Archive for the ‘Emerging Technology’ Category

Open Innovation, Collaboration & Engagement – Drive Business Transformation

My presentation on Open Innovation, Collaboration & Engagement – Drive Business Transformation at Salesforce Chicago Customer Company Tour, April 2013

Topics Covered:

- Become a Customer Company

- Journey of a Social Customer

- Innovation Challenges

- Why Open Innovation

- Business Benefits & Value

- Use Cases

Presentation Link:


In today’s social world, our customers and partners are more connected than ever and are becoming self-organizing knowledge networks. It’s a world where companies who know how to tap into these networks and engage them will drive business transformation, create innovative products & services and succeed in the long-term.

Today, products and services are brought to life outside through engagement models and technology platforms that connect internal employees with partnerships and communities outside of an organizations 4 walls. Open Innovation enables the process and platform  that bring you closer to your ecosystem (employees, partners, vendors, customers, consumers, brand advocates, etc) while finding ways to create something new.

To connect, engage and co-innovate with customers, companies will need to communicate and collaborate efficiently internally at every stage of the customer’s journey.

• Marketing teams will need to connect & collaborate with customers and partners, continuously monitor and listen in to their conversations, collaborate with other internal teams to do campaigns effectively, create leads & opportunities.
• Sales teams will need to connect & collaborate with customers and partners, collaborate with other internal teams on deals, source and provide the best information back to customers
• Service teams will need to connect & collaborate with other internal team to provide the necessary support & customer intimacy quickly at all times and across various channels.
• Companies will need to continuously mine and analyze data to gather the necessary business and customer insights and share it back to the networks to make the necessary business decisions.

This integrated hyper-connecting and self-organizing knowledge networks will drive business transformation , customer engagement & satisfaction, innovation, creativity & productivity across the value chain.

Journey of a Social Customer

Journey of a Social Customer

Open Innovation Framework

Open Innovation Framework

Enterprise Gamification Strategy – 10 Key Steps for Successful Implementation

January 9, 2013 1 comment


Gamification is the application of Game Mechanics into Non-Gaming environments to improve “Engagement”, “Motivation” & meet “Desired Outcomes”

Gamification is the new “buzz” word in the enterprise world. This is a top emerging trend for 2013and beyond per many leading industry reports and articles.

Common questions….

  • How to leverage and use this for my business? Can this solve my business problem?
  • How to leverage this to drive more engagement & collaboration across the organization?
  • How to leverage this to drive more adoption and usage of key business applications and business processes?
  • How to leverage this to drive more motivation, innovation and creativity across the organization?
  • How to leverage or complement this improve recognition across the organization?

Good news!! Understand the core Gamification mechanics, principles, business benefits and value, learn how other organizations have leveraged Gamification to success and their use cases, follow and apply an effective Gamification strategy…. and you will be on your way to success as well.

Following is a detailed 10 Step plan to implement an effective Gamification Strategy based on my experience and interactions with many experts, thought leaders and practitioners.



STEP 1: Understand Gamification

  • Understand the core concepts of Gamification mechanics and principles, especially around Game theory.
  • Why Gamification? What are the business benefits and value? Does this apply to business?
  • Learn how other organizations have adopted Gamification for their business.
  • Understand the use cases in detail.
  • Learn both the success and failure stories, lessons learned.
  • Follow experts and thought leaders in this space.
  • Attend Gamification webinars and conferences to get more perspectives from other customers and thought leaders.
  • Learn about the various technology/vendor options in the market.


Gamification Principles

  • Performance – Real-time feedback, Transparency, Goal Setting & Progress Paths
  • Achievement – Badges, Leveling Up, On Boarding & Mastery
  • Social Interaction – Competition & Teams

Gamification Mechanics

  • Challenges (business challenges, goals, objectives)
  • Points (attain points for each successful activity)
  • Levels (attain points and reach certain levels)
  • Badges (unlock new badges to show success and status)
  • Leader Boards (measure against the top users)
  • Rewards (recognition, incentives and redeem rewards)

STEP 2: Organization Readiness & Assessment

  • Assess the leadership support and paradigm. What type of support exists from the leadership teams to have a gamification platform in the organization?
  • Conduct surveys, interviews and focus group sessions with stakeholders to understand the challenges and issues they are currently facing with regards to engagement, motivation, satisfaction, information discovery, training and collaboration.
  • Assess how are employees adopting and using the various applications and business processes?
  • Assess how are employees engaging and collaborating with others?
  • Assess how are employees recognized and rewarded by management? What’s their motivation to succeed and perform better?
  • Assess how are customers and partners engaging and collaborating within their communities? How are they engaging with the organization? What’s their motivation to participate and contribute?
  • Assess how are sales teams engaging within their communities and adopting the sales processes and applications? How are they incentivized and recognized? What’s their motivation to perform better?
  • Assess are customer support teams engaging within their communities and customers? How are they adopting the customer support processes and applications? How are they incentivized and recognized? What’s their motivation to perform better?
  • Assess how are marketing teams engaging and collaborating with other teams? How are they adopting the customer support processes and applications? How are they incentivized and recognized? What’s their motivation to perform better?
  • Assess the overall readiness of Gamification in the organization. Are they ready?

STEP 3: Develop a Compelling Strategy

  • What’s the vision? Where do we want to go? Why do we want to go there?
  • How does it align with the organization’s strategy, goals, objectives & values?

STEP 4: Develop a Strong Business Case & Identify the Right Use Cases

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What are the key business objectives? In terms of engagement, motivation, recognition, innovation, collaboration, on-boarding, training, learning, adoption of new processes and technologies, ideation, innovation, creativity.
  • What are the key business drivers and KPIs?
  • Who are the key stakeholders and sponsors? Employees, Management, Customers, Partners?
  • Map the goals and objectives to the strategy and business drivers.
  • Identify the “right” use cases that maps to overalls goals, objectives, key drivers and metrics.
  • Document the benefits in terms of business benefits, outcomes and metrics
  • What challenges, issues or pain points does this address? If not addressed, what’s the impact?
  • How does it impact other business processes?
  • Investment required? Cost, time and effort?
  • What’s the ROI and ROE (Return on Engagement)? In this case, ROE should emphasize more on business outcomes, engagement rather than $$$$, Measure the progress.
  • Identify the key engagement metrics – adoption, usage, participation etc
  • What are the risks associated with this?


Sample Use Cases

 Use Case Sample 2Use Case Sample 2

STEP 5: Identity the Behaviors, Actions & Business Outcomes for each Use Case

  • What are the behaviors and actions users needs to take to attain the necessary business goals, objectives and outcomes? How are they driven today?
  • What are the potential benefits and value?
  • What are the key success metrics and measures? What are the baseline measures?
  • How to measure and monitor the success and progress?

For example, following is a use case on how can transform customer support operations and engagement.


Sample Model

STEP 6: Leverage the right Gamification Principles & Mechanics for each Use Case

  • How are users engaged and motivated today?
  • What’s their motivation and engagement factors to succeed, perform better and take the necessary actions?
  • What are the right Gamification principles and mechanics that can be applied to drive the necessary behaviors and actions? In the above example, map the right Gamification principles and mechanics that matters the most to the customer support teams.
  • How to keep or scale up the motivation and enthusiasm at all times?
  • What type of point systems needs to be established that aligns with the use case in terms user engagement and activities?
  • What type of levels needs to be established to keep the motivation and engagement active at all times?
  • What should be the “Level-Up” mechanism? What type of difficulty levels needs to be established to keep the momentum?
  • What type of badges needs to be created?
  • Map the badges to the overall goals, objectives and the business outcomes.
  • How can users unlock these badges and at what levels?
  • How can users view the unlocked badges and learn more about how to achieve those?
  • How can the users showcase their badges and levels? Employee profile pages (collaboration platforms), employee directory, and intranet?
  • What type of leader boards needs to be used to see the top achievers to drive and foster more competition?
  • How often should the leader boards be published to the larger community to drive more motivation and engagement?
  • What type of communication mediums (email, displays, collaboration platforms) needs to be used to communicate on the challenges, achievements, progress and leader boards?


