MAD Perspectives Blog

The Five C's

Peggy Dau - Friday, November 20, 2009

I recently attended a seminar for women entrepreneurs.  One of the speaker's spoke about the 5 C's (my apologies, for not being able to reference the specific speaker).  They are:

     - Clarity
     - Connect
     - Confidence
     - Communicate
     - Courage

As I've thought about these 5 C's, I feel there is a strong connection between these comments targeted at building a entrepreneurial business and how businesses define and implement a digital media strategy.  Remember there are many elements to a successful strategy, that include goals, audience, process, content, platforms and metrics.

Clarity - be clear about your goals.  Write them down.  Think about them.  Edit them, but be clear about what your want to accomplish with your digital media strategy.  Do you want to enhance your brand awareness?  Do you want to attract more customers?  Do you want to augment your customer support capabilities?  Are you focused on a product launch?  Whatever it is, be clear as your success can only be measured if you know what your goal is.

Connect - once you have defined your goals, you need to connect with the community that can help you achieve them.  This may mean internal resources.  You may need to gain alignment across internal business units or functional teams.  You may want to develop a go-to-market solutions with business partners that requires connection with those partners and relevant technology vendors.  You will need to think of how you need to connect.   Depending  on the audience, there are various tools you can then select to enable the right kind of connection.

Confidence - move forward with determination.  Investigate your options.  Research your customers, competitors and key market influencers.  Investigate platforms and vendors.  Gather the information you need to make informed decisions.  Armed with this information you can move forward with your plan with confidence!

Communication - be consistent, be clear, be real.  Sometimes we think we are communicating clearly, but when asking for feedback, we find that our audeince is hearing a different message.  Think about your audience and how they ingest infromation.  Then think about not only what your communicating, but how you will communicate.  Which platofrms (social networks, webinars, video conferencing, podcasts) allow you to communicate most effectively.  Align the content and format based on your goals and your audience.

Courage - be brave!  Incorporating various forms of digital media will take time.  The results will not be evident overnight.  Do not be afraid to promote and utilize innovative digital media strategies to achieve your goals!  With clear goals and metrics, knowledge of your company, products, market sector and competitors, you will succeed. 

I'm keeping the 5 C's in mind as I work with clients.  It helps me stay focused.

What's your perspective?



Cisco: taking networking to the human level

Peggy Dau - Thursday, November 12, 2009


Once upon a time, Cisco provided network products such as switches and routers.  They still do.  These are not necessarily exciting products, but they were (and still are) critical to facilitating the flow of content and information across private and public networks.  However, Cisco has long had a reputation for growing through acquisition.  In the past 10 years, these acquisitions have become very intriguing as Cisco perceived the impact that media could have at both the corporate and consumer levels.

Cisco has a stated commitment to collaboration that incorporates video and social networking.  It is pervasive across the company through Cisco's focus on interoperability of its platforms, its R&D investments, standards leadership, acquisition strategy and partnerships.  Cisco has been building it's video management capabilities over the past 5+ years with a focus on capture, create, manage, edit and share video assets.  There capabilities run the gamut from the very high end (e.g., HD content encoding for broadcast) to the low end (e.g. consumer video capture) and the all the complex challenges that happen in between. 

Tuesday, Cisco CEO and Chairman, John Chambers, spoke about Cisco's vision for collaboration.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart.  Having worked for a Fortune 50 technology company for many years, I was able to take advantage of various collaboration tools to connect, communicate and collaborate with my colleagues regardless of geographic distance.  I saw the evolution from proprietary corporate email to "standardized" email systems to the use of document management systems, virtual rooms, web conferencing and telepresence conferencing.  I personally saved many, many hours and dollars through the use of telepresence solutions.  However, the enterprise of tomorrow demands more than stand alone products, it requires integrated products to simplify collaboration and communication

Cisco is leveraging its vast array of assets for unified communication, IP communication, presence, web conferencing and media asset management to address the increasing relevance and use of video plus the growing demand for enterprise social networking.  It's Enterprise Collaboration Platform, which integrates new social networking products with existing communication and conferencing platforms, allows emloyees to navigate an employee directory designed in the manner of a LinkedIn or Plaxo.  The difference is its incorporation of tags for both data and video content, enabling users to find people, data and video content relevant to the topic searched.  Of high interest is the ability to view professional (studio created) or casual (import from Flip) video content at the specific frame that discusses the search topic.

It is clear that Cisco has a vision and is aligning its technology assets accordingly.  Cisco estimates the market opportunity to be $30B+ per year over the next 10 years.  Given Cisco's presence in the enterprise it will be interesting to see if they grab a significant share of the emerging enterprise investment in social media networking.  If nothing else, Cisco's announcements validate the investment and presence of the many small businesses that are emerging in this space. 

