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Kezi in Business Process Management

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In the previous post I talked about how social networking tools can be useful in business. In this post I am focused on how personal use of social networking tools by employees can be harmful in the workplace. According to Satyanarayana and Levine (www.brighthub.com) there are five security risks of personal use of social networking in the workplace:

  1. Identity theft

Social networking sites like Facebook allow the use of third party applications and some of these programs could access the business’ private information from which the site is accessed.

  1. Employee misdeeds

Not only these sites can access cookies of the computer accessing them, the employee’s private information can also be withdrawn.

  1. Legal problems

If any of the two problems above occurs, solving it may not be straight-forward due to geographical locations.

  1. Business reputation

The employee may accidentally post pictures and information that can harm the business reputation.

  1. Internet threads

Viruses, spyware and malware come from everywhere on the internet, Facebook is no exception.

Besides those above, there are more threads that exist in the use of the social networking sites. Many people (or many managers) would agree with the loss of productivity as another thread. The use of these tools is so common that they can be accessed from anywhere on the web and even portable devices like smartphones. So, even if the company blocks access to these sites employees can still access them from their iPhone if they want to. Please comment if you have any idea or solution as to what can be done to minimise the risks of personal use of social networking sites in the workplace.

Reference articles:

http://www.brighthub.com/computing/enterprise-security/articles/9732.aspx

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/community/features/guestopinions/blog/the-risks-of-social-networking-and-the-corporate-network/?cs=33877

http://www.cioupdate.com/insights/article.php/3887541/Examining-the-4-Areas-of-Business-Social-Networking-Risk.htm

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Web2.0 has become so common in today’s business environment. It is hard to think what business does not find it useful. The most widely-used of web2.0 technology of all is probably social networking. Social network sites play a role not found in many other web2.0 tools; they can replace a website. Take Facebook for example, Facebook fan page (or facebook business page) can be used to serve basic functions of a website, as well as a combination of web2.0 tools like microblogging, blogs and email. Facebook wall posts serve a similar purpose as a microblog, business can provide their company information in ‘info’ tab as well as upload photos, videos, articles and even use add-ons to connect with other applications (just like blogs).

Social networks not serve business for their external engagement; they also enable internal engagement among staff in the business. Another famous social networking site is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is used by a large number of individuals to engage with their fellow business relations. According to Wikipedia, the purpose of the site is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business (Wikipedia.org).

In my experience using both Facebook and LinkedIn, they pretty much both serve the same purpose; to maintain lists of contacts and build relationships with other people. The only difference is that LinkedIn is for my business contacts and everyone else is in my Facebook contacts.

Despite the fact that these social networks provide the ease in maintaining both internal and external engagements, they also possess some risks to the business. Like all the other web2.0 tools, social networks let the business to more exposure about their activities to public, although this can only be bad if the business has done a bad thing. And bad publicities will be exposed one way or another, right?

Personally I think social networks can do very little damage to businesses. About how Facebook can reduce staff productivity, well that is the use of social networking by employees for their personal lives, not for the business. In itself, social networks are a great tool to efficiently use time, effort and money if used correctly.

Reference Article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn

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Wikis like any other web2.0 tools are changing the way people work. Using wikis is not just useful in working remotely. Wikis are about working efficiently, openly, and responsibly. Below are the more specific uses of wikis in organizations: 1. Wikis allow users to share and edit work documents easily 2. Wikis prevent the overwhelming use of email 3. By using wikis, you do not have to have a meeting to arrange a meeting 4. Wikis develop trusts among staff members 5. Wikis let the users to develop responsibility in information sharing 6. WIKIS KEEP EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE There are many wiki generating software out there. These software differ in terms of features and interfaces. One of the risks of using wikis is the possibility of sharing the wrong information on a wiki page or to delete other people’s creations. It is true and many people would agree to this. However, in my experience the highest thread to wikis is when people no longer update the old pages. Depending on the type of information shared, wiki pages may one day become outdated and left unedited while still accessible for viewing. This can cause (new) users to get the wrong information. An incorrect piece of information in a hot topic page is easily spotted but in an old page this will not be the case. in conclusion, I think wikis pose only a few number of threads when used in an organisation, especially those in internal collaboration among staff members (although some unlikely but serious problems could occur). If the publicly used Wikipedia only has a handful of problems, a business wiki should do better. The reasons are obvious: the number of pages will be much less than that of Wikipedia and there probably is someone assigned by the company to control the flows of the information.

