The Social Enterprise Blog

4 Mistakes C-Level Execs Make When ‘Selling’ Online Collaboration Tools

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 28, 2015

Email is no longer working for business. Email has become a cumbersome time-waster, taking up valuable hours from the work day. Email is one of the primary tools used by hackers to introduce malware into your systems. Additionally, email communications lack accountability–too much information can get lost, misrepresented, or outright corrupted via email.

The obvious solution is online collaboration tools, like enterprise social networking. These tools are fast and easy to use, and work much like the consumer social platforms everyone is already using, but with enterprise-grade security and features. Social networking puts all of the information out for everyone to see, so that communications are open, transparent, and users can be held accountable. With a closed social network, these tools do not allow for malware intrusions like email, but workers can still share a variety of documents, presentations, videos, and other materials that are useful to the organization.

C-level executives often adopt social networking tools but fail to see a return on the investment. Why is that? What can top execs do to foster acceptance and use of these powerful collaboration tools?

1. The “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” Approach

Collaboration tools

If you want workers to embrace the collaboration tool, you have to “Like” it too.

Sometimes executives adopt these tools, demand that everyone else use them, and then go right on using email for their own communications. This sends the wrong messages to the departments. It tells them the executive isn’t really serious, that the tool isn’t really useful, and that they don’t have to go along with it. When executives begin using the collaboration tool, it demonstrates how useful it is and communicates that the top management is serious about change.

2. Failing to Get All Departments on Board

Another problem is that departments begin using the tool to communicate within their own departments, but the tool isn’t leveraged across the organization among different departments. The executive needs to help each department understand how their workflow fits within the organization as a whole. How can the tech department provide great info to the production teams? How can finance benefit from the information coming from the sales team? Prove how the tool is a way to get everyone working together for common goals.

3. Failing to Give Workers the Right Training

Collaboration tools

Training is essential when adopting any new system or process. Social collaboration tools are no different.

If you bring in a pool and toss everyone in, some of them will sink and drown. Collaboration tools (or any other software package you invest in) have to be taught to the workers in order to be understood, embraced, and utilized. Make sure workers from management on down receive thorough training, including an explanation on why the tool is beneficial, how it works, and what workers stand to gain in terms of easier workloads and better communications.

4. Failing to Give the Tool More Time to Be Accepted

How long did it take your workforce to stop walking to each others’ cubicles and start sending emails? A couple of months? A year? Longer? Moving from the comfortable norm of email onto a collaborative tool like social networking is the same. Don’t give up on it just because workers take some time to adjust and learn the new system. The primary reason why these plans don’t work in some companies is because management gives up on the tool too quickly, not because the tool isn’t valuable and useful. Even if it takes time to embrace the new communications system, workers will eventually adapt and adjust, and the immensely distracting, overwhelming, unsafe days of email will finally be behind you.

For a feature-packed social network-style communications and collaboration tool visit BroadVision. The Vmoso tool is easy to integrate into the corporate environment, and empowers mobile workers as well as those who stay in the office all day. Try Vmoso for free today!

4 Collaboration Solutions to Simplify Your Team Communication

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 25, 2015

If you found a time machine and went back to collect an office worker from the 1980’s and transported them back to 2015, they wouldn’t recognize much. Sure, they would know what computers and perhaps cell phones were, but they would be flabbergasted at how powerful our technology has become. Remote workers doing important business on city streets, workers across continents sharing documents and information in real time, and the ability to store massive amounts of data in the cloud — all of these things would be like walking into a sci-fi novel.

Yet all of these innovations came quickly, and today’s workers have become fragmented in their communications. We receive confusing emails. Someone important doesn’t get copied on an email and slips out of the loop. Additionally, huge sets of knowledge are shared among just a few employees, while the rest are left in the dark. Important information is lost completely when employees leave the company. Companies lack transparency into communications, and there is little accountability for what is said.

Does this sound like your organization? If so, here are some powerful collaboration tools to get things back on the right track.

1. Creating, Sharing, and Managing Documents in a Linguistically Diverse Environment

Collaboration tools

Working in a diversified environment calls for specialized communications tools.

