Five Things I Learned in Chicago Last Week

Last week I hosted our February user group in Chicago. At Sitrion we love visiting the windy city because our customer base there is awesome. We are always greeted by friendly mid-western smiles, and even if it is the coldest day of the year, I always leave O’Hare having learned a bunch of new things. This trip was no exception, and it genuinely was the coldest day of the year at a chilling -1oF (that’s about -18oC for those playing in metric!).

Here’s what I learned that really stood out:

Mobility is viral and it cannot be stopped.

The mobile explosion has started and you can’t hide from it! There is someone in every single enterprise evangelizing mobile - right now - and it’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And it’s going to be HUGE. I read this really cool article about autonomous cars today. It actually made me think of a conversation with several of our customers last week: mobility is going to change the way we do business in an enormous way. Some of our customers are at the forefront of that change, and others are just getting into the game. One of the largest food manufacturers in the USA has just rolled out social mobile to its employees with big success. They are now looking at enabling business processes and other functions on BYOD devices and this is basically expected to snowball. Other customers, who six months ago said “no, we have way to much security to allow that,” are now making amazing headways into the mobile space. Mobile is a force to be reckoned with – traditional barriers are being torn down to pave the way for mobility in the enterprise. Watch this space – this is going to be epic!

Big banks are totally getting cool.

It’s always assumed that big banks are slow to move, overtly risk averse, and don’t feel cool. That’s changing really fast. A team of my peers at one of the big banks in the world has been chipping away at a small social rollout for years. They have all of the elements of success in place - great governance, a smart growth plan, and awesome community management. For years their HR and legal teams have carefully watched their progress – and finally the tides have turned. HR is now asking for a community! This is true progress and shows that a small, dedicated team can bring about big lasing change even in the most enormous and conservative companies. Social is really going mainstream, and it’s awesome. If you’re working on a small implementation and feel like you are not getting anywhere, hang in there. Your turn is coming.

Creativity is alive! And our customers are creating the future.

I was chatting to one of our customers at happy hour who told me that her boss recently said “I want to have a Reddit site at work.” Knowing Reddit and knowing the kind of security and governance policies her company has, she felt like this was never going to happen. Whoever said that constraint breeds the most creative solutions got it spot on! Cleverly using Sitrion Social Spheres (which is like a social conversation thread that’s self-contained within our social product) this customer created their very own Reddit site at work called “Ask a Co-Worker Anything,” and so far it’s been a roaring success. This vibrant community is a go-to place for staff to source information and questions about basically anything! Be creative everyone; just because you are operating within the walls of your company doesn’t mean you can’t achieve inspiring results. Think outside the box and use the tools you have!

Analytics are more important than ever.

If I had a penny for every time I heard the word “analytics” last week I’d be rich! Okay maybe not; but a constant theme that emerged is that measuring success is super important. And making iterative changes based on those measurements is equally paramount. Organizations are no longer rolling out projects and moving on; they have dedicated teams who continue to listen, learn, improve, test, measure… and repeat! The Sitrion Engagement Scorecard has never been more relevant. Our customers who are using this tool to measure the impact of their social program are using the most advanced tool in the industry to help realize the potential of their investment in collaborative business tools.

Everyone is a knowledge worker.

The idea that everyone is a knowledge worker is really starting to take hold. My super-smart colleague Allison Maguire has been saying this for ages and I think organizations are starting to view their staff this way too. She said she recently heard “the notion of a knowledge worker is dead.” I’ve actually never heard her laugh so loud as when she said that. Tacit knowledge exists in every single worker in every company. And now that social, collaboration, and mobile tools are becoming ubiquitous, accepted, and basically the normal way of operating, it’s actually a reality to be able to collect that knowledge from workers and store it somewhere that is useful. Knowledge sharing is key to the future of work and I’m so excited to watch our customers make real (measureable!) progress in that space.


I also learned that Chicago is really cold in February! But I guess we all knew that flying into O’Hare. Thanks Chicago for the learnings! I can’t wait to be back in May to meet more of you. We’re heading out to Minneapolis next month to meet our customers there, and I bet they’re going to blow us away too! 

Luke Sinclair, Director of Community

Luke's personal mission is to to make employees smile and love their workplace by lighting up social networks and online employee communities, empowering the voice of the employee. Luke’s roll is critical to the survival of humanity; by nurturing better relationships at work, people are happier, healthier and have a better life which in turn leads to world peace! Luke brings his vision for engagement to all things Sitrion where he helps make social a reality for businesses around the world.


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