Reference

http://technet.microsoft.com/windowsserver/sharepoint/bb400747.aspx

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There are many reasons why businesses use blogs and microblogging. In many cases, businesses use these tools to generate more revenue. However, blogs and microblogging deliver more purposes than financial benefit to business. Some of the other benefits of blogs and microblogging  for businesses are:

  1. Blogs can increase traffic to a business’s website
  2. Blogs can be used to market a product for free or at low cost
  3. Using blogs opens up new ideas and suggestions made by customers
  4. Blogs are a great way to interact with a large number of customers
  5. Using blogs could lead customers to think that a business is open
  6. Blogs can be used to inform customers about the latest news around the business
  7. Business can use blogs as a means of communication among its employees

There are some other ways blogs can benefits businesses according to Melissa Norfolk (flyingsolo.com)

  1. Simple, low cost PR. Blogs are a simple and fast way to put information online.
  2. Establish expertise. Position yourself and your company as the expert and raise your visibility with your target market.
  3. Extend communications and customer relationships. Blogs enable companies to present a human face and voice to the public. Blogs allow you to join customer discussions, respond to concerns, provide tips and insights or receive feedback.
  4. Build community. Use blogs to grow group support around a cause, political issue, technology or hobby related to your product.
  5. Test ideas or products. Because blogs are informal and conversational in nature you can publish an idea and see if it generates any interest or buzz.
  6. Higher search engine rankings. Google and other search engines reward sites with a lot of content that is updated often and have many inbound links.

Blogs

An example of a business blog is Telstra blog: http://exchange.telstra.com.au. Telstra uses their blog for information sharing with their customers and public. What is interesting about this blog is that the blog articles are posted by a number Telstra employees from various departments instead of being an admin-managed blog. In other words, it is kind of a pool of their employees’ personal blogs.

Telstra blog has more than 5,000 likes on Facebook and is also around 5,000 followers on Twitter. Through their blog, Telstra is enjoying benefits some of which are mentioned above. Telstra builds a large community of people who value the communications technology.

It seems interesting to me that the Telstra blog is filled with complaints and problem reports that were responded and admitted by Telstra employees. What is more interesting is that in one of the sections I was reading, T-hub, the complaints were made from customers as well Telstra employees. To me, this is an example of the true use of business blogs; solving problems through fair and honest conversations.

Despite a large number of complaints made by customers in the blog, which seems like a disadvantage of using blogs, Telstra has turned this disadvantage to a benefit as a problem solver tool for some of the problems they have.

Microblogging

To keep this post specific, I will use Telstra (again) as an example of how businesses use microblogging. Being different with their blog, the Telstra’s twitter page is used to answer quick questions the customers have. Telstra twitter page is updated hourly so customers as well as public can use twitter as an alternative if they do not want to give a call and wait in the line.

Like the blog, Telstra is open about the complaints made by the customers. A Telstra tweet says how they had server issues. Another customer posted a tweet thanking the Telstra twitter page for being useful for out of hour services.

In conclusion, blogs and microblogging are two great tools that business can use to achieve some goals. Despite the possible threads, depending on how the tools are used, the benefits can far outperform the threads.

References and recommended links

http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/business-blogs-can-a-blog-help-your-solo-business

http://exchange.telstra.com.au/2010/09/13/improving-t-hub-with-the-help-of-our-customers/

http://twitter.com/Telstra

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Do you befriend your boss in facebook? Do you share your feelings like you used to in your diary? Are we being protected or threatened by social media laws? If you are concerned about how the internet might be affecting your social life in a bad way, well to the least I can say: good for you, at least you are concerned, and not so good for others who aren’t.

Social media laws in my opinion cover mostly any act conducted by organisations staff that could potentially risk the organisation’s reputation or revenue loss. In an article published in Rostron Carlyle mainly discusses breach done by the employees. What is interesting about social media law is not the breach of the law (obviously) rather that it is kind of conspiracy. Many employees across organisations breach the law unintentionally, nevertheless the damage may have already been done.

