Posts Tagged ‘yammer’

User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment: External Influence & Employee Brands

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by Fransgaard No Comments

The original version of this article can be seen at the award-winning Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

In the previous articles Connecting the Dots and A Consistent Experience I looked at a holistic view on the building blocks of the Social Enterprise and why it is important to deliver a consistent user experience and brand experience to employees.

In this article I will be looking at the Social Enterprise from the outside.

Influencing the champions within a social enterprise

We are moving to a future where the lines between work and personal lives are being blurred and as I covered in the previous article it is important that employees can represent the company and the brand correctly at any time whether they are at work or not.

The individual employee is representing a direct communication option to the company, an important fact for external marketeers. And the question becomes: “How can we give champions of our products and brands the tools to spread the word to their colleagues within the walls of the Social Enterprise?

Yam It or Chatter This

Creating the ability to for people to share to their social enterprise environment from the public web is one way to go. Granted it is possible for an employee to copy and paste the link into the corporate interface, but this is where the history of user experience design can be beneficial:

For a long time user experience designers where arguing back and forth whether having a print button or a bookmark button on a website was beneficial or clutter. After all it duplicates standard browser functionalities available (sort of) to the users.

But it became clear the argument was missing the point. The question was not whether the buttons duplicates a function or not; The question was: Do the buttons make it easier and are they more inviting for the users?

I suspect the answer played a part in the success of Facebook ‘Like’ and “Tweet this” buttons that social media brought to us: It makes it easy. I think it is reasonable to assume that similar options for sharing from the public web to the Social Enterprise will prove effective for the same reasons.

Technically sharable documents

I am not going to discuss the value of quality content as there are loads of good articles on the subject. Instead I would like to direct your attention to the delivery mechanisms.

In a consumer environment some delivery tools are better than others (horrible flippy pages anyone?) but for most part all can be viewed by the target audience if they wanted.

However, it may not be as straight forward for users on a corporate network. Your target organisation may still make use of older browsers or restrict access to plugins such as Flash and Java. Make sure any content work in older versions of browsers/ file readers and don’t rely on any plugins to be installed.

Employee Brands

To finished off this series of articles on User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment I want to highlight a new and exiting concept called “Employee Brands”.

The Social Enterprise supports a more flat corporate structure. Due to the collective ownership of content and responsibility more power is in the hands of the employees and some individuals are better at handling, distributing and manipulating the stream of information making them influencers within the Social Enterprise regardless of job title.

  • They become known sources of good information
  • They become known by name
  • They become Employee Brands

Connecting with these Employee Brands seems like a feasible way of reaching inside the Social Enterprise wall, but how can they be identified?

Employee brands have two facets: Their public profile, reach and influence which can be destilled from all the hints of the public facing web (Have many Twitter followers? How many Facebook likes on the last blog post? What’s their Klout score and Peer Index?).

The other facet is their profile, reach and influence within the Social Enterprise and here I fall short of an answer because I am not aware of any capabilities able to measure an employee’s personal influence or “brand power” within a Social Enterprise from the public web.

One way might be to use their public presence and how it relates to the public presence of fellow employees, but this is merely a shadow of their Social Enterprise presence and may prove misleading.

Another way might be using what traditional account management and PR has taught us: Get to know the employees. Engage with them in the public social channels. Start conversations and use the information gathered to create a picture of the brand value of the employees.

I agree; The concept of Employee Brands is difficult to gauge, but looking at how the power of communication and information is spreading throughout organisations I think it is a concept well worth exploring.

What are your thoughts on influencing the Social Enterprise?

How I would improve Pinterest

Posted on: February 9th, 2012 by Fransgaard 7 Comments

No doubt you have heard about Pinterest by now. Not a day goes by without a new follower or repin hits my inbox and it seems to show up in every other tweet at the moment.

 

I joined Pinterest in July 2010 a month before joining Capgemini and since then I have watched it grow and become better but while I love it some of the aspects I find frustrating remains, so here’s how I would improve Pinterest:

The Pin overlay

I like the way the Pin function overlays the page you want to pin from by showing all the photos available, but why does it not remain when pinning? Often I want to pin several images from a single page making it a time consuming task because not only do I have to click the “Pin” link again, I also have to scroll down on pages with several images.

The Pin pop-up

The actual Pinning functionality is hosted in a pop-up. Fine, but why do I have to close it? I understand Pinterest wants to encourage users to share their pin post pinning, but why not just have sharing checkboxes on the first page of the pop-up and close the window as soon as the pinning has been confirmed as a success similar to how a Tweet window behaves directly from Twitter.com?

Multiple entries in a single pin.

I personally think it would be nice with the ability to pin 5 photos in a ingle pin effectively creating a mini gallery, but even if this goes against the purpose of Pinterest I’d still like the ability to Pin several images at once whether they go into a single Pin or several individual Pins.

The undead boards

How many times do I have to delete the same boards? I have experienced several times that boards I delete return from the dead.

Mobile pinning

I am not a big fan of the Pinterest iPhone app as it only allows me to pin photos. Why? I can share my photos on Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr even Yammer and the list goes on. I do not need another photo sharing service.

