Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

News Analysis: Gainsight Spring 2014 Release Targets Large Enterprises Making The Transition To #DigitalBiz

Customer Success Management Pioneer Adds Key Functionality For March 2014 Release

On March 18th, Mountain View, CA based Gainsight announced the Spring 2014 release of its customerssuccess management platform.  Led by CEO Nick Mehta, the cloud software vendor has received over $29M in funding from key investors such as Bain Capital, Battery Ventures, Capital Innovators, Cultivation Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, and Summit Partners.  In addition to the latest release, the company added two industry veterans Sherif Botros from SAP as Chief Data Scientist and Puja Ramani from Facebook as Director of Product Management and Analytics.

Five key features designed for the largest of enterprises were announced for the Gainsight Spring 2014 release and include:

  • Support for sponsor tracking with LinkedIn and InsideView. New feature takes contacts listed in a client’s CRM system and monitors status changes in InsideView and Linkedin.  Known as Gainsight Sponsor Tracking, the feature also adds relevant news, events, and CRM intelligence.  These additional, external data points factor into a holistic customer health score that includes usage, support, engagement, and and other relationship health metrics.

    Point of View (POV):
    A top root cause for churn is an executive sponsor’s departure.  The automated system serves as an early warning indicator when status changes for key contacts to help provide the advantage of time and insight when protecting renewals and future upsell.  The feature also locates potential advocate or customers to on board.
  • Delivery of a Salesforce1 mobile app .  The Gainsight Salesforce1 Mobile App integrates natively with Salesforce (see Figure 1).   The Gainsight offering allows users access on Android and iOS phones and tablets.  Alerts, tasks, customer health data, and survey feedback are integrated with Salesforce system data.

    (POV):
    Mobility tops this year’s list of key enabling digital technologies in almost every Constellation survey.   Customers can take advantage of in-between and wait times to update customer health and fill notes via the application.  Many existing customers expect that this feature will improve team productivity from 10 to 25%.

Figure 1. Gainsight Delivers a Native Integration To Salesforce1

  • Release of  Gainsight Success Snapshots. As a new data visualization publishing feature, the solution helps clients build and publish data filled presentations, executive updates, and QBR reports.  Users can populate presentations with customer queries or templated reports.

    (POV):
    Customers seek not only good reporting tools, but also consumer grade user experience and ease of use. Data visualization tools play a key role in effectively democratizing the data to decision process among stakeholders championing customer success.

Event Report: The Evolution And Maturation of @Tibbr at #Tucon2013, the Tibco User Conference

tibbr Continues To Show Momentum In Customer Adoption And Addition Of Key Enterprise Social Features

On October 14th to 17th 2013, the Tibbr enterprise social crowd mingled with the core Tibco faithful at this year’s TUCON 2013 user conference in Las Vegas.  (An analysis of the broader Tibco announcements can be found from my colleague Holger Mueller).  While the Tibbr team continues to build synergies with the core Tibco offering in Big Data, Events, Integration, and BPM, the Tibbr team also made key announcements that include:

  • tibbr crosses the 6.5M users adoption mark. The team announced paid user growth from 1.2M to 6.5M in over a year.  Distribution partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), KPN, and T-Systems highlight future opportunities for growth.

    POV:
    The team’s partnerships and geographic expansion in Latin America and EMEA have paid off. With an entry point of $12 per user per month, 6.5M users represents a sizable growth in subscriber base, even after enterprise wide discounting.  Given the virality of successful enterprise social networks (ESN), tibbr could prove to be a key cross-sell lead gen for the rest of Tibco’s products.
  • tibbr Files and partnership with Huddle. tibbr Files allows customers to integrate with existing content and file systems such as Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Huddle, and SharePoint.  Users can access tibbr to view conversations, work on files, and collaborate through the tibbr interface.  the tibbr team announced its partnership with Huddle at Tucon 2013.

    Point of View (POV):
    Customers have been clamoring for more out of the box integration options to unify content repositories.  The partnership with Huddle is crucial for organizations that rely on Huddle’s security mechanisms.  In tibbr, users retain their security, permissions, and versions when accessing Huddle’s files.
  • tibbr Tasks. tibbr Tasks provides social task management capabilities.  Users can create tasks in process, track and update tasks via social channels, and manage a visual portfolio of tasks across all project management tools.