STEP 7: Identify & Design the right Recognition & Reward Mechanism

  • How to recognize and reward users?
  • What rewards and recognition motivated users to drive more engagement & participation.
  • Identify the right rewards that align with user’s needs and motivation? Eg: Gift cards, Thank You Card, Lunch with CEO/SVP, Special parking spot, Time-off, Public recognition etc
  • When to reward users for their behaviors or actions? Levels and badges?
  • How can users redeem the rewards and incentives? Ease of use and integration to reward sites? (Eg: Amazon Gift Card for Business )
  • What type of communication mediums (email, collaboration platforms) needs to be used to communicate on the rewards and user achievements?


STEP 8: Design the integration to Social, Collaboration & Mobile Platforms

  • Identify all the platforms (social channels, communities, mobile apps) that users can leverage to participate and take the necessary actions and experience the Gamification principles and mechanics fully.
  • Social interaction is key to success. It facilitates users to connect, communicate and collaborate on their actions, badges, rewards, successes and drive more motivation and engagement.
  • How can the Collaboration platform be leveraged to drive more collaboration & engagement? Identify the patterns and social communities?
  • Access from any device, location and time is key to long-term success and adoption.


STEP 9: Roll-out, Communication, Change & Adoption Management

  • What is the adoption goal, objectives, timeline and metrics?
  • What adoption strategies can be done to achieve maximum business benefit, value & immediate impact?
  • Identify the champions and ambassadors who will market and use the platform initially?
  • Develop and execute an adoption plan to ensure participation and usage that meets the business goals, objectives and outcomes.
  • Clearly define and document the communication, marketing, change management & training plan. These plans are critical to long-term success.
  • Conduct hands-on training and road shows.
  • Roll-out and communicate on the business benefits and value to the users.


STEP 10: Continuous Improvement & Vendor Relationship

  • Measure, monitor and make improvements on a continuous basis.
  • Measure against the key performance metrics & measures?
  • Implement a good support/help desk process & system for users to report issues, requests, suggestions & feedback.
  • Document the success stories and use cases and communicate to the user community to drive more adoption and usage.
  • Meet with users on a continuous basis to get their feedback and suggestions, show the new features and capabilities.
  • Release changes, new features and improvements on a periodic basis and not all at the same time.
  • Do data mining and analysis of user adoption and usage and analyze what’s working well and not – behaviors, actions, rewards, badges, activities, collaboration, business outcomes etc
  • Have a strong partnership with the vendor rather than a just a vendor-client relationship. You will need their support on a continuous basis. This will need to be a “Win-Win” relationship.
  • Be part of the customer council/community to hear more about new features, product road map, and strategy and to suggest new features & enhancements.
  • Do presentations and webinars at industry conferences & events. This is the best opportunity to showcase your solution/use cases and network with other customers/peers to learn more new approaches and use cases.


Contact Info



Drive Business Transformation & Engagement Through Gamification – Part 1

August 12, 2012 1 comment


We as humans always like to have choices, overcome challenges, improve skills and be social with others. This is especially true for employees within organizations where employees need to be connected, collaborative, engaged and motivated to meet the necessary goals and objectives. Today less than one third of the workforce is engaged which results in $300B loss annually.

The consumer-oriented gamification platforms are transforming the way that people communicate, collaborate, engage and compete with others. These have the potential to transform the way employees can share, learn, collaborate, communicate and engage effectively and efficiently within an organization and with their customers and partners. Organizations are always looking for better ways to improve collaboration, motivate and engage employees, improve customer and partner engagement, achieve high performance, manage innovation better, facilitate employees to learn and master new skills & adopt new tools quickly.

According to recent studies done by Harvard Business Review, McKinsey, Workspace Research Foundation and others, organizations that manage disengaged employees resulted in the following

  • 32.7% decrease – Employee’s impact on operating income
  • 17% – Employees who say they know how to meet customer’s needs
  • 13% – Employees who would recommend their company’s products and services
  • 3% – Employees who actively advocate for their company
  • 3% – Employees who say their job brings out their creativity
  • 11% – Employees who say they are very often happy at work
  • 6.19 days – Average sick days taken per year
  • 84% – Managers who don’t know how to accurately measure their teams
  • 7% – Employees fully understand their company’s missions and what’s expected of them in order to help achieve these goals

See related post on ‘Drive Business Transformation Thru Enterprise Collaboration & Gamification Presentation – Enterprise 2.0 Conference, 2012′

See my collection of Gamification Infographs in Pinterest

Gamification has been generating a lot of buzz over the past 2 years and it’s high on the Gartner “Hype” curve as shown below. Per Constellation Research, by 2013 50%+ of all social business/collaboration initiatives will include an enterprise gamification component. Per Gartner, by 2014 70%+ of the 2000 largest global companies will use gamification for at least one aspect of their organization and by 2015 50% of companies that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

Many organizations have leveraged this emerging technology very successfully internally and externally with customers and partners to meet various goals and objectives.

I have developed a strong passion in Gamification second to Social Business/Collaboration and truly believe that Gamification will transform business and will lead to more engagement across the enterprise. Let’s start with some basics in this post and I will deep dive in to basics, myths, strategy, framework, methodologies, best practices, pitfalls and use cases in my future posts.

What’s Gamification?

Gamification is the application of Game Mechanics & Principles into Non-Gaming environments to improve “Engagement”, “Motivation” & meet “Desired Outcomes” by tapping inherent Human Motivations.

Following are some top business benefits and value:

  • Fosters and improves employee engagement, performance & motivation
  • Improves customer engagement & loyalty
  • Increases participation in key programs
  • Expedites learning & mastery of new skills
  • Facilitates and improves adoption of new technologies & business processes
  • Improves collaboration & innovation
  • Increases sales and services improvements

Gamification is about human motivation, engagement and changing behavior to meet the desired outcomes. By addressing the discretionary performance (shown below), organizations can achieve more productivity, engagement & performance. Gamification is one of solutions that can be applied successfully to address this gap.


For example, check out the following 2 videos that specifically target the human motivation to get the desired outcomes.



Following are some great examples of how organizations have successfully leveraged and applied Gamification to meet he desired business outcomes.

  • NTT Data Americas rolled out a collaboration platform and months later only a hundred or so employees were actively using it. To encourage better adoption, the company introduced the concept of karma points and badges, and soon enough, the collaboration platform shot up to 4K active participants. An extension of the collaboration effort was to encourage employees on the platform to assist each other in solving typical help desk problems instead of relying on IT. This has freed up IT department to work on bigger picture projects that it otherwise would not have gotten to. Click here to learn more about this use case.
  • Deloitte Leadership Academy launched an innovative digital executive training program for more than 10,000 senior executives in over 150 companies around the world. Deloitte leveraged and applied gamification to its leadership development programs to improve adoption, engagement and take learning to the next level so that participants feel a sense of accomplishment as they contributed, shared knowledge and completed learning programs.  Participants received badges, rewards and they shared these on their social networks. Click here to learn more about this use case.
  • Samsung launched an innovative customer loyalty program called Samsung Nation to engage with their customers, learn about their needs, gather ideas and feedback and most importantly connect with during and between their purchase cycles. Samsung leveraged and applied gamification successfully to its social loyalty programs where customers can earn badges, move up the ranks and have fun discovering everything has to offer. Customers can unlock badges and level up just by visiting, reviewing products, watching videos, participating in user-generated Q&As, and much more. Customers can also see what others are doing in real time and even uncover a few surprises along the way.

Appreciate your feedback!!

Contact Info

LinkedIn Pinterest

Drive Business Transformation Thru Enterprise Collaboration & Gamification Presentation – Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2012

My presentation on Drive Business Transformation Though Enterprise Collaboration & Gamification at Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2012.

Following are the topics…

  • 2012 Technology Trends
  • Top Business Drivers, Needs & Challenges
  • State of IT
  • Drive Business Transformation?
  • Enterprise Collaboration – Overview, Value, Strategy, Adoption, Model
  • Enterprise Gamification – Overview, Value, Trends, Strategy
  • Collaboration + Gamification – Value?
  • Sample Business Use Cases

Click here

Business Transformed: Document Management & Collaboration Presentation (Box.Net)

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently did a presentation at Boxworks conference (’s first annual conference) on how to transform business by leveraging Box.Net’s document management and collaboration solution.

