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Jul 22, 2013
Do you want a social strategy for indirect channel marketing? Then you must read this whitepaper! eMail and portals have for two decades been the primary platforms for B2B collaboration and communication. Today, most companies with indirect sales channels rely upon these aging technologies to provide the information, tools and resources that their channel ecosystems need in order to function. But social, collaborative and mobile technologies represent a disruptive force for good and this whitepaper examines their impact and potential.
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Collaborate beyond the enterprise
Whitepaper from Relayware
B2B External Social Collaboration and
By Mike Morgan, CEO Relayware
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External Social Collaboration and Communication in Business 3
Evolution in Communication 3
The Rise of Social Technologies 7
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External Social Collaboration and
Communication in Business
The practice of communication by written documents carried by an intermediary from one
person or place to another almost certainly dates back nearly to the invention of writing.
However, development of formal postal systems occurred much later. The first
documented use of an organized courier service for the diffusion of written documents is in
Egypt, where Pharaohs used couriers for the dissemination of their decrees in the territory
of the State (2400 BC).
Evolution in Communication
Apart from the introduction of the postage stamp and intercontinental postage services,
nothing much changed until 1837 with the invention of the telegraph allowing messages to
be conveyed long distances without the need for physical media. In 1876 the telephone
was born followed by the radio in 1910. Since then, the rate of technological innovation in
communications has accelerated fuelled by the human desire to interact with each other in
ever more immediate and intimate ways.
Rate of Adoption of Communication Technology – Time to 50 Million Users
so the access to
them and the rate
increases at an
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As new technologies and mediums for communication become available, so the access to
them and the rate of adoption increases at an exponential rate. Contrast the time taken for
radio to reach its first 50 million users compared to Twitter. Of course access to high speed
internet has caused this acceleration and with the exception of cellular telephony, all
contemporary communications are dependent upon it.
Changing Demographic of Social Technology Usage as % of Total
If we consider the most recent additions to the range of communication mediums available
to us; Instant Messaging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Skype, blogging, wiki’s it’s clear that
they can all be described as social communication channels. They inherently facilitate
social or “many-to-many” communication as opposed to older forms of communication.
Early adoption was among the younger members of society but the demographic of social
media users has changed dramatically in the last few years.
Those of us over the age of 30 who do most of our communicating for business or during
the working day experienced our communication revolution in the 90’s and 00’s with the
advent of cell phones and email and we’ve been stubbornly hanging onto them ever since.
Look how we have engineered our cell phones to become perfect tools for sending and
receiving emails! But email is as its name suggests little more than a means of sending one-
to-one or one-to-few correspondence. It is not social and it’s certainly not collaborative.
Email has also long been hijacked by the spammers forcing us to adopt ever more creative
ways of filtering our daily communication. Regardless, we business people have become
strategy cannot be
simply installing a
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slaves to our email – the first application we open in the morning and the last we close at
night and the one we spend endless hours poring over all day.
This has prompted many individuals and some companies to envision a world in which
email is eradicated in favor of social communication and productivity is enhanced as a
consequence. Take a look at these great examples taken from the media:
Luis Suarez of IBM Abandons eMail
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Atos Phases Out eMail
Communications are Shifting from Email and IM to Social
After two decades
increases in global
email usage, email
is finally beginning
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After two decades of inexorable increases in global email usage, email is finally beginning
its unavoidable demise. This decline in popularity will accelerate as a new generation
enters the workplace. And from personal experience, I can tell you that this new generation
simply don’t understand the purpose or merit of email and have no interest in using it.
The Rise of Social Technologies
Social technology adoption among consumers still far outpaces social technology
adoption among employees but this is because business themselves have been slower to
adopt them. Until recently, many executives viewed social technologies with suspicion.
They focused on their domestic usage and feared that they would cause employees to
waste time rather than improve their productivity. But after a slow start, software companies
including Jive Software, Yammer (now owned by Microsoft) and Salesforce.com with
Chatter have made significant inroads into large enterprises since around 2009.
Business Adoption of Social Technologies Lags Behind Consumer
Here are some more interesting statistics in rapid succession. The hi-tech and telecoms
industries lead the way in social technology adoption and they are showing the same
enthusiasm for social technologies as they did for resource planning and relationship
management technologies in the last decade or so. Other industries lag far behind.
After a slow start,
(now owned by
with Chatter have
inroads into large
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% of Companies By Sector Using Web 2.0 Social Tools
But this is understandable for a number of reasons. Firstly, looking at the mix of employee
types and job roles we can see that sales and marketing, IT and R&D combined with
management, technical and frontline staff, are the biggest users.
Web 2.0 Social Tools Used by Many Job Roles and Departments
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And secondly, there is a dependency on how well networked those employees are and this
again comes down largely to the industry and the nature of the workforce.
How Well Companies Benefit from Social Technologies Depends Upon
How “Networked” They Are
Given these statistics, it is easy to see why in a recent report, McKinsey concluded that
among commercial enterprises those engaged in software, internet and professional
services markets had both the most to gain by using social technologies and that they
would find it extremely easy to capture the added value potential offered by them.
Value Potential and Ease of Capture Through Social Technologies by Sector
had both the most
to gain by using
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The largest source of value that they identified is using social technologies for interactions
within and between enterprises. McKinsey went on to estimate that social technologies,
when accompanied by significant management, process and cultural transformation could
improve the productivity of interaction workers by 20-25%. And we’re only just beginning
Let us consider the importance of this conclusion for the reader of this whitepaper. You are
probably reading this because you market, sell and support your products through an
ecosystem of interaction workers – people whose work requires complex interactions with
other people, yet because they work independently from your company their work also
requires independent judgment. This group includes sales people, marketers, technical
personnel managers and a range of other knowledge workers.
Imagine the impact on your enterprise of implementing social and collaborative
technologies that could complement or replace outdated communication technologies
and experiencing a 20-25% improvement in productivity.
Improved Collaboration and Communication Through Social Technology
Between Interaction Workers Could Improve Productivity by Up to 25%
Now imagine the impact of extending that productivity gain beyond the enterprise; to each
and every member of your demand-side ecosystem. And imagine the impact upon those
individuals of experiencing these productivity gains when working only with those
business partners who help facilitate this transformation; namely those employing business
social collaboration and communication technologies.
The largest source
of value that they
identified is using
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Collaborate Beyond the Enterprise
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