The Social Enterprise Blog

How We Communicate #6: Richard Hughes

By Richard Hughes in How We Communicate on January 08, 2015



First, tell us a little bit about yourself

Richard Hughes
I work in the marketing team at BroadVision, where I do a lot of writing for the blog and longer form content such as white papers and The Business Communication Revolution. In the past I’ve done lot of business travelling, but these days work from my home office most of the time so am a remote-but-fairly-static worker.

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

I’ve counted them up and think it’s eight: Clearvale, Vmoso, email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn and finally Feedly, which I use as a my main aggregator for industry news feeds.

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work?

Usually Facebook, and usually from my Android phone before I start work. Viewing photos of what my friends had for lunch yesterday or what their pets are up to doesn’t require my brain to be quite as awake as business communication does.

When I get to work I try to spend the first 30-60 minutes catching up on all the different information sources, so go through the eight listed above in turn, although not always in the same order.

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

These days, probably 90% at my desk because I’m travelling a lot less than I used to. Although I work at home, I have a distinctly separate office where I work, and I often use my phone and iPad to check in on Clearvale and Vmoso before I’ve gone to work or after ‘’ve come home.

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

I try to discipline myself to catch up on communication at specific times in the day – first thing in the morning, just before lunch, just after lunch, at the end of the day. As I spend a lot of my day writing (or trying to write), reading messages as soon as they arrive can be very distracting. But I must admit I do it more often than I should as a form of “justifiable prevarication”. I’m trying hard to cut down on this though, and make sure that I am in control of my communication rather than it being in control of me.

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

Email within the company has almost entirely disappeared. 95% of internal communication happens through Clearvale, and more recently Vmoso. This is a hugely positive change because it means discussions are held in a central place, and I don’t have to worry about filing emails away. If I want to go back to an older discussion, I just search Clearvale.

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

Neither really. Email’s great for throwaway person-to-person communication like “I’ll be 10 minutes late for the meeting” – nobody ever needs to go back to find that sort of discussion a year later, and none the rest of your followers want that sort of thing spamming their activity stream. But misuse of email, for things like big group discussions certainly falls into the “worst enemy” category.

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

Mostly “hate”. The problem is there are just too many of them, often telling you about trivial things. I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t disable the constant “Bob is now online” pop-ups from Skype. Do you really need to know that right now? And for a while I even had an app on my phone that insisted on popping up messages about which day my rubbish bin was going to be collected.

I find the notification management on both iOS and Android quite poor, and not granular enough to choose which sorts of notifications you want from each app. For example, most of the time “Bob is now online” is just noise to me, but there may be a time when I desperately need to talk to Bob and really want to know when he’s online. I’d really like notification systems that were intelligent enough to understand (and learn) what sort of information I need at different times of the day.

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 know this is a bit of cheat, but probably “Google Chrome”; almost all of the communication services I use have reasonable web interfaces. I’ve always been disappointed in the way mobile development has been so app-centric – it feels a very backward step at a time when so many desktop apps were moving to the browser. I would love to see some real innovation in mobile web apps.

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

I’d really like to have fewer tools. There are times when I go round the full cycle of communication tools I use and by the time I’ve finished I have to start again because of all the new updates since I last checked. “One tool to rule them all” is probably unrealistic, but some consolidation would be most welcome. However, to achieve that, I think we’re going to need to see new standards for interchange of information between social networks and other communication tools – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Clearvale, Vmoso etc all have their own APIs, and Skype doesn’t really have a proper open API.

How We Communicate #5: Stefano Gargioli

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

Stefano_GargioliFirst, tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m Stefano Gargioli, I’m General Manager for EMEA in Broadvision, I’m based in Italy (Rome) and I often travel mainly to Milan, Paris, and London to help out and lead local business activities related to sales and marketing.

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

In total I can say that I mainly use 3 services for asynchronous communication: Clearvale – our enterprise social network (ESN) platform, Vmoso – our unified communication and collaboration (UCC) platform, and email. For synchronous communication I use 2 services: Vodafone mobile services and Skype for fixed line conferences.

If I split between internal and external communication (respectively 70% and 30% of the total), I can say that I mainly use Clearvale, Vmoso and Skype internally, while I mainly use email and mobile phone for external communication.

What’s the first communication tool you check in the morning when you start work?

The first communication tool I check in the morning is email from mobile while I have breakfast because I find useful to collect in a single tool all the alerts from the different business communication tools – my approach is to activate all email alerts from different tools. I’ve developed an efficient approach to quickly scan through emails and read only those updates which are most relevant at that time and I can cancel all the rest with the confidence that during the rest of the day I will handle all the less relevant communications directly on their specific communication platforms. The real difference from the past is that I save a lot of time because I don’t need to store anymore read emails, because relevant threads and document are already centrally stored in the right place on the right communication platform.

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

Thanks to the advent of tablets and smartphones most of my communication is happening while I’m not at my desk, in fact in the past I had to postpone replies and messages because it was inefficient to try and use old fashion mobile phones or even the Blackberry devices due to the very small screen, hence I had to dedicate a lot of time to handle communication once back to my desk. Now it is very easy to be always up to date with urgent communications and reply while waiting for a customer meeting or during a conference call (yes I admit that I usually keep on handling multitasking communication on different tools while stuck in a long conference call!)

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

As I work in sales I believe that time-to-market is key for success, hence I very rarely postpone checking messages and commenting or approving tasks on the fly.

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

I think that the most important change has been to dramatically reduce time dedicated to follow up calls or update conference calls. This increased the efficiency of my team and made it possible to manage more sales processes in a shorter time. As a matter of fact before we could already communicate asynchronously through email, but we all felt the need to communicate more on the phone as email is not efficient for complex collaboration scenarios and often you had to waste a lot of time or even chase people to get a reply just because your email was stuck in someone else’s overloaded inbox.

Email – your best friend or worst enemy?

I first met email when I just started to work for IBM almost 30 years ago and I immediately loved it! In the late 80s I found exciting to have the possibility to communicate with almost 250,000 IBM colleagues around the world at the speed of light… just amazing!

I still believe that email is great and, as already mentioned, it is the first communication tool I check in the morning, but I just feel that after so many years business communication needs faster and multi-dimensional asynchronous tools, hence I’m strongly motivated to pioneer any new tool. I must say that with the advent of ESN I felt the same enthusiasm which I felt when I got on email a long time ago: I strongly believe that we are just at the beginning of the next communication era!

Popup notifications – love them or hate them?

I love them! I’m always up-to-date on what’s happening without wasting time to check time by 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 would choose an instant messaging (IM) tool as mobile is great for quick and short communication. I would probably choose Wechat as I’m using it to chat with my wife and sons, but if I need to use my smartphone to get my job done, definitely Vmoso!

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

I would like to have the ability to collect in a single efficient business communication tool all the relevant threads coming from different sources. I believe that in the future integration among different tools will be the key for success.

How do you hope Vmoso will improve your business communication?

It already does! For example with all Vmoso’s available filters for different functionalities I can quickly focus on approvals when I know that some tasks are pending for my review, or go to chats when I need to send quick communications to different members of my team in order to move forward our sales activities.

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.

BroadVision