Last Monday at ESCOEX (business school) I attended a talk by Luis Suárez. Luis was invited by Néstor Domínguez, teacher and founder of MOM-SOS marketing agency. Luis is an IBM employee, and works in knowledge management, virtual communities and social tools. He arrived to Maspalomas six years ago and since then he's connected with the rest of 500,000 IBM employees all around the world from this touristic site in Gran Canaria. Luis was born in Leon (Spain), loves the island's charm and usually adds photos in his blog about social software (wonderful job of touristic promotion!).
The class was quite interactive. Luis talked about his experiences as telecommuter and social tools evangelist inside IBM. Stands out his fight against email as an unproductive tool (his blogs shows this statement: Thinking outside the inbox). Next, the notes I transcribed during the class.
How do students use social software?
Experience at IBM: 6 years in Holland, 6 years in Spain.
He works on knowledge management, virtual communities and telecommuting. How to use standard social tools inside IBM.
Spain ranks 2nd in social networking -worldwide, just behind Brazil.
However, Spain doesn't lead at all social network use on business.
Luis: Would you be able to introduce social tools in your company? No? Why? Students' answers:
Corporations are not adapted.
Other companies' rejection. Cannot communicate with them.
To preserve privacy.
Lack of flexibility.
To preserve company's privacy.
Fear to be lazy.
Fear to loose.
- A case where the company blocked access to Tuenti (popular social networking site in Spain) was commented by a student.
The future are digital natives. Baby boomers will be retired in two years.
Companies should adapt better to talent, not the other way.
One of Spain's job issues is the significance given to the hours spent in the job but not the productivity. Spain records the longest average working day among European countries.
Luis is the only one in his group outside America.
Luis: What ideas do you have about IBM? Student answers:
Consulting (competition, Deloitte, tie).
- Would you want to work in an obsolete/old company?
IBM has 500,000 employees in 170 countries.
His task is to ensure some departments cease to be obsolete/old.
Since 2005, IBM promotes the use of social networks by employees, including external tools like Facebook.
Luis: Benefits of social software? Student answers:
To reach to more customers.
To be up-to-date.
This are the social software values inside the company. Who would not love to work in a company with this values?
Social networks have two issues: security and privacy. But is not just a tool issue, but also how they are used. Privacy: first filter are users themselves. Establish own limits: do not share what you wouldn't share to your mother. Internet has permanent memory.
Interactiveness = Social capital. Opportunity to create a mental map with people who share, communicate and collaborate. Helps to strength confidence bonds.
Software social allows employees to turn back into "me", "persons".
War against email.
Major issue two years ago: "I have no time".
Between 100 to 300 emails are received everyday by many people at IBM, and they spent 3 hours of a 8-hour work day to communication who only them can see.
Two reactions: "You are totally crazy!" / "Olé, email isn't useful as a tool to share knowledge".
For IBM, email is an important source of income (Lotus Notes).
Information is gone when employees left the company, because their emails must be deleted. Their knowledge stays in the company through the use of social tools.
He now spends just 15 minutes a week to email.
Another interesting idea was the value of talent. Luis challenged students when he said companies must adapt to changes and no the other way. It's ironic this students don't believe in that idea, why are i a business school anyway? The school is not intended to just sign a diploma, but to turn them into company managers. Probably, they must believe in themselves and to value their training: often, companies aren't competitive because are strangulated by managers without proper education.
A very instructive evening. Thanks again to ESCOEX staff for allowing me to attend ;)