought the internet and it's ability to connect people and businesses to new heights.  The challenge of creating new services with viable business models still exists, yet the services continue to be innovative.  One of the interesting shifts was from seeing products and services used in business first being adopted by consumers (i.e., email) to seeing consumer services (i.e., Facebook, Twitter) adopted by businesses.

    What's next?  Greater connectivity at ALL levels.  I think the rapid adoption of social networking (however you define it) reflects the desire of individuals to connect in a less formal manner than in the past.  Email allowed us to easily stay in contact with friends, family and colleagues regardless of time and place.  Social networks allow a much more ad hoc method of sharing our thoughts.  We can post a comment, a video, a picture, a presentation, a white paper with a few clicks.

    However, for the enterprise to successfully incorporate the key concepts of social networking into their environments these solutions will need to "grow up".  By this, I mean those vendors who offer solutions today, will continue to enhance them address enterprise concerns for security, privacy, integration with existing corporate applications, scalability, and ease of use.  There have been web articles written about the concept of social middleware.  This middleware would enable enterprises to connect to public facing social networks without exposing enterprise applications.  It will be interesting to see how this type of middleware evolves.

    Of course, if we talk about connectivity we must consider how and where we access content.  More and more we are utilizing our mobile devices.  Apple and the ubiquitous iPhone have shown how a community of application developers can create an app for just about any kind of perceived need from amusement to productivity to information sharing and more.  There are already indications that location based services (LBS), which have been widely discussed and pursued by major telecom providers and consumer product/service companies.  Facebook is pursuing LBS.  Many iPhone apps already take location into account.  What's next? 

    In 2010 we will connect online, via text and video, via fixed line and wireless networks.  Are you connected?  Will you become more connected in 2010? 

    What's your perspective?



    Happy New Year!

    Peggy Dau - Monday, January 04, 2010

    Happy New Year!  I'm happy to say that.  I've been silent since early December and some of you may be wondering why so silent!  Unfortunately I was struck with a pretty nasty stomach flu that knocked me out for 10 days.  Once I was back on my feet and facing the holidays I needed to focus on being ready for those holidays.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I'm happy to say I'm back on my feet, ready to focus and work with clients on their digital and social media goals.

    I hope your holidays were filled with special moments with friends, family and colleagues.  2010 (is that twenty-ten or two thousand ten?) should be filled with excitement, challenges, adventures and prosperity (yes, I'm an optimist!).  All the best to you and yours in 2010!



    What Inspires You?

    Peggy Dau - Friday, December 11, 2009

    I was thinking about this blog over the weekend (and during the week while recovering from stomach flu).  I was thinking about how I find inspiration for what I'm going to write.  It's been a bit of a process for me to grow comfortable sharing my thoughts in this manner.  As I thought about all the things I could write about in the digital media space, I realized that just the process of gaining inspiration is something that digital media facilitates.

    Whether it is personal or professional, we are all inspired by the thoughts of others.  I use the word inspired intentionally.  While many think of this word in a religious or spiritual context, it actually means "to stimulate somebody to do something".  In the business world, we are constantly seeking new ways to drive revenue and create new products or services.  The inspiration for many great businesses is difficult to identify or act upon.  Look at some of our greatest business leaders of the late 20th century (there are too many to count in the early part of the century!).  Steve Jobs.  What makes this man tick?  Fortune magazine just had him on their cover as CEO of the Decade, highlighting his unique approach to business, his attention to design detail and his ability to innovate.  Or Jeff Bezos at Amazon.  What started as an online model to sell books has turned into "the destination" for online shopping.  With acquisitions such as ShopBop or Zappos and investments in cloud computing, his online shopping empire continues to evolve and adapt.  Or, David Neeleman at JetBlue with is focus on customer first, simplifying the ticket buying and check-in process.  And, when they faced their flight cancelation debacle in the winter of 2008, they learned from their mistakes, adopted social media tools to stay in touch and listen to their customers and improve service.

    How do we find inspiration in the business world?  We often collaborate with our peers.  We chat about ideas and the feasibility of the market for these ideas.  We read industry journals, subscribe to RSS feeds, join online communities, capturing information and knowledge via as many channels as possible.  Is it becoming too much?  Is there too much information available?  Or, do we just need to organize it better?

    The benefits of many Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 solutions are in the ability for employees to more easily connect with their colleagues.  Once they have connected, there are many ways to collaborate online, eliminating challenges of distance and time zone.  They are able to open the conversation for others with similar interests, thus capturing more ideas, stimulating more thoughts, ultimately creating new products or services or processes.  Their online conversations can be saved, tagged and searched in the future instead of being a memory that one struggles to re-capture.  These conversations can stimulate new thoughts now and in the future. 

