Maximizing the Impact of Enterprise Social Media

Many leaders adopt enterprise social media (ESM) platforms as the cornerstone of their organization’s internal digital transformation with the hope that employees will reap the highly desirable benefits of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and efficiency. Still, employees often get lost during these strategic shifts because of the technical and cultural disconnect between ESM and the rest of the internal IT systems and digital platforms that they use in their day-to-day job-related activities. Research shows that less than 50% of ESM platforms are actually used by employees on a regular basis.

MIT Sloan Management Review’s 2017 Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project made it clear that implementing systemic changes in how companies organize could cultivate digitally minded cultures and experiences. Here we explain why companies should not introduce ESM in the workplace as a siloed system but rather as a strategic component of an organization’s digital portfolio and an integrated tool to support employees’ daily work. Our insights are based on a field study of a multinational cosmetic company that implemented an ESM platform to connect more than 4,500 employees, spread across 29 countries on five continents. ESM was added to an already tangled web of technologies meant to support communication and collaboration and, at the outset, less than 30% of this organization’s employees — and 8% of executives — contributed to ESM on a regular basis.

Employees Lost in Digital Transitions

As companies are attracted to the benefits of digitization, they ask their IT departments to equip employees with a rich digital portfolio that integrates platforms including team collaboration software, project management tools, chat-based software, internal knowledge management systems, and intranets.

At the same time, most ESM platforms are cloud-based applications. For the first time, the responsibility for a technology in the workplace falls at least partially outside the scope of the IT department. Thus, non-IT managers are asked to lead the cultural implementation of ESM in the workplace. However, in many situations when ESM is adopted, leaders fail to articulate priorities for navigating the thicket of all the digital tools that employees are expected to use in their day-to-day, job-related tasks.

When employees are not given guidance on how to navigate the different platforms that form their organization’s digital portfolio, they become lost in the digital transition. Paradoxically, connecting to ESM platforms requires disconnecting from existing patterns of communication and collaboration. For instance, one social media champion at the organization we studied cited the lack of interoperability between systems as the cause of employee frustration: “There is a competition in terms of digital tools, since the company offers other digital tools and email [applications] that are direct competitors to social media. I can [translate] my emails into tasks but I cannot do the same with social media.” The disconnect between an organization’s existing set of IT systems and newer, cloud-based technologies presents a very real hurdle to engaging employees on ESM.

The cultural and technical solutions to this problem need to work in concert.

ESM as the Hub of Your Internal Digital Portfolio

From a technical standpoint, organizations should position ESM as the hub that connects IT systems, business applications, collaborative tools, and digital platforms. With proper integration, employees are able to access various platforms such as the corporate intranet site, email, directories, document-sharing tools, forums, blogs, and wikis directly from the ESM platform with little effort. Better information flows between ESM and other digital and IT systems will increase adoption and efficiency.

Organizations that implement stand-alone ESM platforms can also contend with their fragmented systems by using application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate ESM with preexisting digital tools such as a corporate intranet site, mobile applications, messaging systems, and third-party web applications. ESM platforms like Salesforce Chatter, Microsoft Yammer, or Workplace by Facebook offer open APIs that enable interoperability between ESM and other information technologies. IT departments and developers can contribute to social media success by leveraging APIs to integrate ESM platforms with internal applications and systems that are critical to their employees’ productivity. Developers can also customize ESM platforms for their employees by making it the focal entrance point to the employees’ digital portfolio. This can enhance the functionality of the ESM platform and improve employees’ comprehension of the platform as a working tool.

Demonstrate Leadership Buy-In and Showcase Best Practices

From a cultural vantage point, leaders need to articulate flexible principles that guide employees toward which digital platform is best used for which purpose, and then extoll unexpected uses of the technology that align with cultural aspirations.

For some employees, connecting to social media feels as if they are disconnecting from their jobs. Organizations should provide some early guidance as to how these tools can be used productively. For example, ESM platforms might be especially helpful for asynchronous brainstorming sessions with groups of geographically dispersed employees or for asking questions that the classic off-line network of employees cannot answer or that do not require an immediate answer. In contrast, email might be best for more formal communication on promotions, new organizational policies, and meeting agendas. Organizations should devise their own best practices for using digital tools, but some guidance at the beginning will help alleviate confusion for employees.

Leaders of these social media transformation initiatives should also watch out for unanticipated uses of ESM that match the values the organization aspires to embody and then extoll these unforeseen uses in stories and examples. Thus, during early implementation, guidance along with flexibility for the unexpected will help employees realize ESM is a process and not an event. As implementation matures, highlighting social media champions can inspire the rest of the organization. These champions show fellow colleagues how to best navigate digital transformation and integrate social media in their daily practices and routines.

