I gave the closing keynote at the SAP for Utilities conference in San Antonio recently. I requested a video of my presentation, and I had it transcribed so I could post it here.
Good afternoon everyone. I?m painfully aware that I am the last thing standing between you and wine tasting, so I?ll try and keep this brief. I have 66 slides to get through in my presentation, so I?ll rip through them reasonably quickly and I don?t think there will be time for Q&A at the end but I?ll be at the wine tasting, so do please feel free to come up and ask me any questions.
Also my details are here. This is my best Steve Jobs? impression. You can see there my job title, my email address, my blog, my twitter accounts, my mobile phone although it?s over there at the movement, so no point in calling it right now and my SlideShare. SlideShare, if you are not familiar with it, is a site into which you can upload presentations and people can see them online at that site. I have uploaded this presentation to that site an hour ago and it?s already been seen over 200 times. So, you are the last guys to see it, sorry about that.
So, that?s me. Quick show of hands here, to see who you guys are. How many people in the room here work for utility company, okay. Good number of people. How many people here work for an organization that has an active social media account, be it a Twitter, Facebook? Reasonable number again, okay. How many people here work for an organization that actively blocks some of their employees from seeing social media? Quite a number as well, okay, interesting. Good that gives me a good idea of where to pitch the conversation.
So, I am going to run a video for you after this right, power of social media, if anyone doubts the power of social media, you might want to have a conversation with this chap, this is Hosni Mubarak former President of Egypt for 30 years, now behind bars, largely overthrown with a lot of organization done online using Facebook and Twitter. He is now being charged with corruption and murder, so, an interesting case study in the power social media.
So, I am going to run this video and it?s a video which gives you an idea of some of the things that are happening in social media at the moment. Some of the data points in it, and there are a lot of data points in it, so don?t try and take them all and just try and let it flow over you. Some of the data points in it are little dated to this point, the video was made about six months ago and so keep that in mind, things keep moving on at an incredible pace in this industry. So, here we go, I said here we go.
[Video Presentation – 00:02:45 – 00:07:02]
Okay, that?s my presentation thanks very much, kidding. So one thing I should about this slide, because I said it?s available on SlideShare, underneath each of the images, you?ll see a little bit of text there, it?s hard to read from here, it?s not meant to be read from here, it?s actually a clickable link, so if you do download the slide and I think Stephen maybe making it available as well through The Eventful Group site. Those links are clickable, so you?ll be able to go and find those videos and photographs and anything else that?s on the presentation.
So, that?s? all very good social media cures cancer all that good stuff, what does that mean for utility companies? Well, utility companies have a number of challenges facing them at the moment, they have a lot of challenges facing them at the moment, but there is a number of them in particular that I have identified that I think social media will be able to help with.
One of the things utility companies have is an aging workforce. The US department — the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that in the next 30 to, sorry in the next ten years, 30 to 40% of the utility workers are going to retire.
Now I was talking to Dave Fortis sorry Dave Legge sorry I am getting confused here, Dave Legge of FortisBC the other night and he told me that in his organization, that?s 50% in the next five years. So somewhere between 30 to 50% of employees are going to retire in the next five to 10 years from utility companies, that?s a massive loss of knowledge right there. It?s also a huge — it?s a huge challenge in the recruitment and retention area. Some of these things social media will be able to help with.
Utility companies have an image issue. They are thought of as at best boring by their customers and in some cases they have a bit of a credibility deficit. Consumers often are a bit wary of trusting utility companies when they say, we?d like you to use less power. They are facing, utility companies are facing increasing demands for energy at a time of dwindling supply and they are also facing increasing demands for things like customer service, for environmental footprint reduction and other things like that.
So, how can social media help? Well in the recruitment sphere, a very obvious one is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a phenomenal channel for recruitment and one of the key aspects of LinkedIn that a lot of people may overlook is the groups? functionality in LinkedIn. This is the energy and utilities network, it?s a very, it?s a thriving community in there and for utility companies it?s a good place to go to kind of push out your brand, be knowledgeable, exchange information, get people on board and be seen as a company that?s plugged into social media and is willing to give away information that way your company?s brand is out there and it seem to be more social media savvy.
In terms of Retention, we saw a number of people in the room put their hands up and asked how many companies block social media, it?s a big mistake. Again, in a conversation with Dave from Fortis, he gave me a story of an interview situation where a young graduate was in an interview and there came time for the graduate to ask questions to the Interview Board, and he said, ?What?s your company?s policy on social media?? And the company said, ?Well, we block it. We don?t allow employees access to social media,? and his response was, ?Alright, thanks very much for your time,? and he walked out.