In today’s global economy, how can linguistically diverse workers communicate and collaborate? QuickSilver is a tool for creating and managing any size document in any format in any language. Working on the Unicode authoring platform, it allows workers to collaborate on projects, assignments, and more while collecting and storing these documents securely. This is an ideal solution for creative businesses cranking out new documents continually.

2. Enterprise Social Networking

Collaboration

Social networking tools for the enterprise eliminate many of the problems companies experience using email.

Enterprise social networking is an ideal alternative to traditional email communications for a number of reasons. First, it eliminates many of the problems mentioned above, such as transparency and accountability. It allows workers to share information, engage with each other, and track the communications over time. As workers engage, this information is collected so that a knowledge base is built. This means that valuable company information isn’t lost in deleted emails or when workers leave the company. It can be collected and utilized for the future. Enterprise social networking, when used properly, can greatly improve the efficiency of an organization. Clearvale is a practical, useful solution to enterprise social networking.

3. Unifying All Work Communications in a Single Solution

If you like the idea of enterprise social networking, but also wish to leverage other communications options like email, instant messaging, content sharing and workflow, Vmoso is the ideal solution for you. Vmoso is perfect for a mobile workforce, allowing for seamless transition among smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs. Vmoso makes it possible to leverage a single app for work that would normally require a number of apps to do.

4. Solutions for Industries Needing the Toughest Security Measures

Some businesses — such as finance, healthcare, public utilities, higher education, telecommunications and retail — need these collaboration tools, but also need an easy cloud-based solution that offers the best security measures. BroadVision 9 is this solution. It allows you to unify your e-business with an overall enterprise communications and collaboration solution. Based on the popular Vmoso product, it also works across mobile and desktop devices.

Visit BroadVision for all your team communication and collaboration needs today.

The 7 Biggest Workplace Time-Wasters and How to Avoid Them

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 21, 2015

Your employees work hard. You’re positive of this, because every time you stroll through the office, they are toiling along. So why is productivity so low? What’s holding up progress? Here are the biggest time-wasters in the workplace, and how to axe them for good.

1. Irrelevant Meetings and Presentations

Workplace

If the meeting can’t be eliminated, but perhaps only a few workers actually need to attend.

Meetings have spiraled out of control. We now hold meetings with the sole agenda of planning where, when, and how to hold other meetings! Presentations are the same — nobody needs someone to read every slide of a PowerPoint, just distribute the file and let workers read at their own pace. Eliminate meetings and opt for another means of discussion and collaboration, or restrict meetings to instances when nothing else will work.

2. Replace the “To Do” List With a “Stop Doing” List

The “to do” list has been as misused and abused as the old meeting. Workers get so focused on completing the menial tasks on the list, that they neglect more pressing matters. Work toward creating “stop doing” lists, which help workers give up time-wasters and focus on the tasks at hand.

3. Doing Other People’s Work

Are managers or other workers trying to take up the slack for workers who either don’t know what they’re doing or simply need a hand with everything? If so, it’s time to start letting the swimmers swim and, well, let the others sink. Holding up dead weight drags everyone’s productivity down.

4. Constant Interruptions (Business or Personal)

Workplace

Give employees the right tools to control interruptions and increase their productivity.

A worker delves into a task. Then the phone rings. Then an email message pops up. After that, the worker’s mom sends her a text message, and then a coworker stops by for a question (or two or five). Designate specific times of the day to handle calls and messages and leave the rest available for productive work.

5. Over-Multitasking

Multitasking makes many workers feel like they’re accomplishing a lot, but are they really? Taking on too much at once can mean that 100 different projects are 1 percent complete at the end of the day. It’s usually more efficient to undertake a single project and work to its completion (or at least a realistic stopping point) before taking on the next.

6. A Disorganized Work Environment

Creative types love to tout their clutter as an organizational system only they understand. But studies show that clutter and disorganization lead to significant wasted time over the long run. Insist on tidy workspaces, viable filing systems, and practical processes and workflows throughout the organization.