Following are the topics…

  • Business Needs & Challenges
  • Solution approach and business architecture
  • Top business use cases
  • Customer success stories
  • Business results
  • Adoption strategies

Presentation Link:


Presentation Video:

Award Info:Star

Contact Info


Connect to the digital, mobile & social world using QR Codes – What’s the business value? Is this a fad?

August 10, 2011 1 comment

There are many new technologies that pop-up in the market regularly with a lot of “buzz”. QR (quick Response) codes is one of them

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to this funny looking (maze like) 2 dimensional box with black/white modules and shrugged it off!! I thought this was one more marketing gimmick and was just one more fad.

You must have seen the QR codes in the magazine pages, magazine ads, bus stop, bus sign, business cards etc. For the last couple of months, I am hearing a lot of buzz and seeing how some companies are using and leveraging QR codes in very very innovative and creative ways across all business functions to boost customer experience, sales & marketing campaigns and lead generation. Recently USPS announced QR code promotions and savings on direct mails. So QR codes are going mainstream!! Still want more convincing info, see the following stats from Comscore.

14 million Americans used QR codes  from their mobile phones. Not all of 2011, this was just in June 2011. This is 6.2% of the total US mobile population. The study also shows that a mobile user that scanned a QR code during the month was more likely a male (60.5% of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4%) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1%).

Where were the QR codes scanned from? Print magazines and newspapers were half of them and the remaining were mostly from the product packages (35%) and websites (27%).

From what location were these QR codes scanned? Mostly were from home (58%) and the rest of them were from a retail store (39%) or from a grocery store(25%). This is particularly true in Tesco’s case (as detailed below in use cases).

With the combination of camera enabled smart phones and QR codes, the business value is limitless. For marketers, QR codes can provide them with new, creative and innovative ways to reach their target consumers and also engage them in new ways. When you combine this with Social platform, there are more innovative options (like Verizon’s combination of QR code, mobile and social…it’s simply superb!!, I have listed this use case below).

I started exploring more into QR codes and how this technology can be leveraged for business needs and generate value. Following is my high-level analysis. I will start with the basics…

What’s a QR code?

A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera enabled smart phones. The code consists of black/white modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or any other data. This data doesn’t expire.

QR codes have the ability to store more complex information than a standard bar-code. It has been used in the transport and logistics industry for tracking, for over 15 years. However, recently marketers have put their thinking hats on , and came up with ideas to not only measure ROI on certain campaigns, but also spark the attention of some early adopters and get them to scan these funny-looking barcodes, to see what happens.

What usually happens is that the code behind the image is linked to a URL, or a website, with more information on the product or the company. Since the code is scannable by any camera enabled smart phone, scanning the code can start a phone call, deliver a vCard, redirect to a website, registration form, bookmarks etc.

See the following video – brief overview of QR codes

Benefits & Value

Following are some business use cases on how are QR codes are being leveraged and generating value. I will start with some interesting ones.

Storefront displays: Few retail businesses are open 24/7. Don’t disappoint potential customers after you’ve left for the day. Create a Shop Online Now! QR code and put it in your storefront window. One quick scan and you’ve turned a potential lost sale into an online customer who’s going to share a lot more of their contact information with you. See the following video on how Tesco is leveraging this in South Korea and driving commerce. It’s just amazing!!

Cemetry: This is kind of interesting business use case. The following video says it all.

Business cards: This is probably the de-facto way many businesses use QR codes. Rather than overload a business card with all of your contact info you could include the bare minimum for reaching you, then create a QR code that leads people to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. or to your profile on the corporate website.

Labeling: A restaurant patron is enjoying wine from your vineyard. They notice the QR code on the bottle and quickly scan it. That takes them to a mobile site where they can learn more about your wine, your vineyard, and links to where you can buy a case for delivery…all before the bill comes. See the following video – one more brief overview of how QR codes are being used in restaurants, bus-signs, mailers etc

Email subscriber list: Use your QR code to send people to your email sign-up. Just make sure you give people a compelling reason to subscribe to your list, otherwise you will have just wasted their time. Not the best way to engage your audience.

Facebook likes and Twitter followers: Linking your Facebook page or twitter account to a specific QR code, you can use it in product or POS promotion, with a short message: “Scan this code to join our Facebook community”, or “Scan this code to get notified of future promotions on Twitter”. Verizon recently did a “Hipscan” promotion using QR codes. This generated a lot of buzz and generated a ROI of 3500%. Click here for more info.

Brochures, magazine ads and other print media: Have the QR codes in the brochures, product pages, magazine ads for readers to quickly scan and see more information and bookmark it. This will be very useful especially when readers are commuting and don’t have the flexibility to write down the link.

Conferences/Events: Have the QR codes for conference check-ins, session check-ins, take surveys and take polls, exhibitor signage. Attendees can scan the QR code from the conference mobile app and take the poll, survey and register for the sessions. How cool is that? This will engage the attendees in a new way and provide a great conference experience.

More use cases on how QR codes have been used for better conversion rates (source)

  1. Product comparison data on price tags
  2. Feedback surveys on sales receipts
  3. On-demand interactive video support
  4. In-house Facebook “Like” promo
  5. Google Paces – Review posters
  6. Foursquare Check-in posters
  7. Interactive custom maps

Click here to see more details on the above use cases.

QR code in not a fad. It’s real and mainstream now !!! Start leveraging this 2D technology to generate more business value

Appreciate your feedback and comments.

Contact Info

(Download Scanlife app from iTunes/Android marketplace and scan the code below)

Digital and Mobile Magazines – What’s the business value? Are you ready?

August 6, 2011 18 comments

I commute to work by train every day, almost spending 2 hrs on the train. In winter, this may take 2.5 hrs. So I had to spend my time wisely. A year ago, my backpack was a bit heavy!! I carried my laptop, daily journal paper, a novel, a couple of magazines and all the mobile devices (personal & work). That’s a lot!!

Today, my backpack is almost 1/3rd the weight I used to have a year ago. My backpack is light and don’t have anymore back pains. Thanks to iPad, digital newspapers and digital magazines. Today, I just carry my iPad2 instead of all the newspapers and magazines. Not sure how long will I be carrying a laptop…maybe a year or two. I now read all my magazines and newspapers digitally in my iPad. I don’t even need to have strong network connection as I download all the updates at home.

Due to this convenience, I have subscribed to more magazines and newspapers….thereby increasing my knowledge base. Recently I added ‘Zite‘ magazine app to my iPad. This is one of the best digital magazine apps in the market place. You can customize and subscribe your magazine based on your interests and topics. Once you set your profile, this app does all the magic and pulls all the relevant content from all the digital sources in the world. You can share your favorite articles to your social network. This is the future!! I will not be surprised if these type of magazine apps enter the enterprise market soon (just like the Google search appliance). Check out this app!!.

On any given day in the train, I hardly see anyone reading from the “print” newspaper, novel or magazines. Everyone seems to be having either a Kindle, iPad or other mobile tablets and devices. It’s amazing to see how Kindle and iPad have changed the entire publication market in a year. I see kids (including mine) reading more books from iPad.

How can you leverage this digital and mobile technology for business needs? What value can you get?

Digital and mobile magazines offer publishers the advantages of higher circulation, increased revenue, stronger brands and readers coming back for more. With accessing the internet becoming as commonplace as using a smart phone, iPad.. industries of all kinds are finding ways to appeal to customers online. The publishing industry is no exception. Digital and mobile magazines also offer a tremendous experience and value to readers. Your readers will be happy and thank you as they don’t have a carry a heavy backpack!!!

As you may know, the mobile market is growing exponentially and as a result the number of digital and mobile readers is growing as well.

