The BroadVision Blog

To Chat, or Not to Chat, for Effective Business Communication?

“To Chat, or Not to Chat: …”

…that is the question”, to paraphrase William Shakespeare, but, in the context of effective business communication in a mobile-centric world, is this question really the one that you should be asking?

business communication
“To chat or not to chat?” may not be the right question to ask for effective business communication.

It seems that business organizations today are looking to borrow from the consumer world and implement chat solutions to improve the way they communicate and collaborate. The main reason for this appears to be because that is what their employees are using to communicate via their phones and tablet devices to their family and friends so why not use their preference in this area to make it easier to communicate with colleagues across the organization?

We have been here before. A few years ago there was a drive to become ‘social’. Not to be confused with being generous to your local community, social business was about breaking down silos within an organization, sharing knowledge, fostering innovation and improving engagement with employees as well as with business partners and even customers. A variety of solutions emerged: Jive, Yammer, Clearvale, Podio, Huddle and so on and so on; all leveraging what was happening in the consumer world but bringing the capabilities within the business organization as an ‘Enterprise Social Network’ or ‘ESN’, i.e. what became known as ‘Facebook for business’ or ‘Twitter for business’ (before Facebook themselves started promoting their own application for business!) reflecting this penchant for all things ‘social’.

However, whilst there have been some companies that have successfully adopted these ESN solutions, for a large majority it was a step too far as users failed to embrace the activities required. Many saw it as another communication channel alongside email that needed to be checked and responded to or just used it for real social activities with work colleagues: organizing the five-a-side league; lunchtime jogging sessions; after work get-togethers and so on. That is, idle chit-chat and nothing really to do with knowledge sharing or collaboration on work initiatives; and, of course, many simply reverted to email as their communication tool of choice despite email’s shortcomings for effective business collaboration.

Today, with the likes of ‘WeChat’ and ‘WhatsApp’ being extremely popular as an alternative communication channel, organizations are now looking to embrace this type of application for an ‘Enterprise Chat’ solution to go alongside the use of personal phones and tablet devices for business use; what is known as ‘BYOD’ (bring your own device).  But this trend potentially could end up in the same place as their ESN solution. Just being yet another channel on top of email and that needs to be checked. So, rather than replacing email these ‘Enterprise Chat’ solutions simply add to the current communication overload and fragmented discussions prevalent within organizations. They may be useful for small teams on specific short-term projects, or even for customer service teams to engage with customers via a channel the customer has a preference for, but, at the end of the day they are not really doing anything to foster effective business collaboration and engagement or to drive productivity improvements across an organization.

Enterprise Chat might be something that organizations think they want to improve business communication and collaboration, especially as many employees are using their own mobile devices anyway, but is it really what they need, especially if the anticipated productivity improvements are not likely to be forthcoming.  Why add yet another communication channel when what is really needed is something that is in tune with the way people work today whether they are in an office, working from home or travelling on a regular basis; on a desktop or on a mobile device, that actually reduces the communication overload and facilitates the effective collaboration and engagement necessary to drive knowledge sharing and improve business performance. Chat is only one part of business communication so focusing on this aspect only might not be the best move in the path to true collaboration and engagement in a mobile-centric business world.

To paraphrase William Shakespeare again: “Alas, poor (insert Enterprise Chat solution of choice)! I knew him, Horatio: a solution of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy …”

Want more on this subject? Read 6 Reasons Why You Need Mobile Collaboration in Business and 6 Business Communication Trends.

6 Reasons Why You Need Mobile Collaboration in Business

 

Whether smartphone, ultra-portable laptop or tablet, mobile devices are more common in business now than ever before. While not every business encourages the use of mobile devices in the workplace, collaboration on these devices can be achieved with productive results. Here are six reasons why businesses need mobile collaboration.

1. Capture and share an idea while it is fresh.

How often have you been out and about when an idea popped into your head?  An Eureka moment! One you want to share or bounce off someone ASAP. You can phone someone, but as sure as “eggs is eggs,” they won’t be there. Besides you might want to share it with several people. You can make a note of it in your phone, but somehow when you look later, it doesn’t have the same freshness. So post it from your phone now to a collaboration space, and let your colleagues build on the idea.

mobile-collaboration-business
Embrace mobile collaboration in the workplace for increased productivity, efficiency and business velocity.

2. Deal with issues on time, but avoid “off the cuff” decisions.

You get a phone call about an issue that has come up. You feel you have to provide an answer because another phone call is not possible until much later, you are pressed for time, it’s a rush but make a decision anyway. Later you realise, on reflection, you are not sure that you articulated your decision well, and there could have been a misunderstanding.  In situations like this, wouldn’t it be better in a mobile collaboration tool, to acknowledge and accept the issue, perhaps suggest a preliminary answer but allow a little more time for clarification? Then you’re free to provide a more considered decision with clearer reasoning later.

