on July 02, 2015
This is a guest post by Michael Drescher, BroadVision’s Director of Business Operations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
On 18th June, around 100 of the top Swiss enterprises joined IDC’s “Workplace of the Future” conference to listen, discuss, learn and enjoy a full day on what the workplace of the future may look like.
The keynote address from IDC identified four essential drivers for the workplace of the future
- Social Business
- Cloud Services
- Big Data
A key area of the information exchange focused around the subject, that the way we communicate, despite all our best intention, is still broken and ways to fix it. (IDC’s numbers – email usage as main communication tool will drop from today of 73% to under 45% within the next 12 months).
Swisscom presented a key initiative within the company, “WorkSmart”, concerning the ways the younger generation within Swisscom supports the change of working and what is important for them. Key factors for the young generation were identified as work at any place, with any device, sharing knowledge, spontaneously, direct and across an open network.
Other presentations focused more on hardware related topics or document centric approaches on how to address the future workplace.
Most of the questions from the audience and the forum panel discussion did focus around the points:
- Where to start and how to drive adoption of new selected approaches?
- Is it secure and how can I manage the information across the different devices?
- Is consolidation of all the already existing channels possible and how?
- Do we need more tools or just better manage what we have?
Agreement was reached among the participants:
- E-Mail handling needs to change
- BYOD and flexible work places are more and more an expectation for all organisations, not an option.
- We still need to get work done – chat, blogs, forum are all nice but we all do have workload to manage
- More independent tools will not do it – integrated communication and collaboration suites are required.
- The individual needs to drive/control the communication
We focused on presenting our approach on how to fix broken business communication, address the essential drivers of the future development and address work place change. We have brought this all together into our new product, we call Vmoso. You can try it out right away – just go to www.vmoso.com.
Photos reproduced with kind permission of IDC
on June 30, 2015
Is productivity down? Can’t seem to get everyone on the same page? Are wires constantly getting crossed because your current communications platforms (like email and voice mail) aren’t working any longer? If so, this is nothing unique to your business. This era of technology, streamlined business operations, and high demand calls for a new set of communications tools. Are you ready for the next generation of collaboration and communications software?
Are office communications getting a little out of hand? Instead of lining workers up and resorting to a megaphone to get your message across, try this instead.
Today’s workplaces are inundated with various forms of communications. Between emails, phone calls, instant messages, and social networking, it’s a wonder anything gets done. It takes several applications to handle all of these, and not all of the tools available work as well on mobile devices as on desktop computers. Vmoso has the solution. This single tool replaces and combines all of the email, IM, content sharing, workflow, and social sharing tools into one, neat solution that is as workable on mobile devices as it is on your desktop computers back at the office.
Traditional office communications, such as phone calls and emails, come to you whether you want it or not. There is no means by which to filter what you receive and view. Vmoso gives users the ability to “pull” and “push” information and view only what is relevant and useful. No more blown up inboxes thanks to the dreaded “reply all” button!
Are you faced with a workforce that constantly has to move between mobile and desktop devices? If so, a robust private solution is the best option for providing them with easy collaboration plus convenient mobile to desktop transition.
Another problem with current office communications is not having vital emails, records, and other items when workers are away from the desktop computers. Vmoso is totally mobile, so workers have access to all of the shared files, social media collaboration, email, and other communications tools wherever they go. Better yet, when they return to their computers, all of those communications are instantly accessible via the private cloud server.
Most of the mobile and desktop-to-mobile apps available today are not endowed with enterprise-level security measures. Vmoso features robust authentication as well as multi-factor login and a private cloud infrastructure that is viable for even your most secure communications. You can rest assured that your regulatory compliance needs are met, as Vmoso stores your sensitive information in your local country under the same laws that govern your workplace. Don’t trust your secure communications and collaborations to insecure emails, instant messaging, or social media platforms that are constantly under attack by hackers. Turn to the secure Vmoso product for better communications, faster and more streamlined collaboration, and easy desktop-to-mobile work transition.
You can learn more about the Vmoso app at the BroadVision website. To see a demonstration of the Vmoso product in action, visit BroadVision today.
on June 25, 2015
Airlines are in a unique situation when it comes to communicating and collaborating across the organization. Some workers spend their time traveling across the globe. Others work away their days in baggage carts or behind a counter. Still others are at desktop computers or while away their hours on the phone with customers. How can you deliver a consistent, relevant, cohesive communication platform into all of these drastically different environments and situations?