Now, that may well be an apocryphal story, but its indicative of a mentality in graduates who are now in university or who have recently left university they?re used to these tools, they use this tools all the time for information dissemination and for information collection. You bring them into your organization and you?ll need to, because you are losing a lot of people at the other end, you bring them into your organization and you have social media sites blocked, it?s like putting a rotary dial phone on their desk with a padlock on the dial.
So, another challenge social media can help with as I said is around image and the fact that utility companies were often perceived as boring. Another company that had this kind of stay and tired image was a company called Old Spice that makes men?s cologne and bath products and things like that. And they decided last year that they were to go on a bit of social media spree and rebrand themselves, will not rebrand but spruce up their image a bit. So they ran a serious of ads on YouTube and this one of them I?ll just run it for you.
[Video Presentation – 00:12:09 – 00:12:40]
This campaign went completely viral because that?s such a good add and then a ran a serious of follow up adds in fact they ran a 24 hour series of adds where people could submit questions on Twitter, and that actor would reply to the questions in a similar format. It went wild, it went ballistic, the ad itself has currently had about 36 million views on Twitter just that one ad, not all the other ads just that one ad, the other ads have lots of views as well. That?s cool, that?s great, but even more importantly Old Spice sale is increased 100% in the month following that campaign, and a year later they?re still up 50%.
The brand, the Old Spice brand has become sexy and cool and with a guy like that it?s obviously it?s going to be sexy, but it has become cool and hip and trendy.
I mentioned knowledge management and lot of knowledge walking out the door with the elder generation as they start to retire. Well, your not going to be able to suck the information out of their heads, not with an a device like this anyway, but what you can do, is you can start rolling out some social media platforms because the old knowledge management techniques never really ran so well, but when you make more interesting for people for people they start becoming more willing to share the information.
Now you don?t really want to be having the pointy haired bus type blogger on board, that one never goes down that well, but what you want to do is you want as you want to role as for example an internal blogging scheme, don?t bother trying to read that, it?s just an example, a screen shot of an internal blog at IBM. The blogger there is guy called Luis Benitez. One of the things to notice is, you see the little red circle up there, I?ve got that circling a way of recommending the blog post, if you are on the internal IBM blog and you read that blog and you go, ?that?s a good blog post, I got a lot out of that?. You can click on that little green button and it gets an extra star.
So it?s a rating mechanism for a blog posts on that internal platform, the IBM internal blog platform. IBM has got 18,000 blogs on their internal blog platform, 18,000 individual blogs and that?s a huge sea of information. And as people blog and I say put up posts they?re either recommended if they?re good or they?re not and they get lost if not good. You can see as well they?re on this platform on the right hand side, you?ve got similar blogs listed, so this is the one you find particularly, interesting you see similar bloggers there and that?s automatically generated based from the content.
On the left hand side you got a what?s called tag cloud, clicking an any of those words from the tag cloud get?s you related content. So, it?s an incredible way of getting information spread out through the organization and collate it back in again. And as I say there is 18,000 of them there, this other blog, it?s a friend of mine, a guy called Andy Piper. Andy Piper celebrating in this blog post his sixth anniversary as an internal blogger on the IBM blogging platform, so he he?s been out there six years, in fact the blogging platform, the internal blogging platform IBM has, has been going strong for eight years now.
So IBM have this stuff mastered and they?re not the only ones there is lots of other companies doing, but it?s a great way of capturing information and sharing it throughout the organization. You don?t have to just stick with blogs, you want to be taking a broad approach to this.
This is a screen shot of Wikipedia and just happens to be the SAP Wikipedia page, but the circle up there is circle you don?t bother trying to read it as far way I know and small but the circle there is circling the edit button, you might not have noticed it, but on every single Wikipedia page there is an edit button and this means you can click on the edit button and change the content of the page and that?s what makes Wikipedia so powerful, anyone can change the content of any page and the size.
So if you know something is wrong on the page you can go and correct it. And, an example of this for me that was really interesting was a few years ago when I was living in Ireland, I was working in the kitchen at home on my laptop and I had the radio on in the background. And it was around the time of the Papal enclave; they were electing a new Pope. And the radio was on I was listening to music and the next minute the news broke into the programming and said the Cardinals are out on the balcony in Saint Peter?s Square, we think they?re going to make an announcement.
