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  • My TEDx Indianapolis is Now Live: Mr. Manager, tear down these (digital) walls!

    In October I gave my first TEDx talk in Indianapolis where the theme was  “Design Learning” and centered around how we learn, how our learning is influenced by our environment, and how to design those environments effectively. I thought what a more apropos theme to share my thoughts and opinions about social learning in the workplace but even more compelling, I would be able to talk about a revolution where learning was not only part of the job, but also the key factor that would bring the workforce into the modern era. By using social software that mimicked the way workers were interacting as consumers, they could tap into the power of truly working together.

    The main point I shared was how our society went from an open forum of collaborative working to a closed cubicled environment where work was isolated to today where we are trapped within the confines of our digital domain. We went from verbally discussing and sharing information to doing our jobs blocked off from the very people who we bounced ideas off of and who filled us in on what was happening. When technology advanced to facilitate and automate our tasks it also gave us something to talk about with each other. But over  time we once again became locked behind digital walls even though the cubicles were dismantled. I was happy to show how we have come full circle and now have the tools to once again collaborate and learn on the job while using all the technology that is available to us. Breaking down the “private office” is now easier than ever and has unleashed a productivity revolution.

    I hope you find my talk intriguing and can walk away with ideas on why bringing the social component into your workplace can lead to increased productivity and a more engaging working environment no matter what your industry is. Everyone is social and that element can now be embraced and used to your advantage.

    TEDx Indianapolis was a wonderful experience and I extend my sincere thanks to the organizers for bringing together such brilliant minds to share, collaborate and learn.

    Meet New Hire Eric Walmer, Who Keeps Our Sales Team Up on the Numbers

    Erik Walmer

    As our new hire Eric Walmer sifts through analytical software and database query applications, we like it when he pops his head out below the cloud so we can give him a thumbs up. With such expert skills as his great ability to communicate in numbers, along with his business-savvy time management sensibilities, we are pleased to share a few more aspects about his life. We put him to the five question inquiry and he even went for the bonus round.

    What were you doing prior to joining Socialtext?

    I was a Business Analyst for EMC which is the market leader in the information storage industry with a revenue of 20 billion dollars in 2011. I supported reporting for Latin America, Federal, Channel and Inside Sales.

    What will you be doing for Socialtext?

    I am a Sr. Sales Operations Analyst. I will be putting sales activity reports together that allow the leadership council to make key business decisions. Sales activity reports that highlight opportunity conversion rates can keep our sales team on the right track.

    Erik Walmer

    What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself.

    Energetic, Upbeat, Passionate.

    What do you do in your free time?

    I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy all types of movies, spending time with my dog who I consider a friend and participating in Swiss wrestling tournaments with my friends.

    What’s has been the most fun moment working for Socialtext so far?

    Jumping in to help resolve trial issues on my first day in the office.

    What gets you fired up about working for Socialtext?

    I am fired up about the opportunity to make suggestions that are put into practice and the chance to gain experience contributing to departments outside of my own.

    Socialtext Customer McKesson Earns a Spot on The Brainyard’s List of Top Seven Social Business Leaders for 2012!

    Pop the champagne! I’d like to congratulate Tim Kelly, Executive Director of Customer Support at McKesson on being named as one of the Top 7 Social Business Leaders for 2012 by InformationWeek’s The Brainyard. McKesson is a long-time Socialtext customer. We (and I personally) have developed a close relationship with Tim and are proud to be a part of the company’s success in helping McKesson’s employees, VARs, and customers collaborate effectively.

    Part of what I love about McKesson’s use of Socialtext is the precision with which they are able to measure its impact. McKesson’s Socialtext implementation spans both internal stakeholders (employees) and external stakeholders (VARs and customers). It’s generated impressive ROI:

    • Average time to answer customer calls has decreased 66 percent
    • Same day resolution of concerns from customers has improved 12 percent

    A deeper look into McKesson socializing customer service to drive business value can be seen in our recent free whitepaper.

    In the feature article, 7 Lessons from Social Business Leaders, editor and key industry influencer David F. Carr explains why Tim was considered:

    Measuring the performance of social initiatives against quantifiable metrics lets companies see what’s working and what needs to be fixed. Hard numbers can also be useful in terms of getting people–internally and externally–to buy into the use of social tools. It’s one thing to say that employees should use social technology because it will improve collaboration; it’s more powerful to tell, say, customer support representatives that the technology has been proven to reduce the amount of time they will spend on each call.