7. Excessive Breaks

It’s a good idea to get the mind (and the eyes) off the computer for brief times during the workday. It helps reestablish focus and reduce stress. But visiting the coffee machine or smoking area every 15-20 minute is not productive; it simply wastes a lot of time. Designate specific break times (two to three per day) and restrict trips to the break room to those times. It’s okay for employees to stand up, stretch, or take a brief walk in between those times, but an extended coffee or smoking break can easily waste 1-2 hours in a given workday, plus regularly scheduled breaks and lunches. It adds up.

BroadVision offers a uniquely designed communications and collaboration platform that reduces the amount of wasted time during the workday. Visit for a free demo of Vmoso today.

5 New Approaches to Improving Your Workplace Culture

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 19, 2015

What is your corporate culture? There are several types. Some are traditional, innovative, or focused on skills. Others are toxic, and stifle free thinking, literally sucking the incentive out of workers who come to the company to do their best. Does your corporate culture need a boost? Here are five great ways to improve the culture for greater productivity, higher moral, lower turnover rates, and a better future.

1. Invite Creative Thought

Workplace culture

Does your organization reward those who are a bit different, with different ideas and inspirations? These creative thinkers are powerful tools when treated right.

How long has it been since a worker approached you with a new idea or a better way of doing things? If you can’t even remember, it’s likely your culture isn’t accepting and promoting creative thought. Want to be an aggressive-growth company like Google or Facebook? Fostering an open atmosphere to promote creative thinking is exactly how to get there.

2. Accept Normal Mistakes

Are employees hiding their mistakes and letting them fester into bigger problems, just because they’re afraid of what will happen if they goof up? Accepting normal, reasonable mistakes helps workers grow and thrive. If they are fearful of making the slightest error, they will never learn and grow and develop into strong, capable workers. Let the little stuff slide, and foster an atmosphere that supports rather than condemning normal, human errors.

3. Better Communication Tools

Workplace culture

Are you giving your workers the communication tools to keep information flowing and insight moving along the line?

Is your workplace still dependent on fallible email and voicemail tools? It’s too easy to overlook or delete important emails and voicemails, which can mean missing a deadline or disappointing a customer. Provide your workers with better communication tools, like Vmoso’s social media type platform. This tool helps organize communications, so that everything is readily accessible and there is transparency and accountability regarding internal and external communications.

4. Address Employee Concerns and Problems

When workers bring their concerns or voice their problems to management, is it addressed or just brushed aside? Employee morale is dependent on your willingness and ability to recognize issues, correct problems, improve processes, and generally make things better. There is always room for improvement! Accepting that something needs to be improved isn’t saying that everything is bad. It only highlights the areas that need some work, and focus efforts on making the work and employees the best they can be.

5. Reward Good Efforts

What is the incentive for your workers to go above and beyond in their jobs? What do they stand to gain for providing stellar customer service or completing a nearly impossible task? Worker rewards can take many forms, but workers do need to feel that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Employee of the Month awards, Customer Service Awards, Achievement Awards, and departmental parties are all great incentives for workers to put their efforts into making your organization a successful one.

Just like other human relationships, you can’t quit “courting” great workers once you hire them. Keep motivating them, and they’ll keep performing for you. If your office communications could use a jump-start, Vmoso is an excellent option. You can request a demo here.

For Businesses, Fractured Communication Leads to Fractured Progress

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 14, 2015

What is the glue that holds all of the talent, experience, training, knowledge, and efforts of your organization together? Communication. It is the only means by which these resources actually get used to the benefit of the company. Even with modern communication tools like email and mobile devices, things fall through the cracks. There is a lack of transparency, and almost no accountability when it comes to sending the right messages and being sure those messages were received and understood.

Here is how fractured communications lead to fractured organizational progress, along with your solution to the madness.

Receiving Unclear Instructions or Announcements

Communication

Are your team communications breaking down because workers aren’t getting the information they need when they need it?

Have you ever received an email or voicemail about an upcoming policy change or project and the email created more questions than it answered? Some workers spend the rest of the day trying to track the answers down — lowering their productivity level considerably — while others simply ignore the message, missing out on the information that should have been imparted.

Missing or Not Receiving Important Instructions or Announcements

How many emails and voicemails do you have waiting for you when you arrive in the morning? How many more await after you return from a meeting or lunch? The sheer volume of messages we receive leads to overlooking or forgetting important ones. Furthermore, it’s always possible for a legitimate email to end up in the spam folder, meaning that worker never even saw it at all.

