Thoughts, real-world observations, and anonymous examples – good and bad – regarding the use of Web/Social/Mobile technology in the insurance industry. Follow Mike Wise, President WebWisedom LLC, for the latest in Social Technologies.
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First, it’s been way too long. I have no defense, no excuse. I do have reasons, but nonetheless going for 6 weeks without a new post to the blog is professionally unacceptable. Yes, I completely understand that it’s not as if people are waiting with baited breath, reaching out to me and asking for a new post. “Mike, what happened to you? Are you still alive???” And I realize, with my updates to Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, it’s not hard to find signs of life across my Social Graph. But nonetheless, as I say to others, it’s important to update a blog at least once a week, if nothing else for the search engines. However, the last 6 weeks have been a harrowing experience for me personally – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Really the last 6 months since Zach left for Afghanistan and Diane and I decided to sell our house.
But onto business:
First, I’m so excited about a new client I’m starting to work with. It’s a case that affirms many of the things I’ve been saying over the past several years. The CEO has been quietly blogging, more informally, personally, but with an eye towards business implications, perhaps more than anything, just trying to learn about blogging. And as a result, when I offered to do a Boot Camp for his leadership team, not only did he immediately seize the opportunity, but when we actually did the Boot Camp, he set the table perfectly, and wrapped it up perfectly. Net net, we’re now doing a 6-month strategy development and enterprise education program that will accomplish many of the existing organizational business goals, including these Top 10:
I’ll say it again. Enterprise Social Technologies will be a game-changer going forward. Like anything else in business, real and meaningful adaptation and change starts at the top. Executives that are using Social WITH THEIR OWN HANDS stand the best chance of understanding it, leading with it, and helping their teams strategize and execute around it. It’s NOT just fun and games. And there’s really no substitute for getting in a room together with someone who knows the real-deal and who can facilitate not only education, but DISCUSSION. THAT is the track insurance executive need to run on. I haven’t seen anything else work.
Item #2. People often ask me, “Mike, what’s the next big thing?” I mentioned this a few posts back. Jive Software. Internal Social Networks. This is one of the things that’s next. Oh, and Sharepoint is NOT it. I heard it put this way. Jive is the house. Sharepoint is the garage. Nuf said. I attended a Jive party in NYC a couple weeks ago. (See the pictures here.) #Worthit! Jive invited 5 clients to share their comments about Jive to a small group of invited guests at a cool but modest hotel in the East Village. Tony, the Jive CEO, asked the panelists a few obvious questions for the benefit of people in the audience seeking to learn more.
I gotta tell ya, I loved it on SO many levels. Yes, as is my inclination, I sat up front and recorded some of the comments with my Droid. I can’t post them publicly but I was given permission to share them selectively and privately. What caught my attention was the two insurance and financial companies on the panel. I’ll just share one anonymous comment from a global financial institution based in Germany.
Paraphrasing: “The Jive installation was the most satisfying and rewarding project of my 20-year career so far. We have saved a tremendous amount of money, increased productivity, and generated nothing but positive feedback across the organization…”
Question: Have you ever heard that kind of comment about Sharepoint? Come on. Get real. I never had. In fact, just the opposite.
Any comments? Helpful info? Any other Social Tech goals you’d add to your list? Do you want to see the Jive videos? Might be good to share with your boss.
Later today or tomorrow: A new post all about VIDEO… with a very special offer for a few people that are paying attention and act quickly.
The American Fraternal Alliance asked me to speak at their Fraternal and Communications Mid-Year Meeting held in Miami last week. It was a remarkable event on a number of levels.
Prior to the meeting, I interviewed one of the AFA members who is using Social Tech. United Commercial Travelers is doing a phenomenal job with Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, and a Blog. So I built a Case in Point for the other AFA members to see how Social Tech, Crowdsourcing, Organizational Voice, Online Reputation Management, and Sales & Marketing can all roll up into a mature and effective Social Tech strategy. In fact, in one campaign called the Give Back Contest, UCT grew their Facebook Likes from 100 to 1400. By one estimate, each Facebook Like for a non-profit is worth about $214. The cost of the contest was about $2-3000. You can do the math. And the intangibles were just as valuable.
The interesting thing is that the folks in the room were all asking themselves how to attract younger members and younger agents to sell their products to the membership. Boy, it seems like there is huge opportunity for Social Tech in the Fraternal space.