  • Gartner has predicted that by mid 2012, the number of users accessing web from mobile devices will surpass the PC. (My guess, this will happen by end of this year).
  • Gartner has recently decreased the forecast on the number of PC shipments for this year based on the exploding mobile device market and demand.
  • Gartner says by 2015, digital strategies, such as Social and Mobile Marketing, will influence at least 80 percent of consumers’ discretionary spending
  • Gartner says worldwide mobile device sales to end users reached 1.6 Billion units in 2010; smart phone sales grew 72 percent in 2010.
  • Forrester says that there will be 24 Million+ tablets that will be sold in 2011.
  • Nielsen predicts by end of 2011, majority of mobile subscribers in US will have a smart phone. Click here to view Nielsen’s “State of Mobile Apps” report. Great info on mobile trends and statistics.

We recently leveraged this new & emerging technology and launched a mobile magazine (action guide) powered by Texterity’s cloud based platform for ‘Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence‘. This magazine is a compilation many action guides on various healthcare improvement topics. Check it out @

With the new digital and mobile edition, readers can:

  • Access the information via PC, mobile devices or from any mobile browser
  • Navigate easily throughout the issue via embedded search tools located within the top navigation bar
  • Download the guides, read offline and print
  • Share information with others through email and social networking sites
  • Keyword search of current and past guides quickly and easily
  • Bookmark pages for future references

This is a true example of how you can leverage a new & emerging technology to

enable and transform business

The following videos says it all…

Top Business Benefits and Value:

Increase readership and experience

  • Intuitive Navigation – No learning curve here: the omnipresent navigation bar is simple to master, with easily understood icons.
  • Scanning & Zoom – Quick and easy control features allow readers to scale content to their own comfort level.
  • Rich Multimedia – Offer readers a more robust experience than print can’t give them. Incorporate video, audio, animation and slide shows.
  • Video Channels – Show related videos and video channels without ever leaving the magazine.
  • Embed, Save, Clip & Share – Allow readers to embed, save articles and ads can be saved for future reference without damaging your print copy or accumulating piles of back issues.
  • Search – Readers can search for any key word or phrase in the current issue, all issues, or back issues.
  • Choice of various viewing modes – Let readers customize their viewing preferences.
  • Social Media – Allow readers to share pages instantly on common social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. Readers can also get the latest updates from the publishers via RSS feeds.
  • Forums and Blogs – Integrate forums and blogs that relate to the issue or article, increasing reader engagement within the issue.
  • Off-line Reading – Readers can download one article or the entire magazine and conveniently take it with them.
  • Cover line Links – Super-fast searching and easy-access table of contents. Respect their time by helping readers find what they need.
  • Mobile Ready – Digital editions run on any modern, web-enabled mobile device like the Android, Blackberry and Apple. Access to Google Maps, live phone numbers for direct dialing, latest news, reviews, and videos, RSS feeds for between-issue updates, Community-building tools for conversations, Interactive modules, such as video, slide shows, 360-degree animation and Twitter integration.

Increase circulation

  • Sophisticated Tracking & Reporting – Know exactly which pages readers turn to, how much time they spend on each page, article, or video and where they are coming from.
  • Look Inside – Allows guests to view pages of the magazine to increase subscription revenue.
  • Virtual Blow-ins – Target blow-ins to new online readers to increase subscription rates or to target renewal offers to current subscribers.
  • Social Media & Integration – Get others engaged with your publication, the first step to converting them to subscribers.
  • Virtual Cover Wraps & Belly Bands – Reach pass-along readers with subscription information intact.
  • SEO & Enhanced search engine visibility – Ensures your publication and its content is seen by a wider audience.

Increase revenues

  • Tracking & Reporting – Offer advertisers the benefit of gathering valuable data on a subscriber level about time spent on their ads and click-through rates.
  • Ads/Sponsorships – Link readers directly to advertisers’ offers or videos, another revenue-generating benefit to attract new ad revenue. Provides integrated support for Dart, Atlas and other major ad-serving networks.

Decrease Costs

  • Printing – According to a BPA Worldwide study, over 40% of your current print subscribers may opt to receive your publication online, cutting your print costs accordingly.
  • Postage – Reach a worldwide audience without paying the high costs of postage or passing those costs on to your readers.

So get ready for the wave of digital magazines and publications. It is coming in full force!!

Want to know what the next wave is? Check out the following videos on how restaurants are leveraging this emerging mobile and digital technology to the menus!! (Not sure how the iPads will be kept clean!!)

Appreciate your feedback and comments.

Contact Info


Document Management & Collaboration over the Cloud – What’s the business value? Are you ready for the boomerang effect?

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Are you ready for the fast approaching Boomerang effect?

We are in the fast growing digital, social and mobile age. Consumer-oriented technologies are transforming the way that people communicate and accelerating the spread of information at the speed of light.  These  trends are driving the adoption of consumer oriented technologies in the business world. For example, BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) is gaining more adoption. This is especially occurring in the mobile device space as more employees want to use their devices at work to get the same ease of use and flexibility.

Amazon recently launched a consumer oriented ‘Cloud Drive‘ solution that allows consumers to store anything digital and access it from anywhere, any device, any time. Apple recently announced their consumer oriented ‘iCloud‘ solution that allows Apple device owners to store anything digital and access it from anywhere, any device (only Apple though), any time. In a couple of months, the term ‘Cloud’ will be commonly used by consumers. Thanks to Apple!! When kids start talking about ‘Cloud’, then we can all say that Cloud is now fully mainstream. Consumers will create content, manage content, share content and collaborate on content through these solutions and will like the ease of use and flexibility to do so.

Cloud based document/content management solutions started within the business world to support various business functions and processes to attain great productivity, scalability and flexibility. This is now entering the consumer space (via Apple, Amazon and others) and will drive more adoption and use of these cloud solutions. Once this attains adoption and wide use in the consumer world, guess what? Consumers will expect to have the same ease of use and flexibility to create content (documents, files,media etc), manage content, share content and collaborate on content at work.

This will drive and increase the need to have a ‘Cloud based Document Management & Collaboration‘ tool in the business world. This is what I am calling it as the fast approaching Boomerang effect? Are you ready for this?

Following are some of the top requirements and challenges that many organizations face today to manage documents:

Top Business Requirements

  • Create & Manage – Create and manage any type of content in an online workspace easily and securely.
  • Access  – Access content from any location, any device, any time easily and securely.
  • Sync – Ability to sync content across content across access points, including offline access.
  • Mobility – Access content on “The Go”.
  • Connect – Connect with others on content and share ideas.
  • Collaborate – Share ideas and collaborate on content with others.
  • Security – Ability to secure content at all levels. Configure access privileges and permissions at all levels.
  • Size – No restrictions on content size limits.
  • Communication – Ability to share links via email instead of the actual files. Avoid the hassles of overloading the email and ftp server and other restriction limits.
  • Integrate – Ability to share and integrate across business applications (CRM, Intranet, Office tools etc)
  • Do more with your content and get the work done easily and quickly.
  • Less training, support and maintenance.

Top Business/IT Challenges

  • Manage file and FTP servers at all locations, 24×7 and within budget.
  • Manage backups and storage at all locations, 24×7.
  • Manage capacity efficiently to keep in pace with the rapid growth of content.
  • Manage network and security infrastructure to maintain integrity and privacy.
  • Comply with many regulations and procedures to safeguard the data.
  • Perform audit operations regularly and provide compliance reports.
  • Perform infrastructure and software upgrades, maintenance and support to all the above.
  • Have 24×7 support staff to manage all the above.

We had many of the above requirements and challenges. We addressed this by implementing a robust “Cloud Based Document Management & Collaboration” platform powered by Box.Net. (Click here for some cool videos). We have been using this solution for 2 years and achieved great business benefits and value across many business ares, functions and processes. I have a listed a few business use cases below that we have leveraged to the full extent.

This is a true example of how you can leverage a new & emerging technology to

enable and transform business

Project Management

Key to manage and complete a project successfully is to communicate and collaborate effectively and efficiently with all the stakeholders at all times. One of the major tasks in any project is to manage a lot of project related documents. Sharing these documents with all the stakeholders in time and accessing these documents quickly and easily anytime, any device and any location is a huge challenge both for the project manager and the project team.

