I’m going to talk to you about your professional success. Relationships are the foundations of business. Small business. Big business. All business. The relationships that you build, that you maintain, that you grow, will ultimately determine your personal success because today, just like decades ago, business success is built on successful relationships. We all recognize that we have many more relationships today. That we have to connect faster, have productive meetings, and enable easy sharing. What I will show you is that a Collaboration Architecture is the way to enable those relationships today and tomorrow. [Transition] Let’s begin by looking at business in the past…
Meet Salomón Baranovsky. He ran a metal refinishing company in his native Chile. Heavy industrial engines require significant maintenance to reliably perform in harsh environments that range from salty oceans to mountainous forests to the world’s largest mine in the world’s driest desert. A crankshaft, pictured here, would periodically need to be disassembled, machined down to bare metal, and then have chromium evenly electroplated to create a component that met or even exceeded the original manufacturer’s tolerances. A dozen skilled workers operated lathes. Salomon—an engineer—ensured the electroplating baths were properly set up: the right chemistry, the right geometry for the electrodes, and the right voltage and current to create a smooth, strong finish. In 1979 Salomon came across an interesting article published in a trade journal. An engineering firm in Cleveland, Ohio had developed a new process: one that would reduce the time required to plate parts and thus reduce costs and increase throughput and utilization. He wrote a letter introducing himself. After a few letters were exchanged, he arranged to visit in person. Cleveland is just 400 kilometers from where his then 16 year old grandson (and sometime chauffeur lived) and so he was driven to a tour the plant. He returned to Chile with new knowledge gained as a result of a relationship built over a period of several months. [Transition] His business dealings were possible because of the relationship he built using the technologies available to him.
He found out about a new process in a trade journal. He connected and built a relationship via airmail. He then flew and drove to meet in person and learn about a new process. [Transition] So let’s fast forward to the present… A lot has changed in the last 33 years. Not only that, change is accelerating. What’s changing now?
The workforce is changing… Millennials, typically defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, is a group where 2 out of 5 people would take a lower paying job for device flexibility. A group where they’ve only known a connected world. And where user experience trumps functionality [Transition] They ’ re also choosing to work differently in other ways…
Teleworking, for instance, is growing all across Europe. There are a lot of reasons why employees and companies benefit from telework. For companies it is a chance to hire the best and brightest no matter where they live. Or it is a chance to reduce their investment in real estate. For employees, saving commute costs and embracing “green” living play a role. Imagine that a London worker’s annual commute can cost 10,000 pounds! [Transition] A change all of us participate in is the advent of mobile computing… [slide data from http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/studies/tn0910050s/tn0910050s_3.htm]
We’ve been saying for a while now that it’s increasingly a Post-PC World. The fact is that Tablets and Smartphones are far outpacing the growth in desktop PC’s, and a substantial proportion of them are being brought into work for business purposes, not just personal use. After years of pushing back, many IT organizations are now learning how to provide access to corporate systems from any device and location, safely and securely. By embracing this Post PC transition, you can empower people and unlock the hidden productivity and creativity within the workforce. [Transition] By recognizing and building on these changes, progressive companies are enabling us—you and me—to find the people we need to work with; connect with them; talk with them; and share ideas and opportunities… It’s about giving users the choice of collaboration tools, and the flexibility of physical and virtual collaborative spaces , to empower us.
In our always-connected world, where we work wherever we happen to be, on whatever device we happen to have, collaboration technologies must keep pace. Enabling us to build and maintain relationships today requires a Collaboration Architecture. What is a Collaboration Architecture? It is a comprehensive and consistent approach to finding information and people connecting at the right time and in the best way available bringing people together across networks and devices and allowing them to easily share information and make decisions [Transition] I am lucky to work at a company that is a leader in enabling its employees to make the best of relationships… Let me tell you a story about collaboration in 2013…
Rachel, an account executive, is based in the UK. I am based in San Jose, California. Rachel wanted to introduce me to an expert in social collaboration, so she shared with me some links and introductory comments. I saw the information on our internal social network, saw that she was available, and was able to immediately ask her a quick question over IM. That same morning, I connected with Léon. He and I were able to learn about each other using LinkedIn. We exchanged several messages on Twitter and Leon shared links to video materials in an email. Later, he and I were able to sit down to a video meeting allowing us to establish rapport and build a solid relationship. We used email too, but found other tools like WebEx were better suited to building trust and getting things done. …and we’re not millennials!
