Monday, July 23, 2012

Consolidating Social Media Networks

A common question today is "Which social media networks do you use?"

My usual response is that I use LinkedInTwitter, and Blogspot for communicating about public business topics and Facebook for more private networking conversations.

For me, there has been a sharp dividing line between the content I share with business acquaintances versus friends. My friends and family do not want to read about BI software and my business associates do not care about my trip to the lake. Hence, I create one type of content on LinkedIn/Twitter/Blogspot and something completely different on Facebook. 

Lately, however, social media ranking tools like Klout are forcing me into uncomfortable territories. Somebody with a large Facebook network can easily blow away my Klout score despite not having complementary social media accounts like a blog, Twitter, Foursquare, and so forth (I'm juggling social networks with HootSuite while somebody with just Facebook "Like My Status" can be ten Klout points ahead of me!). 

If I want to build up that seemingly important Klout score, I might need to find lots more Facebook friends and share pictures of kittens. 

But opening up my Facebook account really goes against my desire to keep it for private conversations. If I decide to go this route, I would probably need to assign friends into Facebook Lists and segregate my messages to each. And until somebody builds a tool to sync Google+ Circles with Facebook Lists, I am going to focus on Facebook and ignore Google+. 

Many of the BI software vendors are all over Facebook to pull out social media insights. Information Builders, the vendor of WebFOCUS BI, recently announced their own Facebook adapter. One of MicroStrategy's customers went so far as to call the MicroStrategy Wisdom product's Facebook integration a "trojan horse" hidden inside the social media network (that was a positive comment for them, by the way): 
"The app is almost like a Trojan horse. It lets us augment what's in our CRM system, and then start doing targeted segmentation." 
Michael Relich, Executive Vice President and CIO GUESS?, Inc.

See the original InformationWeek article here.

It's possible that a clear distinction between LinkedIn for business and Facebook for personal usage will disappear over time. One vendor, BranchOut, is moving us toward that blurring of the lines. With the BranchOut app, you can have an almost LinkedIn-like user interface from within Facebook. 

San Francisco-based BranchOut gives you a professional profile (imported from your resume) connected with your Facebook social media information. In this Washington Post interview, BranchOut's CEO Rick Marini says that companies are turning to Facebook to find job candidates (a place where LinkedIn shines for professional job searches). He makes the point that your real friends are on Facebook, not LinkedIn. It's those people who will help you find a job. 

Rick says that Facebook contains information about the largest talent pool in the world. In particular, he talks about individuals looking for hospitality and seasonal jobs. While he did not say this, I perceive he may think that LinkedIn is good career networking for the 25% of the American population with college degrees while Facebook is the spot for the other 75%.

He reminds us that Facebook content has changed in the past five years. Pictures of your ability to consume large amounts of alcohol and jump from your roof with homemade wings are probably not as prevalent today. Instead, today's users understand that viewers are now making decisions based on their personal content: marketing decisions, hiring decisions, reputation evaluation, etc.

Similar to my evolving Facebook content and purposes, yours will probably change over time as well. But until then, I will Like pictures of your new tattoo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Partner Still Growing!

We knew we were one of the fasting growing privately-held firms in Cincinnati, but now we are in national rankings. Partner Intelligence's parent organization has just been named the seventh fastest growing staffing firm in the United States!

The status on our Facebook page was just updated to:

"We are excited! Partner Professional Staffing was just named number seven on the Staffing Industry Analysts list of Fastest Growing U.S. Staffing Firms. Our compound annual growth rate has been 45.9% since 2007 and this year is shaping up to be one of our best yet."

Members of the Staffing Industry Analysts group can access the entire report here

Please join me congratulating the entire team at Partner Professional Services. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Googling the Governor

The police car was something I noticed as we pulled into the restaurant parking lot. The two big black GMC SUVs parked nearby did not immediately catch my eye. However, smartly dressed guys with coiled earphones running down their necks were hard to miss. 

So as we waited for tables for breakfast, my group of vacationing friends knew somebody important was in the restaurant with us. From our spot in the lobby, we could see special service men positioned strategically throughout. In a private room, a crowd of smiling individuals were greeting each other. 

Politicians immediately came to mind. Secondly, we thought about campaigning. 

So on my mobile phone, I did a Google search for "campaign breakfast" along with the name of the city we were visiting. In the first few search results was our restaurant so I read about the owner having a background in Department of Defense before starting this morning coffee and egg shop.

Lower on the list of search results was the state governor's schedule which called for a breakfast meeting at an undisclosed location. Another quick image search confirmed the guy in the green shirt in the room next to us was the governor. 

I informed my friends that the meeting would be over in three minutes as the governor needed to head for the state capitol. Right on schedule, a guy talked into the sleeve of this suit jacket and called for the governor's departure.  

It is amazing at the amount of information that we have available to us at a minute's notice. 

Pull out a mobile device from your pocket and you can access the governor's schedule. You can read the restaurant owner's bio. We can read what dozens of other people thought about the food. 

The amount of content being created all around us--today's Big Data--is overwhelming. 

It's not just the governor's schedule that is public knowledge. If others were interested, they could even easily find tracks of my activities from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social media sites.

Today, there is a market for smart people who can analyze this social media data, identify useful facts, and take action. Who knows, a job like that might lead to breakfast with the governor. 

About Me

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I am a project-based software consultant, specializing in automating transitions from legacy reporting applications into modern BI/Analytics to leverage Social, Cloud, Mobile, Big Data, Visualizations, and Predictive Analytics using Information Builders' WebFOCUS. Based on scores of successful engagements, I have assembled proven Best Practice methodologies, software tools, and templates.

I have been blessed to work with innovators from firms such as: Ford, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, The Wendy's Company, The Kroger Co., JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Siemens, American Express, and others.

I was educated at Valparaiso University and the University of Cincinnati, where I graduated summa cum laude. In 1990, I joined Information Builders and for over a dozen years served in regional pre- and post-sales technical leadership roles. Also, for several years I led the US technical services teams within Cincom Systems' ERP software product group and the Midwest custom software services arm of Xerox.

Since 2007, I have provided enterprise BI services such as: strategic advice; architecture, design, and software application development of intelligence systems (interactive dashboards and mobile); data warehousing; and automated modernization of legacy reporting. My experience with BI products include WebFOCUS (vendor certified expert), R, SAP Business Objects (WebI, Crystal Reports), Tableau, and others.