But most of the times, project documents are managed in ftp sites and shared mainly via email as the main communication medium. Email ends up being the main repository for project related information and communication. This result in email overload, dis-organized communication, lack of version control, cannot search quickly, inability to manage action items etc. All this leads to project failures.

You can address this challenge by managing the project in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:

  • Create, manage and share all project related documents in one online workspace that can be accessed from any device, any location and anytime securely and easily.
  • Always view only the latest version of the document and still have the ability to see prior version.
  • Updates to project documents are automatically synced to all the access points.
  • Assign tasks to team members to take action items. User’s tasks are displayed in a Facebook style activity feed. This helps the team to see all the project activity in one simple format (instead of emails) and take the necessary actions.
  • Embed the entire project folder in the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This will provide team members to connect, share and collaborate on project related info, generate new ideas, solve challenges and be very effective. This results in Content + People + Collaboration which is key to a project’s success.
  • Put an end to the email and ftp overload and email as a primary medium for project communication.
  • Focus on the project rather than spending time and effort to manage and find project information.


In any publication industry, managing and sharing different types of content is a huge challenge especially when the file sizes are large. In addition to that, organizing the content, finding the latest files, searching/archiving old files are other challenges as well. Key to the publication industry is to publish the print/online edition in time and within budget.

You can address this challenge by managing all the publication related content/files and process flow in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:

  • Manage and organize content easily and quickly – by type, author, location, ads, logos, images, audio, video etc.
  • Share files with the team without overloading the email servers, ftp servers, senders and recipient’s inboxes.
  • Updates to files are automatically synced to all the access points.
  • Preview various files instantly from the browser, avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on your desktop/mobile device to view the files.
  • Manage and collaborate on files with 3rd party applications through built-in integrations.
  • Provide access to advertisers and agencies to view the files securely and also provide them the ability to upload files back directly to the respective folders. (instead of sharing via CDs, flash drives, ftp etc)

Awards & Nominations

The process to manage and collect the nominations for different award categories is a huge laborious task. The nomination forms are typically hosted in the website. Users download the nomination forms and typically send it via email. This results in overloading the recipient’s email. The award team searches and downloads all the relevant attachments from the email. They then sort it out and send it via email to the award nomination committee members to review all the nomination forms. The award nomination committee team then send back the selected nominations back. All this is again a huge laborious task, consumes a lot of time end effort that doesn’t provide “any” value to the process.

You can address this challenge by managing the entire award nomination process in a cloud based document management & collaboration platform and get the following value:

  • Embed the nomination form in the award site and not sending the form to all via email.
  • Users can preview and download the nomination forms quickly and easily.
  • Create and organize folders by award category and nomination committee team in an online workspace.
  • Upload the completed nomination form directly into the respective folders in the online workspace.
  • Get notified whenever a nomination form is uploaded and see all the activity feed.
  • Share the nomination forms quickly and easily with the committee team via links.
  • No hassles of overloading the email.
  • Access the nomination forms from any device, any location and anytime easily and quickly.
  • Focus on the work rather than spending time in managing the nomination forms.

Mobile Applications

The need for sharing content via mobile applications (especially native apps) is a growing business need. The challenge here is to keep the size of the app to less than 20 MB in order for users to download the app via regular network. For conference based mobile applications, providing access to presentations, resources, case studies and product materials is a huge challenge.

You can address this challenge by managing all the mobile application resources in a cloud based document management  and get the following business value:

  • Create and organize the folders by presentations, resources, case studies and product materials in an online workspace.
  • Manage and find files quickly.
  • Updates to files are automatically synced to all the access points.
  • Embed the files or provide links in the mobile apps. Users can preview the files instantly.
  • Avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on your mobile device to view the files.
  • Share files easily to others via social network tools.
  • Keep the mobile app size less than 20 MB and still provide easy and quick access to all the files.

Board Meetings

Getting all the work done for the next board meeting is a huge task and challenge. There are number of documents that have to be created, managed, shared and reviewed. Once the documents are ready, these needs to be shared to all board members and directors who are geographically dispersed in a quick and easy way. The last thing you want to do is send these documents via email, CDs, flash drives or the worst….print!!!

You can address this challenge by managing all the board related documents in a cloud based document management  and get the following business value:

  • Create and organize the folders by categories, agenda, action items, next steps etc
  • Manage and find board materials quickly and easily.
  • Updates to board materials are automatically synced to all the access points.
  • Provide easy way for board members to view the files. Avoid the hassles of downloading the files and not worrying about having the right application on laptop/device to view the documents.
  • View all the board materials via the native iPhone, iPad, Droid apps.
  • Access board materials from any location, any time and any device securely.
  • Search for information, keyword and tags across all board materials quickly and easily.
  • Get updates and notifications on board related materials.
  • Download materials in a secure offline repository and take notes.
  • Encrypt board materials to maintain privacy of sensitive information.
  • Access and view activity logs of all previews, downloads and updates to maintain integrity and perform audits.

The other business use cases are around legal review of contracts, knowledge base repository, resource library, integrated search capabilities in the websites (web content + documents), accessing documents from CRM and other business applications.

The business benefits and value of having a cloud based document management & collaboration platform is limitless. In business everything revolves around content, documents, files etc. Addressing and improving the management of this will enable and transform many processes and functions and generate true value to the business.

Get ready for the fast approaching adoption of the Boomerang effect!!!

Appreciate your feedback and comments.

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Social Business Adoption Strategies – 10 Key Steps and Best Practices

  This is follow-up post to my article on Social Business  Strategy – 15 Key Strategy Steps for  Successful Implementation.

You have now implemented a Social Business Platform (Enterprise Collaboration, Social Business, Social Intranet, Enterprise 2.0 etc) and rolled it out to the entire organization. You celebrated your go-live, got great initial traffic, momentum, usage and had some success. Great!!!. (If you have not implemented and your are in the initial stage, you can apply the following info to your project).

Now the difficult part kicks in – “Adoption & Use“.  How do you keep up the momentum?

Employees will adopt and use the platform more if they can “do” & “get” the work done more efficiently and effectively.  They will not find the enterprise collaboration platform useful (few examples) -

  • If it is just one more place to find information
  • Not required to get any work done
  • Requires one more login/password
  • Not all the employees are on the platform
  • Cannot discover people/skills due to lack of profile completeness
  • Cannot find important information
  • Has more “white noise” rather than useful information
  • Lack of participation
  • Not used for organization wide communication & updates
  • Lack of communication on the purpose of the platform.

You may face or are already facing the following questions.

  • Are employees using all the great features, tools and capabilities of the platform to the expectations?
  • Is the platform meeting all the business objectives identified in the business case? In terms of  Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage?
  • Is the platform improving the key business processes that you identified?
  • Is the platform enabling the capture and management of knowledge across the organization? Is it facing the same fate of Knowledge Management system?
  • Is the platform driving more employee engagement, communication, collaboration, interaction and sharing of information across the organization?
  • Is the platform driving process improvement, excellence and innovation across the organization?
  • Do all the employees have an account in the platform? If they have an account, do they have a complete profile? Are they actively using the platform?
  • Finally, is the adoption and usage decreasing?

If the platform doesn’t meet some/all of the above, you will need to implement some basic, simple, creative and innovative adoption strategies and best practices. This will help to gain more adoption and usage of the platform, provide “real” business value. How do you do this? What are key strategies or action steps you can take to achieve this?

I have detailed the top “Adoption” strategies and best practices that you can implement for the Enterprise Collaboration Platform. This is based on my implementation experience, lessons learned, reading best practices & articles and listening to other experts in this space.

I am a strong proponent of applying Six Sigma (process improvement, quality & excellence), Lean Management (remove waste in processes) and ITIL (find info quick and easily, service Catalog) methodologies & principles to everyday work processes that can create true business value.  “Yes” you can leverage and implement these powerful/high impact methodologies for Enterprise Collaboration platforms as well. I have leveraged these methodologies for some of the adoption strategies that I have listed below.