Be Who You Are
It isn’t that difficult to accommodate workers in different work environments when you assemble a combination of digital tools.
For airlines, it is important to make communications look, feel, and sound like the same voice — your company’s voice. Yet you also have to deliver those messages in a variety of formats over various locations so that each worker can receive their information when, where, and how they need to get it.
This is how the most effective airlines get this job done: the first step is to assign someone to oversee all internal communications. At a small airline, this might be one or two people; at larger organizations it might be an entire team. Flesh out the voice you wish to speak in. Use the same voice that you use for external communications. This helps you ensure consistency, which establishes trust and familiarity.
Meet the Employees Where They Are
Using a consistent voice in your communications helps your workers establish a trusting relationship with your company, even when they are scattered across the globe.
Next, identify the best form of communication for speaking to workers in different positions. There are so many ways to deliver communications that it only takes a bit of forethought to reach everyone where it’s easiest.
The first platform is a cohesive, streamlined communications tool like Vmoso. Vmoso has the unique ability to deliver communications and open up collaboration via all of the traditional digital methods, including email and instant messaging. This assures that your communications team, as well as other stakeholders like the executives, marketing, etc. can all deliver their messages to specific departments or to the workforce as a whole.
The next steps involve translating those messages into other forms where workers can access them easily and conveniently. For example, for workers who are handling baggage or are otherwise away from computers and not on their mobile devices all day, digital billboards are ideal. Some airlines also send out printed magazines and make those available in break rooms, locker rooms, and other shared areas.
A mobile app can be extremely helpful in disseminating information to workers who are able to access their mobile devices regularly, such as the workers at your counters and your airline attendants. Apps can be developed using responsive web designs so that they are equally useful to desktop workers and those with smartphones, tablets, and notebooks.
Since airlines employ so many varied positions, it’s also an excellent plan to distribute messages that can be viewed at the worker’s leisure. Podcasts, video channels, and email messages are ideal for reaching all workers.
With the right tools and a smart plan, you can easily communicate with all of the different airline employees effectively, conveniently, and accurately. To see Vmoso at work and see how it could empower your airline staff, visit the BroadVision website for a demo.
on June 23, 2015
Business Communication Is (Still) Broken : Events in Paris and London, June/July 2015
For some 25 years, organisations have used email to communicate. Much communication is simple – let’s have a meeting, someone called you, etc. But much is more complex, involves more than a few people, requires dialogue, and requires sharing content such as a note, document, photo, etc. We usually refer to this as collaboration. As communications networks have extended and improved with wifi and broadband, business people have become more and more dependent on email for such collaborative communications.
With the increased use of mobile devices, the situation has developed even more. We collaborate “anytime, any place” now. Employees increasingly expect to be kept informed of, and respond to, the latest developments on their work activities. Equally customers expect companies to provide easy access to information, and answer questions in an engaging, timely and covenient manner.
Yet still people in business cling to email. We send a spreadsheet to 10 people, and suddenly we have 11 copies. Five update and re-distribute it, and immediately there is confusion. Which is the latest version? Why did the other five not respond? Should they have? Were there others who could have contributed but were not in the email to: list? Was the spreadsheet forward on to others without the knowledge of the author? And so on.
With mobile, people have become used to communicating and sharing information in a variety of consumer apps for chat, social networking and file sharing. But when those apps are used for business, collaboration problems get worse still. Now the communication may be fragmented across several places, and we lose any cohesion in the discussion on a given topic.
In our events in Paris (29th June) and London (1st July), we shall be looking at this issue, and addressing these questions :
- Why is email such a problem for business collaboration?
- Is it right to ban email in the workplace? Or do we try to improve it?
- If Enterprise Social Networks should be the answer, why are there few examples of success?
- How do mobile apps help and hinder?
- What is the connection between good employee collaboration and customer engagement?
- Broadband, Cloud and Mobile have encouraged more frequent and richer communication, yet added new challenges. What are the effects of those challenges?
- What do we need to do to address all these issues, and in particular what can BroadVision offer to help?