    In fact these solutions enable conversations outside and inside the corporation.  they can stimulate enhanced product design, help resolve customer support issues, generate viral marketing campaigns, inspire new business ventures or new business models.  My inspiration comes from the business, political, social, environmental world around me.  What inspires you?

    What's your perspective?





    A New Buzz Word: Employee Generated Content (EGC)

    Peggy Dau - Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    I learned a new buzz word this week:  EGC or Employee Generated Content.  while this term is new to me, it is not new to the industry pundits.  EGC is the ability to easily create and distribute content to members of your company without transferring large files via email or file storage.  Apparently this term has been bandied about for the past 2 or so years.  While all of us are very familiar with the term UGC or user generated content, primiarly due to the pervasiveness of YouTube, the discussion of enterprise related content, generated and "broadcast" by employees within the firewall, is still somewhat new.

    Vendors such as Qumu are jumping on this bandwagon.  Recognizing that today's employees are familiar with the ability to upload video content to a video portal such as Youtube, means that companies need to start addresing the desire of employees to create and consume enterprise centric user generated content.  Imagine a content expert with the Flip or Kodak z18 mini camcorder, able to create high quality video explaining new technology, educating colleagues or demonstrating a new HR system.  Employee generated content can reduce production costs for enterprise business, attract innovative thinkers, create an alternate source for valuable content creation and increase employee participation in social collaboration, but it also creates new challenges.  These challenges range from consistent metadata standards, to incoporating EGC into enterprise intranet searches for content, to integration with existing content management platforms.

    As I mentioned in last week's blog, enterprises are broadcasting increasing volumes of content.  They are utilizing platforms and services, originally designed for media broadcast, such as encoding, editing, video workflow, video storage, content management and more.  It remains to be seen how EGC will be adopted by enterprise companies.  EGC vendors are not only providing employers with a means to tap into the employee social mindset, they integreate Will they establish policies for EGC?  Will they define target audiences for this content?  Will they restrict the type of content employees can create?  How will they manage this content?  How will it integreate with existing systems and IT infrastructure?  It's early days but exciting to think about how this can change the ways we connect, collaborate and communicate in business.

    What's your perspective?



    The Enterprise is a Broadcaster

    Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Many of us grew up with the Big 3 Broadcasters:  CBS, NBC and ABC.  When we hear the term broadcast, we immediately think of news and entertainment programs offered by these networks.  We have adapted to include FOX, CW and the myriad of cable networks providing news 24x7, entertainment and education programming.  However, I don't think think that many us actually think about enterprise companies broadcasting.  But, they do!

    The volume of content being created and shared, live and on-demand, by corporations is increasing dramatically.  IDC's White Paper, Best Practices for Enterprise Content Delivery, estimates that employees are watching an average of 2 hours of video per month.  Initially, only very large companies could implement video streaming.  They were driven by a desire for consistent executive communication to employees.  They faced high production costs and high networking costs due bandwidth requirements.  However, they saw the benefit of enterprise video.  As companies became more geographically dispersed, video solutions provided alternatives for excecutive communication, training, product promotion, investor relations and customer service.  Large companies soon realized they could not exist without a variety of video-centric solutions.

    Simulteneously, streaming formats advanced subsequently providing better quality yet requiring less bandwidth.  DRM and network security improved thus providing confidence for corporate communication teams and IT and Networking specialists.  In addition, tools evolved to pro-actively monitor and manage the networks thus ensuring a positive quality of service.  Hosted services also evolved to alleviate the burden on the corporate network.  With VPNs available to host and delivery content securely, small & mid size companies were able to take advantage of the same benefits as the big guys. 

    As a result, there are now multiple terabytes of video content resident at most enteprise companies.  Enterprises are broadcating live to their investor community and employees while making educational, promotional and training content available on-demand.  Companies, such as Ascent Media, Grass Valley, Avid and others, that have provided solutions to the traditional media & entertainment industry, now also provide solutions to the Enterprise.

    Considering the size of the Enterprise Video market this is not surprising.  Wintegreen Research anticipates enterprise video to be a $14.4 billion market by 2014.  IDC anticipates enterprise online video to grow at a compounded rate of 50% over the next 5 years.  The economy, lack of standards and continuously evolving and emerging solutions will challenge the growth, but the committment and value seem clear. The enterprsie market cannot compare with the size and complexity of the traditional broadcast market, yet when combined with the focus exhibited by the enterprise on implementing these solutions and the evolution of vendor solutions it is clear that Enterprises have become Broadcasters.

    What's your perspective?