Enterprise 2.0: part 2 – the world around us has changed, forever.

The following article is published through pharmaphorum and is the second in a series about Enterprise 2.0.

The digital revolution has changed the world we live in. During the first wave of the revolution, back in the nineties, we gained access to an incredible amount of information. During the second wave, which started in the early 2000’s, we were able to add information ourselves –  our experiences, opinions, thoughts, comments, ratings and reviews about products and services. Today, the digital revolution has become mobile, where we hold the internet in the palm of our hand with smart-phones and iPads.

Many companies, especially B2C, jumped on the bandwagon of interactive communication, where they saw great opportunities for their marketing activities. But, as discussed in part one of this series, it’s more than just the additional marketing channel that makes the revolution. It has an impact on the way we are organised as a business,  and this goes as deep as our blueprint, our DNA and our identity. This revolution is cultural.

Looking more closely at the changes around us we can identify six trends. These trends reveal the need for companies to prepare themselves for a major change: to reorganise themselves from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0. Let’s take a closer look at these six trends.

“…it’s more than just the additional marketing channel that makes the revolution.”

1. Information overload

As a result of the digital revolution, the amount of information that we have to manage is increasing at an almost daily level. Information that frequently is difficult to find on our intranets. In addition, managing our email is a continuous struggle for many. Who doesn’t have a sort of love-hate relationship with their inbox? The amount of energy wasted within companies with data management is enormous. Although interactions costs (e.g. real life meetings) go down, the volume of interactions is headed towards infinity, leading to unproductive complexity, frustration within the workforce, increased bureaucracy and unmanageable communication (Fig 1, electronic survey McKinsey Quarterly 2005).

Fig 1: Struggle with communication complexity (based on survey McKinsey Quarterly, July 2005)

*80% of those reporting “communication unmanageable” admit having difficulty fulfilling their key responsibilities.

2. Limited access to interactive technologies 

At home, we are used to fast internet connections, enabling us to upload, download and consume video, connect to our friends and family through social networks and talk real-time with each other via Skype. Coming to work, many of us still experience something different: websites such as YouTube and Facebook are blocked as non-productive sites, Flash videos cannot be viewed as the flash player cannot be installed and if you’re lucky to access online video, then frequently bandwidth is the limiting factor of a smooth experience. And that’s not all, the hardware available to the average workforce (computers, mobile phones) are very often seen as costly devices pressing on the annual budgets, rather than devices that improve people’s performance. Back home, the workforce emits sighs of relief, setting themselves behind their brand new and beloved iMac.

3. Cloud computing

More and more services are offered through ‘the Cloud’, which means that databases, file services, email and applications are available through external online servers. No software is required to be installed on the user’s computer, other than a web-browser. Examples of Cloud applications are Hotmail, Google Docs and Salesforce.com. Advantages of cloud computing are that the  applications are accessible anywhere at anytime from any platform (desktop, laptop, smartphone) with the latest versions of the software available. Moving from the comfortable, ‘behind the firewall’ applications to cloud services that are out in the ‘big bad world’ is a tough choice to make for many organisations. Again, the loss of control is bothersome to them, while it may serve the employee’s productivity and in the end can lead to significant cost savings on license fees and service contracts.

“As a result of the digital revolution, the amount of information that we have to manage is increasing at an almost daily level.”

4. Generation gap 

As a result of the digital revolution we can divide the current population into two generations: digital immigrants and digital natives. A digital native is someone who is born after the introduction of digital technologies, let’s say around 1980. A digital immigrant is someone born before the introduction of digital technology. The difference between these two groups is the way they adopt these technologies and integrate them in their lives. With the speed of technological developments increasing, more and more digital immigrants struggle keeping up, leading to conflicts between managers and supervisors (DI’s) and the younger workforce (DN’s).

5. Social, social, social 

Social networking has surpassed email both in number of users and in time spent (Morgan Stanley, Internet Trends, June 2010). This means that people prefer social interaction through online networks over the rather one-dimensional and more impersonal email. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to socialise”, according to Brian Solis, Principal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such a manner that you’re not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organisational structure of a company. “Any division within an organisation that is effected by outside influence is going to have to socialise”.  Eventually social media instruments will become as mainstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

6. The Network Society 

Modern society is in a process of becoming a network society. Through the internet we’re constantly connected and becoming less dependent on face to face communication. It’s as Jan van Dijk describes in his book The Network Society that the internet brings interpersonal, organisational and mass communication together. This means we’re moving from centrally and hierarchically organised companies (e.g. Sony, Microsoft, Shell) to true network organisations (e.g. Facebook, Google, Amazon). The main difference between the two extremes is that in the latter the user is more in control and wants to be involved and engaged. This is illustrated by the development in the music industry over the last decade. Music is booming, and artists and consumers have taken over control from big corporations.