To deliver on its promise, ESM needs to be thought of as the hub of an organization’s digital transformation. Organizations can seize this opportunity by carefully addressing any confusion this new implementation will cause employees and providing a clearer technical and cultural map of how to navigate ESM along with their existing digital tools.

MIT Sloan Management Review

Losant gets $5.2M Series A to scale its enterprise IoT platform

Losant, an edge-to-analytics platform for enterprise IoT customers raised a $ 5.2M Series A round. It was led by CincyTech with participation from Rise of the Rest Seed fund, TechNexus, and Vine Street Ventures.

Losant Dashboard

“We’re excited to see our platform power intelligent solutions across a gamut of industries and use-cases. Our customers are pushing new boundaries in industrial equipment monitoring, asset tracking, smart buildings, and more. With endless possibilities, Losant is uniquely positioned to help thousands of companies in their IoT journey.”Charlie Key, CEO of Losant.

Losant’s backer $ 150M ROTR (Rise of the Rest) seed fund is itself backed by notables like Eric Schmitt, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whiteman, Michael Bloomberg, and Reid Hoffman. ROTR fund was launched by Revolution, a DC-based venture capital firm. ROTR is aimed at backing startups outside Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston area.

CincyTech, the main backer of Losant is a venture capital firm that invests in enterprise and business software apps, digital health, and life sciences.

Helm features are integrated directly in the Losant IoT platform for seamless fleet management and device connectivity.

Losant is among the nice portfolio companies being funded in ROTR’s current program. The startup’s core product is SaaS platform that consists of several modules including Edge, Helm, Aperture, Alloy and Kiln. For instance, the Edge consists of device libraries (helps in device connectivity & firmware dev), gateways, and edge compute engine. Losant also offers SDKs and APIs for industrial customers to build their own connected services using the startup’s platform.

The startup plans to use the funding proceeds to scale its IoT platform to serve more customers as it currently has several big clients like Verizon, Bosch, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Five Ways To Improve Your Enterprise Asset Management

We stand on the edge of Industry 4.0. Soon, an Internet of Things platform that incorporates Big Data, analytics, and artificial intelligence will disrupt business as we know it. To survive, your organization needs to modernize its methods of managing assets over their lifecycles. In other words, you need to improve your enterprise asset management (EAM). Here are five ways to do just that and ensure your organization flourishes in Industry 4.0.

  1. Utilize real-time insights: By utilizing real-time insights, companies can optimize their enterprise asset management. Real-time insights allow organizations to implement agile maintenance strategies. Agile maintenance will ensure your organization does not perform more maintenance than needed, minimizing downtime and cost. Real-time insights also allow organizations to experiment with their operations, adjusting the performance of assets in real-time.
  1. Implement prediction and simulation: By using predictive software, your organization can see the outcome of every possible decision when wondering how to utilize assets. This allows you to be aware of unexpected outcomes, improving reliability and enabling stress-free operations. As well as awareness, an identifiable outcome increases efficiency by eliminating costly approval processes. More importantly, predictive software can reduce risks for every employee in your organization.
  1. Increase agility: Your organization’s EAM processes need to pick up speed to excel in the digital economy. By implementing software that shortens the time it takes for processes like onboarding, your organization can keep up with your industry. You should use new organizational ecosystems to optimize asset implementation or quickly acquire new business models. This allows you to act on opportunities and enter new markets in much less time than it takes with today’s systems.
  1. Simplify solution deployment: With new assets to take advantage of every day, you must be able to implement them before managing them. Now, companies can choose to deploy new solutions in-house, in the cloud, or through a combination of the two. If you utilize cloud solutions, you won’t need to waste time implementing expensive hardware. This will lower your need for costly maintenance and replacement, freeing up both budget and IT resources for value-adding activities.
  1. A consumer-grade user experience: For your employees to accept updates to your EAM, you must offer them within an engaging, easy-to-understand user experience. After all, the implementation of new software is only as quick as the time it takes for your average employee to understand it. Invest in solutions that can be adapted for use across multiple platforms in any part of your organization. By driving adoption through increasing engagement, your organization can increase productivity.

As you can see, improving your organization’s enterprise asset management is a matter of implementing these five foundational improvements. By selecting a solution that focuses on all five, you can future-proof your organization.

SAP’s enterprise asset management software offers all five and much more. Click here to learn more about how we can improve your enterprise asset management.

