The Social Enterprise Blog

How We Communicate #4: Sandy Adams

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on October 22, 2014




sandyFirst, tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m BroadVision’s General Counsel: I bring a mix of law firm and in-house legal experience to the wide array of issues and opportunities facing the company. As in-house counsel I’m expected to provide business-savvy solutions to the legal issues encountered by the company. Primarily, I work either from my home office in Illinois or from corporate headquarters in California.


How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through (and what are they?)

Most of my communication inside BroadVision is either on Vmoso or Clearvale, with occasional emails or Skype messages. Skype for phone calls or department meetings. Outside of the company, most of my business communication is through email, mobile phone calls, and/or texting.


What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

I log into email, Clearvale, and Vmoso within the minutes of starting my work day. Since most work is now assigned through Clearvale and Vmoso I check both of them prior to going through my other emails (unless I’m waiting for a reply from someone outside of BroadVision, in which case I scan my emails for these replies). If I’m in the office, whether home or corporate, I always use my laptop. If I’m traveling I primarily use my smartphone or iPad, but will switch to my laptop if I need to review or draft documents or write a lengthy response.


How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

90%/10% if I am in the office; 20%/80% if I’m out of the office.


Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

Varies, but I try to read everything as soon as I notice it. If I’m at my desk I try to read messages as soon as or very shortly after they arrive. If I’ve been away from my desk (whether that be overnight or even for short breaks) then I at least scan Vmoso, Clearvale and email messages when I’m back at my desk and read those that I rate to be the most important, saving or deleting the rest. For email it seems at least 50% are usually not required for my current work – many are from associations to which I belong, or legal firms sending notices of recent decisions or new regulations/laws they believe are of interest to our company, or solicitations from companies/law firms wanting to sell their services.


How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

When I’m in my home office, I’ve switched almost entirely to Clearvale and Vmoso for my internal communications over the past 3 years, with email and Skype communications becoming less and less useful. When I’m in corporate headquarters, I do like to meet face to face with other employees.

But, the past 3 years have seen a dramatic change in how and who I get information from; I guess you could say this is how I communicate as well although it is mostly pulling information in. This started with Clearvale; I found that I had been missing so much of interest that was going on in the company (sometimes even things I should have known about as there were potential legal consequences) and that I was able to learn about by reading what was posted on Clearvale. I think this might be common for most of us in the finance group, pre-Clearvale I thought because I worked with other departments on issues, deals, and projects, that I knew what was going on in the company. In reality I was quite naïve, fairly unconnected with the other departments; but now I’m more aware of what’s going on; able to read posts on all sorts of topics, learn what’s going on, understand and participate in conversations, and offer advice (even when it’s not directly solicited).

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

Neither, I’d say somewhere in between. I find Clearvale and Vmoso more informative than email ever proved to be, but there are times when email is still required for legal communications, at least externally.


Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

Again, neither. I sort of tune them out most of the time. But I do like them when they remind me of an important meeting/call. I tend to get engrossed in what I’m reading or working on and lose track of time.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

I guess it would have to be email; unfortunately that is still how I communicate outside of BroadVision.

How do you hope Vmoso will improve your business communication?

I’m still learning and hopefully improving. Last week I learned how to use filters to choose what I see; I’m able to find what I need to work on and still have time to locate items of interest even when I’m not a direct participant. I’m hopeful that with Vmoso will consolidate all the information I need to work productively, and to be a collaborative and truly connected company resource.

How We Communicate #3: Belinda Gannaway

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on October 16, 2014

 

Yesterday I took part in a webinar entitled The Future Of Business Communications – Beyond Email with Luke Brynley-Jones, Angela Ashenden and Belinda Gannaway. It was a great discussion and we could have easily filled another hour. If you missed it, you can listen to the replay here.
 
After the discussion, Belinda kindly sent her contribution to our How We Communicate series.

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First, tell us a little bit about yourself

belindaI am a consultant at collaboration consultancy NixonMcInnes. I help people in large organisations work together better to become more agile and innovative – and better able to respond to customers’ needs. I believe in disrupting the status quo to connect people in new ways, to have better conversations and, ultimately, create new things and ways of working. The office is in Brighton where I live, but I travel a fair bit in the UK and a bit in Europe.

How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through?

For connecting with colleagues I use a mix of Chatter, the SalesForce social app, Google docs, email and Google chat.

Working with clients I use a mix of email, NM’s collaboration solution – Basecamp – and clients’ own solutions, and text message.

Skype, text, Twitter and Google Hangouts are all helpful for working with distributed teams of associates on different projects.