    POV:
    Tasks are a key requirement for supporting Purposeful Collaboration as described by colleague Alan Lepofsky. Many customers have deployed tibbr to unify disparate business processes.  The addition of tasks embedded in enterprise social will improve collaboration at the business process level.
  • tibbr Pages. The new pages product allows users to publish content within and outside the organization.  Pages also retains tibbr security rules.

    POV:
    The tibbr team takes a stab at the proliferation of Microsoft SharePoint kudzu with its own application.  By enabling users to find, publish, and share, the tibbr team adds another key tool to enabling content creation and collaboration for users.

Figure 1. The Tucon 2013 Scene and New Tibbr App Screen Shots



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Source: 2013 R Wang and Insider Associates. All rights reserved.

The Bottom Line: tibbr Emerge As A Key Player For Enterprise Social

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Event Report: Day 1 At Oracle Open World 2013: The Quest For Innovation #oow13

Past Oracle Open Worlds Have Disappointed Customers and Partners

Let’s be frank.  The past five years at Oracle Open World have disappointed even the faithful.   The over emphasis on hardware marketing and revisionist history on cloud adoption bored audiences.  The $1M paid advertorial keynotes had people walking out on the presenters 15 minutes into the speech.  Larry Ellison’s insistence on re-educating the crowd on his points subsumed the announcements on Fusion apps.   Even the cab drivers found the audience tired, the show even more tiring.

Oracle went from hot innovative must attend event to has been while most industry watchers, analysts, and media identified shows such as Box’s BoxWorks, Salesforce.com’s DreamForce, and Exact Target’s Connections as the innovation conferences in the enterprise.  These events such as Constellation’s Connected Enterprise, capture not only the spirit of innovation but also provide customers a vision to work towards.  Hence, most believe Open World could use much needed rejuvenation and a shot of innovation juju (see Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Oracle Open World Lights Up San Francisco From September 22nd to September 27th

“Next Slide Please”: Oracle Enters A Period Of Reinvention At #OOW13

Walking through the event on Saturday (Day 0) and today (Day 1), one will notice a slight change in the spirit of the event. While half the base is die hard Oracle Red Stack customers (i.e. those who grew up from database to middleware to apps), the good news is the other half of the Oracle customers who came in through acquisition (i.e. or some say by accident) are present in larger numbers.  These customers by acquisition sought best of breed, took more risks, and fought in some cases not to be on the Oracle Red Stack.

For Oracle to win the innovation battle, the company must win over the mind share of the Oracle customers by acquisition.  In fact, these customers represent the early adopters representing market leaders and fast followers while the core Oracle Red Stack is more cautious adopters and laggards (see Figure 2).  Market leaders and fast followers have key components required for successful building blocks of corporate IT and often have line of business leaders that push the envelope.  Oracle must tap into that spirit in order to move its base forward towards innovation.

Figure 2. Organizational DNA Determines Pace And Appetite For Disruptive Tech Adoption

Open World 2013 Attempts To Change The Tenor Of Oracle’s Outward Conversation

In the spirit of innovation, attendees can expect six distinct mega themes to emerge from this uber event catering to 60,000 physical attendees and potentially 100,000 online.

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Tuesday’s Tip: It’s Time To Consolidate Social Business Platforms

Greater Adoption In Social Business Signifies A Move To Consolidate Platforms

Constellation’s buy-side clients tend to fit in the market leader or fast follower categories when it comes to organizational personas of disruptive technology adoption.  Since 2010, respondents have progressed through the DEEPR framework and the latest results from 2012 indicate that most survey respondents have moved to Level 3 (see Figure 1).  Changes between 2010 and 2012 show the following top three priority shifts as users move from Level 2 (Experimentation) to Level 3 (Evangelization):

  • The top challenge among respondents is choosing the right platform (63.8%) among the many inside an organization.
  • Over half (56.8%) of the respondents have incorporated social into business models.
  • Respondents fostering internal collaboration (53.5%) now must worry about adoption challenges.