What's your perspective?



Finding the Needle in a Haystack

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have you ever been in a situation where you're pursuing a large opportunity and you need to tap a resource, any resource, that has won a similar deal or delivered a similar project?  How have you gone about finding those resources?  I know that in my former life at HP, I frequently saw sales and consulting leads trying to tap the collective knowledge at the company in order to succeed at an account.  It was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack!




I was in a global role that allowed me visibility across all geographic regions.  I had knowledge of the different types of deals that were in process and if a consultant in Asia was seeking advice from a colleague he/she would call or email me to see if I could connect them with someone with relevant experience
Notice, I said CALL or EMAIL.  Yep, they picked up the phone or wrote an email asking for assistance.  Sometimes they just needed references.  Other times they wanted to understand the technology solution that had been proposed to a similar customer.  Other times they wanted to learn about the capabilities of our myriad of software partners.  Finding a relevant resource could take them hours, days and even weeks.  They and many others like them did not have access to solutions that allow them "broadcast" their needs to a general audience.

The bottom line, was that there was no centralized system that allowed them to easily find colleagues with experiences they could tap into.  They had a database of customer wins, but many times these databases were regional in nature and not visible across geographic boundaries.  Additionally, these systems might have reflected outdated information.

Why am I sharing these challenges?  It is the experience of having been the linchpin tying these geographically dispersed indivduals together that gave me the insight to recognize the value that social netorking platforms can bring to the enterprise.  Most companies have an internal directory that captures your basic details such as job role, organization, location and contact information.  Imagine that you can add incremental information such as knowlege of software systems and hardware platforms, previous roles, industry expertise, account relationships, special interests, personal interests.   Now imagine it is as easy to use as social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook. 

When we implement social media behind the firewall, we open the door to a new kind of collaborative communication.  Now, employees have the ability to broadcast their question.  For example, a solution architect in Poland is pursuing an opportunity with a small broadcast company.  He knows that his company has provided solutions to other broadcasters and he has searched the company intranet for information.  However, he just can't find the information he needs.  He knows he just needs some guidance - perhaps a 30 minute phone call.  Using an internal social networking platform he could post his questions and the collective community would be able to start providing answers.  The community, by its very nature, provides answers, links, contacts.  And, this information is available to the next person with the similar question.

Think about your organization and how knowledge is shared.  I bet you have some kind of knowledge management program, formal (if you are a mediaum-large company) or informal (if you are a small business).  Are there inefficiencies?  Do you have a plan to tap into the collective knowledge resident within your employees?  Think about how social networking platforms can help you can improve collaboration, actively find and tap into resident knowledge and facilitate employee efficiency.

What's your perspective? 



The Ford Fiesta Movement

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 26, 2009

Have you heard about the Ford Fiesta Movement?  If not, check it out Ford's press release.  Ford, who did NOT accept stimulus funds from the federal government, is thinking out of the box in its campaign to introduce the Fiesta to the U.S. market.  Rather than spending millions on traditional media channels, Ford elected to use social media platforms to generate buzz and promote the Fiesta's arrival in the U.S in early 2010.

The Fiesta has been a Eurpean best seller for several years and as the auto industry works to consolidate brands and become more eco-friendly, they decided to bring the Fiesta to the U.S.  Given the target driver for this zippy, smaller car, using social media to create awareness and attract potential buyers is brilliant.
Buyers love reading recommendations from others (think Zappos) and getting "insider" information.  Ford has 100 agents test driving, blogging and tweeting about their experiences with the Fiesta.

What has Ford accomplished with it's social media campaign?
     - 1.3M+ YouTube views
     - 500,000+ Flicker views
     - 3M+ Twitter impressions
     - 50,000 interested potential customers
          - and, 97% of these potential customers do not own a Ford!

How did Ford succeed?  They thought about the target buyer for this cost-effective, fuel efficeint car.  More and more potential buyers of all kind of goods are leaning towards social media platforms to learn about products and user experiences.  Beyond the social media platforms, Ford has created a fun, interactive site where you can design your own Fiesta and find out some of the likes and dislikes of other Fiesta fans.

Ford leveraged the energy of the community to great success.  I can imagine Ford will have a hard time keeping up with early demand for the Fiesta.



Enterprise Social Computing - a real life example from Intel

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 19, 2009




There are seveal thought leaders in the use of social computing within the enterprise.  One, who has been very open in sharing their experience, is Intel.  We all know Intel as a leading technology company.  I am writing this blog on a laptop with Intel inside.  However, we may not instantly think of Intel as a leader in social computing.

In fact, Intel began defining its social computing strategy and implementation roadmap in early 2008.  Like many companies, Intel was concerned that employees would become distracted by social networking platforms.  However, they also recognized that social computing could transform the way Intel employees connect with each other and lead to greater communication and collaboration. 

