Monday, November 29, 2010

Notes from TSIA presentation: The State of Social Media and Support

Earlier this month I attending a fantastic webinar presented by TSIA on the State of Social Media and Support. You can click here to see it for yourself. John Ragsdale from TSIA presented the results of the 2010 TSIA social media survey and talked about common questions, issues, and misconceptions about enterprise social networking.
The webinar also featured David James from Salesforce talking about their service cloud and their focus to integrate twitter with their other tools. the most spending is going towards social service-expanding the reach of support into social media.

The survey results were enlightening. The full report is available on the TSIA website.

Overall, attendees learned, not surprisingly, that social media use in business is growing. But the more nuanced details showed some interesting shifts in the placement of these activities.

1. Organizationally, social media is shifting from Marketing to Customer Service

Respondents showed a shift from marketing over to customer service:

2009 - 44 percent;
2010 - 31 percent

Customer Service: 2009- 14 percent,
2010- 22 percent

John found this worrying, because he believes that much of the content will need to be branded. If it is customer support people providing content and they are not aligned to the PR messages they might undermine the brand. He thinks it is a risky trend that responsibility is shifting towards customer service if they are not properly training on marketing priorities.

2. While social media activity grows, the investment in this focus has been tiny.

There is a lot of use of all social media tools: facebook, wiki, blogs, forums, and video

And yet, staffing of FT employees in social media is still almost nonexistent:

-It went from very low (64% had 0 FT in 2009)
-to slightly better (54% had 0 in 2010)
Lastly, and in my mind, most importantly, John pointed out room for much needed growth:

3. Social Media is not getting the support that it should from the rest of the organization.
It is slowly becoming more integrated with the corporate website, but it is still only 24%, there is no integration with CRM, ways for people to see how customers are interacting with social media, becoming based in the history. Federated search of knowledge base and forum info is not put together so that an issue can be searched.

They have seen many opportunities for leveraging internal customer communities. Xerox is saving millions per year by sharing technical issues globally. Professional services are creating usable libraries of code and sharing that information.2011 will see examples of enterprises using internal communities.

The information TSIA has gathered is enlightening, especially when looking at the two years of data and beginning to define trends in enterprise social networking. The location of social media activity within the organization is a fascinating question, and I would say that there are pros and cons that one must balance no matter where this focus ends up calling home.

In my community management of Saba Customer Community, I live in the support organization.

We use our new collaboration software Saba Live to create a community that functions on many levels, and support is a large part of its mission and its value for Saba customers and employees.
But it is also easy to draw connections to other areas within Saba. Saba Live is software we offer to our customers, to create their own internal communities to enhance collaboration, performance management, and all aspects of people management.

Customers who already use our Centra Web Conferencing tool can use the Saba Customer Community as an integral part of their purchasing decision if they are considering implementing Saba Live.

So, even in my own experience, social media is a black sheep-
certainly not JUST marketing, JUST support, JUST PR, JUST IT, but a little bit of all of the above.

The question remains, where do you put such a creature? Who do they report to? How do you manage them, measure them and their success or failure? This we will have to answer together, and perhaps we will see in increase in the Social Media FT employees in TSIA's 2011 survey offering.

Where are you situated? What is social media's role in your organization? And what would you venture the future holds?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Saba Customer Community- Deirdre's Week 2 Update

A post to update all on the exciting growth and innovation occurring on our implementation of Saba Live for our Customers:

Customer Community Update

This summer, Saba used our newest offering of the collaboration suite, Saba Live, to create an online space for Saba employees and customers. And here you are! The Saba Customer Community is a space for exchanging advice, best practices, and generating group learning and innovation. This is a quick update to let you know about recent developments and to let you know how you can get involved and take advantage of this developing resource!

My name is Deirdre Yee and I will be the Community Manager for the for the Saba Customer Community. I am excited to meet and work with you, and I already had some enlightening conversations with many of you at People 2010: Saba Summit. I don’t want that to stop just because we aren’t in the same physical space. I plan to use the innovative tools in Saba Live-groups, discussions, Centra sessions, Channels, and the Innovation Lab, to get suggestions, ideas, and feedback from you as we use the community together.


The Customer Community was everywhere you looked at People 2010: Saba Global Summit, last week. Presenters told customers, partners, and prospects that the community was there to continue the valuable discussions that we have every year at Summit. Everyone was invited to login and explore the various groups, channels, discussion forums, resources, and ideas that were being shared on the community in real-time. Throughout the week, I repeatedly met customers, partners, prospects, and Saba employees who had just heard all about our new fantastic collaboration tool. Almost every session I attended mentioned the community for further questions and discussions when time invariably ran out before ideas did.