Figure 1. Respondents Shift to Level 3 in DEEPR Framework for Social Business Adoption

The Bottom Line.  Its Time To Scale The Technology While Pushing Ahead On Innovation

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Market Maker 1:1: Steve Miranda, Oracle Fusion Applications Update – The Inside Story

The Inside Story On Oracle Fusion Apps At The End of 2012


Constellation sat down with Steve Miranda, Oracle’s Executive Vice President of Oracle Applications Product Development to discuss the state of Oracle Fusion Apps in a no-holds barred honest conversation about what’s working, what’s not, and what to look forward to in 2013.

R “Ray” Wang (RW): Steve Miranda is Executive Vice President of Oracle Applications Product Development. He is responsible for leading all aspects of product strategy, product development, and product delivery for Oracle’s applications and related cloud services. This includes Oracle Fusion Applications and Oracle’s newest products for customer service and support, commerce, and talent management.

Mr. Miranda joined Oracle in 1992 and has held a variety of leadership positions within the development organization. In 2007 he was asked to lead the engineering of Oracle’s next-generation suite of software applications, Oracle Fusion Applications. Under Mr. Miranda’s leadership, Oracle has continually delivered on its promise to help its applications customers innovate and remain competitive while leveraging their existing IT investments and increasing the value of those investments with new Oracle products and services.

Prior to Oracle, Mr. Miranda worked at GE Aerospace. He holds degrees in mathematics and computational sciences from Stanford University.

 

CATCHING UP ON ORACLE FUSION APPLICATIONS TRACTION

(RW): As 2012 is coming to an end it is a good time to reflect on how Oracle Fusion Applications has been doing this year. It would seem that Oracle’s been quite quiet about Oracle Fusion Applications throughout the year. Is the product selling? What’s the state of the Oracle Fusion Applications product lines?

Steve Miranda(SM): Oracle Fusion Applications is doing very well. We’re actively selling the product. In fact, we already have over 400 customers on Oracle Fusion Applications. We’re doing better than Salesforce.com when they started. Keep in mind, we have a rich customer base looking for innovation.

RW: When you say “Oracle Fusion Applications is selling well”, is that the whole suite or components of Oracle Fusion Applications?

SM: We are actively selling the product. More than 400 customers are on Oracle Fusion Applications, that’s any part of Oracle Fusion Applications, not including RightNow, Taleo, Oracle Business Analytics, or Oracle Fusion Middleware. Two thirds of the customers have chosen to deploy in a SaaS model. Then the second largest deployment model but far below are on-premise and the rest are hosted in our managed services.

RW: Does “managed services” means they own their own license, right?

SM: That’s correct. What’s powerful about these deployments patterns is that customers are accessing innovation faster than before. We are at over 100 live customers and are averaging one go-live a day right now.

RW: I understand that Oracle deployed Oracle Fusion Applications internally? How was that experience in “drinking your own champagne”?

SM: Ray, that’s correct. We did drink our own champagne and we are now using Oracle Fusion CRM internally instead of Siebel.. We have a global single instance for the business. When we deployed, we started out with 2 instances to show case a co-existence approach and an end-to-end Oracle Fusion Applications approach. As of June 1, 2012, Oracle Fusion CRM was up around the world. All the territories, forecasting, quotas, sales force automation, and contacts are in Oracle Fusion CRM globally.

RW: Is it one instance now?

SM: Yes. We also went live w/ Oracle Fusion Financials Accounting Hub on the back end. We replaced Hyperion and Oracle E-Business Suite GL and also went live June 1, 2012. We’ve already done several month-end closes and we also have Oracle Fusion Talent Performance Management up live. Employees and managers are now doing goal setting and appraisals.

RW: To be honest with you Steve, we aren’t seeing Oracle much in head to head competitive new deals. We don’t see big press releases about new wins. Where are the customers? Who’s buying what and why?

SM: Well, first of all, many of our existing customers are coming to us about Oracle Fusion Applications. Second of all, and you may not believe this, we’re not focused on publicity, but rather we want to ensure customer success.. Each go-live is very important to us. In our first set of go-lives, we have 10,000 customers who want to talk to the first 10 go lives. We also don’t want to overwhelm our initial customers.