    This shout out to Tim for McKesson’s use of Socialtext to better workforce collaboration within the company just goes to show that with metrics like this, there is little argument that enterprise social software can deliver dramatic, measurable business benefits. We look forward to growing our relationship with McKesson, and all of our customers, on the path to creating truly social businesses.

    Congratulations Tim!

    New Hire Rashmi Menon, A Software Architect Designing With Style

    Meet Rashmi Menon, an outstanding addition to our software development staff who is having fun tinkering with all things product. With an impressive background in the IT world, we look forward to core product improvements and new product innovations.

    What were you doing prior to joining Socialtext?

    I have been in software development for the past twelve years. The majority of that time I spent working for a certain database company in Redwood City, California.

    What will you be doing for Socialtext?

    I will be mostly tinkering with code and involved in architecting the new and improved core product.

    What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself.

    Passionate, Positive, Paranoid (the last two cancel out each other – Oh well!).

    What do you do in your free time?

    Did I mention that I have two kids under the age seven? I enjoy spending time with my family! Free time is hard to come by. When the stars align and time actually frees up, I enjoy taking really long walks. Curling up on the couch with a book and a cup of coffee is something I love thinking about :).

    What’s has been the most fun moment working for Socialtext so far?

    It’s hard to name one moment. The whole ride has been fun so far. I am really loving the collaborative culture within the company (Soooo in line with the product we build).

    Get Out of the Customer Service Blues and into Customer Service Success!

    Socialtext has written a free white paper around socializing customer service to drive business value. Even if you aren’t in the customer service business or use call centers, we feel that you should take a look as many of these principles apply to training facilitation, cross-functional communication across the enterprise or within departments and heightened access to information that makes getting work done in any category easier to execute.

    Enterprise social collaboration is where it’s at and we want you to hear from the those (McKesson, Ogilvy) that have experienced impressive ROI’s from using Socialtext to optimize their customer success goals.

    As you can imagine, any consumer with an internet connection has the power to make or break your brand. Call centers are the front lines by which your customers interact with your company and are ever more important because of the amplification a public complaint can have. So what if there were a better way to manage call centers so that they have immediate access to every answer a customer needs to solve their problem? What if you could train your call center employees with one click to essential materials and training videos? What if you could dramatically reduce resolution time and increase alignment with sales initiatives? Well you can!

    Here’s a peek into some of the numbers:

    Within three months, McKesson saw improved Average Speed to Answer with a 67% reduction from 33 minutes to 11 minutes; Saw Average Handle Time improve with an 11% reduction from 22 minutes to 20 minutes and an 11.75% improvement in Same Day Resolution (SDR) which was largely influenced by their use of Socialtext. Well that’s impressive.

    If some of your goals are to:

    • Streamline agent engagement with campaign content and teams
    • Optimize dialogue for effective sales and offer conversions
    • Increase team collaboration and knowledge sharing
    • Improve and optimize sales agent performance

    …and you want to learn more from two top Socialtext users, backed by expert opinion from Kate Leggett, Forrester Research’s leading expert analyst on customer service technologies, then download this free white paper and see how you can move into social and positively impact your organization with successful results.

    At Socialtext, we believe the best answer to managing call centers is through an enterprise grade social platform with the connectivity and collaboration features your employees expect coupled with the security and flexible deployment options that lets you get work done with ease.

    Security, one-touch access, social collaboration, activity streams and more all in one platform — now that will make any customer smile!

     

    New Hire Anoop Gantayat Brings His Creative Flair to Code

    Meet Anoop Gantayat, the latest addition to our engineering staff. Having lived and worked in Japan running his own business, he offers a global perspective to our offerings. We are excited to work with Anoop as he brings his expertise to our front and backend programming needs with a dash of humor that keeps the office smiling.

    What were you doing prior to joining Socialtext?

    I was running a video game news site that I started around 2007 while I was living in Tokyo. I continued running it when I moved back to America in 2009. While the site had a relatively big audience, it was missing the business connection. One of the nice things about being at Socialtext is that I get to expand my understanding of web development to include business areas like marketing, management and sales.