Lack of a Unified Knowledge Base

Today’s workers are neatly grouped into departments, and this makes work more efficient. Yet each department holds vital information that the others need. Without a tool for unifying the organization’s knowledge base, information the sales team has can’t benefit finance, information the production team has can’t help sales, etc.

Use of Shadow IT

Communication

The best way to discourage shadow IT is to make sure employees have the apps and tools they need to do their work.

When workers aren’t getting the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively, they start using their own applications, usually without getting approval from IT or even notifying them. This leads to security vulnerabilities, bugs, compatibility issues, and unnecessary stress on the IT infrastructure. Failing to give workers the adequate communication tools is a recipe for creating shadow IT problems.

Support for Mobile Devices

Do you have sales teams or other workers who do most of their productive work outside the office? Telecommuting and remote working is becoming the norm. With BYOD policies on the rise, this means issues with compatibility, IT’s ability to track and support devices, regulatory compliance issues, security issues, problems backing up critical data, and other problems. Business needs a better way to handle mobile devices on the network.

The Solution to Fractured Communication

There is a new communications solution that can consolidate all of these fractured communications so that your organization can take full advantages of your resources, including your talent, working knowledge, project knowledge, training, experience, and more. This social media-based communications tool is easy to use and can revolutionize the way your workers communicate and achieve success. Request a demo today!

The Road to Enterprise Social Success

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 12, 2015

If you read the articles and blogs, you’ll get the idea that Enterprise Social Networks (or ESNs) aren’t catching on. The truth is, ESNs are like any other tool — they work only as well as you understand the benefits and how to glean those benefits. An ESN can actually revolutionize interoffice communications, but there is so much more to it. ESNs can also give you real-time information from your customers, partners, and vendors. ESNs can help remote workers feel more like a part of the organization. ESNs can align the visions and missions of workers and upper management. So, what does it take to achieve ESN success?

What is Enterprise Social Success?

ESN

The only way to determine success is to identify the metrics you’d like to achieve, then measure to determine where you are and where you’re headed.

As with any project, it starts with goals. Only after you define the goals can you determine whether or not there was success. In the case of ESN, the relationships among workers, customers, and business partners is a natural benefit of achieving the clearly defined goals. Are your goals to collect better data for product improvement? Perhaps you need to improve cooperation among departments, or find out what technologies in the workplace are working or are not working. Define the goals for ESN, and then it will be possible to find the metrics to tell you whether or not you have met your specific goals.

How Do You Measure Enterprise Social Success?

Some companies approach ESN with the idea that anything less than 100 percent adoption across the organization is a failure. But you don’t have to achieve complete adoption to benefit from and succeed with ESN.

• Have you improved communications between upper management and the workers?

• Have you improved relations between your staff and your customers?

• Do you have a better understanding of what your customers want, need, and expect from your company and its products?

• Are remote workers more engaged and invested in the company’s missions?

• Have you achieved greater transparency with your vendors and partners?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, ESN will have been a success. Be patient with this process, because it is not something that happens overnight. It takes time for people to move out of their comfort zones and begin to be comfortable with this new method of communications. Some workers will likely jump on it right away, while others hang back and take a “wait and see” approach. As you demonstrate the reasons behind ESN adoption and illustrate the potential benefits of it, workers will adopt it at a greater rate.

What are the Barriers to Enterprise Social Success?

ESN

ESN isn’t just about better internal communications. It also aids in getting customer feedback and offering greater transparency with partners and vendors.

What are the potential inhibitors to ESN success? If you know what’s standing in the way of adoption, you can take steps to pave the way for adoption and success. Here are some common reasons for a delay or resistance to acceptance and use of ESN:

• Some managers might feel that opening up communications equally might hinder their authority

• Some workers might be intimidated by the unfamiliar technology

• Some workers might not see the benefits of collaboration

• Some workers just feel more comfortable with the old way of doing things

Good communication about how ESN can benefit the workers, not just the organization, is key to overcoming problems like these. Solid training programs are also essential.

Where is the Road to Enterprise Social Success?

So how can your organization pave the road to ESN success?

