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Tech changes how we do business, but it's still about people

Posted by Chad O'Connor  November 17, 2013 06:00 AM

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I recently attended a panel discussion in the Boston area called “Collaboration Technology: The Evolution of Business.” The panel, moderated by Chad O’Connor, editor of the Global Business Hub blog on Boston.com, included two CIO’s from large companies, Sue Bergamo and Reid Nuttall, as well as David Carr, Editor-at-Large at InformationWeek and author of “Social Collaboration for Dummies,” and Tom O’Keefe, a Brand Ambassador and highly followed social media guru. [You can view the recording here.]

The discussion centered around how collaboration and enterprise social networks like Yammer, Huddle, and Jive are making employees more engaged and that ultimately more engaged employees, are more productive employees. There was a lot of talk around how to increase adoption of these technologies including the need for executives to support and use the technologies themselves. There was some great back-and-forth about how internal social networks help introverts bring their ideas into the discussion and how social networks have made working from home almost as simple as being at the office (but don’t tell Marissa Mayer).

As the discussion was going on I couldn’t help but thinking how the technologies we use in our personal lives to connect and communicate are also becoming the technologies we use at work. More and more, the technical experience we have at work is mimicking the one at home –making the distinction between our working life and our personal life more blurred.

I’m not sure I’m entirely up for that but, as the panel discussed, that’s probably because I’m “older.” It seems that the millennials are looking to create a seamless work/play existence where as we baby boomers like our “unconnected” moments. It’s the millennials who are the drivers for getting a Facebook-like experience at the office, who will text or IM rather than pick up the phone and who can take complex ideas and tweet about them in 140 characters or less. It’s their drive and their desire to connect and be connected that is having a tremendous impact on how business is evolving and I think, even though I am of a “certain age,” that it’s great.

The Internet has indeed made the world smaller and every company is a global company once they build a web site. We all want to feel relevant and for some us our relevancy is measured by how many friends we have on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn, or followers on Twitter. Now, we have the opportunity to experience relevancy with our jobs – and, as almost every employee survey out there will tell you, employees who feel valued -- who feel relevant -- work harder and feel better about it than those who “don’t feel the love.”

I don’t imagine that a technology experience will ever replace a face-to-face or human experience – at least I hope not at home -- or at work. Having dinner with the family or going out for lunch with friends at the office strengthens our relationships and helps us grow.

Our human connections and interactions make us the people we are and it is our human connections and interactions that will make us the people we strive to become.
It is going to be interesting to watch how we evolve – as technology becomes more integrated into our day-to-day activities, as we become more connected. I’m just wondering when will being too relevant be too much? Share your thoughts in the comments below and on Twitter at #VDLPanel13

Claudine Bianchi is Chief Marketing Officer at ViewDo Labs.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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