And the next minute the voices start coming over speaking Latin, no idea what they were saying, but I heard the word Ratzinger, and I recognized he had been mentioned in a couple of previous news broadcasts as Cardinal Ratzinger, a German Cardinal who was up for the papacy. So I immediately pulled up Wikipedia, type in Ratzinger and I?m redirected straightway in real time before the Latin has finished to the webpage on Wikipedia of a Pope Benedict, whatever number he is. I started reading down through it and I see a section in it about alleged Nazi links in his youth and I call my wife over to look at and said, look at this and I refreshed the page and it?s gone. It?s been edited out, it turns out it wasn?t true what have been said there.
So it happens in real time, stuff is corrected. If you go in and you make a change on that SAP page or any page in there and it?s factually incorrect, the chances are within minutes it will be edited back out.
PBworks is a company that provides a hosted wiki for you, so I was using that when I based in an organization called it@Cork really good, there is a number of other ones I will show up in a second, I just happen to use this one, its hosted Wiki. What we use to do with that one in the organization was used to have weekly board meetings and whoever was taking the minutes would plug in their laptop to the data projector and they take the minutes and will be displayed upon screen for everyone who is in the meeting to see.
So everyone was watching the minutes as they were being taken and if people were given an assignment or signed up to do something, that was noted in minutes and their initials put beside it. And during the following week, they would go in themselves and update the wiki page on how they were getting on with their assignment. So that the following week, when everyone came to the meeting, everyone had already read the minutes of the previous one and the updates to it and then the next meeting happened everyone was on the same page, everyone saw that minutes for that meeting, so everyone saw and everyone signed off on the task that have been assigned and everyone saw in real time how they?re being updated, that?s just one used case for a Wiki, but is a really good one, it saves a lot of e-mails for example.
PBworks are one company that provide them, another one is Socialtext, another one is MindTouch they?re all good, I?m not going to recommend anyone above the other, they all provide the same kind of functionality.
If people are not into writing, maybe some people are better at speaking than writing, put up a video blogging platform for them or go around with the camera and just start interviewing people, asking them what they are doing and put up on a central site, or put up an YouTube and have it for internal viewing only if that?s what you want or let everyone see it, why not?
Well, they?re kind of communications platforms, and sharing and collaboration platforms are available, are ones like Salesforce?s chatter.com which allows you internally to have a kind of a Facebook and a collaborative Facebooking application internally. You can invite customers in as well if you want or not, but it can be internal or internal and external. You get similar functionality from things like Huddle and this is SAP?s StreamWork application, which is reasonably similar as well, and this is Rypple. Rypple is a performance management application, which is collaborative and sharing and it?s open and transparent and everyone sees. So it?s another one of these applications.
The point about these applications is these are the kinds of applications that people are using in college at the moment, and these are the kinds of application and the kinds of functionality they expect when they go into their new employer and they will feel extremely restricted if they don?t have access to these kinds of tools which they?re already well familiar with and they?ll get frustrated if you don?t ? if you are hobbling their functionality, they?ll get frustrated and then move on and that?s not what you want.
This for example is a Google spreadsheet. Google provide spreadsheet functionality. In this particular screenshot it?s two people working on the spreadsheet at the same time. This spreadsheet is delivered via browser. There is two people working on it, the blue one and the red one. And over the right hand side, you can see a chat screen that is going on as they are talking to each other about the edits they are making to the spreadsheet and they can be anywhere in the world.
So those are some scenarios. They are customer service scenarios which are phenomenal that can be addressed using a social media as well. A great case study here is KLM. Last year when we had the volcano and the ash cloud over Europe, KLM hired a 120 people and put them full time in shifts, full time monitoring specifically Facebook and Twitter, the two key ones. And they had, they were monitoring them, they were looking for mentions of KLM and they were looking for KLM customers where stranded somewhere and they did their best and they went to all out until the ash cloud cleared up, they kept the volume of calls done at the call centre to a minimum.
It was so successful for KLM that they continued the program; they scaled it down because they didn?t need 120 anymore but they now have 23 people full time on social media, in their social media department, constantly monitoring mentions of KLM, reaching out to people, helping anyone who is in trouble.
There was a hurricane here, couple of weeks back up the East coast and a great example of response to a hurricane using social media was Baltimore Gas & Electric, it was one of the ones I found, there was a number of them, Baltimore Gas & Electric really went to town. You can see this is their homepage. And the yellow bit at the top is informational and you can click on links there and go in and get more information about Irene. But down on the bottom right there you see their links to their different social media channels and their Twitter one is highlighted and these are all links.