Rachel, Léon, and I were able to nearly instantly Find and Connect to build relationships based on business needs. Léon and I were able to have a rich video interaction which allowed us to feel more comfortable with each other. That, in turn, made it easier for us to do business together. And when it came time to execute on a joint opportunity, Léon and I were able to quickly collaborate on a presentation. [Transition] We all know relationships are critical to business. But is there a way to measure the value of collaboration? Yes, there is!
We look at three different categories: Cost Reduction on the left, Business Transformation on the right, and finally Employee Productivity in the center. I mentioned Telework earlier. Virgin Media in the UK justified an investment in a Collaboration Architecture including voice, video, conferencing, and social with multiple millions of pounds in savings primarily attributed to real-estate rationalization. The ultimate goal for Virgin and other companies is to look at ways to extract the most value by transforming core business processes. For example, combining expertise location and presence with call center capabilities to increase customer satisfaction and retention. Innovation is a hot topic too. I invite you to join Dottore Bertolini of Ferrero tomorrow to learn how he is leading business transformation of various processes, including innovation, by building on a collaboration architecture. The center of the value story centers on employees. Many companies that I work with including media companies, utilities, and financial services firms look at how they can enable their employees to be more productive. Let’s take a more detailed look at how one large multinational is leveraging their investment in collaboration architecture to change the way their employees find, connect, meet, and share.
Ron Utterbeck, corporate CIO, General Electric Co. Utterbeck, who is also director of GE’s Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center in Van Buren Township, Mich., said GE has been on a "collaboration journey" for more than 10 years. File sharing, email, chatting -- many of the elements were there, but cohesion was lacking. "The one area we were missing was really that social media aspect," Utterbeck said. "How do you get a lot of people not only sharing documents, but then sharing those ideas and sharing those concepts?" From this question of how to add the value of collective wisdom to collaboration, Colab was born. The platform incorporates social tools like the activity streams found in Facebook and the real-time connection of Twitter, along with customized internal search capabilities to enhance, expedite and enrich workflows. The rollout to so-called power users -- chief among them the company's core of knowledge workers -- began in mid-January. Through word of mouth and a focused how-to corporate communications campaign, that soft launch has since taken off. WHAT'S NEXT IN GE'S SOCIAL COLLABORATION JOURNEY? GE already has applications that control processes, but Utterbeck hopes to see social interactions leveraged through Colab to improve productivity when snags arise. In essence, this would make Colab a transactional engine -- like ERP for the front-end of the business. For example, when an employee encounters a problem during a particular process, they might start a chat with a co-worker or send an email to resolve it. All of this is useful information that GE's traditional collaboration system didn't capture in the past, he said. The challenge is to integrate the process applications into the social media environment and pair the problem that occurred in the business process with the social interactions that led to its resolution. "There's the opportunity we're looking at. How do we start to capture that social interaction so we can continuously evolve our processes," Utterbeck said. Even the biggest social collaboration skeptics might be impressed to know that 60,000 of those 300,000 employees are invested users of the platform. This represents more than one-third of GE's 150,000 knowledge workers, the company's target audience for Colab. Betting on social collaboration's enterprise value There is palpable excitement in Utterbeck's voice when he shares those figures. The goal is to have 100,000 users by year's end, and he is confident Colab will hit its mark. Whether this bears out, GE is already on a promising track with relatively few peers. The results of a study issued last month by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the business and economics research arm of New York City-based management consultants McKinsey & Company Inc., suggests enterprise companies are failing to tap into the potential of social collaboration within the enterprise. For most companies, social efforts are more customer-focused, the study shows.Yet by integratingsocial collaboration technologies into business processes, MGI predicts companies could raise the productivity of their knowledge workers by 20% to 25%. In the four sectors explored in the report -- consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing and professional services -- adding social technologies to business processes would drive $900 billion and $1.3 trillion in value, according to MGI. GE is convinced of social collaboration's potential. Utterbeck won't say how much GE has invested in Colab, only going so far as to confirm "millions" would be in the ballpark. "I can tell you it's a lot less than what everybody thought," he said. A strict projection of ROI was not a main concern. Senior leaders didn't need to be sold on the value of collaboration, Utterbeck said, because they see it in action. Making the collaborative process better and easier was an obvious move for a company whose processes are arguably the envy of the business world. "One of the things that makes GE work is being able to collaborate across diverse business sets, and so from that perspective we've always looked at how do we get employees together to solve problems and share best practices," Utterbeck said. "So from an