• Develop clear goals for what ESN is supposed to do for the organization.

• Communicate how meeting these goals will benefit workers and other stakeholders.

• Choose an ESN that offers the features and flexibility your stakeholders need.

• Define the metrics that will indicate success of the project.

• Give the project plenty of time. The corporate culture won’t change overnight, but this is not an indication that ESN isn’t a viable long-term solution.

Want to see what ESN can do for your organization without the risk? Try Vmoso for free today.

8 Benefits of Collaborating Online

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 07, 2015

Have you heard of Enterprise Social Networking, or ESN? ESN is software that allows a company to set up its own social network for the purposes of collaboration among workers. But it can be much more than this, allowing for building better relationships with customers and improving relationships and transparency between your organization and your business partners. Additionally, it can serve as a bridge between upper management and the company’s workforce.

The enterprise social network — just like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and others do for the general public — allows for complete and open communications among workers and others in real time. What are the benefits of setting up and using an ESN?

1. Saving Time

Collaborating online

Want to see your teams get more done, faster, with fewer resources? Go social.

It is likely you use multiple applications for email, file sharing, instant messaging and project or task management in the workplace. So, it can be difficult and time consuming to find the documents and conversations you need to get your work done quickly and productively. An ESN consolidates all of this collaboration and communication in one place. As a result, a team can share information quickly and easily without the troublesome steps of calling 25 different people or setting up a unique email group for every project they are assigned.

2. Makes Reporting Easier

Most companies are doing as much as possible with as few resources as possible in order to stay lean and competitive in a post-recession economy. When challenged with numerous ongoing projects, all with different timelines and duties, reporting can be difficult. An ESN keeps all communications associated with a project together so that reporting is easy, complete, and uncomplicated.

3. Easier Way to Track Projects

How is this project moving along? What is left to complete that project? Are we on schedule for another project? All of these issues are easier to track and manage with an ESN. Everyone can see what’s been done, what’s outstanding, and who is responsible for which activities.

4. A Single Place to Store All Documents Related to Projects

A voice mail about this, an email about that, plus a spreadsheet in this file folder, and a few Word documents in another folder. Add in a presentation somewhere else, a conversation between two workers in the hallway that nobody else heard, and it’s almost impossible to get a clear picture of what’s there. With ESN, everyone has instant access to all of the documents and communications relative to a project.

5. The Ability to Collaborate Remotely

Collaborating online

Do you have workers scattered here and yon? Social networking for business is your solution to real-time, across-time-zone collaborations.

Out-of-the-office sales workers, traveling managers, telecommuters, and those who need to be kept in the loop while on leave — how can all of these workers keep up? ESN allows for real-time collaboration with workers anywhere and everywhere, making it a cinch to accommodate remote workers and others who aren’t in the office daily.

6. A Better Way to Collaborate Across Time Zones

How can you coordinate a project among the branch offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Singapore, and London? ESN makes it simple. Workers simply share what they need to and others pick it up when it’s time to get started for the day. Nobody misses a thing.

7. Improves Data Storage

A cloud-based ESN eliminates the problem of data storage. Nobody has to wonder where things are stored or keep track of how much available memory there is.

8. Increases Productivity

When workers have a clear, consistent view of what’s going on with a given project, keeping up with the workload is a breeze. Workers spend less time trying to connect, get necessary approval, or track down files, and more time getting actual work done.

Do you need a social network for your office collaboration? Try Vmoso for free today!

4 Ways to Eliminate the Dreaded ‘Reply All’ Response

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on May 05, 2015

Perhaps more than any other email feature, the “Reply All” button causes the most controversy. Here are just a few examples of how this one, single email feature causes trouble and heartache within an organization:

  • Somebody sends out a rhetorical email, to which no reply is necessary, or it is only necessary to reply to the recipient. Inevitably, two dozen workers “Reply All” and everyone’s in-boxes fill with comments like “Thanks!” or “Got it!” This is an enormous waste of time.
  • Somebody sends out an email, and one worker thinks of a wholly inappropriate comment. Instead of replying only to a buddy, the worker hits “Reply All” and humiliates or infuriates everyone in the organization.
  • Somebody decides to use the organizational email to sell Beanie Babies or find someone to build them a new gazebo. Workers’ in-boxes then fill with emails from people who are interested, yet not informed enough to realize nobody else is.

