Based on the book “What Would Google Do” by Jeff Jarvis, I’m writing a post series about the New Rules of IWMS. Today is the fourth post of the series entitled “New Society” in which I’ll discuss the changes in our society, and the ways that these changes will impact IWMS Vendors.
Our society has changed. No longer do we hand over power to organizations and governments to organize the world for us. We can do it ourselves. The internet has provided so many tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) that enable us to connect with anyone in our community.
Those communities have already existed, however due to the internet, these communities can easily span the globe. Seth Godin refers to these communities as tribes. The concept of tribes and communities is gaining attention of the senior management of many companies, including IWMS vendors.
Many of them are wondering how they could start a community, and lead that community in order to gain market share, or increase profits.
According to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, they are asking the wrong question.
You don’t start communities, he said. Communities already exist. They’re already doing what they want to do. The question you should ask is how you can help them do that better. You need to bring them “Elegant Organization” (Jarvis, 2009)
The concept “elegant organization” is providing tools and means for people to collaborate, and to organize themselves around a specific topic / interest.
Look at your constituents, customers, community, audience—even your competitors—and ask how you can bring them elegant organization, especially now, as the internet disrupts everything. (Jarvis, 2009)
Since they are already doing what they want to do IWMS vendors have a choice here. Either you will provide them with the tools, or someone else does.
I admit, not everyone can be the next Google, or the next Facebook, but when you enable individuals or groups to connect, you will be the winner of tomorrow.
So, what does that mean for IWMS vendors? How can they bring elegant organization to the IWMS community, or to parts of that community?
Empower people to connect with others in their community
When you are providing Blogs, Facebook pages, LinkedIn Groups, Forums, and User-Groups, you enable IWMS users to connect with other users to collaborate, and share knowledge. When you provide the means, people will make connections.
Reference Site Visit
A great example of connections is a reference site visit. In more than 90% of all IWMS software selection processes, reference site visits are very important. Based on certain characteristics, the IWMS vendor provides a list of possible reference customers. In most cases these are industry peers or solution peers.
I have been on a reference site visit many times, and have witnessed the same thing in every single occasion. Approximately 20% of the time people talk about the IWMS solution, however the other 80% of the time people talk about their processes, their interests, and the way they do their business.
Although the buying decision not solely depends on the reference site visit, a good reference site visit definitively helps in the procurement process.
What IWMS vendors can learn from the above is the following:
If you provide the means to connect (e.g. customer names, contact persons, email addresses, and telephone numbers), people will make the connection. When you have permission to lead the community and you are the central cohesive source of support and stability, you win.
As Jarvis concludes:
We are using the internet’s connective tissue to leap over borders— whether they surround countries or companies or demographics. We are reorganizing society. This is Google’s—and Facebook’s and craigslist’s— new world order. (Jarvis, 2009)
Jarvis, J. (2009). What Would Google Do. New York: HarperBusiness.