Intel began by defining their top level business challenges.  Their challenges are similar to those expressed by small, medium and large businesses:  improve knowledge sharing, increase the speed of innovation, facilitate employeed learning, provide leadership and protect intellectual property.  With these challenges in hand, they established goals which their social computing strategy would have to address to be considered a successful strategy.  They also considered the need for governance, executive support and risk assessment.

With a lot of information in hand, Intel then proceeded to define a variety of Proof-of-Concepts.  They wanted to be sure they understood the way that their various teams were currenlty communicating and collaboratin  so that any new solution would enhance the user experience.  This effort allowed them to clearly understand employee pain points. 

Note, Intel had not yet discussed the technology.  It is important to focus on the company culture, goals, challenges and processes before beginning the technology discussion.  The architecture they selected reflects the needs of large enterprise businesses to integrate new social media tools with existing platforms and networks.    This addresses concerns about process, investment and employee adoption. 

Intel has published a white paper with further information about their process and strategy evolution.  It's enlightening and validating.  I would encourage any business that is trying to figure out how they can implement social networking tools, behind the firewall, to check out this whitepaper and Intel's blogs on the topic.



The New York Times is a community

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I feel compelled today to write about the New York Times newspaper.  My thoughts are prompted by announcements from Conde Nast regarding the “death” of Gourmet magazine and People Magazine’s celebration of its 35th anniversary.  They made me think about what’s happening in the publishing industry. 

The New York Times is a venerated publication that has had a few stumbles in recent years and is part what we generally accept as a dying industry.  The New York Times Company is conglomerate of various daily newspapers (e.g., NY Times, Boston Glob, and International Herald Tribute), related websites (e.g., www.nytimes.comwww.boston.com ) and informational websites (i.e., About.com).  However when we think of the New York Times, I think that most of us think of the newspaper itself.

Newspapers have been our source of insight, information, news and entertainment for over 500 years.  In fact, the advancement of print technology is credited with advancing the democratization of society by providing all classes of people with access to news and information.  It is this idea of democratization that first set off my internal thought process on the similarities between periodicals and social communities.    Let’s compare the New York Times and social networking:

 

New York Times (physical paper and online)

Social Networking sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, etc.)

Access

 

daily

24 x 7 (online)

24 x 7

 

Cost

Subscription for physical delivery

Free (online)

Free

 

Opinions

Editorials

Blogs

Customer feedback

Limited

Yes (online)

Expected!

Integration with social media platforms

Yes (online)

Yes

Use of video

Yes (online)

Yes

 

As the New York Times has invested in its online presence, it has become both a destination and a community.  Readers, who have long appreciated the content provided in the newspaper edition, can find that same content online.  The nytimes.com site preserves the look and feel of the print front page, with easy access to the various special interest sections.  Additionally, they can access video interviews with thought leaders and business leaders , interact with tech columnist David Pogue and share articles, videos and opinions with their peers via a plethora of social media platforms.

In fact, this focus on their internet presence should benefit The New York Times.  Per Nielsen, newyorktimes.com attracts 20,118 unique users who spend approximately 31 minutes per use on the site.  This is more than twice the number of readers on any other newspaper site (i.e., USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.).  Their attention to brand, integration of video and leverage of community should help drive incremental revenue.  While the overall revenue to the New York Times Company, from digital, was only 12% in FY08, it is clear that digital is their future.  Just look at their R&D investments.

This is an industry that is well aware of the technological shifts, but they still have a customer base that wants to read the physical product.  They may elect do so due to personal preference, distaste for reading online or lack of internet access.  The New York Times is aware of the shift and is adapting through cost reductions on the print side of the business.  Perhaps they were slow to understand the true impact, but they now walk a fine line between the physical and digital worlds. 

So, don’t write off the newspaper industry.  Perhaps the medium will change, but the information and the community will remain.   They reflect the shifts and challenges facing many enterprise businesses.  Adapt your models.  Adopt new technology.   Acknowledge your community.

What’s your perspective?



What is social media?

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 05, 2009

As I've been ramping up MAD Perspectives and talking to former colleagues and potential clients, the same question continues to arise.  This question highlights the reason why consultants are jumping into the social media mix.  The question is:  what is social media and why is it important to my business?  I had made an assumption as I ramped up this business.  That assumption was that my potential clients understood what social media is.  Well, you know what they say about assumptions!

Social media (aka social networking, social computing, social software) is a software, platform or technology that enables employees, business partners, companies and customers to connect, communicate and collaborate. Social media is participatory, online media where news, photos, videos, podcasts are shared for feedback by anyone.  Social media is open and democratic.  It is a listening platform that can act as a guidepost for information about your brand, products and services.