Adoption Strategies & Best Practices (By Importance)

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

3: Provide Easy Access to the Enterprise Collaboration Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

9: Implement Corporate Services Information Framework - “In the Flow”

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

1:  Provide Single Sign-On to Enterprise Collaboration Platform

The last thing you want in the enterprise collaboration platform is to have employees remember one more login/password to access it. This is a “killer”. Implement a single sign-on solution for the collaboration platform that allows employees to launch the platform from the desktop/browser/Citrix/VPN and automatically be logged in.

The best approach is to integrate the platform with the active directory (or related user identity store) and integrate Active Directory to the HR system. This helps to keep the data in collaboration platform, Active Directory and HR system in sync. This way you can have/show all the relevant employee information (name, title, contact info, skills, manager, direct reports etc) in the collaboration platform automatically and not do any imports. This also helps to improve security. Only employees who have an active account in the Active Directory will have access to the collaboration platform. By doing this, you will now have the company directory with more info in the collaboration platform.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the collaboration platform and administrators to keep the data in sync.

2:  Provide Seamless Single Sign-On to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Implement an Identity management that provides seamless single sign-on from the collaboration platform to all the key enterprise applications (especially SaaS based apps ). This is one of the best adoption strategies. This helps employees to access the key applications and makes it as part of their workflow process (“In the flow”). This also helps employees not to remember their user name and password for the increasing number of SaaS apps and especially when each of the SaaS app have their own password and identity management policies.

This approach applies the Six Sigma principle, decrease the number of password resets/forgot password functions  (“defects”) that needs to be performed by the app administrators and improve the process for employees to access the key enterprise applications  quickly/easily and also improve the overall quality of the identity management.

Sample SSO/Identity Management Architecture

3: Provide Easy Access to the Platform – Any location, Any Device, Any time (Securely)

Provide easy access and compatibility to the enterprise collaboration platform from any device, any application, any time, any location in a secure way with single sign-on. By implementing #2 and this step, employees will have a seamless, easy and quick way to access the Collaboration platform and SaaS applications as well.

4:  Make the platform as a “One Stop” Hub for Information – “The Intranet”

Sample Social Business Architecture

This is the “Best” adoption strategy that you can do to drive adoption and usage of the enterprise collaboration platform across the organization.

Typically in organizations, there are many platforms that employees access to get their work done – Intranets (News & Updates, Strategy, HR, Benefits, Finance), Business Applications (CRM, BI, Payroll), Project Portals, Wikis, Email, Audio/Video Conferencing etc. The common problem is employees will have to access these platforms separately to get work done. This is a “killer” and lot of valuable time is lost.

Intranets provide a lot of info (static) mostly around content. Making/integrating this as part of the collaboration platform links the content with people and this helps to get more context and value. Integrating intranet, business applications, project portals, email, audio/video conferencing tools in to the enterprise collaboration platform (“One Stop Hub”) will help attract employees to come to the platform. Thi helps them to get work done (“in the flow”) more easily and quickly, drive more traffic & adoption and result in more “true” collaboration activities.

For example, if there is a news article (intranet) in the collaboration platform , employees can see the content and also connect with the author of the article and collaborate on the article.  Following are some other good examples:

  • Publish intranet content – Strategy, HR/Benefits information, forms, faqs, policies and procedures. Employees can connect and collaborate with the HR team and get more information.
  • Publish corporate services information – IT , Finance, Audit, HR, Payroll, Administration. Employees can search and find info on services quickly and connect with the team to learn additional info.
  • Integrate or sync to email/calendar functions – Employees can manage the emails/calendar within the platform or view the collaboration activities within the email platform.
  • Integrate to audio, video conferencing and IM capabilities – Employees can discover people based on profile/skills and quickly connect with them based on their availability/connection status. This brings the “human” element into the collaboration platform.
  • Integrate to project portals – Publish portfolio, status, news & updates and feed it to the activity stream based on employee subscription/interest. Employees based on their subscription can get a 360 degrees view of the project – strategy alignment, sponsors, team, status updates, action items etc and connect with them to collaborate or find more info about the project.
  • Integrate to IT help desk system – Employees can submit tickets, request status updates and collaborate with the IT team.
  • Integrate to business applications (CRM, BI) – Employees can view or share customer info/leads to the appropriate group and collaborate, they can access BI reports and share them with the groups and collaborate to discover more insights.
  • Integrate to enterprise search – Employees can do enterprise search and get results from intranet and collaboration platform rather than doing separate searches in each platform. This is similar to how Google and Bing displays search results from Twitter within the results.

Employees should get the necessary info based on their interest and subscription in a timely manner for them to take the necessary actions.

It may be daunting to do some or all the above. “Yes” it is. Try your best to implement some of the above. Most of the platforms in the market have very good APIs or web services to do the above integration to push/pull information. If these services are not available, think of different ways how you can bring this information (even at a higher level) into the collaboration platform or feed info back.

5. Provide seamless integration to key Enterprise Applications – “In the Flow”

Provide a seamless integration to key enterprise applications such as CRM, Corporate directory and BI systems. This will provide a lot of value to employees to get work done easily and faster and make it as part of their work processes.

If a sales person is working on an active prospect/lead, this info is usually captured in a CRM system. How about if this info is shared with a group of employees or to a specific group from the CRM system to the collaboration platform? Others in the organization can provide valuable info or collaborate on this lead which may help the sales person to close in on the lead. How about if an employee queries customer info in the CRM system (based on security) right from the collaboration platform? Based on the info the employee gets from the CRM system, the employee can share this info with others or a specific group and discover more info.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access the CRM info.

A BI report is usually sent via email or by auto distribution to the team and management on a regular basis. The team typically analyzes the report, may be exchange some insights via email, phone or meetings. How about if this BI report is fed into the group’s page or activity stream from BI system automatically? This way the team can collaborate on the report, share ideas, insights etc and others can collaborate or react on the info.  All this info is captured for future references and can be discovered easily by keywords or context instead of going back to the emails or meetings notes that not everyone has easy access.

6: Provide Seamless Integration to Document & Digital Media Management – “In the Flow”

Managing & sharing documents (applies to digital media as well) efficiently and effectively is an “art” than “science”. This is one of the most common tasks that employees performs to do their day-to-day work tasks. Typically employees spend a lot of time managing and searching for documents and they share the documents through emails/file shares. By doing this, documents are all over the place – file servers, document portals, emails, ftp servers etc.

If you have a document management system (Google docs, Box, Dropbox, Sharepoint etc) to manage and store your documents – your life is much easier. How about if you can integrate/embed the documents within the collaboration platform workspaces/pages – groups, strategy, projects, intranets etc and tag them appropriately.

By doing this integration, you can create and store the documents in the document management system and you can collaborate/share within the collaboration platform. Now you have content + people in one place. Employees can see who has created the documents and can collaborate with the author to get more info, share more ideas or update the documents. This also triggers an update to the activity stream that others in the platform can view/share. This results in a “true” collaboration and provide more real feeds that employees can take action rather than the “white noise’. Employees can also search for documents (in the document management system based on tags) within the platform rather than going to the document management system.

This approach applies the Lean Management principle. Eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share documents.

7: Implement Strategy Alignment Framework – “In the Flow”

Communicating on strategy and vision to employees is very important for any organization. Typically organizations post the strategy info on the intranet for everyone to view.

How about if this strategy info is published within the collaboration platform? And if each strategy drill-downs to strategy steps, activities & projects is published as well? By doing this way, employees can see the strategy info in detail, business alignment, project alignment, related documents, news & updates, search info quickly, ask questions, share ideas, see how their work is contributing to the overall strategy – all within the collaboration platform.

This improves strategy awareness across the organziation, facilitates learning and helps to break-down silos

8: Implement Project Management & Collaboration Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Strategy/Project Alignment Framework

This is closely aligned with the Strategy framework in #7. The success of any project usually depends on how well you collaborate and communicate with the team and stakeholders. What other platform is more appropriate than the Enterprise Collaboration Platform?

