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Nigel Wallis, research director at IDC Canada. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Nigel Wallis, research director at IDC Canada. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Earlier discussion

What is the future of office communication? Add to ...

I think the internal aspect will become more clear. Already people instinctively know when to email people (attachments/medium term questions) versus BBM or IM (immediate, high priority problems)

1:27

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

The major email vendors are actually working on technologies to use data and algorithms to do this for us. For instance, gmail's trainable Priority Inbox

1:28

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

Microsoft Outlook, especially with Exchange or Lync, has presence awareness - outlining what room/building/location people are in - and has beta tested spying on users to see whether they are 'thinking', 'working' or are in the "right" frame of mind to see email.

1:30

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

That's relevant because of studies like the following: In 2007, a group of Microsoft workers took, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks, such as writing reports or computer code, after dealing with incoming email. They wandered off to reply to other messages or browse the Web.

1:30

[Comment From Michael ]

Do you recommend using off-the-shelf solutions to enable a system within an organization? Examples include opentext social communites, or microsoft sharepoint.

1:31

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

Michael - in general, yes. Quicker to get up & running - and time is an under-appreciated asset. If your firm is tech-heavy, then utilizing a FOSS solution or developing your own makes sense as well. But in a lot of cases, that (going custom) adds more maintenance issues to the IT department without removing any.

1:33

[Comment From Dpuiatti ]

Do you think social media platforms are better designed to engage staff than a standard intranet?

1:36

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

In most cases, yes. The typical portal gets launched and within a year's time is predominantly used to download forms (mostly HR). There's very little interactivity. Even though they've gotten better over time, they're still built with different aims in mind - primarily distributing from the centre to the employee. The social platforms steal the more compelling UI from Facebook, Twitter, etc. to try and engage employees - which will be the biggest issue or stumbling block in most cases anyway, regardless of the technology.

1:37

[Comment From Kevin P ]

How important is it to extend corporate social networking capabilities to outside the company (customers, supply chain, etc.)?

1:39

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

It's important - whether through the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 type technologies or through external social sites (facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.).

1:39

[Comment From Richnov ]

To me the real question is would this replace existing technology for short term comms or discussions or would this simply be another layer of technology that people will have to master, adding time and costs to productivity?

1:39

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

It engages customers, makes your brand or product stickier (which matters even for things like partnering or extended supply chains), improves your branding, lets you gather feedback fasster & cheaper, etc.

1:41

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

Richnov - there's at least two possible answers to that. 1) most enterprise technologies don't seem to go away. If anything, it's almost sedimentary - they get submerged below new ones - at increased cost and complexity. 2) at this point, social business sites and tools should be well designed to the point where training should not be required for the employees, aside from the specific privacy, cultural and legal rules your firm has.

1:43

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

The upside of most of these Social Business (or external social networking sites) technologies is that they are often cloud-based - designed to operate through the vendors' data centres. Which may increase fears around privacy, but lowers capex.

1:43

[Comment From Nigel Wallis]

the key to negotiating involves questions then around data retention & migration clauses in the contract if you want to change vendors or give up on the technology.

1:45

[Comment From ]

Some of the folks at our office use an internal version of MSN messenger to communicate. It seems like it is used mostly for non-work related chatting. How do other social media expect to find effiencies over an email system?

1:46

[Comment From Richnov ]

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