All posts by Richard Hughes

About Richard Hughes

As Director of Digital Strategy at BroadVision, Richard Hughes brings extensive experience of understanding the way people work and how to apply pragmatic solutions to the communication problems faced by today’s organisations and their workforces. Combining visionary thinking with a firm grasp on reality, Richard specialises in developing and writing thought-leadership pieces on the key topics of the social enterprise, digital transformation and knowledge management. His experience on these subjects makes him a sought-after speaker at events as well as an advisor to corporations regarding strategies towards better management of the wealth of internal knowledge often hidden in an organisation, as well as better engagement of employees, customers and partners.

Vmoso Enterprise Transformation Methodology

As organizations embark on programmes of digital transformation, managing collective knowledge is becoming more important than ever. Knowledge is increasingly lost in employees’ email inboxes, or fragmented across a chaotic assortment of new communication tools brought in to address email’s failings.

At BroadVision, we understand that getting your corporate knowledge under control is more than just a technology implementation programme. The Vmoso Enterprise Transformation (or VET) methodology is a 10-step iterative process that refines working practices and establishes Vmoso at the heart of your enterprise communication and collaboration.

VET help organizations:

  • Identify and integrate existing knowledge sources
  • Capture new knowledge at source and index it for easy access
  • Define collaborative processes to add accountability to business communication
  • Devise and report upon meaningful metrics that link directly to business objectives

We know that the hardest part of any project to adopt new technology is getting started. Many employees remained wedded to working practices that discourage effective collaboration and impede the flow of information around the company. The VET methodology engages with all participants and stakeholders to drive behavioural change alongside Vmoso product implementation.

Let’s take a look at the ten steps in one cycle of the VET methodology.

  1. First of all, it’s essential to gain a mandate for the project from the executive sponsor. Experience shows that without clear objectives from senior management, and commitment to make the people involved in the project available, it will be very hard to make the rest of the project successful. So before we do anything else, we need to establish project charter, endorsed by company management.
  2. Next, we audit the communication and collaboration tools currently in use, and who’s using them. Digital transformation is a journey, and to define a realistic destination, we need to understand where we’re starting.
  3. Then, we identify where the vast amount of collective knowledge in the organisation is currently stored, and decide whether that should be migrated to Vmoso, or left in place and integrated to Vmoso.
  4. In step 4, we specify the use cases that are going to be implemented in this iteration of the methodology. The priority here is choosing those cases where we are most likely to see the biggest benefit, based on what we discovered in steps 2 and 3.
  5. Then we design the knowledge architecture – how we are going to organise the information that will be held in Vmoso or integrated to it. This includes the Vmoso spaces, user groups and access control restrictions. We also map the business workflows we’ve identified in previous steps into Vmoso-based collaborative processes.
  6. Next, we plan the schedule for the adoption phases of the project. This includes any technical integration and customization work required, the training schedule, and the metrics that are going to be used to evaluate success.
  7. The length of the solution implementation itself will vary based on the amount of integration and customization work, so may be anything between a few days and many weeks, depending on decisions made earlier in the project.
  8. Next, we transfer knowledge to the project steering committee and then all project participants. This includes not just Vmoso product training, but how the new working practices will be applied.
  9. Then, of course, we need some time for the system to be used in the way it has been designed. The length of this phase can be anything between a few weeks and several months, with regular steering committee meetings to monitor progress.
  10. Finally, we evaluate the results of the project against the success criteria defined earlier. Inevitably, some things will have worked well, some less so – this is essential input into the next iteration of the project, which starts again back at the “gain mandate” step.

VET is a continuous improvement programme.  At BroadVision, we understand that behavioural changes take time and the end goal is only reached through a series of smaller steps. The results of one phase of the project feed directly into the definition of the next. Each iteration delivers invaluable data about which initiatives have worked, and which need to be reviewed. So the journey from noise and miscommunication to a streamlined “big knowledge” environment is taken gradually, not as one big leap.

BroadVision Global Services have been assisting leading enterprises around the world with their digital business initiatives for more than 20 years. Throughout the VET process, consultants from our Digital Transformation Group are here to help you. We’ll take part in your steering committee meetings, assist with project scoping and implementation, and training project participants.

The Vmoso Enterprise Transformation Methodology formulates and executes a clear, realistic, achievable plan for digital transformation of your communication, collaboration and engagement. It unlocks collective knowledge stored in fragmented systems across your organisation and introduces dynamic, collaborative processes to your business workflows.

The Two Sides of Security

At BroadVision, we take the security of your company’s data and knowledge very seriously. But there is much more to security than the traditional “keep the hackers out” controls; Vmoso also helps organizations retain and organize their knowledge to ensure that those who are entitled to see it can do. This data sheet presents Vmoso’s holistic approach to the two sides of security.