Let me give you some details and examples so you understand the breadth and depth of what the Fusion Apps base looks like and so there’s no confusion. Here’s a selected slice:

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News Analysis: Spigit Buys CrowdCast To Corner Innovation Life Cycle Market

On September 18, 2012, Pleasanton, CA based Spigit, a social innovation vendor acquired Crowdcast, a San Francisco based social business intelligence pioneer for an undisclosed sum.  Crowdcast Founder/CEO Mat Fogarty and Chief Scientist Leslie Fine will join Spigit’s executive team as part of the acquisition. Crowdcast is backed by Menlo Ventures and Alsop Louie Partners.

Spigit, which has raised over $26M to date, brings 1200+ worldwide customers that can benefit from the Crowdcast offering.  Key customers include MetLife, American Express, Walmart, GE, Pepsico, Nike, Merck, Sprint, Farmers Insurance, CapGemini, and Warner Brothers.  Crowdcast customers include SAP, Boeing, Hershey’s, iARPA, and Electronic Arts.

This acquisition signifies larger trends for customers in the crowdsourcing and innovation market who:

  • Seek the ability to move from crowd sourced data to actionable decisions. Founded in 2007, Crowdcast allows companies to crowd source organizational knowledge and intelligence from employees and partners to improve decision making.  Crowdcast tracks and rewards employees for their accuracy in predictions.  Meanwhile, Spigit Engage provides the key tools  to match social collaboration with traditional work flow. Spigit ICON supports ideation via a question and answer format. As part of the agreement, Spigit will add four Crowdcast patents to its patent portfolio.

    Point of View (POV):
    Spigit’s core customers expect to move beyond social collaboration and ideation in isolation.  Spigit’s integration with Sharepoint, Yammer, Jive, and Facebook will expand the reach of these solutions through partnerships.  In addition, Spigit’s core offerings, Engage and ICON, support the innovation process from concept to execution while Crowdcast delivers innovation from post execution to prediction.  Pairing these two powerful capabilities closes the loop from data to decisions.  With informed people and processes, organizations can seek follow-through to decisions and actions from crowd sourced data.  Should the combined entity achieve integration, customers will achieve this end to end capability.
  • Expect to transform innovation from art to discipline.  As part of the agreement, Spigit will add all of Crowdcast’s patents to its portfolio.  The combination allows customers to take traditionally qualitative approaches and craft repeatable and quantifiable results.

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Monday’s Musings: The New Engagement Platform Drives The Shift From Transactions

Convergence In The Five Forces Of Consumerization Of Technology Drives The Next Big Thing

Social has given us the tools to connect.  Mobile has given us the ability to interact any time and anywhere.  Cloud delivers access points to us with a rich array of content and information.  Big data provides us with the context and information to make decisions.  Unified communications and video transform how we share ideas.  This convergence of the five forces of consumerization drives the next shifts in technology.  The move from transaction to engagement and from engagement to experience is happening now.  The era of transactional apps rapidly makes way for the era of engagement.

If Business Value And Outcomes Are The Goal, Then We Need An Engagement Platform For The Enterprise

The arrival of engagement platforms does not signify time to throw out the transactional systems. In fact, those systems provide the foundation required for engagement.  The engagement layer exposes transactions and allow for deeper interaction and richer sources of information.  However, the transactional systems lack the ability to support engagement.

In fact, organizations around the world struggle with building the right engagement strategy for their customers and employees.  While crafting the right strategy should be designed prior to any technology selection, once completed, the technology to support the strategy does not exist out of the box from ANY solution provider.  Unfortunately, the technologies to achieve engagement remain disparate and hodge podge.   Many solution providers seek to achieve the engagement layer from different heritages:

