We all have the experience of using items in ways for which they were never intended. Sometimes this works great – a paper clip makes a perfect tool for pressing reset switches; a coin can make a handy screwdriver. Other times, it's a recipe for disaster – using my knees to control the steering wheel while unwrapping a drive-through burger. And then on occasion, things seem to be working just fine, but over time unfortunate unintended consequences begin to emerge.
I help run the IBM Redbooks social media presence (Facebook and Twitter). We recently adopted IBM Connections to manage tasks across our team. Before that, we managed our entire team through... calendar invitations. Along with the date and time of the next meeting, each calendar invitation contained meeting minutes, an agenda, and a spreadsheet attachment with important project details (monitoring schedule, IDs and passwords, and so forth).
Now yes, as a social media team, you'd think we'd know better. You'd think we'd recognize the perils of running a social business in a calendar application. But it was easy to adopt, and for a good while it mostly worked just fine. That was until some of those unintended consequences started to creep in.
Here are our Top 5 unintended consequences of running a social business with calendar invitations, and how an IBM Connections community saved us:
Who has that file?: Our trusty calendar invitation contained most of the information we'd need, but it was far from exhaustive. For example, we held a list of subject matter experts who could help get answers to questions from fans. The trouble was, that list was stored in a file on someone's computer. When I couldn't remember who the subject matter expert was for a question about the Emulex 10Gb Virtual Fabric Adapter (and it most certainly wasn't me!), I'd need to ask the person who held that list. With IBM Connections we store all common project information like this within a shared community.
Where did all the data go?: As the project information in the calendar invitation grew, we used the reschedule feature. Rescheduling a meeting invitation preserves all the existing information within it (creating a new meeting does not). One week, I declined the meeting invitation, and the invitation disappeared from my calendar completely! I had no access to all the important project information within it. With IBM Connections, I have access to our project information whenever I have access to a web browser.
Remind me of that URL again?: Social media is a growing domain, and soon a Facebook and Twitter presence were not enough. We added IBM Redbooks pages for LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. And before long I'd forget where everything was. The Bookmarks feature of our IBM Connections community shares these URLs across the entire team.
Have you got the latest copy, or have I?: Putting project information in a spreadsheet attached to a meeting invitation seemed like a good idea at the time – until the spreadsheet needed updating. We included a list of “Question of the Week” ideas in this spreadsheet. If I wanted to suggest a new Question of the Week, I'd need to find out who had the latest copy of the spreadsheet, ask that person to add my idea, and then hope the person remembered to reattach the spreadsheet to the meeting invitation. Using the Activities feature in our IBM Connections community has revolutionized this process. Each member of the community can add new Question of the Week entries to the Activity, see what other members have contributed, and keep track of which ideas have already been posted.
How do we get our new team members up to speed?: Over time, new people joined the team. They'd typically have a lot of questions. Questions that had previously been asked and answered by existing team members. Those conversations typically took place over email, and it was never easy to dig out the answer to a question asked six months ago. “I've got the answer to that in my mail archive... somewhere.” With Forums in our IBM Connections community, new members have access to all previous discussions. A quick read gets them up to speed on all the issues we've already encountered, and provides a valuable skills transfer asset. No more digging in mail archives.
Ultimately, we outgrew the calendar invitation approach. When we started out, this approach seemed fine - our team and scope were small. But we hadn't considered how the project would grow. Using IBM Connections from the start would have allowed us to accommodate this growth.
So that's our Top 5. I'm sure we're not the only ones finding unintended consequences in the way we use our calendar. What's your calendar story?
Martin Keen is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader in Raleigh, NC, USA. He has led the development of over 30 IBM Redbooks on topics including WebSphere, Business Process Management, and enterprise. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRTP.
Securing the Social World
Thu, Oct 30th 2014 10:12a Colleen Burns Social technologies are challenging old behaviors in organizations. It's no longer a question of if employees interact with customers and the outside world using emerging media, it's how.
Highlighted at Jason Keenaghan's IBM Insight session, "Security Tips for Protecting Your Business in the Social World," the challenge is to manage this new form of distributed openness -- to protect employee customer engagement against innumerable dangers, from brand contamination to information [read] Keywords: connections
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Wed, Oct 29th 2014 2:12p Colleen Burns We all saw the power of social/mobile this past summer when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept not only the nation, but the world. Playful in its nature, the Challenge goaded millions to accept and post their videos – more than 6M videos on YouTube alone. Hand-in-hand with those posts was more than $100,000,000 in donations, in less than 60 days! Playful? Yes. Powerful? Absolutely. Why? One reason was because it was a very personal engagement.
What if you could bring that type of [read] Keywords: ibm
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However, a critical foundation for customer engagement is something much closer to home -- specifically, the employees that interact with customers. And, just as importantly, the way employees engage within the orga [read] Keywords: collaboration
To Reach Customers, Think Like a Customer
Tue, Oct 28th 2014 12:12p Colleen Burns By now we’ve all heard the story of the retailer that got into a bit of hot water by targeting pregnant women with specific ads that in one case in particular ended up revealing to a father that his daughter was pregnant. Way back in 2002, according to an article in the New York Times, marketers were already working on how to “figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know.”
This of course raised all sorts of concerns over priva [read] Keywords:
Is analytics the key to digital engagement?
Mon, Oct 27th 2014 2:12p Colleen Burns It’s a question many companies are asking right now – how do you transform enterprise culture to increase employee engagement and foster relationships with customers? According to a Social Business session at IBM Insight today, the answer is to build on analytics as the foundation of your engagement strategy.
As the use of social technology increases dramatically, organizations are finding a need to create an enterprise-wide strategy for social implementation and adoption. [read] Keywords: collaboration
HIPAA in the IBM Cloud!
Wed, Oct 22nd 2014 8:15a Colleen Burns Cloud computing has matured dramatically in the years since IBM initially introduced social, mobile, meetings and mail cloud offerings.
Within the past two years alone, customers have reconciled many privacy and security concerns, and cloud adoption has soared. For IBM customers, this has been in part due to IBM’s cloud governance and controls at the center of our service delivery.
This is a true tipping point—where even companies in regulated industries are adop [read] Keywords: connections
Concrete Sunflowers May Bring Energy to Millions
Tue, Oct 21st 2014 9:12a Colleen Burns Did you know that concrete was invented by the Romans roughly 2,000 years ago? Think of the Pantheon, one of the most beautiful (at least to my mind) monuments in a city overflowing with stunning architecture. It was commissioned during the reign of the Emperor Augustus by Marcus Agrippa and its dome still holds the record as the largest ever built of unreinforced concrete. Yes, concrete.
I was thinking about concrete’s ancient origins when Gianluca Ambrosetti, head of research f [read] Keywords: connections
Susan Etlinger and Time-Tested Thinking Skills for Today’s Data Profusion
Mon, Oct 20th 2014 10:12a Colleen Burns or, Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Data?
At work not too long ago I was looking for a particular statistic for a presentation. I found several relevant stats and perhaps not surprisingly, some of them contradicted each other. I was tempted to cherry-pick the stat that would fit best in the presentation, but my conscience wouldn’t let me take that easy way out. So I hunkered down for what I knew would be the arduous job of trying to determine which stat was considered the most [read] Keywords: connections
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On today’s 56th anniversary of Boss’s Day I have a challenge for all you fearless leaders. Let’s call it: “Mission: Take Your Employees to Lunch.”
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the reworking of an effective workplace. You must select two of your team members to take to lunch – one of whom must be a millennial.
Once you have been seated at the café or restaura [read] Keywords: twitter