Speakers in both Paris and London will include Dr Pehong Chen, Founder and CEO, and Richard Hughes, Director of Social Strategy. In London, the speakers will also include Alan Patrick of Agile Elephant, one of our consultant partners and specialist in the dig ital enterprise. As well as presenting, all of the speakers will join in a question and answer panel session.
We want to provide attendees at these events time to ask questions, and discuss these issues, so spaces are limited. If you are interested in attending, please contact us.
If you’re not able to join us in London or Paris, join us for a webinar on Wednesday 24th June where we’ll be presenting a shorter session on the same topic.
on June 22, 2015
There are companies in which everyone is out for themselves. Achievements are hoarded like the last Moon Pie on planet earth, and workers had rather share their lunches than credit for what they’ve done. Then there are the successful companies. These organizations have learned that no worker is as good as the collaborative powers of their collective teams — and they have mastered the art of developing a workplace conducive to effective and meaningful collaboration. How can you make the transition?
1. Provide an Open, Flexible Workspace
Give your workers room to breathe, move about, and mingle. This naturally stimulates people’s social natures.
Dividing the work areas up into cubicles puts a literal barrier between your employees, effectively stifling their ability to collaborate. Interaction is human nature. We are more “pack animal” than “lone wolf.” Provide an open work environment where workers can see each other and communicate with each other. This naturally promotes working together and teaming up to solve problems and work on issues.
Additionally, offer your workers space outside their own workstations to bond, discuss, and collaborate. Community break rooms stocked with healthy food and beverages isn’t as much an invitation to waste time as it is an opportunity to build trust and strong bonds among workers. Many successful companies (such as Google and Facebook) provide workers with informal communal areas furnished with comfortable seats where they can relax, allow creative juices to flow, and freely collaborate with each other.
2. Empower Workers With Portability
Unchain workers from immobile desktops and empower their collaboration with laptops or other portable devices.
Have you tethered your workers to their desks with antiquated desktop computers? If so, you’ve effectively stunted their ability to move about and work together. Switch to laptops (or, when possible, tablets), and revamp the Wi-Fi to accommodate a mobile workforce. Not only does this enable workers to work together easier, it also saves on power bills, and in many cases, cuts the IT costs for maintaining old, outdated desktop computers.
With portable devices, you also need a portable collaboration and communication platform that will enable easy sharing of information, documents, etc. on whatever devices are in use. Vmoso is capable of delivering a stellar cloud-based collaborative experience for any size organization, no matter what mobile or desktop devices are on the network.
3. Be a Good Example of the Collaborative Process
Do your workers see you collaborating with other executives or managers? Are you seen working together with your subordinates? Adult workers are a lot like kids are, they tend to mimic the behavior they see in those they are supposed to please. Show your workforce how collaboration works by engaging in it yourself. Also prove the benefits by showcasing what your collaborative efforts were able to produce, such as improving your product line or boosting sales.
4. Establish a Shared Sense of Decision-Making and Outcomes
Do your workers feel vested in the decisions and outcomes they make? What do they stand to gain if they make the right decisions and produce great outcomes? What might they lose if the decisions are poor and the outcomes not as expected? Help your workers draw the lines between how good collaboration and outcomes benefit them, not just how it benefits the company as a whole.
Visit BroadVision today to see what Vmoso can do for your workforce’s collaborative efforts.
on June 18, 2015
For a long time, email met the collaboration needs of business better than most any alternative. It helped keep you off the phone, and it allowed you to manage communications when it was most convenient. Best of all, it gave you the ability to attach documents, links and photos that were impossible to share over the phone. But over the years, email became less efficient and more bothersome. It’s not email’s fault, really. Most of the problem comes from using email for purposes it was never intended for, such as business collaboration and seamless integration with your social media channels.
Is there a better alternative? Actually, there are several. Whether you’re trying to collaborate with coworkers on your next project, sync your social media accounts, or track your industry news across the Web, there’s an ideal tool available to do just that.
If you’re trying to keep track of your brand and product mentions across the Web, Mention can be extremely handy.
Mention is an alert and notifications tool that works across the Internet. It monitors your brand name, your products, and even your targeted keywords across the Web and alerts you to any and all mentions. It looks for these mentions virtually everywhere — in blogs, on social networking sites, and even within forum groups. It also gives you the ability to respond to these mentions and to share relevant industry news across platforms.