ROI perspective, we didn't spend any time figuring out the dollar nuts and bolts on this -- we know the value is there." A half-baked idea that really worked No IT professional wants to release a solution that isn't fully baked, but Utterbeck said this divergence from the norm is making all the difference with Colab. Rather than plunk down a fully outfitted platform, his team played scientist and observer, releasing new features, then watching to see who was using what and responding promptly to user feedback. No one has to use this platform to do their day job; they use this platform because they can do their day job easier by linking in and networking with their peers. Ron Utterbeck, corporate CIO, General Electric Co. IT's prompt response in turn prompted mostly positive and constructive feedback. Early adopters were appreciative of the fresh features that were being added and tweaked according to their comments -- and let it be known to workmates. Indeed, word of mouth was critical to both recruiting new users and user adoption of the platform's growing array of features, Utterbeck said. As the benefits became apparent to one employee then another and another, their engagement with the platform increased. "We'll introduce a new bit of functionality and then what we see is our usage goes up rather dramatically and continues to stay up, by the way," Utterbeck said. Cisco's WebEx Social (formerly known as Quad) is the core engine of Colab. By leveraging the platform's APIs, GE was able to extend the core functionality to make it its own and derive real business value, Utterbeck said. For example, search capabilities were beefed up by writing unique search algorithms -- the likes of which could lead one employee to another across that sea of 300,000. Employees also did their part. The more users invest in Colab, the better the functionality, Utterbeck explained. At GE, files had long been searchable, but now they have the added feature of context. Knowing who produced a document, why it was created and what action it supported or decision it led to is part of the record. The knowledge of each individual is what makes the platform valuable. The other killer feature of Colab is it incorporates communication modes that are now second nature to many employees. In short, GE has taken Facebook and Twitterfunctionality -- having friends and followers and the ability to directly communicate -- and put it on the PCs, laptops and mobile devices of employees. Whenever, wherever, employees log in, Colab is there on the desktop. For example, when a risk worker in Houston, Texas is seeking help and puts a question out there, a risk expert in India may hold the answer. For all intents and purposes they may as well be in the same office, Utterbeck said, that note of wonder again evident in his voice. "What social media really brings to the way we're connecting from a collaboration perspective is the compression of time and space." MORE ON SOCIAL COLLABORATION: In the wake of Vanguard's enterprise 2.0, effort deep cultural changes With new enterprise collaboration platforms, 'social' means business A note of caution? Clutter can quickly stifle participation in social collaboration, Utterbeck warned. Not all information pertains to every user. Endless update notices fill email boxes and eventually are ignored all together. In Colab, an array of opt-in notification features help keep users engaged because they're getting information they want and need. Perhaps the most impressive thing about a social collaboration platform filled with impressive features is people actually use it -- and they don't have to. This is what Utterbeck finds most fascinating about the success of social collaboration at GE. "We have over 60,000 of our employees using this platform on a daily basis; we've got over 3,000 groups that have been created on this platform with 15,000 things changing in those groups every individual day," Utterbeck said. "No one has to use this platform to do their day job; they use this platform because they can do their day job easier by linking in and networking with their peers."
How do you encourage 300,000 globally dispersed employees to embrace social collaboration? Start with giving them what they want. Oh, and while you're at it, compress time and space. To hear General Electric Co. Corporate CIO Ron Utterbeck talk about Colab, GE's social collaboration platform, it not only sounds plausible but actually sounds exciting. [Transition] That’s GE. What about you? What about your company? You don’t have to be a large multinational. Even small manufacturing companies, like my grandfather’s metal refinishing company, benefits from enabling its employees to work better together…
So, how will you take advantage of what’s available today? And how will you be ready for a future where social reaches across applications video is everywhere where you have context for your interactions where information is made up not just of the documents you produce, but the analysis of the data from the Internet of Everything. [Transition] Here’s how you can be ready…
Think in terms of “architecture.” The portfolio of capabilities you need to build and maintain relationships. The ability to Find, Connect, Meet, and Share with anyone, anytime, with any device. [Transition] Relationships were important to my grandfather’s business in 1980. They’re important to how I work today. And they’ll always be part of how each of us succeeds. This you already know. What I ask you to remember is that the ability to effectively and quickly build and maintain these relationships demands a partner who can help you succeed today and prepare for tomorrow.
Where Social Meets Collaboration: Building, Managing and Optimizing the Collaborative Enterprise - Leon Baranovsky
Where Social Meets Collaboration:Where Social Meets Collaboration:Building, Managing and Optimizing theBuilding, Managing and Optimizing theCollaborative EnterpriseCollaborative Enterprise12 June 201312 June 2013Leon BaranovskyLeon BaranovskyDirector, Business DevelopmentDirector, Business Development