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

What we THINK about: Enterprise Asset Management

It’s that time of year again. What time, you may be asking? The time of year to think about what new challenges you will take on and how you will execute them. To think about ways your business can innovate with new enterprise asset management (EAM) technologies. And, most importantly, to think of ways to meet and network with new peers and leaders in your industry. Luckily, all of this can be done at IBM Think. In a first-if-its-kind event, IBM is combining all prior events that you may be familiar with (i.e. InterConnect, WoW, Edge, etc) into one incredible event in Vegas from March 19-22. Will you join us?

Network with enterprise leaders

First of many reasons to attend is the people. With 40,000 expected attendees, there will be no shortage of conversations, connections, and education. This will include Ginni Rometty, and the new IoT General Manager, Kareem Yusuf. This is in addition to the many session speakers delivering great content around EAM and the future of IBM Maximo.

Dive deep into innovative Enterprise Asset Management

As track chair for Maximo Enterprise Asset Management, I’ve had the pleasure of helping to bring together some of the most thought-provoking customer stories, and highlight new IBM offerings throughout the track. We’ll be exploring innovative approaches to managing assets and ensuring reliability and uptime. Below, I’ll share just a few of the topics our clients will spotlight during the event.

Keynote: State of the Enterprise Asset Management Union

Our track keynote features Terrance O’Hanlon from ReliabilityWeb, who you may know from their MaximoWorld and IMC annual events. This executive keynote will bring a perspective of steps that can accelerate your journey towards digital transformation. We’ll explore how leaders are using IoT data, predictive maintenance and augmented reality to drive improved EAM outcomes.

Panel session: The next frontier is mobility

A panel session, ‘The next frontier for Enterprise Asset Management is Mobility,’ will focus on Field Service Management. We’ll hear from industry leader Westar Energy and ‘Toughbook’ innovator and partner, Samsung. This session will share best practices on maintaining and servicing assets in the field. By increasing productivity, reducing errors, and capturing data at the work source, mobile can help identify problems before they happen.

GIS and Weather, together

Did you know that IBM Watson uses location and weather data together to drive more effective infrastructure and correction? Especially when it comes to maintaining high-cost and high-risk assets such as wind turbines at sea and transmission towers in rugged terrain.

This session will discuss a new, innovative and integrated deep-learning solution to aid inspection, maintenance and repair of weather-impacted assets. The solution is comprised of:

  •       Watson Visual Recognition
  •       Esri ArcGIS geospatial analytics and map visualization
  •       IBM Maximo Enterprise Asset Management
  •       Weather Company data
  •       Elements of the IBM Data Science Experience (DSX)

When we bring these elements together, we can realize two immediate benefits: improved worker safety and lower maintenance costs.

Managing your robotic assets

How does the world’s largest industrial robot maker manage a cognitive factory? Masahiro Ogawa, Corporate VP & GM Robotics Division, Yaskawa Electric, will be at THINK to tell us.

How EAM is reinventing operations

IBM’s Stephan Biller, VP of IoT Product Strategy talks us through the way companies are reinventing operations with Enterprise Asset Management. Stephan will examine how to get the most value from enterprise assets connected to a digital ecosystem. He’ll also explore how data analysis can yield insights that drive smart-decision making for predictive maintenance and inventory optimization.

At this session you can learn from organizations that are well on their way to achieving this. Organizations that are using digital twin to improve processes and asset reliability. And performing cutting-edge analytics on asset and business process data to uncover patterns and optimize inventory. You will walk away with more than just new ideas. You’ll also have the practical information necessary to help you drive excellence in your company’s business operations.

Extending Enterprise Asset Management with Blockchain business networks

This session provides an overview of IBM Maximo and Blockchain integration. It will cover available solutions, use cases and how to get started. Connecting Blockchain applications to Maximo streamlines business processes and opens up new business opportunities. Maximo can send transactional data to the blockchain, which incorporates the data into a business transaction. It then stores the record in a shared, indelible ledger. Secure and irrefutable sharing of data between parties enables a new generation of open, transactional applications that streamline business processes.

Talk to our clients and partners

Our clients and partners are ready to share their Enterprise Asset Management experiences. You’ll learn how Esri, Daqri and Samsung are expanding the ability of Enterprise Asset Management to ‘locate’ and ‘see’ assets in the field. You’ll hear from our energy and utilities clients: Cenovus Energy, Kuwait Oil Company, Diamond Offshore and Yaskawa Electric. Or our transportation clients, Atlanta’s MARTA, Cummins, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The campus floor will bring additional opportunities to learn. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness that’s been put into really making it feel more like a community – with theatre sessions, demos and food service all contained in our Business and AI area. There will be a cognitive car and cognitive factory exhibits and lots of time for networking and interaction.

Not convinced yet? Let us entertain you!