How can organizations combat this incredible waste of time (and occasional ruckus-maker), the confounded “Reply All” button?

1. Disable the “Reply All” Button

email

Stop pressing the button!

Some software, as well as some savvy IT workers, are able to disable this email feature. While this can make it difficult for some teams to communicate and collaborate via email, there are other options for collaboration. And offices that have disabled the button report that workers are glad it’s gone.

2. Ban the Use of “Reply All” Within the Company

If disabling the button is not possible in your IT environment, some organizations have simply banned the use of “Reply All”. It does take time to break some people from the habit, but it is helpful if consequences are established for those who fail to obey the rules. Consequences should depend on the workplace, but should be enforced consistently in order to be effective at deterring usage.

3. Use a Plug-In Program to Manage “Reply All”

email

They should at least give us a “Do Not Like” button for all their “Reply All’s”.

Some software developers have also created plug-in programs that allow companies to disable the button or to double-check with users who attempt to use it. For example, it can be set to query the user with a message such as, “Are you sure you wish to ‘Reply All’?” This solution at least gives users the opportunity to back out before sending something questionable, and reminds them that they are sending the message out to everyone, not just to the intended recipient.

4. Use a Better Solution Entirely

Tools like Vmoso allow you to personalize the communication “pushed” or “pulled” within a customizable environment. This means users can decide what information they receive and see. For example, users can follow one topic, but remove themselves from another. With access-based sharing (as opposed to copy-based sharing) there is far less redundant information and annoying noise to contend with. This reduces the amount of wasted time and improves workers’ productivity across the organization.

Visit BroadVision.com for a better alternative to the organizational email.

Breaking the E-Mail Habit: How Can Vmoso Help?

By BroadVision Blogger in Blog on April 30, 2015

Email is such an integral part of our everyday lives, it’s hard to picture running a business without it. However, email is not without its flaws. Many companies have tried to find a way to make email communications better or to replace email with something entirely different. But many of these organizations give up after just a few weeks, which isn’t long enough to allow people to make such a drastic change. Can BroadVision’s Vmoso help your business break the email habit?

What’s Wrong With E-Mail?

First, let’s examine what’s flawed about using email. For one, there is a tremendous overload of emails! Email has moved beyond being a useful tool and into a time-waster. The average worker sends out a whopping 78 emails per day, receives another 37, and checks email an average of 37 times each hour. It’s hard to get anything else done with that amount of work just to send, receive, and check for emails.

The second problem with email is accountability. In the news recently, we’ve seen how easily vital information can become lost and users think they’re above accountability. Both Lois Lerner of the IRS and Hillary Clinton of the State Department have gotten in serious trouble over lost emails, wiped email servers, and the appearance that they’ve hidden something from the public.

Email is also limited in the amount of information it can deliver and track. With email, only the senders and recipients are privy to the knowledge, decisions, and conclusions drawn in these communications. Wouldn’t it be more valuable if the important information passed through email was made available to the organization as a whole, particularly the decision makers?

How Can We Resolve These Issues?

Some people believe that adding more functionality and features to the current email system would suffice. Perhaps provide better filters or improve the user interface. Yet these are just band-aid fixes for serious problems.

A more powerful, practical, useful solution is to replace email with a social networking alternative. These tools work much like the social media we know (like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), yet are private and exclusive to the organization. Within this platform, users can pass information — including documents, presentations, audio and video files, etc. — and thereby build a useful and accessible database of knowledge, insight, and actionable advice. Vmoso is such a platform.

How Will Social Networking Integration Replace E-Mail?

The problem is that users are so accustomed to email that it takes time for them to embrace something different. Many companies give up after just three or four weeks, whereas the time it takes for workers to develop new habits can mean months. As stated by BroadVision President and CEO Pehong Chen, “It’s a journey, not a sprint.” Give users time to adapt to social networking and offer them the training and tools necessary to make the transition. With time, patience, and the right platform for enterprise social networking, it can be a success. Visit BroadVision for a powerful social networking platform your business can truly benefit from.

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