To me Pinterest (the screen version) is an inspiration sharing tool to help me share and bookmark visuals that inspire me. I need the same function on my iPhone. It must be possible to create a bookmark in mobile browsers that can duplicate the same function as the pin bookmarklet. And even if not, it must be possible to embed a browser in the Pinterest app to enable additional functions to be deployed.

Social connectivity

An important aspect of any new social networks is the ability to connect with the existing social networks. Pinterest currently only lets me share my pins on Facebook and Twitter. For me Facebook isn’t relevant while Twitter is, but I am missing Instagram and Flickr and even Linkedin.

Instagram understands this and it is key to their success, although it would be good to be about to share Instagram to Google+ and  Pinterest.

But adding all sharing options would be too confusing. Why not allow users to decide themselves which networks they want displayed as tick boxes on the Pin pop-up?

Pin prevention

This is a small quirk but I suspect it may be hitting other sites: Pinterest assumes Allfacebook.com is  Facebook.com preventing any pinning from the site. Annoying little gremlin.

What are you missing on Pinterest?

If you are a Pinterest user what are your thoughts? And if you are considering joining, what is holding you back?

User Experience Design in a Social Enterprise Environment: Connecting the Dots

Posted on: January 10th, 2012 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

The original version of this article can be seen at the award-winning Capgemini – Capping IT Off blog.

Social Enterprise is an exciting concept and in a series of blog posts I will share some tips on how to make a desirable and productive user experience for The Social Enterprise.

What is The Social Enterprise?

The Social Enterprise is not a technology or software, it is a concept that refers to an organisation that is fully connected and where all things are digitally integrated with each other using what I call The Social Glue.

It is an organisation that thinks differently and makes use of all the opportunities a digitally connected environment presents. It affects everything within the organisation from how systems integrate to how employees behave. It also has a profound impact in how the organisation interacts with its customers, how fast it can react to any correspondence and how well it can collaborate with them.

The switch to a Social Enterprise mindset can flip the company upside down by breaking down hierarchies and business silos and it creates a radically different and modern work environment suitable for the 21st century. Here at Capgemini Yammer has played a big part as covered by my colleagues Tom Barton and Rick Mans, but there are many other success stories on the web.

Connecting the dots

Chances are your organisation already have several of the cornerstones of a Social Enterprise, email being one of them. You may also have a file repository, perhaps digital working groups and maybe even instant messaging tools.

But are they linked together? Do they all identify themselves as official tools of your company? Have they ever been officially introduced as such?

Historically such initiatives were often not started at the top of the organisations. They were started by enthusiastic employees either by publicly being active on behalf of the company (whether in an official capacity or not) or who somehow got access to some server space and set up a wiki or similar to make life easier for themselves and their closest colleagues.

While such guerrilla tactics may have been borderline improper conduct they more often than not proved beneficial to the organisation and as such were adopted more widely with the management’s approval and backing.

Where does content live?

But the above isn’t actually a Social Enterprise strategy because these different initiatives, no matter how effective, are not working together as a single entity.

The first step is to look holistically at the systems and map out what each system brings to the collective experience because while they work independently of each other there is a danger of content being duplicated or misplaced leading to a disjointed experience forcing people back to old habits as they struggle to make sense of all these new systems spawning left and right.

Creating an overview of the systems will help determine where what type of content live which is crucial for an optimised workspace. It will also identify what functions might be missing for The Social Enterprise to function effectively as a single coherent system.

How do I find it?

For a traditional single site interface, such as a website, the rules for best practice in user experience design are:

  • Consistent Navigation Structure
  • Strong Search
  • All-Inclusive Sitemap.

But in reality very few Social Enterprises have a single global user interface as they make use of the default interface designs of the various systems. So for The Social Enterprise the two most important aspects are Search and Sitemap.

The search facility need to be able to search globally across systems and it needs the ability to return relevant results and provide user-controlled functions like filters. If the search cannot search all systems it need to state so very clearly and give the users alternative methods.

The sitemap is almost always forgotten for Social Enterprises because of how they appear out of individual systems fusing together. But nothing is more helpful for users than a single place to see all the different locations with clear indications of what should be used for what purposes. It is not enough to only inform people when they join the company; they need a destination to constantly remind themselves of the logic rather than wasting time finding information on… how to find information.

How do I keep informed?

Real-time information is at the heart of The Social Enterprise as it strives to bring content to users when they need it. This inevitably creates a huge communication stream between people and people as well as between objects and people. However, receiving a flood of automatically generated email alerts is counter-productive as it is time-consuming to manage and hard to filter.

A new mechanism is needed that can aggregate all communication into a single stream of chronological entries. Imagine a single location where alerts from practical systems, from working groups and from colleagues are found in one place, effectively being the digital footprint of the company but delivered in a modified version tailored to each individual employees job role requirements and interests.

Such an organisational Lifestream need to be at the core of any Social Enterprise to be truly effective and software providers are aware of this offering systems that can act as this social backbone of The Social Enterprise, but it is important to remember whatever system is chosen, it need to integrate with all the other systems to be effective, otherwise it is just another digital location soon to be forgotten by the employees.

But what do you think?

Please let me know your thoughts and feel free to share any suggestions for the next article on how to make a desirable and productive user experience across The Social Enterprise.