These are just some of the highlights, but there’s a lot more to come. You can even build a tailored curriculum with the help of IBM Watson to ensure you use your time effectively. Get started here.

And finally, there’s the all-important chance to let your hair down. The growing entertainment line-up includes award-winning performers Train, Bare Naked Ladies (BNL) and the Chainsmokers. How are you going to decide?

Register today

I hope that helps convince you of the value that Think will provide.  I look forward to seeing you there! Register today for THINK 2018, and join me and 39,999 friends in Las Vegas.

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Internet of Things blog

Sierra Wireless Launches Industry’s First LPWA Cellular Router for Commercial and Enterprise IoT Applications

Sierra Wireless Launches Industry’s First LPWA Cellular Router for Commercial and Enterprise IoT Applications

Sierra Wireless Launches Industry’s First LPWA Cellular Router for Commercial and Enterprise IoT Applications

AirLink® LX60 delivers LTE (Cat-4), LTE-M (Cat-M1) and NB-IoT (Cat-NB1) secure, managed connectivity for IoT applications, including building automation, digital signage, taxis, ATMs, kiosks and point-of-sale terminals.

Sierra Wireless today announced the AirLink® LX60, the industry’s first cloud-managed Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) cellular router for the IoT.

The LX60, with LTE and LTE-M/NB-IoT variants, extends the AirLink Networking Solutions portfolio into new applications, including building automation, digital signage, taxis, ATMs, kiosks and point-of-sale terminals for both primary and backup connectivity.

Today’s global businesses are rapidly undergoing a digital transformation by connecting their equipment, offices and stores to deliver service-oriented business models that increase efficiency, revenue and customer satisfaction. The AirLink LX60 is purpose-built to enable this transformation, providing LTE connectivity out of the box, combined with trusted AirLink networking, routing and security. Sierra Wireless also provides a complete portfolio of AirLink Network Management tools, available in the cloud or on premises, for remote monitoring, configuration and control of all connected AirLink routers and gateways. With the LX60, businesses can rapidly and confidently deploy high-volume IoT applications that easily scale from tens to tens of thousands of networking devices.

AirLink LX60 also enables IoT edge programmability, supporting the field-proven ALEOS Application Framework for embedded applications, as well as tightly integrated cloud services and APIs. These features, combined with LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity and a rich set of I/O options for data acquisition and sensor aggregation, enable critical data to be processed at the edge to drive application insight and create event-driven situational awareness, while optimizing data transmission. LTE-M/NB-IoT support also provides 5 to 10X enhanced coverage in remote locations or buildings, while reducing ongoing airtime costs by up to 60 percent.

“With more than three million routers and gateways deployed, Sierra Wireless is a trusted partner for thousands of customers who rely on AirLink Networking Solutions to provide secure managed connectivity for mission-critical applications in some of the harshest operating conditions on the planet,” said Jason Krause, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise Solutions, Sierra Wireless.

“The new LX60 provides the same connectivity experience and flexibility as our rugged performance portfolio, but in a new package optimized to meet commercial and enterprise IoT application requirements.”

The AirLink LX60 is part of Sierra Wireless’ new AirLink Essential series of routers and gateways. It is available in two variants:
Sierra Wireless AirLink LX60 LPWA cellular router

  • LTE-M/NB-IoT (up to 300 kbps downlink) for enhanced coverage and LTE Cat-4 (up to 150Mbps downlink) for higher throughput. It features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, LAN/WAN switchable to support primary and backup connectivity configurations, as well as RS-232, RS-485 and I/O ports, making it easy to connect existing machines without the need for added adapters and converters.
  • The LTE Cat-4 variant is available with optional Wi-Fi and GNSS capabilities, making it ideal for connecting retail and commercial fleet applications.

“Our customers expect Wi-Fi service wherever they are—whether it’s in retail locations or taxis,” said Brian Anderson, VP Products at Colony Networks, a cloud-based provider of Wi-Fi solutions. “The LX60 with Wi-Fi and GNSS offers easy-to-deploy, secure, reliable cellular backhauled Wi-Fi in virtually any location. The device management and reporting capabilities from the AirLink Network Management systems integrate with our Wi-Fi policy management and analytics portal, providing customers control with actionable insights for the business.”

Pricing & Availability

AirLink LX60 models are priced at $ 449 for LTE-M/NB-IoT, $ 499 for LTE Cat-4 and $ 569 for LTE Cat-4 with Wi-Fi and GNSS. LX60 LTE Cat-4 variants are sampling now with commercial availability beginning in April 2018. LX60 LTE-M/NB-IoT samples will be available in May 2018. AirLink Networking Solutions are sold through Sierra Wireless’ authorized channel partners worldwide.

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