These six trends are disruptive to any industry, including pharma. These trends scare CEO’s and management teams. Losing control over their employees and the way they work gives them nightmares. But is that justified? Can we allow ourselves to perform ‘ostrich politics’ by sticking our heads in the sand, hoping it will all pass in a few years? Or is now the time to pick up the challenge and start redesigning our organisations?

“…the volume of interactions is headed towards infinity, leading to unproductive complexity, frustration within the workforce, increasedbureaucracy and unmanageable communication”

Most companies still have an organisational structure designed for the 20th century: hierarchical, directive, silo-structured and sales-driven (aka Enterprise 1.0). Especially in our ‘knowledge-intensive companies’ we need to mobilize the minds of our workforce in such way that we offer them freedom to do their jobs, give them access to information, provide them with a network that enables them to connect with peers and the likeminded and stimulate collaboration and co-creation (aka Enterprise 2.0). Not only will such company create an environment that motivates people and retains talent, it also will lead to an increase in net income per employee.

So the challenge is the organisational redesign of our companies. Moving from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0. The key is the employee. Because, as with the music artist and the music lover, that’s where the power is. Create an environment where your employees can excel, where they feel empowered and acknowledged. Give them autonomy to reach (and surpass) their goals, allow them to master their skills and give purpose to what they do. With that you’ll give your workforce the drive to get up in the morning and go to work, motivated.

What do you think is key to establishing Enterprise 2.0?

SXSW 2010: Brian Solis – Organizations need to socialize

Social Media has changed the communication landscape and also the world of business has noticed that. But a Facebook group or a Twitter account is no guarantee for successful participation in the communities of your customers. To achieve that you need to do more. “You need to engage”, according to Brian Solis, Prinicpal at Futureworks and one of the prominent thought leaders in social media.

“As a company or as a brand you need to participate in the conversations in such manner that your not only of added value, but that you also involve your customers in your marketing and service activities.” Because of that social media will have an enormous impact in the organsational structure of a company. “Any division within an organization that is effected by outside influence is goiung to have to socialize”.  Eventually social media instruments will become aminstream as email is today, but before that organisations will need to go through a process of cultural change.

Brian was at SXSW to promote his latest book ‘Engage’, in his words the book that starts where the current scial media books stop. “There is not a single book that goes into this depth, that tells you how to apply social media to your job, how to get resources, how to measure it and how to get support.” We spoke with Brian about his book, about cultural change and about SXSW 2010.

How to create a secure podcast channel for internal podcasting


One of the things which are pretty crucial when you do internal podcasting and deal with sensitive information is the security level you implement in order to protect the sensitive information from unwanted eyes. In the early days when we implemented one of our first podcast series for a pharma company we were shocked to realize that all podcasts showed up in regular podcatch sites such as Odeo. Especially embarassing when Corporate Communications found out about it. Not good.

We learned a lot since. However, most knowledge we learned from trial and error. Surprisingly not a lot can be found on the internet about the process involved. Sure, there are many podcast hosting sites where you can upload your podcast, create a feed and submit it to iTunes. But when you do internal podcasting that is exactly what you do not want to do. Remember, when you use internal podcasting for business purposes two things are important:

1) You do not want your podcast to be found by the Googles in this world
2) You want to password protect your content

In addition, podcasters should in general consider the following as well:

3) You want to be flexible in your decision which hosting service you use
4) You do not want your feed to change since that will result in losing listeners

Regular podcast hosting services are aimed at obtaining an audience as large as possible, and create buzz wherever possible. Internal podcasting wants to stay below the radar, only accessable to selected members.

A few hosting companies have specialized themselves in this area. But not a lot. We have been using Podkive from Genetic Hosting for a while which provides easy creation of the feed through a simple web interface. However, lately they have been having some problems with their uptime, so I decided it was time to investigate other possibilities.

After half a day I think I have figured it out. It does require some logic thinking and I have to admit, it’s not for the technofobes. But it works. Until somebody comes up with an easy point and click system this is what we’ll be using. Let’s have a look.

The ten steps of creating a secure podcast channel:

  1. Take an account with a reliable hosting service which offers password protected directories. I’m not providing any ‘reliable hosting service-lists’ since you can find these plenty on the internet. Make sure that you have sufficient storage and bandwidth.
  2. In your home directory, create two folders: one for the files (video/audio) and one for the XML file.
  3. Password protect the folder with the files. Do not password protect the folder with the XML file.
  4. Upload your content via FTP to your files directory.
  5. Fire up your feed creation software. I use Feeder for that (Mac only, I’m sure Windows has similar programs too). Create your feed. This may require some setting and filling in the right paths where to find the content.
  6. Upload your XML feed via the software to the unprotected folder in your host directory.
  7. Check if your feed works. Copy and paste the feed address in your browser. If all went OK you should get a pop-up window asking for your username/password when you want to access the content.
  8. Now it’s time to make sure you will have the same feed till the end of days. Go to Feedburner.com and burn your just created feed into a Feedburner feed.
  9. Take this feedburner feed (starting with feeds2.feedburner.com/[feedname] and check if it works in your browser. Again you should see a pop-up window asking for your username/password. Fill in your credentials. You should be able to see your content
  10. Copy and paste the Feedburner feed into iTunes (Menu Advanced/Subscribe to podcast…). Hit OK. Fill in your username/password and off you go (remember to check ‘Remember Password’)

