Posts Tagged 'business value'

Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli – The Twitter Phenomena

Prof. Sheizaf Rafaeli is a known tech figure in the Israeli landscape, a columnist in several newspapers and Director of INFOSOC – Center for the Study of Information Society at the University of Haifa. In yesterday’s Calcalist, he wrote a column titled ‘The Twitter Phenomena‘, trying to understand why the micro-blogging social media service hasn’t won us (Israelies) over. Sheizaf also refers to the different add-ons (eco-system if you’d like) twitter has helped cultivate, such as twitpic, tweetdeck, tweetfollow, twitterfeed and others.

The phone was born to allow faster communication; Wikipedia offers free access to (open-source) knowledge; commenting (talk-backs) gave people the opportunity to vent. Twitter created a new form of communication, and an eco-system of add-on services.

Sheizaf’s column came in an excellent timing, with IBM Software Forum and Luis Suarez’s post. At IBM Software Forum Niv Calderon talked about monetizing social media, focusing on twitter – with public and corporate examples, such as Ford Motors, Comcast, JetBlue and Chris Brogan – showing how you can reach 1.5m impressions (people) with a single tweet. There’s definitely money in it. Niv recorded his lecture on video, which I’m sure he’ll post soon.
Mid-week I noticed Luis’s post, ‘Using twitter in the enterprise, by Ed Yourdon‘. Luis also focused on twitter as a corporate tool, linking to other posts talking about the business value of twitter, and of course, Ed Yourdon‘s presentation.

I view twitter as a sales and marketing tool. If you happen to follow me around, I’ve been known to tweet about the stuff I sell, people I meet, posts I read, events I speak at. Being interconnected to other social networks (like facebook), updated easily from a variely of end-user devices, focused and captured audience – it’s easy to understand why this micro-blogging tool has reached 6m users. Lotus Software has strengthened its brand name in Israel, and gained some ground against the local competition because of twitter.

As for twitter in Israel, Sheizaf predicts twitter will, eventually, catch on, and Israel will quicky adopt the micro-blogging tool, much like we did with facebook not too long ago…

Sheizaf Rafaeli – The Twitter Phenomena (Hebrew)
Luis Suarez – Using twitter in the enterprise, by Ed Yourdon
IBM Software Forum
Niv Calderon
Pew Study – Twitter users are mobile, urban and engaged online

Twitter made us $1M

Yoav from Blink caught this VentureBeat story some days ago, and wrote a subsequent post (in Hebrew) titled ‘What’s in it for me?‘. In his post, Yoav talks about the thing that’s in the heart of any discussion about social media – ROI. From VentureBeat article:

Dell says Twitter has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half through sale alerts. People who sign up to follow Dell on Twitter receive messages when discounted products are available the company’s Home Outlet Store. They can click over to purchase the product or forward the information to others.

Yoav quotes Seth Godin by categorizing twitter more as a reach tool than a sales tool – a claim I totally agree with. Nevertheless, when we discuss about social media, monetization, business value – we cannot overlook the bottom line, which is money.

As a social media evangelist, I want more people and more companies on board, not because they have to but because there are results and value. Making $1M in revenues will certainly bring more people and businesses into the social media space – because they’ll see both the value and the return.

Yoav Farhi – What’s in it for me? (Hebrew)
VentureBeat – Twitter has made Dell $1M in revenues

Seeing the value of LND in Israel

During the past 2 weeks I met different customers and business partners, discussing how we can better communicate the excellent value of Lotus collaboration solutions. This whole marketing and communication aspect of Lotus Software has been discussed both internally and externally for some time now, and even my friends Alan and Ed across the pond are facing similar customer questions.

Marketing is an issue, not only in Israel. Alex and myself are working hard to change that, in every way imaginable. I hope you will see a difference soon.

The CIO of Israel Securities Authority told me that Lotus Notes/Domino is an excellent platform, stable and secure – I only wish more people would know about it. When I travel to conferences in Europe, everyone are using Lotus Notes. In Israel, only a hand-full of colleagues. ISA are an IBM case study, and we mention them in every customer meeting, and invite them to tell their story when ever possible.

Earlier this week I sat down with the Israel Security Agency, also known as ‘Shabak’ (our FBI).
The last time we met, it was with different people, so I handed the guys (and one lady) my business card. Other than their first names, they were pretty scrimp on details…
Shabak are a veteran Lotus Notes/Domino customer, doing incredible work with the platform. Needless to say security is always an issue and ‘down-time’ is not in their vocabulary.
We met to discuss future collaboration solutions, and understand how those can integrate within their priorities. They were highly impressed with the capabilities of Lotus Sametime Client (they are running Lotus Notes with the embed Sametime client – chat & awareness), especially the VoIP integration and Eclipse as a platform. Lotus Quickr also interest them, particularly since they’re running massive Domino DBs and need to find a better way to share information across teams (store once – share forever), other than email.

