Notes from Rational Support
There's no doubt that "social" is the new web. Over the past two years we saw businesses adopt social networking at an unprecedented pace. But what will this year bring in the social spaces? More particular, what role will social business play in software support in 2011? We posed that very question to Rational Client Support and found a myriad of ideas and opinions.
From one of our Rational System Architect and Modeling TSEs, Pritesh Patel, we get the high level view of social business: "The information highway has become a social gathering place where more and more people using it are being seduced by digital media. You no longer have to invite someone for a cuppa tea to have a chinwag and gossip. In support, we have a huge bucket full of data (gossip) that we share. We can now reach out to our clients and provide them with necessary information, which can then reverberate across our various social-business channels. All major organizations are using these tools to create a buzz and that's what we're doing also. We promote support and build a different kind of rapport with our clients."
Sumant Renukarya, a Rational Synergy and Change TSE follows on Pritesh's view with: "We already see a major shift in the way the information is spread, thanks to social networking. At support, the following points play a major role with social networking: social business provides quick access to the required information like specific product related installers, fixpacks, readmes, etc. Promoting events and hence better attendance. And it adds a personal touch with clients, developers, and support personnel."
One of RCS' Knowledge Managers, Phil Wall, points out that: "Social Media in 2011 needs to be more interactive. We have been serving up information, videos and education through our Notes From Rational Support, Twitter, and Facebook channels almost like how a Newspaper reports the news to subscribers. What will make our social business channels more interesting to our community in between relevant information sharing?"
And that, dear readers, is a great question. What will make our presence more interesting? I'll leave you with these two additional questions in hopes of finding out:
What do you think 2011 will hold for software support in social business? What would you like to see from us in these spaces?
image obtained from: flickr user Rosaura Ochoa, illustration by Gerardo Obieta
All the cool kids are at Lotusphere this week. Here are some Lotusphere social resources for you:
Social Media Aggregator: www.ibm.com/social/lotusphere
Follow Lotusphere blogs, tweets, pics, videos, and live streaming at ibm.co/ls11social
Blogs: Share your blogs by registering your blog feed, and use #LS11 in the body of your blog post.
Tweets: Share your tweets using hashtag #LS11.
Photos: Share your photos to the Official Lotusphere Flickr Group of LS11 at http://www.flickr.com/groups/ls11
Videos: Share your videos by tagging your YouTube videos with Lotusphere11, or tweet your video with hashtag #ls11.
Geo-location trips: www.gowalla.com
Gowalla: Check-in for Lotusphere trips by registering for Gowalla at www.gowalla.com and download the Gowalla app on your phone.
Check in and complete trips to earn custom Lotusphere pins. Exchange two pins for Gowalla give-aways (while supplied last) at the social cafes from 1pm – 4pm.
Lotusphere Community: http://lsonline.info
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  social-business rational-software social-media linkedin 7,610 Views
You may have noticed that IBM Rational recently launched a space within LinkedIn. Our goal is to ensure that anyone looking for an official IBM Rational space within the LinkedIn community will be able to find one; a way to make ourselves more available to you all!
Our efforts within the LinkedIn community, however, won't be focused wholly or specifically on just this new community. The nature of LinkedIn lends itself to be more effective when people from organizations are participating in conversations across LinkedIn groups; not specifically or solely in the Rational Software space.
And since everyone loves action items: we're encouraging you to do two things...
As clients, IBMers, and business partners, we all have specific expertise and focus to provide to the Rational Software LinkedIn group, as well as all the other groups in the space. Using LinkedIn is a benefit to us all through knowledge sharing in the places where you play!
That's a powerful statement.
It's also one of IBM's Core Values, one that resonates particularly with me in regards to our social business initiatives… like this blog. Let me explain.
Think of what you might consider a traditional technical support organization. Fielding your questions and calls via email, phone and PMRs, we stand ready to assist you. As soon as you reach out to us.
Once a call is fielded, a solution provided, and a technote written and published, we hope that you (or others) will find the information when you need it.
Ok, that's a gross over-simplification. We also work very hard to help you help yourself with our content. We spend lots of energy providing you with the best tools and award-winning portals, optimizing our content so that you can find it when you need it, etc etc.
Now throw social business into the mix ...it's a game-changer.
By connecting with us via Twitter, Facebook, here on our developerWorks blog, on YouTube, LinkedIn and dW forums, we hope to be able to help you find the information you need to be successful with our IBM and Rational products BEFORE you need to file a support ticket. We can share the information we learn through our support calls with you and others who may need it, so that they don't have to call. By holding open mic calls to share information on relevant technical topics and field questions, we want to arm you with the information you need.