Because the folder with your content is password protected, Google spiders can not enter and hence can not find your data. If somebody finds the original path (which is difficult since it goes through Feedburner) they still can’t access your files without udername/password. If you want to change hosting services you just link a new feed to your Feedburner feed. End users won’t see the difference.

We think this is a nifty way of creating a secured channel. Is it 100% secure? Most probably not. Die-hard hackers will be able to hack into everything. And remember: the chain is as strong as the weakest link. Change username/password regularly, especially when people leave the company. And of course the morst important tip of the day: Don’t use sensitive information in your podcasts. We use no absolute figures when we talk about sales developments, only percentages. Treat this digital communication channel as any other. Cautiously.

Final video of Digital Pharma: The Impression

We don’t seem to get enough of that video thingie during the Digital Pharma Congress in Barcelona. This time it’s the impression of the congress itself. Check it out…


First two videos of my presentation at Digital Pharma

Found myself some time to make my ‘SteveNote’ way of my presentation given at Digital Pharma in Barcelona last month. For a detailed report on the event, see here.

I have split my presentation (Best Practices for the Use of Web 2.0 and Social Media Tools for Internal Collaboration) in three parts:

Part 1: The Need for Innovation in Pharma
Part 2: Social Media and Internal Collaboration
Part 3: Best Practices Using Web 2.0 and Internal Collaboration

In this blogpost the first two episodes (it was late, so the third one coming up asap).

Students perform better with podcasting


Something we endorsed some time ago is now ‘scientifically’ proven: the use of podcasting technologies make students perform better in class and is therefore better than the ‘real thing’. According to a study executed by the State University of New York “Podcasted lectures offer students the chance to replay difficult parts of a lecture and therefore take better notes”, says Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who led the study.

To study the differences between traditional ‘live’ attendance to lectures and the ‘on demand’ lectures McKinney had 64 students taking a single class on an introducory psychology course. Half of the students who physically attended the class received a printout of the slides from the lecture. The other 32 downloaded a podcast that included audio from the same lecture synchronised with video of the slides. These students also received a printed handout of the material. They were told that they would have an exam the week after.

The results came out pretty clear: students who downloaded a podcast got a 71 (out of 100) on average, whereby the ‘traditional’ students got a 61. But if you were also taking notes during the listening of the podcast the average score would increase to a wobbling 77.

There are several hypothesis for this variation. One explanatioon could be that new technology is…well.. new. And most young people tend to start trying new technologies fast, and hence adopting it. So what would be the effect if the ‘new’ wears off? Back from scratch?

Having said that, the fact that with a podcast you can determine when and where you can consume your lectures plays in my view a much more significant role compared to the ‘latest and greatest’ motivation. Who doesn’t remember physically being present at a lecture on university, but mentally in another universe? Either because it was just not your timing, of you had a terrible hangover (or both, actually). To complete the disaster you would have a professor trying to squeeze an inhumane number of words in a sentence, preferable without interpunction. Bye bye exame.

But if you would have the same lecture on audio synchonized with the slides? First of all, you would follow that lecture once your hangover gained an acceptable pain-level. Secondly you could rewind the wordcruncher over and over again, just as long as you need to understand the guy. And that helps improving understanding (and thus scores).

We are living in a new world where technology is leading us the way. In the Netherlands, classrooms  don’t have a blackboard. They have a whiteboard, attached to an ethernet socker so you can go on the internet. Teachers can show multimedia presentations, as well as the kids. And kids have their own laptop which they bring to school. Every statement done by the teacher can be doublechecked immediately. These kids need new ways for training and education. They can not be formed and shaped like we were (talking 30+ years ago). But also grown-ups can benefit from these new technologies. May be even more since time is often even less available. Within DigiRedo have proven over and over again that the use of these new tools dramatically increases understanding of your message. And understanding the message is what it is all about. Who’s next?

Twitter, tweets and business

When I ask you whether you are already tweeting on Twitter, do you think about ornithology? Or do you think about collaboration and microsharing?

If you belong to the first group, I highly recommend the watch this video, where all is explained about Twitter and the use of it in business.

Thanks for the tip Shwen (via Twitter, of course)

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