Blog: Frank Kenna 

Frank Kenna (bio)
President and CEO
The Marlin Company

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

What do Uber, Airbnb, and StubHub have in common? They have all disrupted their industry segments. Uber disrupted the taxi market, Airbnb upset the hotel industry, and StubHub messed up event ticket and scalpers’ profit margins.

They did it by creating ways to better utilize inventories. For example, Uber figured out a way to let ordinary people use their personal vehicles as taxis, greatly increasing their utilization and bringing tremendous new capacity to the for-hire market. (This is causing annual double-digit decreases in medallion prices, but that’s another blog).

Can you apply this same concept to your workplace communications? Sure. Think about the unused “communication inventory” you currently have. What’s on your desk right now that would be beneficial for your employees to see, like up-to-date KPIs, customer letters or maybe a good magazine article you’ve been reading? Or if you have SharePoint or a system like it, how many pieces of content are locked up in there that your employees should be seeing?

Using digital signage (DS), you can “disrupt” your own internal communications for the better by taking the friction out of getting those communications in front of your people. For example, that customer letter sitting on your desk probably started out as an email.  That’s easy to post to a good DS system. That magazine article is no doubt available online, where you can print it as a PDF and quickly add it to your DS. And those KPIs? Your DS should be able to scan your network automatically and post the new figures whenever they’re updated.

The first two examples should take less than 2 minutes each, and the third should take zero time after the initial setup, which should take less than 5 minutes. If your DS can’t do it that quickly, make sure you’re using a product designed exclusively for the workplace and is extremely easy to use.

Well-designed DS should act as a universal converter, taking all of your memos, videos, websites, data feeds, slide decks and spreadsheets and putting the info where it belongs – in front of your people. If you have a good DS system, make sure you’re using it to its fullest capacity, i.e., to disrupt the old ways of workplace communications.

Posted by: Admin AT 03:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
Tuesday, 03 March 2015

I’ll start by saying right off that there is no single solution to this question.  But it deserves attention, because the fact that most (or all) of your employees carry a smartphone or tablet gives you unprecedented access to them.

The first issue to examine is the BYOD one, which stands for “bring your own device.”  That is, is it fair that you should use their personal property to communicate business issues with them?  I think it is, with one caveat which I’ll get to in a second.

The reason it’s ok is because it’s the employee’s choice as to whether or not to install the communication app and use it. And they’re probably already using their device to check company email, at least occasionally.  Conversely, they’re likely using company equipment to check personal email and social sites.  So the boundary is blurring and with that comes an implied understanding that it’s a two-way street.  Of course some companies have strict policies about these things, but I’m addressing the issue from a high, social-understanding level.

The caveat: with employees allowing you to use their device for company purposes, you can’t draw too tight boundaries on its use, for example requiring them to check in X times per day or to respond to every piece of content. But for most companies, getting 80% of the way there is worth it, especially considering the alternative of sporadic communication and the fact that the equipment is free to the company.

The second issue is to decide what app to use.  There are many available, or you may decide to do it yourself, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you are just using email. To decide which app to get, you first should start with your objectives.  What do you want to do?  Send them messages?  Collaborate with them?  Get feedback?  Gather field information?  Based on what you want will dictate what you should be looking for.  And because a certain amount of company communications and information will be flowing through the channel, it’s important to buy it from a reputable company with experience in corporate communications.

We are currently beta testing an app based on what our field research with customers tells us the market is looking for.  If you’re interested, let us know.


Posted by: Admin AT 04:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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