I had the distinct pleasure this week of participating as a speaker at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Professor Tony O’Driscoll, Fuqua’s executive director at the Center for Technology, Media and Entertainment and a Cisco customer, hosted a “social business immersion day” with a very stimulating line-up of guest speakers.
Among the speakers were Alan Morrisson, Center for Technology and Innovation, at Price Waterhouse Cooper, and Sandy Carter, vice president and social business evangelist at IBM. Let me share with you some of their remarks.
Alan’s comments were focused on how companies are using social technology to get work done. He noted that “social business” starts with connected employees. What’s different in today’s world from five or more years ago is that with multiple wireless devices and multiple connections around the world, work is “always on” – there is no off button! But his key point was that the social connection and conversation needs to happen where the work flow is – which is so true.
In a separate presentation, Sandy also had some very compelling points of view. She categorizes IT into five different eras: the mainframe era, the departmental era, the PC era, the Internet era and now – social. She forecasts that the social era will represent $200 billion by 2015 and will have more impact on the workplace than the Internet era – very interesting to think about, particularly when you consider the revolutionizing impact the Internet has had on our world.
Sandy defined social with a social agenda as follows:
A – align your culture to achieve business goals
G – gain social trust
E – engage through experience: integrated, interactive and identifying
N – network your business process
D – design reputation and risk management
A – analyze your data
She also believes that gaming is the new way to drive employee engagement – this is the next big trend. Why gaming? Because it moves you from spectator to participant.
It was gratifying to hear Sandy talk about how collaboration and social business are helping to:
- Achieve improved customer service and satisfaction (we’ve achieved this with our Cisco.com support site)
- Speed R&D and time to market (our deployment of Cisco Quad has also had this result)
- In the area of HR talent, deliver cost reductions and increased engagement with knowledge workers and experts (we’ve found this to be true at Cisco by using Quad to enable employees to identify experts, and connecting them using Click to Call and Click to Chat functionality).
I presented Cisco’s social enterprise strategy and how we’re deploying it globally. I received many, many questions from the MBA students, who were extremely engaged. They really “get” social business. In fact, their questions validated what Cisco is doing to address millennial workers. Duke’s MBAs epitomize the results of Cisco’s recent Connected World Technology Report, which found that more than half of college students want access to social media at work (and would refuse employment if it wasn’t allowed), and want connectivity anywhere on any device – the right to work remotely is very important to them.
So, it was back to school for me – an opportunity to learn from everyone who participated, and connect with a savvy student audience which I always find refreshing.