So on their YouTube page, they had 25 videos about Irene. The first nine videos, they put up about Irene where about preparation, getting ready for Irene is coming, this is what you need to do. The next 16 videos that they put up about Irene were about the restoration works that were going on the different parts of their constituency. So people who are frustrated because they are out of power, they — at least they knew that BGE which is going all out and they had people in different areas and they could actually watch them working and see interviews with the guys who were doing the work.
Not alone that, but they had a — they were monitoring Twitter as well. There were 4000 Twitter followers in their Twitter account. They were doing things like they were saying to people you can see the bottom on one there, they are saying to people, DM me your address and I?ll send you an ETR. DM is Twitter speak for send it to me privately so that no one else sees your address, send it to me privately, I?ll take a look and I?ll send you back an ETR, an Estimated Time of Restoration. They?re answering people?s questions and they are also telling people in the top one what percentage of restoration they?re out at this point.
On their Facebook page, they have something like what is it 5800 followers and again they are doing the same thing. They are looking at people going to their Facebook page, people were asking questions about the restoration and they are answering them in real time. They had a Flickr stream. Flickr is a photographic site, photo sharing site. They had a 158 photos related to Irene. So again people could go in there and they could see what was going on. And it?s not just Irene related stuff.
This is the playlists page on their YouTube?s channel. They have videos there related to community programs they are involved with, related to safety with electricity, related to news coverage they received, Related to smart energy and these are all groups of videos put together, you can go to any of those and check out any of the videos they have on them.
Dominion was another one that did real well. Dominion have — you can see the videos they have put up there, some of those videos have had 6000 views. People are really interested in finding out what was going on obviously under Irene. And Dominion?s Twitter account, they have over 7000 followers or 3000 tweets and again they were doing stellar job about keeping people informed.
This is PSNH?s video page. They weren?t as — PSNH doesn?t seem to be as out there on the social media front but the little circle I have there shows that this particular video that they put out there was picked up by a local news organization. And that?s interesting because if you are putting this content out there, the news organizations are hungry for content around this stuff because it?s a big story. And if you are controlling the content, if you are putting the content out there, then it?s your content that gets shown in the news. You are helping to write the story and it?s your story that?s been told in your voice with your people.
Now here is a thought for you. What if every truckload for an outage has a smartphone as a matter of course so that when they get to site there is an outage maybe a truck hit a pole or tree came down, the first thing one of the guys in the truck does is get there with the smartphone, take a quick video of what?s after happening, does a bit of a voice over it says we arrived here at this time on this date, this is what?s after happening, we reckon it will take us about an hour to fix, we should be back about this time and then he clicks a button to post it to YouTube. Entirely possible today. All it does, all it takes is process change.
And what happens? Your people on Twitter, your people on Facebook are monitoring the YouTube channel as soon as any queries come in, they direct all queries to the YouTube page. See this video on a YouTube page, this is what?s after happening, this is when you?ll be back up, we have people on the ground, this is them working on it. So now people know what?s after happening, know when the power will be back on and they are far less frustrated with the lack of power.
You can also do things like crowd source ideas from your customers. Dell had this IdeaStorm page, fantastic page they?ve had something like 16000 suggestions coming to them on this page. And the suggestions, I mean anyone can put in a ridiculous suggestion there, but what they do is they get everyone who visits the page, they give them the ability to vote up or vote down ideas and to comment on ideas. So far they have implemented nearly 500 of the ideas. So these are ideas that people are coming in and giving up Dell, please, please do this with the next laptop, whatever it is, add this functionality to it, and you know if people have come in and recommended this and commented on us and it?s an active idea. You have got an audience that is dying for this laptop or desktop or monitor or whatever it is. So, as soon as you bring that to market and tell people, we took your idea on board and here is the product. You?ve got a ready audience of people that just flock into it to buy it.
Starbucks did the same thing actually, and there are number of organizations doing that they are not alone. The platform that allows people to do that is one called Get Satisfaction, they?re a start-up out of California. There are platforms for companies to do this kind of thing, to crowd source ideas, to talk of brand evangelists. No SAP would be or no SAP talk would be complete without some reference analytics. So social media is an area that?s ripe for analytics and there is a lot going on that space as well and another video for you this time it?s from a source you wouldn?t expect it?s from Gatorade, the drinks people. And Gatorade have built a social media analytics application for themselves, but it gives you an idea of the kinds of things you can do with social media and analytics.