I”m a bit of a LinkedIn addict at the moment and I also use Twitter (mainly for work) and Facebook (mainly for non-work stuff, but not entirely). Can’t remember the last time I had a lengthy phone call with a friend. I even have email conversations with my mum, and my children Facetime her. Why do I have a landline anyway?

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

I have a terrible habit of looking at the news, Twitter and my emails on my phone in bed in the mornings. That isn’t a healthy media diet.

How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

I’d estimate it is about 50/50. But we’re moving to a hot desking environment so I think that will change as I embrace the opportunity to work anywhere. Something I already do, but not enough – especially given there’s a lovely cafe on the beach with wifi only 5 minutes from my office.

Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

I try and look at work emails in chunks after I’ve completed a piece of work – or had some solid thinking time. This rarely works. Personal emails I tend to deal with only in the evening. Twitter and FB I look at intermittently throughout the day.

How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

I’m now much more aware of how disruptive interruptions are and I try harder to switch off from them. I do a lot more communication through LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook than three years ago. Three years ago I was working as a freelance consultant so I didn’t use a work-based social network. I really enjoy it as a way to stay in touch with colleagues.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

I’ve switched them all off except Chatter. But now you remind me, that’s going off too.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

At the moment it would be my abs workout. But I’m very faddy. So it will be something else tomorrow. Probably the one that would annoy me most would be if you deleted all my photos as I’m hopeless at backing them up. Comms wise, I’d probably keep Twitter as I can access colleagues, Friends and news from it.

If you could fix just one thing in the business communication tools you use, what would it be?

I love gmail’s ability to put messages into a priority inbox. But I hate the way it stacks messages, so I’d sort that out. I’m sure there is a way to do it, I just haven’t looked yet.

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If you’d like to participate in the series, please contact rhughes@broadvision.com, or @_richardhughes on Twitter.

How We Communicate #2: Hugues Martin

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on October 10, 2014

hwc hugues

First, tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m BroadVision’s  Director of Professional Services for Europe, and also act as pre-sales for the same area. I’m based in the south of France, with regular trips to my office in Paris.

How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through (and what are they?)

Most of my communication inside BroadVision is through Vmoso or Clearvale, with occasional emails (but those are fewer and fewer these days). Skype and GoToMeeting for team meetings.

With the outside world, most of the communication is through email, or skype/telephone when a synchronous communication is needed.

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

Email through smartphone, but that’s before I start work. I try to not mark any important thing as ‘read’ at that moment, to make sure that I don’t miss any item once I’m really starting to work.

Once I’m at work, it’s Vmoso through the web interface on my laptop.

How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

90% at one of my desks, 10% away.

Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

It’s variable. Usually I check as soon as they arrive, unless I’m in a task requiring concentration, in which case I check my messages when I’m finished or need a break from the current task.

How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

Instant communication has not changed much. Asynchronous switched partly from email to Clearvale and Vmoso in that time. The way I send my information hasn’t changed drastically (except I write it in a different interface), but the way I read other’s information has changed. Now I got a much wider data source to tap from, with mixed blessings. The good part is that I’m much more aware of what’s going on, and able to participate even if not explicitly invited. The bad part is that I might, more than before, miss something important.

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

Still a good friend. Maybe not the best anymore, I hope it’s not too jealous.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

Love them. That is, as long as they happen in the background and don’t interrupt what I’m doing at the time.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

I still think it would be email; that’s what lets me connect with everyone

If you could fix just one thing in the business communication tools you use, what would it be?

Tricky question. Maybe the fact that they are too many of them.

How do you hope Vmoso will improve your business communication?

Ideally, aggregate all the communication streams I have, so that I have a single point to look at.

Reclaim Control Of Your Business Communication – part 4

By Richard Hughes in Reclaim Control Of Your Business Communication on October 08, 2014

The way we communicate in business is changing. Email has served us well, but its limitations are becoming more and more apparent. This four-part series of animated videos looks at the three major factors that contribute to inefficiency in business communication.

Part 4 – a five point plan for addressing the challenges identified in the series


The Future Of Business Communication: Moving Beyond Email

By Richard Hughes in Blog on October 06, 2014

BroadVision are proud to be sponsoring a series of free webinars hosted by Our Social Times entitled The Future Of Business Communication. The first of these, Moving Beyond Email, will be on October 15th and will consider the impasse so many organizations have got to with email as a business communication tool – everyone knows it has become overused to the point that it damages business efficiency, but they struggle to find the solution.

I’ll be joined by Angela Ashenden of MWD Advisors, Luke Brynley-Jones of Our Social Times and Belinda Gannaway of NixonMcInnes. Both Angela and Belinda have posted some of their thoughts on the subject as taster of what’s to come in the webinar, and below you can find my article, originally published on Our Social Times blog.

