Expert Profile – View

What is your name?

Stefan Pfeiffer

Who are you and what are you doing?

I am Marketer at IBM promoting the IBM Social Business Offerings and Products in Europe. Active speaker and blogger creating, discussing and curating contet around Social Business, Marketing, Digital Experience and more.

How did you get to the E2.0 topic?

This had a lot to do with the fact, that my previous employer FileNet got acquired by IBM. So I moved from a 2.000 people to a more than 400.000 company. An very interesting experience, which made it even more obvious to me, how important the focus on people and their knowledge is. Find the right expert at the right time. Find the right information independant from time zone and location to solve your business issue and do your work to the sake of your custome rin the best way possible. I always found Knowledge Management fascinating. With a new, much heavier focus on the employee and customer the whole topic is changing dramatically. Hot suff, so I applied for the role as maeketer for Social Business in IBM.

What is your understanding of the core concept of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

Well, first I like to call it Social Business. But beyond discussions on the right term I would like to use the definition of Pam Moore:

“Becoming a social business transforms the organization from the inside out, connecting the internal with the external in a way that enhances relationships and creates shared value for the people, the business and ecosystem as a whole.”

In the meantime, many companies have also recognized the potential of social business for innovation, product development, and communication with customers. Social channels provide excellent opportunities for gaining ideas for new products and services, learning customers’ wishes regarding product development, and hearing feedback. Social channels thus allow companies to keep abreast of their customers’ requirements to a far greater extent than before.

But social business is not only important in and for external communication; it is also changing corporate culture and the way companies work. There is huge potential for social business in companies, particularly when a firm is decentralized and employs knowledge workers in various time zones around the world. Companies can make use of social networks to find experts, set up social suggestion boxes, store and retrieve knowledge, and improve staff training. Other benefits include getting staff interested, involved, and motivated. In my opinion, unless you have internal social business, getting external social business with customers and partners up and running will be difficult or impossible.

What are the main potentials of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

The most important thing as a Social Business is in my opinion the focus on people, This focus is based on the recognition that good and satisfied employees are one of the most important – if not the most important – factors for productivity, particularly in industrialized countries.

McKinsey studies say that companies with dedicated, motivated and autonomous employees can make a 26-percent higher turnover. I find this focus fascinating. It seems to me that companies have often lost sight of their employees in recent years. The latent pressure created by cost-cutting programs and by staff reduction and relocation has led to many employees feeling unmotivated. Often that means they have left their jobs mentally, if not physically, and are now working to rule – in other words, doing the bare minimum.

I believe that any attempt to reach out to these employees again, to motivate and train them, and to show them that their work has meaning and can even be fun not only makes business sense, but also – and particularly – makes sense from a people point of view. Yes, I know that “cash is king”

and the next quarterly financial statements are looming on the horizon, but I believe every little bit of humanization in the working world helps.

(And, as I mentioned above, also makes sense economically.)

What are the main challenges, threads and issues of the Enterprise 2.0 idea?

Of course, we also all know employees who keep their knowledge to themselves because they are, whether for good reason or not, afraid of losing their jobs. And let’s not forget the management, the company executives. Leadership 2.0? During a presentation I gave to an executive board on the topic of social business, I mentioned that Ginni Rometty no longer announces the quarterly figures via e-mail and instead now does so on her video blog. These videos are posted in the online community entitled Think together (the name says it all) and are then commented on and discussed by IBMers. Upon hearing this, the chairman of the board I gave the presentation to said: “I don’t want my employees commenting on what I say.” If management favors a command-and-control mentality, it will only be looking to use transparency to manage performance and certainly not to encourage transparent discussion within the company.

Please give us three tags that describe your person and work best?

Marketer, Blogger, Social Business

Please give us three links to articles/contributions that describe your views best?

Progress through Technology: Why Germany Needs to Become a Social Business >

How the customer experience sets you apart in the age of social business: Part 1 — The value of knowing your customer

How the customer experience sets you apart in the age of social business: Part 2 — The value of community

Please give us three names of colleagues that you would refer to as brother-in-spirit?

Luis Suarez

Alan Hamilton

Dr. Peter Schuett