3. Create “flex time.”

When I left Primary School aged 11, it was a tradition for the leavers to ask each of the teachers for an autograph and perhaps a written memento. My final year teacher wrote for me the Francis Bacon quotation, “A man that is young in years may be old in hours if he have lost no time. ” Mobile collaboration means creating “flex time.” With a mobile, in those brief (but previously inconsequential) periods of time, you can use those little intervals to deal with the many issues that can otherwise stack up during the day. Without mobile collaboration some of those questions would have come as phone calls, often at inconvenient times that interrupt conversations or valuable thinking time. Flex time means you can make better use of otherwise dead time to sweep away all those issues that can be dealt with quickly, so they don’t interfere with the more precious, larger chunks of time you want for spending time with people, thinking, writing, and the like. Far from adding stress, managed correctly, mobile collaboration will reduce the pressure on personal time.

4. Leverage the mobile revolution.

Everyone has a smartphone or tablet now – why not make use of that? In 2015 there were 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally, and by 2020, globally there will be 6.1 smartphone users. Smartphones will overtake the number of active fixed-line subscriptions worldwide in 2020. More and more, people use their smartphones more frequently than their laptops and desktops for keeping up to date with events, for connecting with others, and sharing information. Most firms now either have a BYOD (bring your own device) policy or equip their staff with mobile devices. It is a no-brainer to ensure that you can engage with your colleagues, your customers, your partners, and suppliers on mobile.

5. Get access to people you have not had much connection with before.

The social capabilities of a modern mobile collaboration platform, like Vmoso, means that people, together with their expertise and knowledge, in and beyond the business are better connected. Information flows better and faster, decisions are quicker and better informed. Business velocity is greater.

6. Today’s collaboration is tomorrow’s knowledge.

In this mobile age, technology has encouraged us to operate in the here-and-now. With that, in our personal lives, many of us use mobile chat to communicate with our friends and family. Call it “chit-chat.” And in business we have been tempted to take that same habit into the workplace. But such “chit-chat” has no lasting value – if it takes place on consumer tools, it is outside the view of the company. And such tools are not designed to capture and organise the valuable knowledge in communication. A true mobile business collaboration platform uses the chat paradigm for its ease and convenience of communication, but also ensures the content of communication is organised, linked and managed so it can be searched, queried, and analysed in perpetuity. It is where mobile enterprise collaboration meets knowledge management, and businesses should strive for both.

BroadVision Launches Vmoso in China

BEIJING and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 06, 2016 — BroadVision, Inc. (Nasdaq:BVSN), a leading provider of business collaboration and engagement solutions, today announced the general availability of Vmoso for the China market.  With today’s businesses being virtual,mobile, and social, Vmoso is optimized to help global enterprises, large or small, save time/cost, achieve higher efficiency, and attain greater business success.

Vmoso unifies email, instant messaging, content sharing, workflow, and social networking into one integrated environment, forming a single source of truth across a detailed corporate knowledge web, to significantly enhance both internal collaboration and external engagement.  It supports hybrid cloud deployment, offering both public/private hosting options to ensure the highest level of data security and information privacy.  As an open system, Vmoso features more than 400 RESTful APIs designed for two-way integration with any existing or new enterprise backend, portal, or mobile applications.

Vmoso client applications are available universally on all HTML-5 web browsers for PC, Mac, and tablets, as well as natively on iOS and Android mobile devices.  In addition, BroadVision also announced today the general release of Vmoso WeChat Enterprise Edition, which fully integrates with WeChat, the world’s most popular consumer chat platform, boasting more than 800 million registered users globally.  Due to the popularity of BOYD (bring-your-own-device), organizations everywhere are now confronted with numerous security and compliance risks brought about by its companion BYOA (bring-your-own-app) phenomenon. Nowhere is it more wide-spread and serious than in China where WeChat is being used for business on a self-initiated basis.

With Vmoso’s WeChat Enterprise Edition, companies can leverage WeChat’s popularity with employees and customers, all while seamlessly diverting business communication, collaboration, and engagement into Vmoso, behind its own firewall, and on its own private cloud.  From the user’s perspective, the familiar experience remains, except all business related activities are now consolidated via a single “WeChat Enterprise Account” corresponding to each organization, whereupon Vmoso provides a more secure and robust environment.

“Most chat tools today are designed for ‘chitchatting’, with low expectation for information security or content longevity — any ‘big data’ is relegated to ‘big garbage’ at best,” commented Dr. Pehong Chen, CEO of BroadVision. “But with business mobility taking center stage, a new workstyle will emerge as the mainstream for business.  Increased data in the form of user-generated content will pass through and reside in mobile applications. Now, ‘big data’ must become the source for ‘big knowledge’.” Dr. Chen continued, “Unlike common chat tools, Vmoso is optimized to address this shift.”