The right communications tool can make it so much easier to keep projects, marketing campaigns, and everything else on track. Choose a tool that helps you develop good strategies and meet your goals.
For internal and external corporate communications, Vmoso gives you the ability to see all of the relevant communications that are important to your work, while filtering out all of the “noise” like spam, meaningless emails, and irrelevant social media communications. This powerful tool gives teams the control to manage their work communications effectively, including sharing documents, videos, images, voice messages, and much more.
Buffer is a tool for managing your social media publications and analytics all in one. It gives you the power to send updates to all of your social media channels at once with a single action. It posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and even App.net. Additionally, it helps you track analytics from all of these sites to discover why a particular post worked well or didn’t. Buffer also helps you determine the best times to post to all of your social media accounts, depending on the particular audience you’re trying to reach.
If you have to keep track of a number of RSS feeds throughout the day, Feedly is a handy tool to help you do just that. It keeps you abreast of all of the relevant industry blogs and news websites. It’s an excellent tool for discovering new content and information relevant to the topics you most need to stay on top of.
Zapier is an easy way to link all of the social media services that you need to keep track of. It connects to different services and sends you automatic alerts and notifications. Zapier also works with sites like Twitter, MailChimp, RSS, and various other apps and tools.
These communication and collaboration tools will free you from the time-consuming hassle that has come to be associated with modern email. To request a demo of Vmoso, visit the BroadVision website today.
on June 16, 2015
When productivity slumps, the work isn’t the only thing that suffers. Morale also sinks with it. Sometimes the morale issues cause the efficiency decline, sometimes it goes the other way. But if you need to improve your team’s efficiency, there are some tried and proven ways to do it. Be a good leader, and your team’s productivity and intensity will surprise you!
Which workers are responsible for what assignments? Make sure they know what’s expected of them.
Are the roles within your team clearly defined and well understood? If productivity is lacking, it could be a matter of confusion over who needs to take responsibility for what. For example, if no one knows they’re in charge of printing and reviewing report X, it’s unlikely to get done. If Sammy thinks it’s Sally’s job, he won’t want to step on her toes by taking the initiative to do it. Make sure the roles and responsibilities within your team are well defined and clearly assigned.
Set Clearly Communicated Objectives
What goals are your team trying to meet? What’s in it for them if they succeed?
If your workers have no better concept of your objectives than, “We need to do this, and do it as quickly as possible,” they aren’t in a position to help you meet your goals. Set clear objectives, such as improving production by 10 percent by quarter end, or producing X number of widgets per day. Then make sure that they understand what their stake in meeting the goals is: how will they benefit from the company’s improved efficiency? This might be a more stable job situation or a bonus, or even a pizza party, but they need to know what meeting your objectives does for them personally.
Do you delegate simply by handing off the junk you don’t want to do to your team? If so, this is probably demoralizing your workers and driving down their efficiency and productivity. Give your workers authority over an aspect of the work, and assign them responsibility for the outcome. This endows them with ownership, and a sense of ownership always improves productivity.
Provide Better Collaboration Tools
Are workers so inundated with emails, voice mails, and instant messages that they can’t be productive? If so, better collaborative tools can cut down on meaningless correspondence and communications and allow your workers to receive the information they need to do their jobs while eliminating useless distractions. Vmoso is a proven platform for better office communication and collaboration.
Lead by Example
Have you ever visited a restaurant or fast food joint where the manager had their sleeves rolled up, working as hard as the workers? If so, you’ve likely noticed that the workers are also cranking out work as quickly and efficiently as they are capable of. Managers who work hard themselves establish an atmosphere of productivity and rarely have trouble getting their team members on board.
Ax the Busywork
Is your office snowed under with generating meaningless reports, attending useless meetings, or other unnecessary busywork? Streamline processes and eliminate stuff that isn’t essential for efficiency and productivity. This doesn’t just free up more time for workers to produce, it also improves morale so that they have a great attitude about digging in and getting things done.
Vmoso has the unique capability of allowing workers to collaborate and communicate fully, while eliminating communications that aren’t productive or necessary. This platform incorporates all of the best features of email, social media, and instant messaging, while eliminating all of the downsides to these communications tools, such as the dreaded “Reply All” button and never-ending streams of spam. Explore the BroadVision website to learn more about Vmoso and other helpful collaboration tools for the workplace.
on June 12, 2015
The following guest article was written by online marketing expert Zac Johnson, founder of Blogging.org.