Login Stations were set up in the hallway, and everywhere you looked, attendees adorned buttons announcing “I’m on Saba Live. Are you?” On the first morning of keynote speakers, Amar Dhaliwal, SVP of Product Operations, asked everyone to sign up for the Customer Community, and to use the platform to reach out to the fringe of their network-where the most valuable connections often occur.

Today, the Customer Community is growing at an amazing rate and the amount of activity and the diversity of the participants and materials is growing every day. Every measure of community activity has skyrocketed in the past week:

There are now more than 1000 community members, a huge jump from before the Summit. And the members are actively exploring the site:

Week of October 31st 2010

Week of November 9th 2010

Percent Change

397 Visits

1300 Visits


189 Unique Visitors

609 Unique Visitors


3906 Page Views

14,325 Page Views


We have also tracked the roles of individuals who are taking advantage of the site. The leading visitors and contributors work in the following fields:

  • Education/Learning

  • Product and Business Strategy and Development

  • Consulting

  • Information Technology

  • Human Resources

  • Sales

The buzz that was generated during Summit is bringing people to the community, this much we can see clearly. And once you sign up on the community, what kind of experience will you find?

Saba Live in Action

Groups are still being created, profiles are still being filled in, and everything is moving and changing at a constant basis. However, we can already see some of the unique advantages of using Saba Live to communicate with customers.

One great example is a recent interaction between Ronno Lee, Vice President of Saba Cloud Strategy and Operations and Justin Boone, a LMS Administrator at Country Financial.

Justin asked about something he had heard about in a session at the Summit: a possible future integration of Google Analytics with Saba Analytics for Cloud customers. He had a few specific questions, and wanted to know a timeline. Within five minutes, Ronno had responded, promising to get his engineering team in touch with Justin.

This was not a specific troubleshooting question that would be better aimed at support. Justin might not have known the best person to contact with his question. And yet, the Customer Community allowed for quick attention and the pool of knowledge to be expanded- anyone else who wonders about that can find the exchange and get even more out of their Saba software.

Another instance of Saba Live in Action Christonya Green, a Learning Technologies Analyst at S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc. and a number of other customers and Saba employees discussing the difference between Hosted and Cloud solutions.

You can also click here to see a lively back and forth when Janice Watrous-McCabe, a Senior Business Analyst at Allina and Andy Wooler, HR Technology Manager at Legal & General Group discuss best practices of competency use in Saba Learning.

Lastly, check out David Ewert from McDonalds giving Jason Stutt, a Senior Manager of Product Strategy at Saba, kudos for his quick help with Ignite Technologies integration.

Exciting stuff going on! I’ll close with a few tips for getting started on the community.

Getting Started at the Saba Customer Community

*This is your community, and I am eager to hear your suggestions for the general direction of the community. Go through the normal avenues for troubleshooting, of course, but I’d really appreciate some input for ideas for best use of the community. Got ideas? Want to get involved? If you would like to see a new discussion forum in one of our groups, or an entirely new group- we want to hear from you! Let me know!

*We urge you to join the Customer Community today, to complete your profile (with a picture!) and to start following people. Join groups! Just like all of Saba’s products, we believe people are the most valuable resource. Take advantage, and follow relevant colleagues, industry peers, and Saba employees. If you don’t follow anyone, or belong to any groups you won’t see any of the content getting shared and you won’t get to play your part in the conversation.

*Share everything! Other members of the community want to know about your experiences working with Saba products. Your anecdotal story of a global implementation could be invaluable insight for another customer. I once heard that a good policy for online communities is that every time you ask a question and receive some knowledge from the community, you be sure to post something to contribute to the collective knowledge of the group. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if you were at People 2010: Saba Global Summit, think about all of the engaging customer presenters. All they were doing was sharing their stories and answering questions. Consider presenting your experience on the Saba Customer Community.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Photos from Executive Panel on Entrepreneurship and Innovation at People 2010: Saba Global Summit

Executive Panel: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

A fascinating and inspiring discussion moderated by Bobby Yazdani, Founder and CEO, Saba. Yazdani talked about the need for any entrepreneur to disrupt the norm, breaking through the status quo and reforming the world with his ideas.

Bobby Yazdani and a team of entrepreneurs

These entrepreneurs presented their exciting and lucrative projects that focused the power of technology on the user-experience:

Doug Imbruce

Founder and CEO of Qwiki, the new information experience. Jaws dropped as Imbruce navigated through searches on Boston and JFK and a multimedia story about each unfolderd. You can experience it pre-launch here.