Download Datasheet

Vmoso Chatbot by Optimist

Vmoso Chatbot by Optimist enables companies to provide rapid, automated assistance to customers within the context of their ongoing relationship with the customer.

Show Transcript

Using the Optimist software, the chatbot can be taught how to handle requests for any type of industry.

 

In this video we’ll see how Galaxy Airlines uses the chatbot to help John, who’s planning a short trip to Los Angeles with his family.

 

John starts by asking the chatbot for some information about access to the VIP lounge. Using a bot to answer frequently asked questions like this saves time and cost for the customer service team, and gives the customer a faster response.

 

But the chatbot can also help with the more complicated task of booking a flight. Based on John’s requests, the chatbot is able to suggest an itinerary, and then revise it in response to John’s replies.

The chatbot can also upsell – so  offers to help John book ground transportation for when he arrives in LA.

 

By automating the response to frequently asked questions and assistance with the booking process, Galaxy Airlines reduces its customer service cost and delivers a faster response to its customers.

 

And because this all takes place within the Vmoso customer service channel, the discussion is retained for future reference for  both the chatbot and customer service staff.

 

Customer Experience Management

 

Customers’ expectations of companies are changing. The “thanks for your email, we’ll reply in 7 working days” response simply isn’t good enough these days. Customers not only expect a faster response, they expect consistency across the many different channels through which they might make contact.

This has required organizations to improve the way they handle customer interactions, both before and after a sale. Such programs have become known as “Customer Experience Management”, often abbreviated to CXM or CEM.

Gartner define CXM as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy”.

So while the focus of CXM is on the customer interaction, it can have widespread implications for a company’s internal processes and technologies, and the way sales and customer service teams work together.

In business to consumer relationships, the main focus for CXM has been on ensuring social media channels are integrated with traditional email and phone routes to CRM. This “social CRM” works well when the answer to one customer’s question is relevant to another customer, and when customers answer each other’s questions. Social media is a great place to do this, because of the critical mass of customers there.

But platforms like Facebook and Twitter are ill-suited for more complex customer interaction. The two main categories of this are:

Personalized long-term consumer relationships – for example when a consumer needs to talk to their bank, insurance company or energy supplier

Business to business relationships – where several people from the customer need to collaborate with several people from the supplier.

In both cases, privacy is required making social media an inappropriate platform. And continuity is required, with the customer expecting the company to remember all their activity leading up to, and after the initial sale. This may well represent many years of interactions.

Vmoso enables CXM by:

Providing a platform for customer engagement, and

Enabling better internal collaboration and knowledge sharing between sales, customer service and other departments within the company.

Customers have a dedicated channel for interacting with the company, through Vmoso mobile and web apps, custom branded company apps, or email. Any employee servicing the customer can see the full history of discussions with the customer, integrating with the data already held within the CRM system.

When an internal discussion is required to address the customer’s need, that also takes place on Vmoso, with the full context available to everyone involved, not just users of the CRM system.

Vmoso’s  combination of internal and external collaboration elevates the customer experience, leading to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

 

 

Extending the reach of CRM with Vmoso

Galaxy Equipment is a world leader in professional network equipment, providing top class devices to companies all around the world. Their Sales teams use SugarCRM to track their sales cycle. Traditionally, this tracking has been limited to the Sales staff only.

In this video we’ll see how Galaxy Equipment manages to extend the reach of its CRM beyond the Sales team through an integration of SugarCRM with Vmoso.

Tom is part of the European Sales team in Galaxy Equipment; he’s been there for some time and can answer any prospect question regarding the world-renowned integrated network elements that Galaxy Equipment has been selling for the last 10 years.

A couple of days ago, he got news about a new line of network monitoring devices and software that Galaxy Equipment has been selling in Asia and is now introducing to Europe. He had a quick look but was too busy preparing for an important event in Berlin, where he is exhibiting.

During the event, he meets Helen from ACME Airways. Helen is managing her company’s network, and she’s seen a tremendous increase in usage over the last few years, which she’s spent endlessly upgrading her equipment to catch up.

Now she finally has some time to plan ahead, and wants to find a good monitoring solution. She’s read in the press that Galaxy Equipment is now selling their new solution locally, so she approaches Tom.

Tom’s caught off guard, as he’s only got a very basic knowledge of the solution which Helen is interested in, and was not expecting a question about it so soon. ACME Airways is one of those large accounts that Galaxy Equipment has never managed to get into, and he’s very eager to make a first sale here.

He notes down the details given by Helen, and as soon as he can he enters this as an opportunity in SugarCRM. He mentions that he needs help with this opportunity.

Typically, such an opportunity entered in SugarCRM would be shared only with the rest of the Sales team, and remain mostly unknown to the rest of the company. But that’s not the case for Galaxy Equipment. A few months ago, they integrated SugarCRM with Vmoso, the company’s platform for collaboration and communication inside and outside the company.

