Changing the way I approach selling the value of social software

Yesterday I spoke at Lotusphere Comes To You in Copenhagen (and will be again tomorrow in Århus) on Lotus Connections and how companies should consider implementing Lotus Connections. As part of the discussions we have been having at the office in preparation for these talks I realized that my take on social software has changed significantly. I have spent a great deal of time the last year(s) evangelizing, installing and talking about Lotus Connections but I never really took the time to stop and think about whether I was doing it the right way.

While preparing for the talks I realized that the discussion has changed from a “isn’t this cool technology” and “you got to have this to be forward thinking” discussion to a “how can you live without it” and “you need this to be current” discussion. And I think that’s where the ball dropped. You need this kind of technology to be current. Not forward thinking. Current.

From the discussions I’m having it still seems like many people think of social software as something related to their private lives. Social software is Facebook – it’s not something for use on the job – at the office we use e-mail. For some reason many consider it an either/or and that the two doesn’t complement one another. It’s also becoming clear that many are so used to using specific applications that the concept of having multiple interfaces for the same data/functionality and that social capabilities may surface in many locations is foreign to them.

Another interesting thing I realized is that I need to stop talking about Lotus Connections as a product but instead talk about social software services. If we start discussing Lotus Connections as a product we quickly get into a technology discussion which it really isn’t. We need to discuss the need for social capabilities. The customer may obtain these social services from other sources than Lotus Connections – they may come from LotusLive. I see this as an interesting way to approach the problem of getting social software into business.

3 thoughts on “Changing the way I approach selling the value of social software”

  1. That’s so interesting.

    I’ve just spent two hours delivering a presentation of adoption of Social tools at Applicable’s Lotusphere 2010 Roundtable event here in the UK, where my whole emphasis is about how social tools (whether Connections, Sharepoint, Jive, Twitter or others) are so relevant to businesses today, and how they can make these organisations more collaborative, open and productive.

    Yes the tools are important, but without cultural change and the focus on improving organisational and individual productivity, the business will not buy into them, or these tools will just be IT-delivered white elephants in 3 years time.

    Great to see you’re thinking along similar lines!


  2. Mikkel,

    I’m so glad to read about your reflections! I don’t know the product Lotus Connections, but i share your thoughts and statements when it comes to social sharing – this is really the essence of how organizations should re-think their attitude to their professional use of social networks.

    I agree that companies normally use email as their main communication – and they badly need a strategy for mixing their employees private social life with their professional social life. Good employees are good ambassadors in their social life and can strengthen the company or brand positioning.

    Another thing, is that the younger part of the coming workforce don’t want to communicate by email – it’s an old way of communication in their life – so if the companies want the strong profiles they should define their attitude and online social strategy in their daily business !

    Keep up the words 😉



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