  • Pure play social solutions morph to engagement apps.  Vendors such as Broadvision, Jive, Moxie, Lithium, Tibco, and Yammer have delivered many elements of the engagement layer.  These horizontal offerings provide an opportunity to assimilate disparate offerings across multiple processes and roles.  The challenge is finding the tools that support consistent integration at the process, meta data, and data layer.  Gamification vendors such as Badgeville, Bunchball, BigDoor, Crowdtwist, and Gigya play a key role in delivering outcomes and influencing behavior through engagement.  Platforms such as Atlasian, Box, GoodData, and Tidemark open the door to a new era of engagement apps.
  • Legacy transactional systems in transition to engagement. Major ERP and CRM vendors seek to address engagement with “social” and “mobile” features.  While many of the vendors have the components for engagement, the struggle will be to embed a sense and respond design point into both the interaction layer and process flows.  Salesforce embraces the social enterprise and uses Chatter as its entry point in creating engagement.  SAP attempts this with its CubeTree/SuccessFactors acquisition in Project Robus.  Oracle attacks this problem through a customer experience suite.  Microsoft acquired Yammer to create this layer inside Office and its Business Solutions portfolio. IBM embraces social business with a series of acquisitions and product enhancements to its IBM Connections product.  More importantly, IBM has built and acquired a portfolio of software solutions that sit on top of the legacy transactional systems, delivering high value and high impact.
  • Consumer offerings could enter the enterprise. With consumerization of IT increasing, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter provide a rich engagement platform that could be adopted in the enterprise.  Meanwhile, solutions providers such as Adobe blend consumer with enterprise as they provide the tools for engagement on the web and in mobile.  The challenge is dealing with societal norms between work and personal information.  The challenge is meeting enterprise class requirements for safety, security, and sustainability.
  • Vertically integrated prosumer platforms already deliver engagement. Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have the unique capability of delivering an end to end solution from hardware, consumer device, operating system, database, applications, and partner ecosystem.  Engagement platforms form the basis of future business models as consumer and enterprise blend into prosumers.  The challenge is meeting the disparate needs of enterprise and consumer.
  • Marketing and advertising networks provide rich profiles and targeting.  The ad networks are moving fast to shift engagement and offers.  While daily deal sites play one role, companies like Glam Networks also now deliver key components for ad targeting and optimization that compete with Google, Apple, Yahoo, and other media properties.   Marketing automation platforms such as
    Eloqua, Hubspot, InfusionSoft, Marketo, NeoLane, Pardot, and Parature already have may key components.  The challenge is engendering trust among the users or consumers to share more information in exchange for deemed value.

Figure 1. Technologies Will Evolve  From Transactions to P2P

The Engagement Platform Requires Nine Main Technology Components

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Tuesday’s Tip: Dealing With The Real Problem In Social Business Adoption – The People!

Social Business Adoption Dependent On Employee Adoption

Social business is more than a technology decision.  Many eager early adopters face challenges in adoption past the initial core team.  As we move from eager early adopters to ubiquitous usage, an examination of some organizations who have failed at internal social business reveals five common barriers to adoption:

  1. Poorly defined incentives. In the rush to convince everyone to work with each other, most organizations fail to design meaningful incentives for adoption.  The reality – most folks collaborate only when they need to, not when they are told to.
  2. Increase in actual effort. For many in the workforce, collaboration often means more work, not less work.  Connectedness results in more interactions, some less meaningful than others.  Increase in effort often shifts the status quo resulting in internal resistance.
  3. Lack of choice in user experience. Time and time, people want to use the tool they are most comfortable with.  For example, activity streams make sense for some folks who are used to high frequency, always on, information flows.  However, those accustomed to using email as a task list and structured approach to filing information will find discomfort with activity streams.
  4. Indifference to change. Inertia to do nothing often outweighs the calls for change.  The workforce often prefers to do things the way they always have been.  The workforce has seen many changes and at this point face change fatigue.
  5. Failure to communicate the urgency.  Business model shifts are not easy to communicate to the workforce.  Veteran employees often develop coping mechanisms that define the new change as a reincarnation of the old change without understanding the nuance or urgency.

Overcoming Barriers Of Adoption Require A Mix of New and Classical Change Management Techniques

Despite compelling benefits to achieve better collaboration among teams, improved engagement among the workforce, and faster speed of internal communication, adoption efforts require careful design.  As with any organizational change, it’s the people, stupid!  The five barriers can be countered with the following five strategies (see Figure 1.): More…

Monday’s Musings: Why Are Innovative CIO’s Betting Less On Cloud And Virtualization?

Innovative CIO’s Betting On Disruptive Technologies That Impact Enterprise Business Value

In the Four Personas of the Next Gen CIO published March 3, 2012, four personas of the CIO were identified: Chief Infrastructure Officer, Chief Integration Officer, Chief Intelligence Officer, and Chief Innovation Officer (see Figure 1).  This research of 79 progressive CIO’s identified the key projects for each of the personas.  As part of the survey, respondents were asked what key disruptive technologies would make an impact in the enterprise in the next year.

