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3 IT Shifts for Small Business: Mobile-Social

Shifter
The nature of computing and how it’s used by business is changing – rapidly.  You have heard the buzzwords … mobile, social, cloud, big data, analytics, and others.  You probably have thought about your own business and thought the these changes are just for the enterprise.

Three major shifts in technology, however, can and will impact your organization:  Data; Cloud; and Mobile-Social.

Shift 3: Mobile-Social

Why do we combine Mobile and Social? Social would not exist without Mobile.  Before the mobile revolution, social was limited to “Other who viewed this also viewed …” cues like those on Amazon.com. Social works because it is quick, easy, convenient, and immediate.

And while mobile technology lets us stay connected to the office and provides us access to information, the real transformation with mobile and social technologies is engagement.

Engagement, driven by mobile and social technologies, lets you build trust and establish value. And, if done properly, lets you build trust and value in a secure manner.

Mobile-Social lets you expand the nature of your engagement. You can easily move beyond 1:1 conversations with your customers. The #hashtag and the @mention let you “listen in” on the conversations you customers are having with their friends, and can give you the opportunity to join the conversation.

While there are examples of social media posts going viral and shaming companies into better behavior. The real opportunity lies with this type of communication:

“We saw you post about X. We were not aware of this issue and will fix it quickly. A customer rep will call you shortly to assist you directly.”

And via communications like this:

“Thank you for mentioning your great experience with our service. We are sending you a small token or our appreciation for your business and support.”

Most small business, like yours and ours, could never afford the infrastructure necessary to facilitate, monitor, and act on social media interactions.  Cloud-based services, however, have the horsepower and economy of scale to enable us to leverage social-mobile technologies. And, make it possible to integrate our social-mobile applications with our operational and line of business systems.

 

Be More Social with Secure Google+ Communities

google-plusBusinesses often hesitate to use social media tools internally, fearing that information may be shared too broadly or outside the company in error.  Google has taken a major step to alleviate these concerns with the recent announcement of Secure Google+ Communities for organizations running Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government.

Going forward, all Google+ communities are only visible to people within your domain.

You can still create and share communities with external parties — customers, vendors, business partners — utilizing a new suite of management settings.

Why use Google+ Communities?

  • Encourage employees to share more information about themselves in their profiles, such as skills and interests, making it easier to find peer resources and discuss new ideas
  • Sharing files from Drive is easy, as is sharing videos
  • Threaded discussions and comments facilitate communication and teamwork, even across functional areas
  • Manage events, meetings, and hangouts
  • Better engage your Gen X and Y team members

You can learn more about the power of social tools, and other ways of getting more from Google Apps, by viewing the recording of our recent event in New York.  The event was co-hosted by Google with The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, The 4th Bin, and Google Gooru as supporting sponsors.

People Widget Gives Context to Email Senders

Email is not just a way to communicate … to send and receive messages.  Email can and should be a tool for collaborating.  A tool that places your communication within the context of your relationship with the senders and recipients.  A tool that makes it easier to move from sending/receiving to sharing.

People Widget

Over the next two weeks, Google is rolling out the People Widget across Google Apps platforms.  The widget highlights content and communications from colleagues, friends, and family, placing your communications within a broader context.

The widget, which will appear next to your inbox provides context for the sender of each email.  More than seeing who the sender is, the People Widget lists any recent email conversations and joint calendar events.  It also provides on-click access to chat, initiate a new email conversation, schedule a meeting, or update the sender’s information.

For more information, visit the Official Gmail Blog.

If you are interested in trying Google Apps, contact us or complete our 12 Minute Assessment.