“With nearly 40,000 employees and hundreds of superstores across the country, one of our top corporate priorities has always focused on improving internal communication/collaboration, cross-store knowledge sharing, and on enhancing one-to-one customer engagement/feedback,” said Mr. Zhang Yihua, CIO of WuMart Stores (SEHK:1025), one of China’s leading supermarket chains.  “While WeChat has offered our users a great deal of convenience in achieving those goals, it remains very high risk for us when all data resides only in everyone’s handset and not with the company and when we have no way of regulating who gets invited into which chat room.  Consequently, we fully endorse Vmoso WeChat Enterprise Edition, totally believe in its capability, and wish for its resounding success in China market.”

Ms. Xu Jie, SVP Enterprise Solutions, at China Software & Technology Services Inc. (SHSE:600536), one of the largest technology companies in China, agrees.  She said, “The state-owned enterprises (SOEs) we serve all share a common and pressing need for adopting a new mobile collaboration platform.  However, their data security and information privacy requirements far exceed that of any non-SOE organizations.  As a result, consumer chat tools like WeChat are banned for business use in any SOEs.”  Despite such official ban, Ms. Xu noted that, in private and for convenience reasons, essentially all employees continue to use WeChat for business.  All SOEs can do is to adopt an ambivalent “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy as a compromise.  She insisted, “This is why we are so excited about Vmoso’s potential in China, especially thanks to enhanced security via its private cloud deployment.  We are very confident that we can bring Vmoso to our SOE clients to accelerate their mobile enterprise transformation.”

About BroadVision

Driving innovation since 1993, BroadVision (NASDAQ:BVSN) provides e-business solutions that enable the enterprise and its employees, partners, and customers to stay actively engaged, socially connected, and universally organized to achieve greater business results. BroadVision® solutions—including Vmoso for unified business collaboration and engagement, and Clearvale for enterprise social networking—are available globally in the cloud via the Web and mobile applications.  For more information or to download Vmoso visit www.Vmoso.com.

Media Contact:
Ty Levine
650-331-1000

BroadVision Selected by CIO Review as One of the 20 Most Promising Collaboration Technology Solution Providers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 16, 2015 — BroadVision, Inc. (Nasdaq:BVSN), a leading provider of business collaboration and engagement solutions, today announced that CIO Review has included BroadVision in its 20 Most Promising Collaboration Technology Solution Providers. The selection is based on BroadVision’s intuitive enterprise solutions that make communication and collaboration services in the workplace faster, easier and more engaging.

“Over the past 25 years, thanks to our amazing clients and partners, BroadVision has been able to lead the market in providing world-class collaboration tools and services,” said Pehong Chen, President and CEO of BroadVision. “BroadVision is extremely honored to be recognized by CIO Review’s collection of industry experts and influencers.”

CIO Review chooses their annual list of award recipients by a select group of industry experts and members of their editorial board to recognize and promote technology influencers. Through consultations and proposals with business leaders, CIO Review’s editors make their selections on a variety of areas important to tech business.

View the CIO Review article by clicking this link.

About BroadVision

Driving innovation since 1993, BroadVision (NASDAQ:BVSN) provides e-business solutions that enable the enterprise and its employees, partners, and customers to stay actively engaged, socially connected, and universally organized to achieve greater business results. BroadVision® solutions—including Vmoso for unified business collaboration and engagement, and Clearvale for enterprise social networking—are available globally in the cloud via the Web and mobile applications. Visit BroadVision.com for more details.

About Vmoso

Vmoso is a cloud application for conducting virtual enterprise communication, mobile workgroup collaboration, and social business engagement. It unifies five workplace activities in one platform: email, instant messaging, content sharing, workflow, and social networking. It empowers users and their extended organizations to communicate and collaborate whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose; allowing for greater productivity in less time and at much lower cost.

Media Contact:
Ty Levine
650-331-1000

Dr. Pehong Chen to Participate at hub:raum Cloud Bootcamp 2015

November 16, 2015 REDWOOD CITY, CA  — Dr. Pehong Chen, Chairman, President and CEO of BroadVision, Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN), a leading provider of business collaboration and engagement solutions, will be a Keynote speaker at T-Systems and hub:raum’s Cloud Bootcamp 2015. The event will take place at the hub:raum Campus in Berlin, Germany on November 25, 2015 and will focus on cloud solutions targeting Mittelstand (SME) customers, cloud services that enable digital transformation, and cloud-based IoT platforms.

Dr. Chen will present the opening keynote “Reflections of a Renewed Startup Company.” The talk will focus on BroadVision’s experience as a mature, 22-year old enterprise software company and its renewal as a “startup” to create a brand new and exciting solution set.  The story will include a lot of do’s and don’ts from this fascinating journey.