That's powerful. But it's also scary, particularly for command-and-control-oriented companies, used to all messaging and communication being fed from the top-down.
Fortunately, IBM is NOT one of those companies.
IBM as a corporation was in the vanguard of supporting employees' participation in social media, both personally and professionally, LONG before social media was cool. We have a set of Social Computing Guidelines, developed by IBMers all over the world.
IBM and Rational trusts that we will participate responsibly in these venues, and we work very hard to deserve that trust. No one has to vet or approve our Rational Client Support postings before publication, and no one tells us what to post. We are empowered to "do the right thing".
Sometimes I take that for granted and I shouldn't. Neither should you.
I feel very fortunate and am proud to work for a company that trusts their employees to "do the right thing". And I'm not just saying that to suck up.
However, I DO have an ulterior motive.
While we trust that we are doing the right thing and providing a valuable service with these programs; in effect, transforming our support organization, we struggle to identify our ROI (return on investment). Unlike marketing-driven social media programs, we can't measure lead generation or sales revenue derived from these initiatives. We HOPE that by reaching out to you proactively, we help you be successful with our products without having to call support - but, as you might imagine, measuring something that does not happen is a bit of a challenge.
Therefore, you can help us gauge the value of our social business efforts to YOU by answering 2-3 quick questions on our social media survey. It really is painless. We want to know who's following, and how valuable you find our various efforts. If you have an extra minute, you can provide some free-form comments to help us serve you better.
Because honestly, it doesn't matter what WE think ... YOUR opinion is the only one that really counts.
Pretty please? And thank you!
Link to survey
Image credit: Some rights reserved by flickr user notsogoodphotography
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  rcs business comments suggestions social social-business feedback survey 7,236 Views
No, really, thank you! Your response to our survey request has been outstanding! We've been getting some -great- feedback via our Social Business survey; we're learning a lot, and we want to learn more!
Oh, but you say you haven't actually filled out our little 3 question survey? Well, you're in luck: you still have time to give us YOUR feedback too! It's just two quick questions to identify how you're connected to us and what value you see in our different channels, then an optional third question to provide free-text feedback if you so desire. (I'll tell you, we LOVE getting actionable comments from you!)
As Kelly noted in her post last week, it doesn't matter what WE think ... YOUR opinion is the only one that really counts!
image credit: (cc) by flickr user hugochisholm
And in one last final shameless plea for feedback, our social media survey closes out at the end of this month. That's Thursday (already?!?!)
If you have not yet provided us with your thoughts, we would greatly appreciate your doing so.
We'll be sharing what we've learned and letting you know what we'll be doing as a result of YOUR input. Stay tuned!
And thanks again!
(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.)
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  twitter social-media social-business blogging facebook social-crm youtube 9,085 Views
Social CRM is becoming a bigger deal as businesses grow in the social spaces. Where we once referred to this all as "social media" or "new media", we've begun to shift the jargon in how we talk about the spaces. Moving from words indicating "what", we are now using words to indicate "how" we work in the spaces. You've likely seen me use the phrase "Social Business" in the past few months. I made this shift in verbiage based on the fact that "Social Media" really just described the tools we used, not how we used them. We are a business after all, and our primary focus is to help our clients, to help YOU, be successful with the products and services IBM provides.
We are constantly striving to improve how we engage and help, which not only means implementing our strategies, but to get out and learn as much as we can about how best to work in these spaces. And wouldn't you know it, in my effort to learn more, I was pointed to a fabulous paper provided by IBM Global Business Services (http://ibm.com/iibv) surrounding the concept of Social CRM. More specifically, this paper discusses what customers want from brands when they engage in the social spaces.
From social media to Social CRM: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/ibv-social-crm-whitepaper.html
There is some really great and recent information in this paper outlining the gap between what customers want and what companies/brands -think customers want. (As an aside, one of my difficulties has been finding studies like this which match the present climate. Most social media/social business studies I have found were released as far back as 2008 or 2009, some of the more recent ones in early 2010 based on 2009 data. This particular paper has the most up to date information I've found thus far!)