I hope you’ll be able to join us on October 15th for what promises to be an thought-provoking discussion.

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Email – the business communication tool we love to hate.

Yes, there are people who just hate email and have done something about it by moving to an enterprise social network or similar. And yes, there are some people who, despite all email’s well-known failings, still love it. But the vast majority of us are somewhere in the middle – our business lives are dependent on email as our primary communication tool, but it is a constant source of frustration to us. We know there’s a better way of communicating – social networking in the consumer world has demonstrated that to us – but we just don’t know how to get our companies to make the towards this 21st Century communication nirvana.

It’s not as if there is any shortage of new communication tools to move to. Quite the reverse, and the vast array of options available can be overwhelming. Barely a week goes by without another VC-funded start-up claiming to have reinvented email for the mobile age.  But while we may, as consumers, be happy to flit from one shiny new app the next, moving an entire company’s communications on such a whim, unsurprisingly, never happens.

Indeed, it is hard to overestimate just how resistant change many companies, and their individual employees, are when it comes to kicking their email habit. For the last three or four years, the introduction of enterprise social networks (ESNs) were seen as the solution to corporate communication woes, but their promise remains unfulfilled. For many organisations, ESNs have proved to be too big a step to take all in one go. The open, transparent way of working that an ESN represents is a destination, rather than the first step of the journey.

More recently, an avalanche of WhatsApp look-a-likes has promised employees a simple way of communicating efficiently from mobile devices. But these often represent many IT departments’ worst nightmare, where corporate control and discoverability of data is even worse than in the world of email. Different is a not always better.

So it seems that this “let’s-kill-email” plan is going to require a bit more thought…. That’s why BroadVision is pleased to be running The Future Of Business Communication series with Our Social Times, which is kicking off with our Moving Beyond Email webinar on 15th Oct.

Maybe we don’t want to kill email at all. Instead, what we really want is to go back to using email for what it’s good at (e.g. quick person-to-person ephemeral messaging , simple notifications)  and stop using it for all the things it’s really poor at (e.g. big group discussions, carrying company knowledge, transporting large files around).  When we consider what’s beyond email, we shouldn’t assume that email plays no part in the new communication landscape. Yes, it will play a different part, and almost certainly a reduced part, but it will almost certainly still be there.

Perhaps the biggest omission from most of these beyond-email debates is the recognition that we don’t all use email in the same way, and we don’t all hate the same bits of it. I know that in my company, further up the management chain the biggest frustration is the classic overflowing-inbox volume-of-email issue. But personally, that doesn’t bother me much. 20+ years of using email have trained to be to be really good at filtering an inbox very quickly. No, my biggest frustration is people who don’t reply to messages I’ve sent.  It is email’s lack of accountability that I hate. Take a cross-section of any company and you’ll find a similar disparity in opinion about what’s wrong with email and what the company should do about it.

So, any beyond-email plan first needs to understand how people in the company are really using communication tools today, their frustrations, and their hopes for future innovation. Only then can we formulate a comprehensive, credible strategy for updating our business communication habits.

 

How We Communicate #1: Bill Porter

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on October 01, 2014

First, tell us a little bit about yourself

My job is in UK Sales for BroadVision, and I am responsible for all of BroadVision’s sales activities focused on communication and collaboration solutions. I am based at my office at my home in southern England, but travel a fair amount around the UK visiting customers, partners and prospects, and occasionally outside the UK for company meetings. When I am travelling I rely heavily on my iPhone and my iPad for communicating, and getting work done. At my desk, I use a Windows 8 laptop, but quite often find myself looking at, or responding to messages simultaneously on all three devices!

How many different services do you send and receive business-related messages through?

For communicating and working with other people in BroadVision, I use our Clearvale social intranet and Vmoso for sharing information such as meeting notes, exchanging ideas, raising questions, updating status notes, etc. When I am at my desk, Skype gets used for voice calls, including conference calls, and I also use a web conferencing tool. When I am out and about, I use the Vmoso iOS app heavily, and the Clearvale app on my iPhone or Clearvale via the browser on my iPad. For voice, I use the iPhone as a phone.

Although there is relatively little internal email communication to/from people within BroadVision, I do use email quite extensively for arranging appointments, sending information, answering questions, etc from prospects and others outside of BroadVision.

For networking, I look at LinkedIn sometimes, and follow Twitter. I also belong to a London meetup group, which has a simple social networking site. 

For keeping up to date and sharing photos with friends and family, I use Facebook. Some of my friends are not on Facebook or other networks, and I communicate with them by email and text messages. Sometimes we even talk! My sons like to use WhatsApp and Snapchat, so I use those from time to time as well, and I share photos with some of my friends using Apple’s Shared Streams.