The conspiracy factor makes the social media law complex. Putting the charge on an employee after his ‘joking tweet’ may seem harsh. But forgiving one’s mistake could mean opening the possibilities of other threads. If you are an employee who uses social networking sites for both your personal and work life, how do you see the line between what’s permitted and what’s not. It sure is complicated. There are a lot of articles about tips using social networking sites safely, covering concerns from privacy to security to health. People do read them and get helped. But these are just suggestions and people continue to misuse social networking sites intentionally or unintentionally. Just what should we do about it? Please leave comments for your opinions and if you have any suggestions.

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So, the topic for this post is enterprise 2.0: benefits and risks. Let’s start with the benefits. What are the benefits of enterprise 2.0? Saves time, money and efforts? Anything else? Well, honestly that’s about it. However, there is a reason why you should keep reading this post. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not about the time money efforts. They are not what matters in the first place.

You see, enterprise 2.0 is a fancy way of saying web2.0 for business. In fact, web2.0 is fancy word itself. So when people talk about web2.0, what they actually refer to is information and a new way to send and receive it. So there it is, web2.0 is sending and receiving information through the web.

Companies adopt enterprise 2.0 to manage the flow of information important to their business as they always do. They spend a lot of time, money and efforts on doing all these things: advertising, promoting brand, communication among staff, researches, gathering feedbacks, reporting news, getting news about competitors, and so on. So much work on managing information that they will try to save time, money and efforts as best as they can.

You might think that adopting enterprise 2.0 seems like a good idea for a company and the only payoff is not saving time money and efforts and that’s it. Well, it is true that not adopting enterprise 2.0 will cost the company time money and efforts. But if the company does choose to adopt the enterprise 2.0, there are risks to bear when doing it wrong. Big risks. Some of which are every company’s biggest fear. That is because information is something they do not really have control over. What they do by adopting enterprise 2.0 is to manage the flow of information.

So what are “those fears”? Businesses love to share the ‘good’ information about themselves. But what happens when the wrong or bad information is also revealed? If there is too much exposure of information, it can pose security thread for the business. “These payoffs” may just be bigger than anyone could imagine.

To wrap up, there are a number of benefits as well as risks of adopting enterprise 2.0. Companies should realise both the pro and cons relevant to their business in order to save time, money and efforts in managing the flow of information about them as well as to stay in the competition.

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This is icon for social networking website. Th...

Image via Wikipedia

Are you a user of any social networking site? What is the first one of these sites you knew or registered? What was your social life like before the use of these sites? These are questions that ironically are only asked a few times. I call it ironic because the use of social networking sites is one of main turning points in some people’s life. I know it was in my life.

The first social networking site I have registered was Friendster. I used Friendster back in 2006. If you don’t already know Friendster, it is a website that mainly allows its users to create a profile and connect with friends and anyone they know. So, it is pretty much like Facebook.  Despite my familiarity with social networking sites for many years now, I have not been very familiar with other technologies of web2.0 like blogs, wikis and microblogs. By that, I mean I have only been a passive user of these sites.  Even this is among my first time posting an article to a blog.

However, I do realise the benefits of web2.0 in personal productivity. Here are some of the benefits of using web2.0 in personal productivity that I can think of:

  1. Keeping in touch with friends on sites like Facebook and Twitter enables you to get information about your environments quickly.
  2. Getting information fast by all means.
  3. Getting brand new hot topics.
  4. Basically making life easier in terms of quick information access.

To the question of “How can web2.0 tools assist with your personal productivity?” I have done a little investigation on some of the ‘web2.0 sites’ out there. And I would like to share my experiences in using some of them, ones which I found not only interesting, but also fit into my lifestyle. The first one is called Stumble Upon. Precisely, the site has you select topics you are interested in and then it provides you with relevant that other site users “stumble upon”. What really attracts my intention to this site is that when click the “stumble upon” icon, I get really really interesting articles, articles that I may never come across any other way. Another web2.0 site that I found very interesting was Gives Me Hope (GMH). It contains uplifting stories submitted by users that can brighten your days.

Overall, I think web2.0 technologies give us assistant in our personal productivity both directly and indirectly. With their integration with smartphones and other portable devices, they may even change the way we do everyday things in our life. Please leave comments and tell us how web2.0 assists your personal productivity. Cheers.

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