Doug Imbruce

Babak Pahlavan

Co-Founder and CEO, Clever Sense, a company working to personalize the world around you. They are developing an AI-based, context-aware, personal conceirge. Meet Seymour here.

Babak Pahlavan

Haroon Mokhtarzada

Founder and CEO, Webs, a custom website service design for microbusinesses who see more than 30 million visitors to their Webs sites each month. Mohktarzada also played a video that demonstrated the advantages of his new small business management tool, Contact Me.

Michael Fitzpatrick

Creative Director, New Math TV, a sound design company where Fitzpatrick connects musicians and advertisers. Fitz also performed for all attendees of the conference with his band Fitz and the Tantrums.

Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitzpatrick at Saba People 2010

Brett Huneycutt

Co-Founder, 1000 Memories, a web service to provide memorial sites for remembered loved ones. Brett talked about the need to create an emotional space on the internet for families and friends to share stories and memories.

Brett Huneycutt

Drew Ladner

Chairman and CEO, Pascal Metrics, a company that measures patient safety culture through data-driven measurements of the healthcare industry.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Photos from Sessions at People 2010: Saba Global Summit

By midday on Thursday, we all looked a little worse for wear. For almost four days we had been eating and sleeping innovation and the next big thing, whether in human resources, web conferencing, learning management, or enterprise collaboration. Exhausting, but exhilerating stuff at People 2010: Saba Global Summit in Boston.

Westin Waterfront

One tired-eyed customer who I met after the last keynotes and closing remarks said that this year's conference was the best she had ever been to, that she hadn't even considered making so many connections, or bringing back so many excited new ideas to her company. Her sentiment was echoed throughout the ground floor of the Waterfront Westin, and Amar Dhaliwal's request of more than 600 attendees, that they reach out to the fringe of their network and:

find connect share laugh

was obviously followed to the letter.

I was particularly struck by the vibrancy and enthusiasm at the event because the first day of the conference was my first day with Saba. Without having seen my office, or met any colleagues in person yet, I proceeded to meet a large portion of the more than 600 customers, partners, and Saba employees leading the charge on Web 2.0 developments in people management. My new colleagues and even some customers called this technique an 'immersion by fire' tactic of on-boarding. All I know is that I was quickly welcomed into the fold, and immediately exposed to the many fascinating ideas and discussions that permeated the conference. My walk through fire gave me some invaluable insights into the culture, values, and focuses on Saba. I wanted to share some of my favorite experiences with

Here are some photos I took at the Summit of some of the engaging speakers and sessions I was able to attend:

Collaborating in Your Enterprise: Managing Change - A Conversation with Thought Leaders

Jim Lundy, Saba; Nick Howe, Hitachi Data Systems; Andy Wooler, Legal & General; Janice Watrous-McCabe, Allina Hospitals & Clinics; Alice Harkin, Saba

Collaborating in Your Enterprise

Driving Global Saba Centra Adoption Despite Limited Resources

Paula Hanby and Peter Olguin, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

Paula Hanby from Deloitte

Creative, Contemporary, and Collaborative: Connecting with the Real World Anytime, Anywhere- from Down Under

Roger Edmonds, Department of Education & Children's Services, S. Australia

Roger's presentation of his usage of Saba Centra to bring social interaction and education to K-12 students who are seperated from their teachers and classmates by 100 miles or more was inspiring, touching, and hilarious. I walked away with an Australian Flag, and one lucky person got to take Skippy home. He's the one with the spiffy hat.

Saba Customer Excellence Awards

Saba Excellence Awards

Awards were presented by Jeff Carr and Alice Harkin, Saba

Jason Averbook, Analyst Keynote

Chief Executive Officer, Knowledge Infusion

Jason stressed the need to implement technology in a way that produces a 'What's in it for me?' moment among staff. He pointed out how collecting perfomance and HR information continuously allows managers to make the right choices, something that did not happen in 2008 when the recession began and the wrong cuts were often made. He also pointed out that Social Networking Tools for HR are not enough, you can't just start with the processes, you need to know how to leverage them.

He also got the audience to produce content for his address from their cell phones, a real-time interactive element of his presentation.

Keynote Speaker Jim Lundy

Vice President and General Manager of Collaboration, Saba, spoke about finding that next great idea. He brought up examples like Google's innovation model and asked the audience how they encourage innovation in their organizations. He showed how Saba Live can facilitate an environment of total HR engagement with business strategy and enrich the employee experience. One book he recommended looking at was Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, published in 1996, but with ideas that are still relevant to the transformation happening in business today.