Magazine article Information Today

Keeping Up with Corporate Buzz

Magazine article Information Today

Keeping Up with Corporate Buzz

Article excerpt

It's no surprise that social media is moving into the enterprise in a big way.

In October, experts at Adweek's 2-day Social Media Strategies conference in New York City agreed that social media is quickly infiltrating virtually every facet of our lives. The line that once separated personal and professional lives is in a constant state of flux. In his conference keynote, Greg Coleman, president and chief revenue officer at The Huffington Post, says one reason for this rapid adoption is that social media platforms have become a rich source of news. Twitter is often abuzz with what is hot 12 hours before Google even sends its first alerts.

With consumer adoption of social media and mobile devices at an all-time high, people are taking Facebook, Linkedln, and Twitter with them wherever they roam in and out of work on mobile devices and iPads. And enterprises are now modeling their new collaboration tools after the ones people are comfortable using. Workers are faced with information overload often amid an eclectic mix of enterprise software tools. Enterprises have decided that there has to be a better way to exchange information for the evolving marketplace.

"Right now, if I want to close a deal or give a presentation, it's up to me as an end user to go and piece it all together," says Robin Daniels, director of product marketing for Salesforce.com. "I have to go to my intranet, my email, my file server, our CRM system to collect everything I want to use . . . and meanwhile, I'm wasting a lot of time."

Finding a Better Way

The consumer web has shown us a better way, says Daniels. While eBay and Amazon.com paved the way for intuitive navigation, Twitter and Facebook take it a step further and push information directly to the user. Salesforce.com adopted this push concept and created a free add-on to Salesforce.com called Chatter. As its name implies, Chatter is a quick way to send and receive enterprise-related information to business associates.

"Pushing data to users is just a better way of working," says Daniels. "That's why Chatter is such a game-changer and why 20,000 companies have turned it on in the first 2 months."

Social media tools are being adapted to the specific needs of people in professional roles, says John Blossom, president of Shore Communications, Inc. "For example, Salesforce. corn's Chatter platform enables text-based sharing of short messages and links to media that enable sales and marketing professionals to become more aware of what their peers and clients are doing in the marketplace."

With Chatter, people get to choose whom and what to connect with, and whom they want to follow. Based on those choices, information comes directly to the user. If a salesperson is working on 10 different deals, Chatter sends a message to the user that something changed in the negotiation stage or the close date. "It keeps people informed in near real-time but only about the people and situations [they] want to know about," says Daniels.

Often, the people with the knowledge or the contacts you may need are people you haven't met yet. Chatter can bridge that gap and let people connect and collaborate to make better business decisions.

"Social media as a workflow tool is increasingly prevalent in enterprise markets," says Blossom, "and in fact, it has been with us for a long time. In financial services, trading rooms were equipped with sophisticated 'chat' channels for text and audio communications years ago. …

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