[Video Presentation – 00:30:26 – 00:31:41]
Powerful stuff. They say they?re tracking their own brand and I?m sure they are, but you know as well that they?re, they are tracking all their competitors as well. The application Mission Control that they are using there was built with the aid of a company called Radian6. Radian6 were bought by SalesForce a couple of weeks for a $340 million. Radian6 aren?t the only player in the game, IBM have a social media analytics application that they released earlier this year. Adobe have one, which they got by their purchase of Omniture, last year, for $1.8 billion, and SAS has one as well and there are a number of other players out there, there is a Advantech or something and there are few others and start up in various stages. So it?s a hot happening area.
So I mentioned energy management and the increasing demands that utilities are facing around energy and, you know, how can we affect that with social media. Well, firstly you got to be aware that according to this article study released not so long ago at least 95% of your customers are interested in energy management information or energy consumption information. And then you get these kinds of applications being released, this is one out of SAP research and it?s a kind of a prototype energy management application, it?s not that interesting really.
There is a metric called the mean time to kitchen drawer. It?s also known as the mean time to junk drawer. I think you know what it is, it?s, you get something, this energy management application and it?s all shiny and you flip on the light switch and the graph goes up and you flip off the light switch and the graph goes down and oh, that?s cool? for about ten minutes. And then a week or two later you might look at it again and a month or two later and eventually it?s consigned to proverbial kitchen drawer and you never see it again. So how do you fix that? Well this is the new smart meter analytics application that SAP are releasing. And they have gone some way towards fixing it.
They have got a little buttons there for sharing that information with your social graph, you can push it out to your Twitter account or your Facebook account and you know just push a button and you get this thing up and you click submit and it?s sent out to your site and that?s cool.
Digressing for a second, this is a site called Foursquare, nothing to do with energy. Foursquare is a location application, when you go somewhere you can check into that location on Foursquare which tells people where you are at this point in time. So I go to this hotel, I can check into this hotel on Foursquare and say I am here. And if anyone in my network is around I get notified that people I know are in the area and if I didn?t know that?s cool, it?s great I get to meet them, excellent I didn?t know they are in the area fantastic, so that?s nice, but as well as that it gives you tips and tricks on the things in the area.
So oh, there is a nice restaurant a couple of miles down the road, you might want to try out, it has all this kind of stuff as well, it?s a phenomenal resource. That?s nice again nothing to do with energy so far. What it also has though because you usually check in on a phone, right because it?s got your GPS and it?s something that?s always with you.
So when you check in on the phone and say where you are, if you?ve checked in there a few times there a possibility that you?ll be the person who?s checked in there most in the last X number of days and then you become the mayor of that location. So, on this one I became the mayor of this hotel in Milan. And you get points, so I got an extra five points for that check in, because I got, I stole the mayor ship from some Japanese guy and there is a leader board there.
So I went up the leader board, by those extra points and I am suddenly tied with John, John Peavoy, it tells me there, nice you caught up with John. So suddenly you are starting to get a bit of competition in there and that gets interesting. And then you start to get merit badges and achievement badges and all kinds of cooler things like that.
Now what if we take this energy management application and on top of that we layer in not just the ability to share it to Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and whatever social network is floats your boat, what if you have leader boards in these energy management applications.
What if you have achievement badges, what if you start adding in targets and scores, then it becomes fun, then you build engagement and you are empowering people and people are telling each other, see how we did last week on this energy management application, I pulled ahead an extra five points, awesome. And what if you start feeding that into schools programs so you get kids involved and you get the old pester power on the parents to turn off the lights and stuff like that. Then it becomes really cool and then it gets spread out there, then people start to become really involved. So, back to the challenges I mentioned at the start. Some of the things social media can help with making utility companies a little less boring, help with customer service and the better the customer service the more trusted the organization becomes. You start making the utility company become more sexy.
How many kids do you hear in school who say, oh I?d love to work for that utility company they?re so cool. I haven?t heard any but if you start making them more social media savvy and that company puts out ads like that after, Old Spice guy thank you, mind freeze, Old Spice guy, so start getting some handsome actors out there with, I don?t know, crimping tools, you know, what I mean, start making utilities sexy, start getting them social media savvy, start communicating with your customers in ways they want to hear about and then you start to resolve a lot of the kind of problems that are and the challenges that they?re facing at the moment.
Thanks very much.
By the way, I have a mind map of this talk at the end there. So, if you want to see the, kind of, wild things that went through my head as I was trying to build this talk, it?s there too.