    What will you be doing for Socialtext?

    Programming. I’m doing both frontend and backend work. As I was previously running my site on my own, I was used to working on both ends, so I’m happy that I get to continue doing that here. I have to admit that I’m a somewhat new to working in a collaborative situation and also a bit unfamiliar with coming into an office to work, but I seem to be adjusting quite well and enjoying it.

    What are 3 words you would use to describe yourself?

    Astronaut, Guitarist, Professionalbaseballplayer (Disclaimer: I don’t actually play the guitar, and I’m pretty sure I’d freak out if someone threw anything at me at 90 miles per hour).

    What do you do in your free time?

    A mix of astrophotography, watching movies, playing with my nephew and reading — the latter mostly because I love going to coffee shops and looking at people. Note that my free time does not include playing video games. Even though I made a video game website, I haven’t played a video game in about 10 years. Now that I’m not running my website, I’m okay with letting people know this.

    What’s has been the most fun moment working for Socialtext so far?

    I loved going out for dinner with the team early on. This may seem like a basic thing, but having worked by myself for about a decade, it was nice being able to hang out with coworkers. As we grow, I hope we eventually end up taking the entire floor of the Cheesecake Factory down the street for our company dinners.

    Looking forward to TEDx Indy

    I’m honored to be one of the speakers tomorrow (friday 10/26) at TEDx Indianapolis. The theme of the day-long event is “Design Learning”, and in grand TED style the organizers have pulled together an extraordinary group of minds from many different disciplines. Architect Trung Le, pioneering architect of schools and co-creator of The Third Teacher will be speaking, as well as leading educators, writers, designers, and community organizers.

    All tomorrow’s talks will focus on some aspect of learning and design: how we learn, how our learning is influenced by our environment, and how to design those environments effectively. My own talk will focus on–you guessed it–learning in the workplace. I’ll be talking about how enterprise social software is breaking down the “private office” paradigm and unleashing a productivity revolution. I’m looking forward to it immensely!

    The session is sold out, but there’s a livestream. I’m on at 10:53 a.m. ET. Enjoy!

    New Hire Sheela Ursal Uses Her Insightful Mind to Power Up Socialtext

    Tying in our stability of the past with a new vision that will bring businesses comfortably into the modern era of social collaboration, is one of the reasons why we are enhancing our offerings from the inside out.

    Recent Hire, Sheela Ursal, our Director of Product Management, gives you a little bit of why she is already an outstanding force behind Socialtext and why good things are on their way.

    What were you doing prior to joining Socialtext?

    For over a decade, I have worked in Silicon Valley either in a product management or marketing role for a Software-as-a-Service company. My most recent job was at Cisco working in Product Management in their Technical Services Innovation division.

    What will you be doing for Socialtext?

    As Director of Product Management, I help define, refine and evolve the product strategy of Socialtext’s online collaboration platform. Along with the product management team, I guide the development processes and take features from idea to production. I also work to improve existing features as well as develop new ideas as we expand the company and our offerings, especially for mobile and tablet. In addition, I work with Sales and Marketing to help build a collective understanding of current and future market trends and work with Support to keep an ongoing conversation with existing customers, which in turn helps refine the product.

    At Socialtext I will be putting my education, MBA in Marketing and Finance and past work experience, along with my entrepreneurial spirit to good use.

    What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

    Thoughtful, insightful, artistically-inclined.

    What do you do in your free time?

    On weekdays, after work you will most likely find me on a walk by the lake. On weekends, you may find me hiking by the ocean. If it happens to be a rainy day, I will be at home cooking up a storm and enjoying good food with friends and family. During an extended vacation, either on the beach or far away in the forest, I make an effort to stay off the grid as much as possible; disconnect from the internet, mobile phone and social media. It helps me reconnect within and my surroundings.

    What’s has been the most fun moment of working for Socialtext so far?

    It has been the honor and privilege of working with a accomplished team on a day to day basis.  After work, it is has been great hanging out with co-workers and finding out about their interests in art and music, their trials and triumphs and their journeys that have lead them to this place we call “office.”

    What gets you fired up about working here?