While the paper provides some very eye-opening data and likely will help change how many businesses focus on their social efforts, I was happily surprised to see that our efforts in IBM Rational Support, as well as the larger IBM Rational brand efforts appear to fall in line with the gap table of customers' rankings. Now, I may be biased here (an amazing realization, I know), but I think our four social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and here on NFRS) are indeed aligned directly with customer/client demands from a support organization. But that's just my view, we'd love to hear your view.
So go on and take some time to read the Social CRM paper. I think you'll find some very valuable insights there which you can take back to your own areas and use the data to build your own successes in social business. Of course, once you've read read the paper we here in Rational Support would really appreciate your insights as to how you really think we're doing here and how we may be able to improve the spaces to help you be even more successful!
image credit: (cc)Some rights reserved by smemon87
If you liked what you read in Jason's previous post on social CRM (and honestly, who didn't?), you are going to LOVE this one ...
Jason wrote a most excellent blog post over on his personal blog that you simply MUST read:
Jason continues to hit it out of the ballpark with his thoughtful and thought-provoking articles on what we are trying to accomplish in these spaces, and provides a unique and refreshing perspective from the usual lead- and revenue-generating slant you get from most articles on social business.
Please check it out! What do you think?
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  social-business study rational socialmedia rational-client-support email 6,033 Views
In IBM Rational Support, we are constantly working to improve our business; how we can help you succeed with our products and find solutions to challenges you encounter. This means not only looking inward to defining our strategies and best practices, but also outwards to discover new processes and studies which may shed light on how we can improve.
You can imagine, then, when the following article/presentation from the New York Times Customer Insight Group on "The Psychology of Sharing" came across my radar, I was compelled to review it. You can check it out in PDF format here (no registration required): http://nytmarketing.whsites.net/mediakit/pos/ The date on this file indicates creation on Aug 19, 2011, which lends to the timeliness of the study, though no dates are provided within the presentation to indicate when the study was conducted. I can only hope that it was relatively recent to the actual publication dates to ensure closer relevancy. I say this, because one of the biggest stand out points I took away from this presentation was that when it comes to "key factors to influence sharing, E-mail is still #1". And that, my loyal audience, was a bit of a surprise in this age of social sharing. All the other factors noted made perfect sense to me... almost instinctually so. But the fact that e-mail still remains at number one, to be honest, boggles my mind. I'd have expected something like "ease of sharing", but not a specific medium... let alone one as tightly confined as e-mail. This surprise has given me pause to rethink some of our strategies, specifically how we may be missing a key component with E-mail being a preference. So, I'm taking some time today on this "Think Friday" topic which has landed in my lap, and contemplating the truths present in the "Psychology of Sharing". As I ponder this, I'm beginning to think the surveyed subjects span a larger and likely less technical group than you, our more focused audience here. Which, of course, leads me to reach out to you: As a tech-savvy / cutting-edge crowd, do you still prefer E-mail over other forms of sharing (RSS, perhaps, or other various social media channels)? After reviewing the presentation, do you find that you agree with the conclusions of the study or are your motivations and preferences contradictory to what was presented?
The date on this file indicates creation on Aug 19, 2011, which lends to the timeliness of the study, though no dates are provided within the presentation to indicate when the study was conducted. I can only hope that it was relatively recent to the actual publication dates to ensure closer relevancy.
I say this, because one of the biggest stand out points I took away from this presentation was that when it comes to "key factors to influence sharing, E-mail is still #1". And that, my loyal audience, was a bit of a surprise in this age of social sharing. All the other factors noted made perfect sense to me... almost instinctually so. But the fact that e-mail still remains at number one, to be honest, boggles my mind. I'd have expected something like "ease of sharing", but not a specific medium... let alone one as tightly confined as e-mail.
This surprise has given me pause to rethink some of our strategies, specifically how we may be missing a key component with E-mail being a preference. So, I'm taking some time today on this "Think Friday" topic which has landed in my lap, and contemplating the truths present in the "Psychology of Sharing". As I ponder this, I'm beginning to think the surveyed subjects span a larger and likely less technical group than you, our more focused audience here.
Which, of course, leads me to reach out to you:
As a tech-savvy / cutting-edge crowd, do you still prefer E-mail over other forms of sharing (RSS, perhaps, or other various social media channels)? After reviewing the presentation, do you find that you agree with the conclusions of the study or are your motivations and preferences contradictory to what was presented?