The business use of these technolgoies varies based on company goals.  Many of the initial business uses of social media were external facing.  Companies like Dell, Comcast, JetBlue and others utilized Facebook and Twitter to augment their online customer support capabilities.  They actively listened to their customers to address perceptions of poor customer support and subsequently improved their relationships with their customers.

The evolution (not revolution) that is currently under way is about how to leverage these platforms, within the enterprise, to:

- form communities based on common interests, expertise or knowledge
- share information
- invite debate
- find specialized knowledge
- organize work teams
- collaborate on work projects
- increase visibility

The benefits to the enterprise fall into categories such as:  sharing best practices, improving knowledge sharing and knowledge management, increased socialization within the enterprise, adding structure to ad hoc conversations, capturing collective knowledge, enhanced project management, reducing travel expenses.

It is important to define and gain agreeement and committment to your company goals for the use of social media.  Social media touches all business groups in your company.  I've highlighted a few ideas on how social media can help your business.  I encourage you to think about how social media can help your company achieve its goals. 

What's your perspective?



HP Skyroom - collaboration for this millenium

Peggy Dau - Monday, September 28, 2009

Hewlett-Packard is garnishing high praise for its new video conference softwareHP SkyRoom.  HP first announced the software in March 2009 but has demonstrated it at last week's DEMOfall'09.  The collaboration software is designed to enable dispersed teams communicate and share information and 3D images. 

This video collaboration solution incorporates features of HP's Halo telepresence solutions with its Remote Graphics Software.  This allows up to 4 users to see each other and make eye contact while viewing the prsenter's desktop with 2D or 3D igrpahics and full motion viewo.  The software also incorporates instant messaging softawre such as Microsoft Office Communicator or Jabber.

This solution acknowledges the increasing geographic dispersion of work teams and the growing concern regarding travel expenses to bring these teams togehter for face to face collaboration.  SkyRoom enables cost-effective alternative for enabling secure, online collaboration.  the software will be available on all HP Z Workstation platforms effective October 1, 2009, however it may also be purchased as an individual or floating licesne, with pricing starting at $149/single license.  For now, the software is only funtional with other HP Skyroom platforms and only within the  corporate network.

For further technical insights, Tim Wilson has written an excellent review at the Creative Cow.

It is promising to see HP leverage its Halo technology, HP Labs innovation and Workstation leadership to deliver a cost effective solution to enable spontaneous meetings with support for high-definition content which is so valuable for design engineers as well as post-production editors.  This solution takes desktop video conferencing to the next level!

What's your perspective?



Social Media at IBC?

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I recently attended IBC as mentioned in my blog of Sep 8.  I was curious to understand how this event which focuses on the technology surrounding the broadcast and media industries, would reflect the increasing uses of social computing.  I was surprised to find only a limited presence.

As I meandered through the exhibition, I was looking for indications that vendors recognized the value of the conversation that social media enables.  These vendors clearly understand the power of video and have created, developed and enhanced their abilities to create, manage and distribute all kinds of video content.   This industry, like many others, is all about workflow.  There is a sequence of events that must occur and if that sequence is interrupted there is usually an impact on the outcome - video or storytelling in this case.

There are a variety of platforms that enable the intergration of applications for ingest, store, edit, manage or distribute of a media asset.  These platforms simplify how organizations manage their digital workflows.  There are conversations that accompany the various tasks within these workflows.  Today, most of these discussion occur on the phone or via email.  I wonder if there is an opportunity to utilize social networking tools to facilitate the conversation.

Would project teams using tools such as Adobe After Effects or Apple Final Cut Pro be interested in opening the post-production editing disucssion to the usually dispersed team via a social computing tool (with relevant security models in place)?  Would it be relevant to discuss they myriad of post-production processes?  Could it be useful to track and capture this discussion?  Social media is inclusive.  It allows all community participants to follow and engage in the discussion.  It's a perspective I plan to investigate further.

What's your perspective?



Digital Media at IBC

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm on my way to IBC (International Broadcasters Conference) in Amsterdam, September 10-14.  This conference brings together the global thought leaders and vendors in the broadcast and new media space.  As expected, the conference agenda focuses on those technologies related to the creation, management and distribution of video.  In particular, the delivery and distribution of video content continues to evolve simply because we as consumers desire to access content on a variety of different devices which access content through a similar variety of network protocols.

Watching the trends in the broadcast industry where quality is of the utmost concern, usually paves the way for understanding options available to the enterprise.  While the enterprise typically does not require a 24x7 broadcast center, they do need to understand the challenges of creating, storing, editing, promoting, distributing and consuming video content.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's new!  I'm also interested to understand how this industry is incorporating social media in a more strategic manner. 

What's your perspective?