The communication revolution lead by Facebook, and by some extent Twitter, has completely changed the way people communicate. The consumer market generally moves faster because there are no constraints on it. The business world tends to lag behind when it comes to the adoption of new technologies.
However, we are seeing a massive shift even within business. Research has found that companies that adopt activity streams vs traditional email communication become more agile, can make decisions faster and are able to respond to changing markets quicker. When used correctly, these technologies can give an organisation an ambient awareness of its business making it smarter than its competitors.
I would like to give you a glimpse into what our experience has been at The Success Academy and the tools we use to communicate internally. Previously, like most companies, we relied heavily on email for internal communication, but we have subsequently moved almost all our internal communication to platforms that allow for activity streams. Essentially the shift was from sharing a piece of information to a group of people via email to publishing that same information to a central point and giving everyone the ability to view that content and interact with it, like you would on Facebook. We use Salesforce as our CRM system at the company and linked to that is Salesforce Chatter which in many ways is similar to the Facebook newsfeed. Each of our tenants are listed as an account in Salesforce and each interaction we have with them is recorded in the Chatter activity stream. (Obviously confidential interactions are dealt with differently.) This enables the entire company to have an ambient awareness when interacting with our tenants which dramatically improves our service levels. The Chatter activity stream also allows for the use of hashtags which enables us to group various topics together making it easy to find information related to a particular subject. Knowledge is no longer locked up in someones email but is now searchable and findable in the activity stream.
We have also adopted instant messaging as way to quickly communicate updates that involve the entire team. For this we use a WhatsApp group. Its simple, its effective and helps us have everyone on the same page. (I believe that Facebook will eventually merge WhatsApp and Messenger) We continue to run small experiments with other technologies to make sure we stay up-to-date with this rapidly evolving landscape. For example, we are experimenting with Facebook at Work, the new Facebook work platform and Slack.
The interesting thing is that this applications are primarily being used on mobile devices, we see this trend continuing and extending to wearables like the Apple Watch. Video communication is also going to play a bigger role and already we see companies like Glide, Periscope, Meerkat and even Facebook enabling live video streaming, which in a business setting can save huge amounts of time as meetings can happen from anywhere and at any time. There is little doubt that how we communicate in business has changed forever.