    Socialtext is uniquely positioned in the social collaboration technology world and the company has been around for a few years. On one hand the foundation of the product is very strong, on the other, the packaging and presentation could use an upgrade. It is like buying a house with a solid foundation and architecture, but now it’s time to get a great designer and planner in place — someone who is going to add the touches and curb appeal and make changes where necessary to be relevant to current needs. We need to spruce up and brighten our story, like with a few good partnerships in video, telephony and analytics. All of this will sharpen our competitive edge and position us to be well on our way to making a significant impact in this space. The company has a strong base of customers, a great asset from which one can draw feedback and insight to understand usage, adoption and business value.

    What gets me fired up is that I get to be at the heart of all the excitement and reemergence of the company as a leader in a social collaboration space.

    Socialtext Free Trial is Live!

    If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably noticed significant changes over the last few months: Lots of fresh new faces, energy, content, and announcements.

    This week, we made a particularly visible change: We introduced a free 30-day trial of Socialtext. Sign up directly from the website, and you’ll be up and running in just a couple minutes.

    We’re tremendously excited about the trial–not only because it’s already bringing in more customers, but also because of what it reveals about our underlying philosophy.

    Going back to its founding as the first enterprise social software company, Socialtext has always had the most ambitious agenda you can have: We wanted to change the world. (That may sound hokey, but if you can’t have hokey aspirations in Silicon Valley, where can you?). We have consistently aspired to integrate social so deeply into the flow of work that we would make professional life more interesting, social, rewarding, and productive for every employee, every day.

    The boldness of that vision led us to create a powerful and flexible product. Whereas most enterprise social vendors focus on point solutions to “sprinkle some social” on the enterprise, Socialtext has embraced a comprehensive product vision: Social intranet, collaborative workspaces, groups, enterprise profiles, social networking, microblogging, spreadsheets, etc.

    The result is an unbelievably powerful and versatile tool.

    But as Uncle Ben says in Spider Man: With great power comes great responsibility.

    Having built a powerful product, we have a responsibility to make that product easy to use. So easy, for example, that a new user could be up, running, and productive in just a minute or two.

    The trial is a forcing mechanism. It forced us to launch an experience which is not only powerful, but also engages a Socialtext newbie–whether they’re a new trial user, a new customer, or a new hire in a company that’s been using Socialtext for years. And it’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. We’re an agile shop and we are constantly enhancing the Socialtext product to make it even more powerful. The trial evolves with the product.

    Over the next weeks and months you’ll be seeing more major product announcements from us. The trial will continue to be our litmus test. As we make the product even more powerful, we will make the trial experience even simpler.

    I hope you’re as excited as we are.

    And oh yeah…you should try it.

     

    Photo Credit: Joost Nelissen (cc)

    Welcome Doug Ring as Socialtext Chairman

    I’m thrilled to blog about Doug Ring’s appointment as Socialtext’s new chairman. You can read about all the details here, so I thought I’d spend some time offering my individual perspective on Doug and the value he brings to Socialtext.

    Doug is a visionary. He knows HCM, ERP, and other technology categories inside and out, and he boasts an impressive string of technology successes. He has an extensive network of analyst, industry, and customer relationships. He was a driving force behind Bedford Funding’s investment in Socialtext. Long before the HCM world was buzzing about social, Doug saw the direction that the HCM industry would take. He recognized at once the extraordinary strategic fit between Socialtext and Peoplefluent, as well as Socialtext’s ability to deliver value to customers outside the HR space.

    Doug is also a superb communicator. He has a rare gift for explaining complex technologies and concepts in simple terms. That was clear to anyone who saw Doug demo the really innovative Social HCM products that Socialtext and Peoplefluent are co-developing. (At HRTech in Chicago last week, Peoplefluent was the first company ever to win Bill Kutik’s Awesome New Technologies award 3 year running!)

    On a personal note, Doug’s a great guy. He is one of the most consistently upbeat executives I’ve ever worked with. I leave every conversation with him with more energy than I started. And while he claims to be a pretty good tennis player, that’s one area where I may try to prove him wrong…

    Welcome Chairman Doug Ring!

     

     

    About This Blog

    Weblog on gaining business results from social software.

    On this blog, Socialtext staffers and customers explore how companies can gain the most business value from their use of enterprise social software, including microblogging, social networking, filtered activity streams, widget-based dashboards, blogs and wikis.

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