One of the biggest distractions and causes of stress throughout the workday is having an inbox that constantly fills up with new emails and tasks you need to address. There is nothing more frustrating than opening your email and seeing a huge number of unread emails just waiting for you.
The following actionable tips will help you clean up your inbox, relieve stress and simply get more done!
Answer Emails Right When You Get Them
Email can be overwhelming, especially if it just keeps coming in! By answering important emails as soon as they arrive in your inbox, you will minimize the number of emails you need to take care of and also eliminate any stress your email causes every time you see it sitting there. Address the important messages to get more work done while reducing your anxiety.
Integrate and Email More People at Once
Eliminate a lot of wasted time and decrease the number of emails in your inbox by setting up email integration, which allows you to connect with various people within the same message. Many people already do this through CC and BCC emails, but this can get messy if you start adding too many recipients.
A better way to connect with a group of individuals while also having more control over the stream of messages going back and forth is through Vmoso’s application software. It’s quite advanced and allows anyone to invite new people into the email conversation, without needing to be a Vmoso user.
Unsubscribe to Unwanted Emails
One of the quickest ways to clean up your inbox is to go through all of your unread email right now and see how many of them you actually want to receive. Instead of just deleting the emails, open them and click the “unsubscribe” button. This is a great way to prevent your inbox from filling up with unwanted mail going forward.
Create a Separate Account for Newsletters
In addition to unsubscribing from emails, it’s a good idea to set up different email accounts based on the type of emails you want to receive. Sure, we all want coupons and special promotions, but we don’t necessarily want them all at the same time or alongside our work email. A great way to take care of this is to create an email account for your personal/work email, then additional accounts for coupons, promotions or newsletters that you might want to check every so often, but not see on a daily basis.
Set Up Email Filters
Email filters can go a long way when trying to clean up your inbox. By setting up filters and sorting incoming mail based on who they come from and their importance, you will be more easily able to access your most important email first, while pushing generic emails down the list. Many email services have their own filters in place to check for spam, but with some simple customization and setting changes, you can really improve the performance and structure of your inbox.
Clean Out Your Inbox Periodically
When your inbox starts to get out of hand with hundreds or even thousands of unread emails, it’s easy to give up. Setting aside some time to clean out and manage your email is a great investment toward lessening the stress and time wasted as a result of your current inbox chaos.
Sort by Folders, Categories and Labels
As email providers continue to become more advanced, so do the methods in which we can sort and categorize email as it comes in. Sorting emails based on their importance, content and the sender is an excellent way to tackle important email immediately, along with quickly being able to find and reference emails received in the past.
Save Time with an Email Signature
Imagine how many emails you send on a daily basis. Now think about how many you send per year! It’s easily in the thousands, and if you have to type your name and contact information in each of those emails, you’re wasting a lot of time. Let’s say you send 10,000 emails every year, and it takes you 10 seconds to type your signature (name, company, etc.). That’s over 27 hours spent typing your signature – an entire DAY spent typing! Implement an email signature in your outgoing emails, and not only will you save time, you’ll also look more professional in the process.
Whether if you are focused on cleaning up your personal or business email, these tips will help you achieve inbox enlightenment. Implement just one of these tips today and you will see a better inbox tomorrow.
on June 09, 2015
The following guest article was written by Susan Payton, president of Egg Marketing & Communications, which specializes in content marketing and social media management.
In this competitive world, less is more. As in, the less time it takes you to do things, the more successful you can be. And while it seems that technology should automatically help us be more efficient, often we’re not using it properly and can’t really be productive.
Getting more done in less time doesn’t require extra arms. Just smarts.
If you need help harnessing technology to work smarter, not harder, start with these strategies:
1. Have Your Tools Play Together Nicely
Just a few years ago, you had separate inbox, project management software, email marketing, and social media applications. You had to log in to each one separately to get anything done. And that ate up a lot of time.
But today’s tools are friends. They integrate with one another (or you can use one tool designed to streamline all these functions) so that you not only save the time it took to log in to each site separately, but you also see how they work together. For example, if you can connect your email and project management activities, you can assign a task based on directions or input a client gave you via email. The email stays attached to the task for reference.
