Tag : Industry analysis

You've Got Email... Not!

I’m old enough to remember the world before the Internet. We didn’t use email because only the Internet removed the need for matching hardware and software –  so prior to the big “I” — electronic communication was largely an internal communication tool for large corporations.

I like to ask people if they find direct mail or email more intrusive and the answer is a resounding, “Email!” So in a couple of decades we went from no email to too much email and now we’re heading… according to some… back to less email.

Check out this article titled, “Tech Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy, ” from ABC news. It describes how a European tech company is working to ban internal email and replace it with real time collaboration tools like … a “Wiki, which allows all employees to communicate by contributing or modifying online content, the company’s online chat system which allows video conferencing, and file and application sharing.”  They are not banning external email with customers just internal spam and nonsense.

Are you ready to collaborate in whole new ways? If you had to start work at a new company and they asked you to share your thoughts on a wiki, would you say, “Sure, no problem,” or would you stare blankly at your hiring manager.

What are some of the new collaboration tools? Check out Yammer. It is a free private social network (like twitter) that is used by over 100,000 companies worldwide. Little companies like Ford and LG.  And what about those wikis? Go into Google and search for almost anything and add wiki to the search. You may be surprised to see how companies are using this handy technology to develop everything from policies to tech road maps to employee on-boarding processes.

Whether or not email goes away entirely or not isn’t really the issue. How we adapt to new ways of communicating and collaborating is. The rules, tools and expected results are all changing folks. Get ready!

CEO Be Nimble & Quick...The Customer is Watching

“Civilizations have clashed in an unexpected way this year, as ordinary people using Facebook and Twitter knocked down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya…”  This is the opening sentence of an article titled, “Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution,”  from Forbes magazine, September 2011.

The “Customer Spring” as it’s being called, is related to the ‘Arab Spring’ referenced above. Customers, like those protesters, are exerting their influence in unprecedented ways.

In the 1980’s Porter’s Five Forces model (see image) became a model “framework for industry analysis and business strategy development.” Porter’s widely-used tool helped businesses think through which competitive forces were the most potent.

The green square (the Bargaining Power of Customers)  appears equal to others,  but in the new social world order, customers (and employees!) have unparalleled leverage. Here’s an example:

Adidas recently found itself under attack when fans of a popular rugby team were outraged to learn that Adidas team jerseys were being sold for significantly more in their country than elsewhere in the world. Fans went online to research comparative prices and then organized fellow fans in protest.  People started returning Adidas clothing to stores in disgust, the New York Times reported.

For those of us who remember the ” Tylenol recall” of 1982, we know that building  trust through transparency may not easy or cheap, but it is worthwhile. The twist is that a similar episode today would ‘hit’ the Internet and be global in seconds. CEO be nimble, CEO be quick – but you better be honest and transparent as well. That green square is growing faster than you can imagine.

Image is Michael Porter, Harvard University, Five Forces Model