Someone asked me recently to develop a job description for “the-buck-stops-here” role over Social Tech. I’ve been reading some great new books on Social Business, doing research on Google, and reaching out to people who have experience. So let’s create a space for the dialog. Please share a thought or two. Even if someone has already had the same thought, add yours as clarification and reinforcement.
First, I think this discussion applies to an enterprise of ANY size, but what do you think?
Second, we have existing title like CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, CSO. Do you think this role should be C-Level? I’ve heard roles characterized like the following, understanding that titles don’t matter so much, but “seats at the table” do, right?
Chief of Social
Chief Social Architect
Chief Social Officer
That’s it for now. What do you think? Please pause and share a thought or two. Thanks in advance.
Everyone wants to know about the trip to Abu Dhabi. “How’d it go?”
So here you go, of course illustrated!
Like many of us in sales & marketing, if you’re around long enough, and work for (or partner with) companies big enough, eventually you travel to most of the common spots around the world. So I’ve been to places like Hawaii, Switzerland, Cancun, the DR, the Philippine jungle, Paris, London, of course New York City, LA, Chicago, Miami, Scottsdale, the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest, the Adirondacks, the Rockies, Banff, Seattle, and almost all points in between.
The Liwa Desert on the peninsula that closes in the Persian Gulf, an uninterrupted sand desert THE SIZE OF FRANCE, and in particular, the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, is a bucket list item, a sight to behold, stunning, terrifying, majestic, gripping, and exhausting.
Just getting there for me was an ordeal, an emotional roller-coaster. As travel schedules are want to do, my relatively painless trip was immediately interrupted by a delayed plane from O’Hare into Cleveland that was to take me to Dulles. So the trip began with a heart-pounding sprint to the international gate at Dulles only to waive goodbye to the plane slowing rolling away from the jetway.
So I was rebooked from a 14-hour, non-stop, flat-bed seat to Dubai arriving at 3:30pm, to one of the last seats on a plane to Frankfurt (middle seat, 7 hours), then a Business Class seat to Dubai, finally arriving at 12:30 am. After passing through a 90-minute process of luggage and customs, connecting with my driver outside the terminal, and driving to the resort through the Arabian Night, I arrived at Qasr Al Sarab at 5am local time – 38 hours including the time-zone difference. Exhausted.
Fortunately my client has the wisdom to shift the Agenda and move my part on Social Tech in insurance sales and marketing to Day 2. So after meeting the group at their meeting kick-off at 9am (slept from 6-8am), and saying something in the fog of exhaustion I will regret for a long time, I went back and slept for 6 hours. I don’t think I moved.
Fortunately, I woke just in time for the evening activity. Refreshed and camera in hand, we took off on a “Dune Bashing” adventure. Wow, this is really hard to describe. But suffice to say that whenever I think of it, I smile. In a nut shell, we signed the ‘death-waivers’, accompanied by funny little quips by us insurance geeks of course, climbed into Toyota Land Cruisers equipped with interior roll-bars, let the air out of the tires, and proceeded to race up and down, in and around, monster dunes – not for the tender stomach, lemme-tell-ya.
(Here’s a LINK to the video clip next time you’re on Facebook. I’ll be making a longer video with a series of clips as soon as I get some other things done.)
Fast forward to the presentation the next day. It went really well. The group was very expressive, had some great comments and observations, liked the Social Tech observations I made, and definitely got their money’s worth. So – Mission Accomplished. One of the attendees gave me a great Recommendation on Linkedin. I see tremendous potential for the enterprise and the individual business units. I was actually very impressed the way they went about things and their focus points. I do hope that we can do more together. But enough on that…
And suddenly I found myself back in the car, back in Dubai, and back to D.C. Seriously. The trip home was stunningly fast. I worked on the images in the car, no issues with the plane this time, and I indeed slept for 12 of the 14 hours. Really. SLEPT for 12 hours straight, sure a bit of tossing and turning in the flat-bed seat, but none-the-less – slept. Somewhere along the line I picked up the obligatory cold. (But it was actually miraculous that I hadn’t gotten sick leading up to that trip with all the travel I was doing in the weeks before, plus my wife being sick for essentially two weeks before.)
So it was a great trip. Thanks to the company for giving me the chance. Thanks to all the folks that have encouraged and supported me along the way – and there are way to many to count. But most of all, as always thanks be to God, who leads and directs my life. I especially remember my best buddy, Jim Love, who gave me the key verse that started and ended the whole adventure, Ephesians 3:20. Oh, and by the way, Jim Love, a brilliant chemical engineer by trade, and mighty man of God, was ON MY PLANE on the last leg to Cleveland.