Jul 10, 2010

Week 8 Article Reflections

Article Reflection
Articles: The 3R Framework, Community Relations 2.0, & Virtual Worlds as Real-World Sales Tools

Article: The 3R Framework: Improving e-strategy across reach, richness, and range

This was a very interesting article that talks about leveraging the benefits of the 3R framework: Reach, Richness and Range. The article clarifies the definitions of the 3R as
  • Reach: Reach is the degree to which a firm can manage its value chain activities to connect its customers to an accessible product/service offering.
  • Richness: Richness is the degree to which a firm can facilitate the exchange of information to deliver products/services that match customers’’ exact wants and needs.
  • Range: Range is the degree to which a firm can offer its customers a value proposition containing a breadth of products/services.

The framework provides an overall view of e-strategy, a new perspective on affiliation and discusses the interrelationships between the reach and range.

Article: Community Relations 2.0

This article talks about the amount of power that lies in information relayed via social media. Social media can be a very powerful tool across various industries. There’s one paragraph I would like to quote from the article that aptly talks about the capabilities of social media:
“Social medial platforms enhance the power of online communities in four ways: They promote deep relationships, allow fast organization, improve the creation and synthesis of knowledge, and permit better filtering of information”.
But sometimes as the article points out, information can also be lethal to companies. That’s why there is a strong need for companies to engage existing new generation employees who are already using social media to “harness the power of online communities”.

Article: Virtual Worlds as Real-World Sales Tools

Of the three articles I read, I found this one the most interesting since it talked about the Second Life which has been fascinating to me since its introduction in this class. It raises similar questions that I have pertaining to Second Life. It is very interesting no doubt, but what reason other than my class meetings & assignments will drive me to visit it recurrently? If I was enticed by a new product to visit a company’s venue in Second Life, why would I return to it?
The article points out one important factor for return visits: content & function. IBM has incorporated this very aspect in its collaboration efforts with customers to develop meaningful relationships. IBM realized the true value in “brining clients and sales people together in a 3D experience”. IBM’s virtual data center offers many compelling reasons for customers to return. This 3D environment engages “the human perceptive and attentive processes as much as possible”.

But for virtual worlds to be viable in the long run, barriers like security, investment in time on the user’s part, resource intensive virtual world client software packages use of bandwidth and such, must be overcome. Only then the intrinsic characteristics of the human nature can be leveraged in the 3D world and use the virtual world as a sales tool.

Jul 6, 2010

Inter University Collaboration Assignment

• What challenges did you face in the project in SL? How did you overcome those obstacles and/or challenges?

Other than being new to SL, the other main challenge we came across was our objectives for the project. Initially it seemed like we both were given different directives for the project. The first bump came in the form of selecting a concept for our project. We both had the same task ahead of us but I was not aware of the first step of choosing a concept from the IBM concept area. Since I couldn’t get access to that area, I asked my team mate to pick a few that seemed interesting and then went from there. The next problem was tying in that concept of IP telephone technology in the task of represent IBM as a fun work place. We were really confused about that part, but we seemed over come that pretty easily as well.

• Consider the positive and negative aspects associated with using Second Life to collaborate with your teammate. What features of the Second Life environment or the collaboration process stand out as being beneficial or counter-productive, and why?

There were a number of positive aspectes working in Second Life. It acutally felt like I was in a room with all the supplies I needed to accomplish the task at hand. The proximity of my teammate and the ability to constantly see what she was doing was very helpful. Being able to see what the other one was doing at all times, helped us to ensure we were on the right track and helped us in being productive given the time differences and constraints.

• In the past, you might have used communication tools such as video/web conferencing, IM, email, and telephone for collaborative projects. Think about your Second Life collaboration experience. What are the important characteristics that are similar and different between Second Life and other tools (media) you have used previously?

In the past I have used IM and Skype mainly to work on collaborative projects. But they were mainly used for discussions. Those tools were mainly for communicative purposes only. In contrast SL while being a communicative tool, allowed for a space where you can actually build something, which was pretty cool. That capability really helped create an environment for team building. It was a great exercise and medium to practice and build any team building skills. Being able to see the results of your work in a 3 dimensional place also gives a sort of sense of accomplishment and boosts the confidence of the individual and the team.

• What advice or guidelines would you give to students who will be working on a similar project in Second Life in the future?

The only thing that I can think of is to put more time in Second Life exploring before you begin the project will prove very helpful. Go visit other build areas and maybe take a workshop on building will certainly improve your own building capabilities.

• Consider how your experience with using Second Life to collaborate on a task compares to your previous use of other communication tools for collaborative projects? What are the important characteristics that are similar and different?

This is my first experiene where we have used Second Life to collaborate on a task. I have always worked in very small companies with employees ranging from 5 to 15 at the most. In those work environments, email and IM were the most commonly used collaborative tools. If any larger interaction was needed, we always met in person and used a projection screen to access the company’s central servver for any need of sharing or showing. In a company where the employee number is little as 15 or under, email and IM seemed to have been sufficient. Those two tools provided instant access to anybody within the company and also provided the need to share documents. And of course if you needed to see somebody, I would just pop in their cubicle!

But I can see the scenario being completely different in globally situated multi-national corporations with thousands of employees. There is certainly a big need for use of collaborative tools that help teams interact across different time zones and nations! In such situations Second Life can be really usefull. The proximity and the ability to be in a same room virtually with your team mates or customers provides for great interaction and feedback. That can be of great value since it provides an environment for innovative ideas and solutions.

• Consider how Second Life might be used in business collaboration. Are there any business tasks or projects where you might see Second Life being useful for business collaboration? Where would it not be appropriate?

Second Life can certainly be used in business collaboration. In the field trips we took in Second Life to various business venues certainly showed that there can be multple applications to Second Life. Companies can have multiple venues in Second Life that can host team meetings and team building skills. Companies can also have SL presence for it’s customers where they can explore the products and give valuable feedback to a company. Second Life can be useful in any situation where there is a need for users to interact and provide feedback.

Images from Second Life.

Jul 1, 2010

Issues & Concern of Adopting Social Networks

Lecture Reflection
Pre Recorded Lecture: Web 2.0: Issues and Concerns in Deploying, Managing, and Securing Social Media Applications.

This lecture presents a lot of issues relating to adoption of Social Networks in addition to adoption of IT systems. It is human nature to resist change in any form. So no wonder people in general will always be hesitant to adopt any new technology be it in IT or Social Networks in an organization or in personal life.

An organization's efforts to develop social networks can better serve the purpose by understanding what kind of relationship you want to develop with your customers. There is a serious need to understand the kind of audience you want to capture by understanding their behaviours and then tailoring the social strategy based on the target audience's profile.

My personal experience with Second Life has been very similar to some of the points presented in this lecture. I am definitely not one of the early adopters. I like to wait and watch to see if it's worth delving into. Well, I had to jump into Second Life because of my class needs, so right there I was very cautious to begin with since I was "Required to". And there can be similar reactions in an organizational setting as well, when employees are "Required to" to adopt new technologies. There is also a learning curve involved with any new change. With Second Life I had to sort of learn to walk all over again. And it was not just that, I am still fumbling around in Second Life just like a lot other people. And in today's world, technology is constantly changing and keeping up with it can sometimes be very tiresome.

Second Life is fun no doubt but there is also a little bit of frustration involved, since I am yet to learn everything and feel comfortable. Sometimes it's also the reason I avoid going in because it's time consuming. Not to say that it doesn't have it's advantages - it certainly has a ton of those, but there are issues as well. Like the lecture points out a deeper understanding of the target audience might help reduce some of the issues related to adoption of Social Media.