By publishing, managing or integrating all the project info into the collaboration platform, employees can collaborate and share the project info with team or groups, ask questions and share ideas – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Efficient alignment of strategy to projects
  • Dynamic strategic mapping
  • Improved communication, collaboration & interaction among management & employees
  • Efficient project management collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of  strategies, goals & projects
  • Find relevant information faster and easier
  • Share ideas, comments & solutions faster & easily
  • Fosters innovation & creativity to problems
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminate email communication

This approach applies the Six Sigma & Lean Management principle. Improve the quality of project management process & collaboration (“communication defects”) and eliminate the unnecessary steps (“waste”) for employees to access and share project information.

9: Implement Corporate Services Framework - “In the Flow”

Sample Corporate Services Framework

For employees to do their work tasks efficiently and effectively, it’s important for them to be aware of all the corporate services (HR, Benefits, Payroll, Finance, IT, Administration, Printing etc) that are available to them. They need to know how to access relevant info,  services, request new services, report issues/requests and know who are the contacts? The last obstacle you don’t want to have is for employees unable to find the necessary information in time.

This info is typically published  on the intranet. How about if this info is published and managed in the Collaboration Platform via work spaces, groups, wikis etc? This way employees can search and find information easily and quickly, ask questions, share and collaborate ideas, suggest improvements and ask for new services – all of which will feed into the activity stream that others can view/share as well. This leads to less “white noise” and more towards valuable information.

Following are some of the benefits & value.

  • Direct communication between corporate services & employees
  • Improved communication & collaboration
  • Increased employee awareness of corporate services & support available – this is especially helpful for new employees.
  • Find relevant information & updates faster
  • Self-Service, FAQs, self-help resources
  • Improved customer service & satisfaction
  • Drive towards organized communication
  • Eliminated email communication

This approach applies the ITIL principle, share and manage the all the services that are available for employees.

10: Implement Innovation & Idea Center Framework - “In the Flow”

Implement a simple framework for employees to share ideas and suggestions to complex and simple problems provides a great value to the organization. An “idea” usually comes or becomes fruition from a different “idea”. Ideas turn into concepts in turn leads to valuable initiatives that helps the organization. Provide the ability for all ranks of employees to suggest ideas/solutions in the enterprise collaboration platform in a “transparent” way. This will lead to creativity and innovation, boost employee satisfaction and morale across the organization.

Efficient Communication+Collaboration+Interaction+Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally” leads to Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down of Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization

The above adoption strategies & steps results in break-down of silos, facilitate learning, capture knowledge in an efficient way, discover people, skills, expertise and information quickly & easily, manage & collaborate on projects efficiently.

You will need to do the following adoption strategies on a continuous basis to complement the above strategies

  • Do road-shows, conduct hands-on training/workshops, 101 sessions.
  • Recruit passionate evangelists & champions to be the ambassadors and demonstrate the value of the platform and be community managers.
  • Communicate on success stories & business use cases, key metrics, achievements.
  • Introduce new features & capabilities regularly.
  • Recognize top contributors, collaborators & success stories.

Appreciate your feedback and comments. I would like to learn what type of adoption strategies you have implemented at your organization.

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Social Business Strategy – 15 Key Steps for Successful Implementation

July 20, 2011 3 comments

    Key Strategy Steps & Activities for a successful implementation of “Social Business”  platform. These are based on my implementation experience (including lessons learned), reading best practices & articles and listening to other implementers/peers/experts in this space.

Implementing an Enterprise Collaboration platform is different from other projects. This is more of a business project (not a technology project) as it touches all aspects of the business and processes. I recently did a presentation on my “Enterprise Collaboration & Innovation platform” journey at Enterprise 2.0 and CIO: IT Leadership Conferences(Enterprise 2.0 Presentation Link, IT Leadership Strategies Presentation Link)

Well before I list the steps….we need to standardize on the name for this platform (I will leave this to the industry veterans and experts). These are the names I have come across so far – Enterprise 2.0, Enterprise Collaboration, Enterprise Social Collaboration, Social Intranet, Social Enterprise, Social Business, Social Networking for Business.

For this blog, I will use the term “Enterprise Collaboration”. (Under the assumption that you can Collaborate if you are Social). By the way, I am very passionate about this area so some of the steps will be in detail).

Thanks to all who have provided feedback and comments on the steps/activities. I have taken all your input and updated this post. This is one more example of “real-time collaborating” that provides value to me and to all who are interested in this subject. We can/could get the same benefits and value within the enterprise – Share, learn, connect and network (:-


STEP 1: Assessment – Understand the Current Environment/Readiness

  • Assess the leadership support and paradigm. What type of support exists from the leadership team to have an open and transparent collaboration platform in the organization?
  • Conduct surveys, interviews and focus group sessions with stakeholders to understand the challenges and issues they are currently facing, communication and collaboration issues, work flow issues, project delays etc.
  • Assess awareness of social media environment – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Assess readiness of enterprise collaboration in the organization.
  • How is the job getting done? Projects, day-to-day tasks, communication etc.
  • How is the content created, updated, managed and shared? How is the content consumed?
  • What type of relationships exists?
  • Is there an overload or lack of communication? How is communication consumed and shared?
  • What are the current tools and modes of communication & collaboration? How is it used? Is it productive? Does it overlap?
  • What are other peer industries doing in this space? What’s the collaboration benchmark? This assessment will be helpful to know your current state and measure the progress over time.

STEP 2: Develop a compelling Strategy

  • What’s the vision? Where do we want to go? Why do we want to go there?
  • How does it align with the organization’s strategy, goals, objectives & values?

STEP 3: Develop a strong Business Case

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Key Objectives? In terms of Innovation, Idea generation, Collaboration, Communication, Excellence, Learning & Support, Competitive advantage etc
  • How does it align to the strategy?
  • What are the key drivers?
  • Why now? How does having an enterprise collaboration platform help being a “True” & “Efficient” Social Enterprise and compliment traditional/offline collaboration methods?
  • How is this different from Knowledge management tools?
  • Who will benefit? Key stakeholders? Internal (employees), External (customers, partners, vendors)?
  • What are the benefits & “VALUE” in business terms? Productivity, Satisfaction, Process Improvement etc
  • How will engagement and morale improve?
  • What challenges, issues or pain points does this address? If not addressed, what’s the impact?
  • How does it impact other business processes?
  • Key sponsors (Management buy-in is very important on a continuous basis)
  • Investment required? Cost, time and effort?
  • ROI? How about ROE (Return on Engagement)? In this case, ROE should emphasize more on business outcomes, engagement rather than $$$$, Measure the progress.
  • Identify the key metrics – adoption, use, impact, value etc
  • Last but not the least – What are the risks?

STEP 4: Develop a Road map/Implementation Plan

  • Develop a project plan (Agile project methodology is highly recommended)
  • Form a steering committee (advisory council or governance committee)
  • Define requirements & design
  • Evaluate vendors & select the right platform/solution
  • Develop an adoption strategy & plan
  • Develop communication, marketing, change management & training plans
  • Implement solution & adoption strategies (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)
  • Do communication & marketing
  • Conduct training
  • Listen, monitor and analyze usage
  • Do continuous improvements and changes
  • Partner & collaborate with the vendor

STEP 5: Form a Steering Committee (Advisory council or Governance Committee)

  • Define the goals and objectives of the steering committee/council. One of the main goals of this team should be to listen/communicate with the senior leadership and management team and also communicate to the organization as a whole for buy-in and adoption.
  • What are the roles and responsibilities?
  • What will be
  • What decisions will they take?
  • What type of information will they publish and communicate? One of the main deliverables should be ‘Leadership Playbook’ which details out the game plan, communication guidelines. This will help the leadership & senior management team to have an “Unified” message.
  • Identify members – It is recommended to have different members for different stages of the project. This will provide good support & buy-in throughout the project including after go-live. Initial stage – senior management, Design & implementation stage – mid-level management, Roll-out/Post go-live – mix of senior management, mid level management & employees.
  • Meet and communicate regularly with the committee.

STEP 6: Define Requirements & Design

  • Identify & document functional requirements. Map each requirement to the business value, benefits and collaboration patterns. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Identify & document technology requirements. Map each requirement to the functional requirements. Categorize it by importance and weight.
  • Draft a high-level business design & architecture diagram (see sample architecture, cloud security and single sign-on architecture) – in terms of people, process and technology.