Although the high degree of security and classification, Shabak are open to Web 2.0 solutions, as well as Enterprise 2.0 solutions. Only recently they allowed 4 employees to open a public blog, sharing their daily routine with the public. The goal of the initiative is intended more at luring potential employees, but the blog method grants them douze points.

I also met with HSBC Israel this week, a global Lotus account, with roughly 300,000 employees, spread across 10,000 offices in 80+ countries. They use Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime Client, and couldn’t be happier. I even showed the IT manager how we can chat on Sametime, using the BleedYellow community. They are looking into team collaboration and social software solutions, and seeing E2.0 solutions as a business priority – which is very refreshing to hear.

LND is an excellent platform for collaboration, and there are more examples I can share. Lotus Software has grown for the 14th consecutive quarter, we gained market share, over 140 million Lotus Notes customers, 100 million Lotus Sametime corporate users, 850+ developers working on the portfolio, Linux and Mac versions are already available.
Yellow is the new black, haven’t you heard?

HSBC Israel
Shabak (Israel Security Agency)
Israel Securities Authority
IBM case study – Israel Securities Authority
Sam Lawrence – Why hasn’t marketing duked it out?
Andrew McAfee – The mechanism of online emergence
Ed Brill – Sending a message to management
Alan Lepofsky – Introducing a revolutionary software platform…

Enterprise 2.0 ROIs

Measuring the ROI (Return on Investment) of Enterprise 2.0 is not an easy task, simply because
Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are not ‘things’ you can measure with numbers.
Web 2.0 is already well-known and a household name, but ROI was never an issue here – because people think in terms of benefit or value, not ROI. If you see the value in updating Twitter, blogging, adding friends and poking them on facebook, sharing bookmarks or photos – you’ll do it. It’s your own investment, your own time.

But, when you want to bring Web 2.0 inside the firewall, Enterprise 2.0, there’s more to it than just time. There is a corporate investment, putting a team to explore/define the scope, persuading decision makers, running several solutions (Proof of Concept), integrating into existing applications/platforms, finding advocates/evangelists who’ll populate it, engage marketing/hr/CIO/CEO – investment. Money.

Often companies are afraid of providing its employees too much freedom with little control over what they’re saying (internally and externally). When I say that IBM has internal blogging platform for 4 years now, with 30,000 bloggers (and 250,000 readers) – people ask me if there’s any censorship or filtering on the content. No, there isn’t – we have blogging guidelines.
Richard Dennison wrote an excellent post about BT web 2.0 adoption. Richard was responsible for implmeneting BT’s adoption, and his case study is a MUST for knowledge managers and collaboration evangelists out there. Here are some excerpts from his post:

While some companies begin the impossible task of shutting out social media tools, at BT we have just completed a web ‘liberalisation’ project to make sure all our employees can access social media sites. Why? Because we see social media tools as a huge opportunity to transform the way our employees interact with each other, with ‘the company’, and with our customers, partners and suppliers. When over 4,000 of your employees voluntarily join a Facebook group called ‘BT’, it’s time to take note.

Richard goes on to describe the journey he and his team took, winning the policy makers, introducing the technology, impact on the corporate environment and lessons learnt.

…the ‘killer application’ was a social networking tool we called ‘MyPages’. MyPages (see figure 2) provided every BT person with a place on the intranet to call their own. In it they could: create web pages and allow others to edit them (wiki pages); set up photo sharing pages and file stores; set up wiki calendars; create as many blogs as they wished; and connect themselves with other people in the organisation through ‘friends’ type functionality.


A key lesson is to focus on the value social media tools can deliver rather than the risks. If you dwell too much on the risks, you’ll never leave the starting gates. There are risks, but the potential benefits are huge.

Richard Dennison – BT web 2.0 adoption case study.

Jon Mell also wrote about Web 2.0 ROI – cost saving or revenue growth.

Now that you’ve seen the value, benefit and return, it’s time to start yourselves. First off, it’s important to understand what Enterprise Social Software is. Your company might have other points in mind, or some of the points below – it’s not black & white.
At BT they also looked at the future workforce, Generation Y, who are using social software tools on a daily basis, and value a company that adopted such tools internally.

  • Drive innovation into products faster
  • Making the new generation more productive, more knowledgeable, faster
  • Harnessing the knowledge of the wise, before they leave/retire
  • Being more responsive to customers, with knowledge from experts you may or may not know

Enterprise 2.0 is seeping through the firewall, you can’t stop it. Want to find out to what extent? Go to facebook and see how many people joined ‘Your Company‘ group.
Now call your IBM rep and ask for a meeting.

Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.