MAD Perspectives Blog

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?



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? 



Don't Forget Rich Media!

Peggy Dau - Monday, August 31, 2009

MAD Perspectives focuses on digital media strategies. Of course, the plethora of digital media solutions available is constantly evolving.  As a result there are ongoing challenges within companies to determine which solutions are the best fit to overcome recognized challenges or to achieve stated goals.

Thanks to the rise of the Internet, advanced  (and always improving) networking solutions and a myriad of devices, employees are connected 24X7 in the office, at home, on the soccer field or at the airport.  There is much written about employee productivity.  Much of this productivity is due to the use of digital media solutions which are usually categorized as either rich media solutions or social media solutions.  Companies have been deploying rich media solutions for the past 10 years or so.  These video-centric solutions facilitate executive communication, distance learning, remote meetings, product training and more.  With the introduction of social media into the enterprise, one may wonder if it will displace rich media.  In fact, they are complementary solutions that round out a complete communication and collaboration strategy.  They will drive greater productivity and create stronger employee relationships regardless of distance.

A valid question arises about where or why to use rich media versus social media or both.  Today, let's focus on rich media.

When do I use rich media?  Isn’t it more expensive?

These are questions you may ask yourself as you consider alternatives for your corporate communications strategy.  Rich media solutions are optimal when:

a) Visual communication can provide intrinsic value to the message being delivered. 
If there are graphical presentations that emphasize key points, webcast provide a simple forum to share that information.  They are also available after the event for on-demand consumption.  This is helpful to road warriors who are not always online when webcast events occur.

b) It is important for executives to be seen and heard by their workforce.
When any level of executive is delivering a message regarding company policy, performance or process, it is meaning for these managers to enable their teams to "see" how important the information is to them.  It reinforces their commitment to the message and often rallies the troops to understand or adopt message content.

Solutions such as web conferences, video conferences or telepresence are viable solutions.  Selection of the appropriate rich media solutions is dependent on the size, geographic location of employees and type of message being delivered.

c) Virtual face to face collaboration enhances interaction.
The ability to see your teammates greatly enhances any kind of collaborative session.  It is important to build a personalized business relationship.  Reading their facial expressions and body language can highlight issues or concerns that may not be raised verbally.  On the other hand, participants can see the excitement when they come to agreement and are moving a project forward.

Video conferencing at the desktop level or in telepresence scenarios provide great value for these meetings.  Factors such as number of participants, goal of meeting, capability of solutions should be considered when planning for or utilizing video conferencing solutions.

The bottom line is to think about what we are communicating and why.  This drives the selection of the appropriate digital media solution.  In some cases, traditional solutions such as email and the phone are still the best way to connect.  Think about what you are communicating (budgets, project updates, strategy, product announcements, financials, etc.) and the confidentiality or regulatory concerns associated with it.  Then consider who needs to consume the content.  With these questions addressed, the appropriate solution will become clear.



Why is Networking a 'Dirty' Word?

Peggy Dau - Monday, June 01, 2009

Networking.  What a loaded term. 

Many people have an irrational response when they hear this term.  Combine that with the term “social” and the reaction is more exaggerated.   Dictionary.com defines networking is defined as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest”  There are some who consider networking to be a social activity with no measurable benefit.  There are others who consider networking life’s blood.    Either way, by its very nature ,networking is social and it is valuable.

If you mention social networking in an enterprise environment, most immediate thoughts lean towards 3rd party or public social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  A few more seconds may pass and LinkedIn and Plaxo will come to mind.  They, at least, are business centric.  However, the first reaction is, social networking is a distraction to accomplishing your everyday work tasks.  Many executives fear decreased productivity as they imagine employees spending hours on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube or Twitter.

I would disagree.  Networking for mutual benefit has been going on for ages.  Cavemen communicated and shared information through the use of rudimentary sketches.  Seasoned sales professionals use the golf course and favorite lunch spot to solidify business relationships.  World leaders convene to address political, economic and ecological concerns regularly.  Aren’t these all forms of networking?  It is only when we add that word “social” that we think it is personal.  Instead we should think of social as defining the platform.  Social networking is simply networking enabled by platforms that leverage the internet.

We must remember why we network. 

We network to connect.   We connect for knowledge.  We connect for a sense of community.  We network within our companies to understand  what roles others play.  We want to understand when new positions may be available.  We want others to know our ambitions.  We want to find answers to questions about new products, new technology, market trends and more.    We seek interaction.  In company environments that are increasingly geographically dispersed and include office workers and telecommuters, we seek new, innovative ways to connect to our peers.

We network outside the company to drive business, to discover valuable business partners, to leverage complementary products and/or services.  Social networking platforms can be adapted for enterprise use.  Many platforms are used externally already, with more options and uses being implemented every day.  Blogs, wikis, tweets, forums and microsites are used to create communities addressing customer requirements for product information and support. 

The goal is to keep it all in perspective.

Networking, old school or social, is all about how we discover, find and access individuals with knowledge.  As I commence this new adventure called MAD Perspectives, networking is a key to gathering information and making contacts for the business.


This is my perspective, what's your perspective?

[1] Dictionary.com