When Tom’s opportunity is added to SugarCRM, this triggers the creation of a Vmoso chat to discuss the opportunity with his manager, and a Vmoso post which is a collaboration conversation shared in the company to encourage serendipitous discovery by the relevant people. One of those people is Jeremy.

Jeremy is the head of European technical presales. He has just started to study the new monitoring solution, and the opportunity described in the post grabs his attention. To him, this opportunity looks like a perfect chance to let someone in his team acquire the right skills for the new product, but he needs to act fast and help Tom give the right answers to the prospect.

From his limited knowledge, Jeremy gives a few answers to the questions that Tom has written in the opportunity. He also shares the document that he has been using to train himself on the topic.

But Jeremy knows that this is not enough, he needs to find more detailed information in order to answer the question that ACME has submitted to Tom. He needs to investigate further. The self-training document was originally shared with him through a chat with Bruce, the presales VP, but it surely came from somewhere else.

So Jeremy switches to the Vmoso Knowledge Map which lets him see where the document has been referenced from. He can see his chat with Bruce, but also several other activities which have referenced the same document.

By clicking on each of those activities, Tom can see who’s involved in each of them, other related documents, and which other activities are referenced from there.

Most of the activities visited are discussions between the Asian sales team in languages that Jeremy doesn’t understand. By clicking on the users referenced in the various discussions, Jeremy manages to identify a couple of people in the US presales team. He discovers that Jeff, a consultant in the US, has been able to get himself up to speed with the solution and has now good working knowledge of it

Jeremy suggests to Tom that Jeff should be included in the tender response, because he’s probably the only person able to help them in the short term.

Tom includes Jeff, who is more than happy to have a real prospect case where he can use his new skills, and together they are able to build a well-articulated response to the request from ACME.

This has only been possible because the integration between SugarCRM and Vmoso has enabled the collaboration around the prospect’s requirements, involving the right people from the company.

As a result, Galaxy Equipment is able to increase significantly the quality of their responses to prospects, making it more likely that their Sales teams close new deals.

All of the information exchanged during this collaboration is retained and transformed into corporate knowledge meaning that the global sales team all benefit from the work Tom, Jeremy and Jeff have done on this account.

Integrating Vmoso with SugarCRM increases the reach of information held in the CRM improving the efficiency and accuracy of the sales team, leading to shorter and more successful sales cycles.

Collaborative Processes

Whereas the structured, predictable element of a business process is increasingly automated, exception handling continues to be where human knowledge and intelligence needs to be applied to resolve a problem.

Read Transcript

In an ideal world, all the processes that power our businesses would be neatly defined and predictable with provision made for everything that could go wrong.

Of course, in the real world, there’s always something that can go wrong that you didn’t expect. Whereas the structured, predictable element of a business process is increasingly automated, exception handling continues to be where human knowledge and intelligence needs to be applied to resolve a problem.

But all too often, this exception handling is a chaotic mess of email conversations. Attempts to bring structure to this person-to-person interaction often results in both front- and back-office processes becoming too rigid, frustrating employees and customers alike when the inevitable “the system won’t let me do that” situation arises.

Let’s take the simple example of a consulting company agreeing a change request with their customer.

While steps 2, 4 and 5 of the process are individual approval actions, steps 1 and 3 are likely to involve a several people working together.

Without the collaboration in the process, the change request won’t get a sufficiently thorough review, and time may be wasted further down the line when overlooked details become apparent.

Without the structure in the process, the collaboration could lose direction and fail to come to a final conclusion.

Of course, countless variations on this example are happening every day. From simple document reviews, to field service engineers resolving issues at customer sites. From customer service departments handling complaints, to operations teams working to restore service after automatically-triggered downtime alerts – almost every organisation in the world has a set of processes that are too unstructured to be modelled rigidly in traditional Business Process Management tools, but too important to be left to email. We call these collaborative processes; they can also be characterized as people-intensive, decision-centric, knowledge-based processes.

And even as our business processes become more automated, the need for structured collaboration is not going to diminish, merely change. Over the next few years, collaborative processes triggered by Internet-of-Things-connected sensors will become just as common as the examples we see today.

Vmoso Process management introduces structure, discipline and accountability to collaboration.

Process flows can be started from a list of pre-prepared templates for your organisation, or created from scratch to suit the specific task in hand.

Throughout the process, there’s always a  clear indication of who’s responsible for completing the current step, but the assignee can always call on Vmoso’s collaboration features to access the expertise of their co-workers. And of course, all participants can see all the discussion so far, ensuring they have the information they need to complete the task, and a clear audit trail.

For more information, visit broadvision.com/process-management