Figure 1. The Four Personas Of The Next Generation CIO

Source: Constellation Research, Inc.

In Constellation’s latest update (to be published May 2012), 105 innovative CIOs participated in the survey.  The results indicate a shift away from cloud  (56.4%-2012) and virtualization (29.6% – 2012) to mobile (60.2%-2012) and big data and analytics (48.7%-2012) (see Figure 2).  Despite being the top projects in 2011, the drop in priority of virtualization (51.9%-2011) and cloud (69.6%-2011) doesn’t reflect the lack of interest.  In fact, these projects have matured and innovative CIOs have now prioritized the next wave of innovation.

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Vendor Event: Evolution vs. Revolution: Strategies to Build Stronger Collaborative/Social Organizations

Title: Evolution vs. Revolution: Strategies to Build Stronger Collaborative/Social Organizations

Start Date: 2011-12-14  11:00 am EST
End Date: 2011-12-14   12:00 pm #ST

Join R “Ray” Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, for insights from over 100 smart businesses putting the power of social business to work. Hear why many successful collaboration initiatives start by applying a user centric approach that takes advantage of existing work paradigms such as email and builds upon existing infrastructure such as Microsoft Sharepoint.

harmon.ie co-founder and CEO Yaacov Cohen will discuss how hundreds of organizations like American Water, Amway, Continental Corporation, Swiss Air and BearingPoint, Inc. are using social email to successfully transform into social businesses. Social email employs a gradual, evolutionary approach that maximizes the investment in existing infrastructure while minimizing the changes to everyday work habits.

Join this exclusive webcast to:

  • Learn why people and culture are the main impediments to achieving a collaborative/social organization
  • See how to execute an evolutionary user-centric social business strategy that eases people into new technologies
  • Discover how organizations use harmon.ie social documents to bring ‘social’ to every business user

Register here

Disclosure

Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us. For the full disclosure policy, stay tuned for the full client list on the Constellation Research website.

Copyright © 2011 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.

Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Bobby Yazdani, Saba

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Bobby Yazdani, CEO and Founder, Saba


Biography

Bobby Yazdani is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Saba. He was an industry pioneer in creating the Human Capital Management category in 1997, and has grown Saba into a $100 million+ profitable enterprise software business providing premier software and service solutions for people management and collaboration.

Saba’s people platform enables enterprise learning, performance and compensation management, succession planning, and workforce planning that align, engage, develop, mobilize, and foster collaboration across employees, customers, and partners. The company has been recognized by leading industry analysts for excellence and innovation in unified people management, collaboration, and social networking, and serves a roster of over 1,400 customers with more than 19 million users across 150 countries. Saba’s solutions are available on-premise or on-demand.

Saba’s customers are global leaders across a broad range of industries and public sector organizations, and include BMW, Daimler AG, IBM, The American Red Cross, Procter and Gamble, Medtronic, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy, among many others. Bobby is a frequent spokesperson at industry events held by organizations such as the United Nations and The Economist. Prior to founding Saba, Bobby held various senior R&D management positions at Oracle Corporation.

Bobby has a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers?

Bobby Yazdani (BY): The world of work is changing – and we fundamentally believe social computing and cloud computing is at the heart of this. It impacts the speed, quality, expectations and characteristics of how we work. You can draw parallels between social computing and the effect email has had on the way we work, in terms of its transformative impact in how we engage and communicate.

Our customers who are embracing social computing are finding that it’s dramatically changing the way they interact with their employees, customers, partners and suppliers. Through social computing, they’re creating significantly more transparency, increasing the speed of business, and generating and sharing more ideas and knowledge across their entire value chain – we call this the People Network.

2. What makes social computing disruptive?

(BY): Information used to be at the center of the workplace, but now people are. This is without a doubt the single most disruptive change brought about by social computing.

Social computing is not just about sharing information but connecting people in real time – all the time – on a global and local basis. It’s essentially destroying the “functional organization” that’s based on a model of hierarchy, and replacing it with a fluid model that dramatically increases the rate of innovation, enables more intimate interaction and sharing of ideas and initiatives.