“BroadVision is thrilled to present at Cloud Bootcamp and participate in this event,” said Dr. Chen. “I look forward to sharing our insights and hearing from the young entrepreneurs in attendance along with our friends, customers, and partners from T-Systems.”

Dr. Chen founded BroadVision in 1993. In 1999 Business Week named him one of the original e.biz 25 Master of the Web Universe as one of the 25 most influential e-business leaders in the world. He has been a pioneer in driving innovative solutions to deliver business value in areas such as one-to-one personalization, knowledge management, e-commerce, e-banking, enterprise social networking, and unified communication & collaboration. With the recent release of Vmoso, Dr. Chen has incorporated his professional philosophy around communication and collaboration into a robust, enterprise-grade platform for business.

About BroadVision

Driving innovation since 1993, BroadVision (NASDAQ: BVSN) provides e-business solutions that enable the enterprise and its employees, partners, and customers to stay actively engaged, socially connected, and universally organized to achieve greater business results. BroadVision® solutions—including Vmoso for unified business collaboration and engagement, and Clearvale for enterprise social networking—are available globally in the cloud via the Web and mobile applications. Visit BroadVision.comfor more details.

About Vmoso

Vmoso is a cloud application for conducting virtual enterprise communication, mobile workgroup collaboration, and social business engagement. It unifies five workplace activities in one platform: email, instant messaging, content sharing, workflow, and social networking. It empowers users and their extended organizations to communicate and collaborate whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose; allowing for greater productivity in less time and at much lower cost.

Visit BroadVision.com/Vmoso for more details.

BroadVision and its case-sensitive permutations are trademarks or registered trademarks of BroadVision, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

For more information about Dr. Chen’s keynote contact: Ty J. Levine VP of Marketing and Business Development, BroadVision, Inc. 408.390.6866 ty.levine@broadvision.com

 

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Construction Communication: A Vital Tool of the Trade

Construction work requires a large team of professionals, each with their own talents and goals, working together to achieve a common goal. These teams vary widely in their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, communication styles, temperaments, and sometimes even linguistic backgrounds.

Yet as diverse as a team of professionals working on construction might be, strong communication is essential for getting the job done right, on time, in budget, and to the client’s satisfaction. How can you build strong, solid communications among construction managers, architects, interior designers, electrical and plumbing contractors, landscapers, and a host of other professionals?

Establishing and Adhering to a Chain of Command

Construction communication
It’s important that information flows properly through the chain of command, so that mangers and supervisors can coordinate the efforts of the labor force. Bending or breaking the chain of command can damage quality, run the project over budget, or cost too much time.

Communications regarding construction instructions can bounce around a bit. Sometimes, word comes directly from the client and makes its way downward through the ranks. Other times, the orders come laterally, from an architect or the construction manager. Occasionally, word has to make it bottom up, from the workers doing the actual labor who find a problem or potential problem and have to communicate it up the chain of command.

Building Trust and Teamwork Among Various Team Members

There are problems inherent in construction communications. First, too many orders get placed between the client or construction manager and an architect or engineer over a cup of coffee — never making its way through the proper channels. Then, when things don’t get done as agreed upon, it looks as if the orders were forgotten or ignored. The key to solving these types of communications issues is to invest in and properly use the right communication and collaboration tool.

In today’s construction environment, a communication tool needs to be able to combine all of the various means of communications — email, instant messaging, document sharing, workflow, social networking, etc. — into a single system. Furthermore, it needs to be accessible via any device at any time, so that the interior designer on her desktop in New York can communicate with the engineer on his tablet in San Francisco and both can pass along the necessary information to the construction manager using a laptop on the job site in Omaha. A tool like this works across platforms (desktop, laptop, smartphone, etc.), across zip codes, and across communications vehicles (email, IM, social, etc.)

Assuring Client Satisfaction With Quality Work, Timely Delivery, and Adherence to Budget Restrictions

Construction communication
Clients don’t typically mind spending money, but they do mind wasting money. Good communications keep everyone on the same page so that the end product is something the client is happy to pay for.

With the right tool in place, team members at all stages and areas of the project can effectively communicate in order to recognize and address potential problems, plan for perfection down to the tiniest detail, and stay on time and within budget for the project. Better yet, a sleek modern communication and collaboration tool will allow workers to eliminate unnecessary and/or redundant information to streamline communications. For example, there is no reason to bother the master electrician with communications about the design between the interior designer and landscaper. Team members will be able to pull and respond to communications that are relevant to them and their work, while pushing or ignoring information that is irrelevant to their part of the job.

To see how a modern construction communication tool can serve your needs, request a demo of the BroadVision Vmoso app today. This app is ideal for communications and collaboration among construction crews, managers, engineers, designers, and the happy client.