2. Create a Social Media Command Center
While you need to visit the actual sites for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., initially to set up your account, you can actually be more productive not logging in regularly. With the right social media dashboard, you can monitor what’s being said about your brand, connect with those you care most about, and schedule updates ahead of time so you don’t have to write updates throughout the day.
If you have more than one person who works on your social media accounts, you can create teams and tasks so everyone’s tapped into what they need to do.
3. Put it in the Cloud
How much time have you wasted hunting for a file in your inbox, only to find it was sent to you through a different medium? Keeping documents, images, videos, and presentations in one place in the cloud means that you – as well as your team – can access them from anywhere. No more hunting.
4. Plan Your Content Marketing
If blogging is a marketing strategy you use, you might dread writing content every week. Be smart and block off time to write several posts at once. That way, you can schedule your content for several days or weeks, and put your attention toward other tasks while your content goes live and attracts new readers.
5. Manage Your Client Relations
Gone are the days of Access databases cluttered with client information. Today’s customer relationship management software is sophisticated enough to let you not only store important contact details, but also set tasks and milestones and track opportunities. With the right CRM, you don’t miss any potential sales opportunities for your business.
Often, getting more done in less time isn’t about being the smartest person in the room, but rather having the smartest tools and taking the time to learn how to leverage them. The great thing about technology is it’s constantly evolving and developing new ways for us to be more effective in business.
on June 05, 2015
Most executives and managers realize that the organization’s true potential doesn’t just lie in the talents of the highly qualified individuals they hire, but in the potential they hold collectively. It’s like a finely-tuned race car: the speed and agility and power is not just in the engine, but rather when the engine, suspension, steering, braking systems, tires, fuel system, and other components are compatible and working in full concert.
For this reason, managers often assign teams of their best workers to undertake a particularly thorny problem or go after an especially lofty goal. In the end, has the team really collaborated, that is, did they work in concert like the perfectly-tuned race car, or did they merely work independently and bring it together in a form that mimicked collaboration? How can you know when your workers are truly collaborating? Here is the science behind it all.
Confusing Collaboration With Compliance
Has your team actually collaborated, or have they just complied with the mandate handed to them by management?
Compliance happens when all of the workers hear, understand, and accept a challenge, yet they each move and work independently in order to bring about the result. An example of compliance is when the CFO hands down a mandate to cut expenses by 10 percent across the board. What usually happens is that the managers have a discussion, they each agree to cut 10 percent of their expenses, and each manager goes about doing this within their own departments.
In the end, the executive’s mandate is met. Costs are indeed reduced by 10 percent. But was it the most effective way to do it? Perhaps the best solution would have been to cut less critical areas by 20 percent and cut only 5 percent from mission-critical departments like production or R&D. Since no true collaboration was done, the outcome was less effective than it could perhaps have been.
Confusing Collaboration With Cooperation
Cooperation is one more step toward collaboration, but is still not true collaboration. Cooperation is when each worker is working toward the same goal, but is doing so independently. This is usually the case when workers are assigned a project. They typically hold a meeting, decide who is going to be responsible for what, and retreat to their own environment to get their part of the assignment done. As with compliance, the end goals are usually met. But like compliance, the project never sees the potential offered by true collaboration.
What is True Collaboration?
Once you’ve decided to take the difficult road of actual collaboration, make sure your teams have the right tools to get it done.
Most teams think they are collaborating, and rarely consciously reject the idea of collaboration. They just don’t know what it actually looks like, and collaboration is very hard. Our natural instincts is to take a chunk of the work that most suits our specific skill set and let others in the team do the same. We then piecemeal the product together and offer it up as a collaborative effort.
Collaboration actually involves each member working together, sharing assignments, discussing each issue, coming to the best conclusions, and delivering a cohesive product in the end. It’s an emotionally difficult process and is uncomfortable for most people. But as the saying goes, “Two minds are better than one.” If you can learn to master collaboration, every effort your teams undertake will deliver the full potential of your great minds working in concert. This is how races are won.
To get your hands on a tool to promote and foster true collaboration in your organization, visit BroadVision today. You can also see a free demo of the powerful Vmoso product in action.