Social computing allows organizations to unleash the collective wisdom of the People Network to deliver real-time insights that effectively drive innovation and increase productivity. Work can be done wherever talent resides, increasing efficiencies and making people more effective.

3. What is the next big thing in Social Computing?

(BY): Social business is going to become both global and local. It will be prescriptive, open and organic, and will involve both public and private social connections. And content will be highly curated and personalized to the experience of the way we work. This more dynamic environment will liberate employees, create better customer experiences, and yield new values to the entire organization value chain.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?

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Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Rob Tarkoff
, Lithium Technologies

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Rob Tarkoff, President and CEO Lithium Technologies


Biography

Rob Tarkoff is president and CEO of Lithium Technologies, the leader in Social Customer Solutions.

Before assuming the CEO role at Lithium, based in Emeryville, Calif., Rob was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Adobe Systems’ Digital Enterprise Solutions business unit that had annual revenue in excess of $1 billion. Rob pioneered Adobe’s Customer Experience Management strategy, and was responsible for the core Acrobat, Adobe Connect Web conferencing, Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, and customer experience management offerings. He oversaw the Web content management and digital asset management solutions gained through Adobe’s acquisition of Day Software. Rob also led Adobe’s worldwide enterprise solution partnerships, including system integration partners and strategic ISVs.

Before Adobe, Rob held several executive positions at EMC Corporation, Documentum, Inc. and Commerce One.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers.

Rob Tarkoff (RT): Social computing is changing the way marketers and line of business executives interact with their customers. It’s not another channel. It’s a philosophy. It’s a key way that customers experience brand.

The larger question is: “How do you design, build, deploy and manage an effective solution in the midst of massive evolution?” And, unfortunately, there is no common interpretation of social. Some get it fundamentally wrong when they view this only as a channel. Some are enlightened with a new philosophy to serve their customers.

Today, we face an expectations-gap between the consumer world and business environment. Employees and customers yearn to experience software and offerings as social and community based, whether it’s shopping, gaming, or internal collaboration.

What’s interesting is there is a generational gap here. People are very interested in including their reference peer group in everything they are doing with recommendations and experience sharing. A slightly older demographic may see the value of social, yet have not implemented that into everything they do. They see it as a major advantage, but may not fundamentally know how they want to engage with the ongoing experience

Meanwhile, the 40 to 50 year old demographic is engaged. They have to think about social the same way they think about rich media. For this group, social media is a rich media. This medium provides new ways to interact and experience. They expect these paradigms to be designed into everything.

2. What makes social computing disruptive?

(RT): The major disruption is the change in the power balance. Consumers have the power because they can quickly amplify their experience with admiration for a brand they love or rally their connections to hear their injustice. Companies are responding as much as they are leading. We now have the customer-network effect.

With social on everyone’s mind, company authenticity gains in importance. You can’t hide stuff in a social world because everything you do is on Twitter and Facebook. The major disruption is people have all the power and expect to use the power to surface whether or not a company is authentic.

Is a company doing what it says it’s doing? Are they true to the core of what they are about?

People are more willing to tweet or post on Facebook about a bad experience than call a company to tell them they had a bad interaction. This makes the way companies must respond to customers very different. And, you need to build this competency into your call centers and at every customer touch point.

Now, the only way to differentiate yourself and experience is through service and customers experience. Some may some say this is a major challenge, but those who have embraced can make the social customer experience an opportunity to differentiate, accelerate sales, and build brand advocacy.

3. What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

(RT): We have spent years uncovering what makes communities so powerful. Today, we are working on helping business executives understand the business impact. There are a lot of start-ups and un-proven technologies in the market creating confusion. At Lithium, we’re interested in understanding the effect of communities on people’s loyalties. What makes a community tick? What makes them sustainable? What makes a visitor return? Tell their friends? These are critical aspects for business executives to understand and core to social business software.

Interactions must be much more interactive and dynamic. I can’t stress enough how important it is that companies focus on the health of their communities, guiding them to create, encourage and reward brand advocates.

Social business software also helps drive down customer service costs. But this really is so much bigger than containing costs. We’re changing the competitive dynamics across entire industries.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?

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