“Congratulations, your contribution is one of the three that we nominated to present and also take home one of the slots 1, 2 or 3 in the Swedish Innovation in the Cloud.”
By our standards, that’s not exactly a bad way to start the day.
In short, we are thrilled to find out that the basic idea behind all the work we do here at www.clintelica.eu is gaining traction: reinventing the way sales are made is not an easy task, but we have always felt that as long you aim for the impossible, great things stand to happen.
Basically, Cloud Camp is an unconference (a term usually associated to a wide range of participant-driven gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference). Originally started in the US, the Cloud Camp concept is now spread widely around the globe and is becoming a global meeting point for all people interested in Cloud Computing.
It seems that over 20 contributions went into the last phase and the idea behind the Clintelica application ended up as one of the top 3 that will be presented during the event. The focus of the jury was on innovation and on the best ways to use the cloud. You can read more about the nominees here.
As copyblogger argues here, the process might just be as important as the end result.
So, while we think of ideas to make our application better and better, some end up with our development department. This month, it looks like we’re working on three major updates concerning both the Networking and CRM modules.
What is it that we do, exactly? Well, watch this:
Now, you might already be familiar with Achieving a Triple Win, a book by Joyce A. Thompsen which refers to the Triple Win when talking about simultaneous benefits for the customer, the employee and the company’s business health.
And you might also be familiar with the theory that if Amy is connected to Ben and she wants to get connected to Claudia, then the chances of Amy doing business with Claudia increase exponentially if Ben introduces them, as opposed to Amy simply cold calling Claudia.
Well, the think tank at Clintelica has come up with a new theory, which we will call The Triple Win Theory… in Networking. Basically, what we are saying here is that networking increases the quality of services.
It was inevitable, really: companies rely more and more on Social Networking for HR purposes.
OK, LinkedIn was already heavily used by HR departments for the recruitment effort. But now it looks like everyone is becoming aware that LinkedIn is not the only tool that can help companies hire the right people for the right position.
According to a study by Potentialpark, it seems that LinkedIn is, of course, viewed as the online resource for career-related networking, but companies seem to want to go a step further than relying only on this kind of self-advertising before hiring people. Facebook is gaining weight in the decision making process, “because that’s where most of the visible interaction happens”.
Aside from the fact that on Facebook people are more open, honest and likely to interact, the findings of the study reveal that our strongest belief is the trend to follow: networking is not only the biggest and most important tool for sales people, social networking is also becoming a must for HR departments if they want to work in high quality recruitment.
Faith is a wonderful thing.
And even though you know about it because your parents teach you about it or because some teacher invested some time in you or simply because you love George Michael, it never ceases to amaze me how having faith in one’s employees affects CRM and customer satisfaction.
Today I had to throw out about 30 tires, previously used for safely docking boats (I have yet to buy 7 cars) and I found myself in the unpleasant position of having loaded them into a rented truck with nowhere to take them. After trying unsuccessfully at a couple garbage disposal companies, I had a “Check out the big brain on Brett!” moment and I decided to try a… tire shop. Mercifully, the guy behind the counter, Jonas at Saltjobadens Dack & Bilservice (that’s in Sweden), said he’d take them in at no cost. He made a split second, honest, sincere & altruistic decision to help me out when I was in need and, as a result, won me as a customer for the rest of my days, so help me God. Of course, I felt obliged to offer him a bottle of Whiskey in return, but the fact remains: as things stand today, I never intend to change my winter/summer tires anywhere else.
Of course, this led me to think (surprisingly, this time that didn’t turn out badly) that this kind of client satisfaction is something all companies should work for. I suddenly remembered some examples I’ve heard on the subject, over time.
I believe when empowered with taking decisions, most employees will take the right one. Of course, there’s a huge discussion looming over this subject, but bare with me for these stories (some are famous).
According to a study made by Robert Half Technology earlier this year that allegedly processed the answers of 1.400 chief information officers from companies across the US, more than 54% of them responded that their companies do not allow employees to visit social networking websites for any reason during office hours. Together with messaging tools like Yahoo or Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter are seen like the devil’s work in these companies and are, as such, regarded as counterproductive. Amongst the main reasons why different employers block social media, the main is, of course, loss in productivity, but “exposure of company’s computer and network to viruses and spyware” and “leaking of corporate information” rank high as well. This kind of study only confirms what you might already be thinking, that this happens elsewhere in the world as well. After all, throughout the world and especially outside some industries like online advertising or media in itself, Social Media websites are regarded as entertainment.
In fact, considering all of these websites as entertainment is the weapon of choice for those who argue that it is more productive for companies not to restrict their employees access to Social Media. According to another study from the University of Melbourne, “short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf on the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a day’s work, and, as a result, increase productivity.” According to this study, those who engage in WILB (Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing) are 9% more productive than those who don’t. But this is Australia we’re talking about, so this might explain the result of the study.
What is a company’s “social capital”? According to Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, one of the world’s largest businesses networking organization, social capital refers to: “the accumulation of resources developed through personal and professional networks. These resources include ideas, knowledge, information, opportunities, contacts and, of course, referrals.”
A strong social capital can be a main differentiating point for a company, but how can businesses build and expand their social capital? The answer lies in the right kind of people who can enhance the company’s connections and exposure.
In his “Team Role” Theory, Belbin described these persons as “Resource Investigators”. Resource investigators are not necessarily able to solve problems themselves, but they will come up with an alternative solution to any problem, by using their resources inside or outside the company: they will refer you to a person who knows a person who can get the job done… quickly, efficiently and cheap. Other people in the company turn to them because of their capacity to connect the dots.
Milgram’s “Small World” experiment in the 70′s was one of the most controversial of it’s time: Milgram showed that the human society is a network and that everybody is on average 6 people away from anybody else through his/her connections.
Since Facebook was not invented at the time, to prove his theory Milgram used a chain correspondence system: individuals were asked to send a letter to other randomly selected individuals living in other cities. If the sender did not know the targeted person, they were asked to send the letter to somebody else they thought might know the target and so on. Milgram measured how many nods were necessary until the letter reached the destination and concluded that the people in the US are separated on average by 6 people, thus the wide spread expression “six degrees of separation” between people.
In today’s explosion of social networks, the above experiment does not seem so implausible anymore and, depending on business/industry, the average number of connections between people is probably far lower than 6: social networks have made it visible for us all how interconnected we really are and how close we are to anybody through our connections. Just type in a person’s name on LinkedIn and you will get instant access to the information on how you can reach that person through 2nd and 3rd degree connections.