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  rational-client-support rational year-end-2011 social-business 6,401 Views
Now that you've heard how much content we've created and updated based on your reported PMRs using the KCS principles, let's take a look at how we shared it all out! 2011 was unquestionably the year of social business across industries. In keeping with Rational Support's own strategies we drove higher visibility to our support content through a number of channels, and built substantial followings in each area. In the course of the past year, we: But these numbers are only indicators of our overall success. Our real successes are found in YOUR successes; when you find an answer or solution to a problem because of content we've created and/or shared, when you save time and effort in looking for information because we've shared out the right content at the right time for you... or by simply being the go-to people able to provide the solutions when you need answers or help. We always strive to be as open, transparent, and authentic as possible and we think that is reflected in the organic growth we've seen above in the past year. Do you agree? Think differently? Let us know in our six question social survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G8SFMY6
2011 was unquestionably the year of social business across industries. In keeping with Rational Support's own strategies we drove higher visibility to our support content through a number of channels, and built substantial followings in each area.
In the course of the past year, we:
But these numbers are only indicators of our overall success. Our real successes are found in YOUR successes; when you find an answer or solution to a problem because of content we've created and/or shared, when you save time and effort in looking for information because we've shared out the right content at the right time for you... or by simply being the go-to people able to provide the solutions when you need answers or help.
We always strive to be as open, transparent, and authentic as possible and we think that is reflected in the organic growth we've seen above in the past year. Do you agree? Think differently? Let us know in our six question social survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G8SFMY6
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  social-business conferences rational lotusphere rational-client-support connect 7,931 Views
In case you haven't heard, Lotusphere 2012 is well underway down in Orlando, Florida this week. If you're like me and couldn't make it, you can always watch Lotusphere and IBMconnect sessions online at http://ow.ly/8jwN7 this week and catch the replays afterwards.
With social collaboration being a key component to everything we do today, here are some resources to keep you involved, informed, and on the cutting edge! Staying up to date and informed is the best way to ensure your business stays relevant and efficient... check out all we have to offer below to see how IBM is drinking our own champagne and pushing forward in social business and building networks for collaborations that benefit everyone involved!
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  results rational social-business survey rational-client-support 6,350 Views
The long awaited results from our 2011 End of Year survey on Rational Client Support's Social Business efforts are in. You may recall back in December that we ran the survey over the course of the month, ending Dec 31st . Well, we've run it all through our trusty Megatronhydromatic-5000, twisted knobs, pushed buttons, and switched toggles to get some results (don't ask if we used Watson, they won't even let Jason in the same state... something to do with protecting the system from data "corruption", whatever that means ...), which is really all to say: we've finally collated all the responses we received and done the analysis on the data. In the spirit of social transparency, authenticity, honesty, and knowledge sharing, we are sharing out our results below...
But first, a quick reminder of the mission, scope, and intent: IBM Rational support's Social Business mission is to improve visibility of support content, helping to solve problems and get the right answers at the right time to the people who need them, to set ourselves as thought leaders, and to improve satisfaction with all aspects of Rational software. The survey's intent was to elicit feedback from you, our direct audience base, to identify who you are and whether or not you are seeing value from our efforts. The scope of the survey was specific to only our followers/fans (direct audience) who consume our content and may interact with us. While open to all, the survey was not intended for a general audience as it is specific to our efforts in the social business space with questions only our fans and followers would be equipped to answer.
And lastly we owe a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to provide responses via the survey. Without that kind of direct feedback, we'd just be shooting in the dark and hoping we hit our targets... helping us to identify the targets means even better accuracy in the future, and better accuracy in the support world means you spend less time and resources finding good solutions to issues when they crop up.
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  education rational training rational-client-support support-portal downloads documentation social-business support resources contact 7,863 Views
Need downloads, documentation, training, or other support resources? Having trouble finding what you need on IBM.com? Looking for help and you just don't know where to go? Fear no more, my loyal readers, this document lists resources for IBM Rational products to assist you with learning the products, getting help, or just getting started:
Just look at the Table of Contents of topics and you'll see how useful this doc really is!
Truly a smörgåsbord of information right at your fingertips.... or, mouse tip... or pointer tip to be even more pedantic. A bevy of information and assistance awaits you!
Of course, this list reflects a small portion of our knowledge base. If your problem or question is not featured here, head on over to the Support Portal to customize your portal experience and navigate to relevant content or perform keyword searches based on your needs. You can also click the developerWorks tab to seek answers, advice, or opinions from other users in the Rational Community.
kellypuffs 06000168YK Tags:  social-business conference gamification e2conf #owork socbiz 7,489 Views
"I'm valuable because I am knowledgeable and am willing to share that knowledge"
The best $50 I've spent all year was for a 2-day Expo Pass for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, June 19-20 of last week.