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work? And what device do you access it from?

Before I get to my desk each morning, I use either my iPad or my iPhone to check anything new in BroadVision using Clearvale and Vmoso.

How much of your communication takes place from your desk, and how much while you’re away from your desk?

I’d estimate it is about 50/50.

Do you check messages as soon as they arrive, or save them up for specific times of the day?

Generally speaking, all personal emails and messages are left to the end of the day. For business messages, I tend to look at Vmoso chat messages as they arrive since they are often quite interactive by nature or urgency. I will notice when information is posted and shared with me on Vmoso, but will usually not read or comment until I do a number at once on both Vmoso and Clearvale – not at any specific times of day, I am not as ordered as that, but when there is a natural break in other activities. 

How has the way you communicate changed over the last 3 years?

It has become much more varied – there are so many different digital channels now. 

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

Neither, it is just a fact of life. But it is very helpful in managing my time, that I don’t get snowed by large volumes of internal email. That was something that I was very struck by when I joined BroadVision just over 3 years ago.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

They don’t bother me, but I am quite judicious with managing those apps for which I allow pop-up notifications. On my phone, I only really allow Vmoso, Text Messages and the Phone (for missed calls and voicemails). Plus Snapchat and WhatsApp because the only notifications there will be from my sons.

If I stole your smart phone and only gave it back to you after I deleted every app except one, which one would you choose to keep?

Difficult. Do I cut off my personal life, or my business life? I assume the phone would still have voice, so I could still speak to my family and friends! Which means it would have to be Vmoso – it is built to be mobile friendly, and gives me both the interactive “chat” style communication, and a means of sharing and receiving information. Plus I would have all my contacts, and could always initiate a voice call or even an email from a contact’s profile, as well as a chat. Ultimately it could provide me with a “universal inbox” for all my communications activities in any case.

If you could fix just one thing in the business communication tools you use, what would it be?

The mobile coverage out of the towns and cities, and provision of wifi on trains and other transport in the UK is still inadequate. When you’re travelling and may only have 3G connection for short bursts of time, there isn’t time to check lots of different communication tools. I need to quickly and easily consolidate all, or at least most, of my communication channels into a single stream.

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If you’d like to take part in the series, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Richard Hughes (rhughes@broadvision.com; @_richardhughes) for more details.

How We Communicate

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on September 30, 2014

The way we communicate in business is changing. For years, email has been the main workhorse of business communication and it has served us well, but its limitations are becoming increasingly apparent. The rise of enterprise social networking, with products like Clearvale, has the promise to supplant email with a more open, transparent and efficient environment for collaboration. But old habits die hard, and despite all the protestations of email overload, people have proved to be reluctant to abandon their inboxes and move to social networks.

Actually, that’s something of a sweeping generalisation. Some people have been only too eager to jettison their email legacy and wholeheartedly embrace a social future. Others have obstinately refused to change their working practices at all. But the majority of people have been somewhere in the middle – open to the idea of new tools and better ways of communicating, but only if they can see how it makes them personally more efficient. And herein lies the problem with most new communication tools – to succeed, it requires a mass migration of users from old tools to new. Otherwise, communication is fragmented across old and new systems, and even harder to manage than it was before.

But everyone communicates differently. For every person who despises their overflowing email inbox, there is another who considers themselves an Outlook Guru and has no wish to relearn everything in a new tool. For every self-appointed social media expert, there is a Twitter-sceptic or Facebook-refusenik. To carry such a diverse community of people forward to any new communication tool requires us to understand the way people use today’s tools, what they like and what they don’t.

This month, BroadVision have announced Vmoso, a real-time enterprise communication tool that aims to ease the transition from the email-centric world to a more open, more efficient, more accountable and more social method of business communication. Alongside the product launch, we are also starting a new blog series, “How We Communicate”. This is a series of interviews with people about how they communicate today, their current frustrations, and their hopes for future innovation. It is only through understanding the way people use communication tools today that any company can plan a successful implementation of new tools and remove the inefficiencies inherent in the current email-dominated world.

If you’d like to take part in the series, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Richard Hughes (rhughes@broadvision.com; @_richardhughes) for more details.

Reclaim Control Of Your Business Communication – part 2

By Richard Hughes in Reclaim Control Of Your Business Communication on September 25, 2014

The way we communicate in business is changing. Email has served us well, but its limitations are becoming more and more apparent. This four-part series of animated videos looks at the three major factors that contribute to inefficiency in business communication, starting with communication overload.

Part 2 – Accountability


BroadVision