Sample Enterprise Collaboration Architecture

Sample Cloud / SaaS Identity Management & SSO Architecture

STEP 7: Evaluate Vendors & Select the right Platform/Solution

  • Document technology vendor selection requirements & criteria (SaaS, Hybrid SaaS etc) linked to the above requirements. Following are some of the requirements to look for in the platform.
  • Click here for sample Enterprise Collaboration platform vendor selection criteria & framework (SaaS) under the ‘Vendor Evaluation & Selection’ section.
  • Evaluate the vendor solution across 4 main categories – Information sharing, communications, social networking and an integrated user experience.
  • Does it meet the SLATES requirement? Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extension & Links
  • What collaboration features & tools are available?
  • What’s the vendor product strategy, road map? Who is the management?
  • Does the vendor keep in the pace with the market especially the growing collaboration market?
  • What type of solution does the vendor provide? SaaS, Hybrid SaaS?
  • How is the product’s architecture and other features tie to the current infrastructure and architecture?
  • What type of APIs or web services are there?
  • What type of security and SSO is provided?
  • What are the licensing terms?
  • What type of support and maintenance provided? What’s the effort for internal IT team?
  • What is the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
  • What type of support will they provide for other integration vendors/partners?
  • Can the information be aggregated from multiple sources & formats?
  • What type of user dashboards/reports and management dashboards/analytical reports are available?
  • Assess how the vendor solution align with these categories and the requirements identified in Step 6?
  • Rank and select the vendor that meet your requirements & objectives.

STEP 8: Develop an Adoption Strategy & Plan (See related post on 10 Key Adoption Strategies)

  • What is the adoption goal, objectives, timeline, metrics?
  • What adoption strategies can be done to achieve maximum business benefit, value & immediate impact?
  • Identify the champions and ambassadors who will market and use the platform initially?
  • What are some of the current communication modes & channels that can be replaced to get maximum adoption?
  • Who will benefit the most? Does it align with the requirement that are ranked high on importance, business benefit & value?
  • What policies & procedures need to be set to get maximum adoption?
  • Identify & document functional adoption use cases – Intranet, RSS, external social media integration, organization wide calendar, resource library, corporate services (legal, IT, finance, HR, audit, administration, travel etc)
  • Identify & document technology adoption use cases – Single Sign-on to other apps, outlook integration, IM integration, document and video integration, audio/video conferencing integration, active directory integration (helps sync the profile data automatically)
  • Identify & document Application adoption use cases – Integration to CRM, HR/Payroll, help desk, BI applications to manage work tasks seamlessly via activity streams within the platform.
  • Identify & document Process adoption use cases – In terms of “In the flow” process, does it improve the process? – Project management & collaboration, communication, strategy alignment to projects, project status reports etc

STEP 9: Develop Communication, Marketing, Change management & Training plans

  • Clearly define and document the communication, marketing, change management & training plan. This is the most important step in the entire project.
  • Communication plan – What needs to be communicated? Leadership Playbook, Guidelines, Policies etc. More emphasis should be on business benefits & value, “What’s in it for me? rather than features and tools. How is this valuable than the email? Who needs to be communicated? What’s the frequency of the communication? How will it be communicated? Where will it be communicated – places, signage etc? How will the new features be introduced without overwhelming the users? Communication needs to occur throughout the project.
  • Marketing plan – How will this be marketed? Newsletters, video, management meetings, social meetings/games, incentives for users who have contributed to the most, social currency, buzz, trivia, innovative ways etc. This will help boost user’s morale and motivation to collaborate and share more info. This will also help them to raise their profile in the organization. Come up with a logo, tag line and maybe an avatar for the platform.
  • Change management plan- “This is the most important of all” – Clearly identify and define what existing processes, activities & tasks will be changed/impacted by this platform. Communicate these to key stakeholders and users earlier on and get buy-in. This plan will help the overall adoption.
  • Training plan – Identify the training requirements in detail – user awareness of social media and tools (see sample video from the guru himself), what training materials needs to be developed, what type of demos and training sessions need to be conducted, what will be the training format – classroom, hands-on, webinars, video tutorials? who will do the training (champions), how often will the training be conducted?

STEP 10: Implement Solution & Adoption Strategies

  • Review and refine the tasks based on requirements & adoption strategies by phase and priority to meet the overall. It is recommended to launch the platform in phases and introduce features gradually. Start with introducing basic features. This will help with adoption, training and usage of the platform and not overwhelm the users.
  • Get approval from management and steering committee.
  • Design, develop, test and implement the solution in a test mode.
  • Communicate on the release & training.
  • Release the solution in a beta/pilot mode, to a few business units.
  • Release the solution to the entire organization.
  • Implement & manage the adoption strategies (community managers, champions, evangelists) to help users to adopt to the new platform, create profiles, create communities, create & share content, use collaboration tools in conjunction with traditional methods, social games/prizes, implement & show the value of the collaboration platform related to the adoption use cases identified in Step 8.

STEP 11: D0 Communication & Marketing

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate – “This says it all”.
  • Communicate on the training.
  • Communicate and market on the business outcomes, benefits, value, use cases, customer testimonials (video recommended), process excellence.

STEP 12: Conduct Training

  • Conduct training sessions – demos, road shows, hands-on, classroom, webinars and video tutorials, Social media 101 sessions.
  • For the hands-on and classroom, conduct it more like a 2 part workshop rather than a presentation/demo. Pair the users (social + non-social media experts+champions), have the users create a page, join a group, send a message, create a project etc, give a group assignment that has many collaboration tasks using the platform, have them present their assignment in the next workshop – I guess you got the idea here.

Step 13: Listen, Monitor and Analyze Usage

  • Continuously listen and monitor the platform usage (metrics).
  • How are we measuring against the metrics?
  • Have a good support/help desk process & system for users to report issues, requests, suggestions & feedback.
  • Do data mining and analysis of the usage and change the implementation and adoption strategies.

Step 14: Do Continuous Improvements and Changes

  • Release changes, new features and improvements in a periodic basis and not all at the same time.
  • Communicate on the new features, success stories, testimonials regularly.
  • Conduct training sessions in many formats continuously.
  • Meet with users on a continuous basis to get their feedback and suggestions, show the new features and tools.
  • Meet with the steering committee/advisory council on a continuous basis (and change the membership regularly).

Step 15: Partner & Collaborate with the Vendor

  • Have a strong partnership with the vendor rather than a just a vendor-client relationship. You will need their support on a continuous basis. This will need to be “Win-Win” relationship.
  • Be part of the customer council/committee to hear about the new features, product road map and strategy, suggest features & enhancements.
  • Do presentations and webinars at the industry conference & vendor’s events. This is the best opportunity to showcase your solution, network with other customers/peers and provide a good opportunity to share & learn.


  • Effective Communication + Collaboration + Interaction + Sharing Knowledge & Ideas “Naturally Leads To” Process Improvement, Process Excellence, Break Down Silos, Creativity & Innovation across the Organization
  • In order to be a “True” Social Enterprise to efficiently & effectively collaborate & interact with customer & partners, it is very important for employees to collaborate and interact internally with the Enterprise Collaboration platform. This will also be useful and come in handy when software vendors (ERP, CRM, User Computing) start adding more of social collaboration tools to their products (many of the vendors have already started doing this).
  • The increasing number of young generation employees (Gen X & Gen Y) and the integrated global business networks are driving the need for new & better collaboration tools necessary. To meet tomorrow’s organization’s needs, we cannot work on yesterday’s tools? It is time to move and look beyond emails, file shares and static intranet (< or = Web 1.0) as the business communication & collaboration tools.
  • Enterprise Collaboration platforms should bridge the gap between Gen X/Y and Gen E, align with Gen E’s work processes, culture and gradually make them comfortable on using the new tools.
  • Encourage “Culture” of sharing & collaboration across the organization.
  • Last but not the least – Communicate on the value created by using the Enterprise Collaboration platform regularly.

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