The Enterprise 2.0 Conference (also known as #e2conf" on Twitter) is the premiere social business event in town every year. Luis Suarez goes every year, along with every other mover and shaker in the social business/collaboration community.
In my best Enterprise 2.0, knowledge-sharing fashion, I have captured my trip report: my notes, links, and resources on an internal Connections community wiki page for everyone to benefit from, and now I'm sharing with you!
Observable work, people. #owork
Happy to answer any questions you may have.
Stay Connected: Enterprise 2.0 Conference
Mobile app: m.e2conf.com
Community site: www.thebrainyard.com
Official Conference tag: #e2conf
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Badgeville Blog: Announcing Our Latest Integration: Badgeville for IBM Connections
Observable Work (#owork)
Next Things Next: Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
OpenSource Social Network Analysis Tools
Gephi - Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs. Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Gephi is open-source and free.
NodeXL - NodeXL is a free, open-source template for Microsoft® Excel® 2007 and 2010 that makes it easy to explore network graphs. With NodeXL, you can enter a network edge list in a worksheet, click a button and see your graph, all in the familiar environment of the Excel window.
Get Bold! Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business, by Sandy Carter (@scarter), IBM VP, Social Business Evangelism
Best cover blurb EVER: "For crying out loud, IBM 'gets' social media. Don't you think it's about time that you do? This is the book to get you started." - Guy Kawasaki
Social Business by Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company, by Dion Hinchcliffe (@dhinchcliffe) and Peter Kim
The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social & Collaborative Tools, by Jacob Morgan (@JacobM) (avail July 2012)
- Much of your social networking success depends on your willingness to let the network grow organically - Nathan Bricklin
- Build something that doesn't get in the way.... integrate with email
- Don't follow the same path everyone else is taking... move adaptively through wildernesses nobody know.
- power of diversity of thought
- Priorities: 1) strategy, 2)solution (tool selection from a business need perspective, not an IT perspective)
- start simple, iterate, pilots, address challenges and objectives, engage entire organization early: HR, legal, IT, internal comms
- Change the Mental Model from the Traditional:
"I have knowledge and must limit access to that knowledge to retain my value"
"I'm valuable because I am knowledgeable and am willing to share that knowledge"
Why Gamify? Engagement ->Adoption ->Viral Growth
Set adoption and utlization goals for 1st six months
FedEx use of badges and gamification
Social Network Analysis - A model for influence propagation
Eigenvector centrality - use to find influencers
look for "connectors", "bridges", "boundary spanners" - key role
and that's the easy part (technology)
I'm already marking my calendar for next year. See you there?
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Tags:  thought-leadership rational social-business rational-client-support think-friday op-ed 9,613 Views
Over on my personal blog, I posted last week about Building a better business: Hiring ducks and eagles for the right jobs.
In that post, I explored the personal experience and positive results of team hiring practices that focused on finding the right person for the right job. The net conclusion of that post being: "Hire to your needs, but also to the candidate’s strengths and abilities. It isn’t easy, but the rewards and your future success depend upon it."
But, I'd like to take that conclusion a step further now, since "future success" is a bit too nebulous for my taste.
From the social business perspective, hiring the ducks and eagles is a critical portion of our success, as people in the right job tend to be more motivated and passionate about what they do. It is this increased level of passion that is such an important building block of success in social business. Without passion, social business just becomes activities that fall flat, and your audiences will pick up on that immediately.
Social businesses with passionate employees, however, are thriving and forging new paths in the world around us. It is that passion which drive employees, either on their own or with slight urging, to get out in the social spaces and share their knowledge and excitement with others. While the passion IS infectious, it also needs to be cultivated.
That passion is either fostered or stifled long before the employee ever has opportunity to play in the social spaces. It begins during the hiring process: identifying and hiring to both your needs and the candidate's abilities right from the get-go builds that foundation to grow your company into the motivated and passionate social business you need. Hire a duck for an eagle's job (or vice versa) and you will stifle that passion. Likewise, put the duck in the right pond and enable the eagle to soar, and that same stifled passion now becomes a raging fire driving both to spread the excitement.
Your audiences can tell the difference between mere activity and authentic excitement, and they will treat your social business accordingly... Can you really afford to not hire the ducks and eagles?
I'll leave you with the video that inspired both post titles and over-arching topics: You Can’t Send A Duck To Eagle School: