Social Media is the latest marketing porn from enterprise communication and contact center vendors designed to titillate users’ pocketbooks. But unlike other business tools, social media enables us to see if the propagandists are users or insincere shills. Put another way, should users place faith in the recipes of those who don’t cook?
What got me started was a June 15th Avaya webcast where Jorge Blanco (Product Marketing VP for Contact Center) gave a talk about the need for social media adoption by contact centers. He ended 15 minutes early and took no questions from the audience. After I Tweeted this, he answered offering to answer any questions I had. My response: “@av_jblanco My first question may be why do I have a larger Twitter presence than someone trying to enlist customers into Social Media?” (Blanco’s total Twitter usage as of that day – 17 Tweets, 63 Followers, 15 Following.) Not surprisingly, my question went unanswered. In the meantime Blanco has changed his Twitter handle but stands at a measly 22 Tweets, 62 Followers and 32 Following. His last Tweet was July 14 and his Tweets are locked.
Before you think this is a Blanco Bash, he is not alone in not practicing what he preaches. It turns out that social media usage is sporadic among “thought leaders.” But shouldn’t thought leaders by definition be leading, not abstaining?
Since every other word out of these “guru’s” mouths is Twitter or Facebook, I checked Twitter usage by senior executives, key management and selected analysts within the enterprise communications market as of August 7, 2011. I have concentrated on those vendors with significant contact center portfolios as this appears to be the niche where social media product integration is centered.
Because every vendor has Twitter accounts run my marketing/advertising/PR departments, I have ignored those. I have also ignored the product managers and marketers. What I’m measuring is the usage of the tools by those preaching from podiums, webcasts and conference tables.
Alphabetically, I’ll begin with Alcatel-Lucent where we see CEO Ben Verwaayen largely absent from Twitter. This is a very common occurrence as no CEO has a Twitter presence. But what Mr. Verwaayen does illustrate perfectly is the “moth to the flame” effect of Twitter. While he has an account, he’s sent one Tweet, Follows two but has 121 Followers. If Twitter can be thought of as a stream of consciousness made of many minds, clearly he offers no value to the “conversation,” yet people cling to him.
Charlie Isaacs, who leads eServices and Social Media, illustrates another Twitter effect. Mr. Isaacs is a smart guy and great to hang around with but there’s no way he can “Follow” 9,187 people with any cohesion. I conclude that he has Following sub-lists with the rest being courtesy Follows. But with 9,178 Tweets, he and his 9,611 Followers, clearly “get” what social media can do for personal enrichment and professional goals.
Global Sales Leader Tom Eggemeier also “gets” Twitter with 934 Tweets but like Mr. Isaacs, gratuitously Follows many people. But he’s in Sales so we forgive him. J
Most surprising is Paul Segre, EVP and President of the Applications Group which includes the Genesys contact center application. He has no Twitter account that I can find. Chief Marketing Officer, Nicolas de Kouchkovsky appears to be new to Twitter but has become a semi-regular Tweeter.
Ben Verwaayen, CEO
Tom Burns, President of ALU Enterprise
Paul Segre, EVP. President Applications Group
Charlie Isaacs, eServices and Social Media Leader
Nicolas de Kouchkovsky, Chief Marketing Officier
Tom Eggemeier, Global Sales Leader
Considering contact center is pretty much all Aspect Software does, its Twitter presence is as virtually non-existent as its social media product strategy. Of all the relevant executives, just one has a Twitter account I can find, EVP of Sales Mike Sheridan. Neither the SVP of Marketing Laurie Cairns (now gone) nor Director of Product Marketing Nancy Dobrozdravic appear on Twitter. But at least Aspect isn’t hypocritical.
Jim Foy, CEO
Mike Sheridan, SVP Sales
Michael Regan, SVP Engineering/Technology
Nancy Dobrozdravic, Dir Prod Mktg
WW Marketing honcho Chris McGugan has an honest set of numbers with over 1,400 Tweets and realistic numbers of “Followers” and “Following.” Newish Twitterer, Steve Hardy is also trying to make an honest go of it. But as I noted above, Product Marketing VP for contact centers Jorge Blanco appears uninterested in engaging in what he’s telling customers to buy. Others in the executive team are dabblers. This inconsistent showing is especially dissonant given Avaya’s release of Social Media Manager for the
Nortel Avaya Aura Contact Center.
Kevin Kennedy, CEO
Jorge Blanco, VP Prod Mktg Contact Cntr
Lawrence Byrd, Dir of UC Architectures
Chris McGugan, VP, WW Mktg - Contact Cntr
Steve Hardy, Dir UC Prod Mktg
I figured Cisco would be all over social media and they are with Marketing-driven anonymous personas for every type of potential Cisco customer. However, like other contact center social media solution vendors, their internal Kool-Aid pitcher remains mostly untouched. CTO Padmasree Warrior is mythical in her numbers of followers. Unfortunately Cisco’s social media participation by UC and contact center executives is pretty low with Contact Center GM John Hernandez squeaking out just 15 Tweets in 22 months.
John Chambers, CEO
Padmasree Warrior, CTO
Ross Daniels, Director UC Marketing
Barry O’Sullivan, SVP Voice Tech. Grp.
Laurent Philonenko, VP/GM Cust. Contact
Blair Christie, SVP Corp Communications
John Hernandez, GM Contact Center
Michael McNally, VP Software Dev. Contact Center BU
Alex Romero, Social Media Bus. Analyst
Lynn Lucas, Sr. Director Collaboration
Everyone’s favorite at Interactive, Tim Passios is the only executive I could find using Twitter personally. CMO Staples and sales leader Blough don’t appear to have accounts. Unsurprisingly, it’s the Social Media manager who’s knocking it out of the park in participation. (It’s always the manager layer that’s really doing the work)
Gary Blough, EVP Sales
No Profile Found
Joe Staples, CMO
No Profile Found
Tim Passios, Dir. Solutions Mktg
Denise Meyer, Social Media Comm. Mgr.
Siemens told the world social media was coming so many years ago that the critical integration was to MySpace! Their product execution mirrors their executive participation. We see Eve Aretakis, the senior executive for product development who has re-Tweeted someone else’s thoughts in all but 7 of her 59 Tweets. The relatively new outside CMO hire, Chris Hummel has just 5 Tweets under his belt. Contact Center Director Don Greco, on a panel discussion at EnterpriseConnect for social media in contact centers, doesn’t even have an account. Oh, and who stood on the podium touting integration with MySpace? Mister 4 Tweets, Mark Straton (who hasn’t Tweeted in nearly two years). The lone winner is Adrian Brookes who not surprisingly came from Cisco.
Hamid Akhaven, CEO
No Profile Found
Chris Hummel, CMO
Eve Aretakis, EVP Prod Mgmt & Dev.
Gerald Kromer, EVP/GM Services
Mark Straton, SVP Marketing
Paul Lang, VP Marketing
Adrian Brookes VP CTO
Paul McMillan, Dir. UC
Don Greco, Director Contact Center
By and large, the analyst community “gets” social media. They understand that social media used well can generate business but also provide synergistic insights from the communities they maintain. Obviously there are exceptions.
Gartner’s UC and Contact Center practices are non-existent with no Twitter account found for Bob Hafner, Steve Blood, Bern Elliot, Drew Kraus and Jay Lassman. Whether this is a policy or not, the result is the same. Likewise, old-timers like Marty Parker, Ken Landoline and Jim Burton reflect the aversion of their generation. Their credibility is questionable. Similarly, I would call out Sheryl Kingstone from Yankee. She wrote a research report on social media but her own experience is pretty light. At the other end of the spectrum, we give Vanessa Alvarez our Mavis Beacon award for her stunning 20,968 Tweets!
Brian Riggs, Current Analysis
Ken Landoline, Current Analysis
Jerry Caron, Current Analysis
No Profile Found
Vanessa Alvarez, Forrester
Henry Dewing, Forrester
Rob Arnold, Frost & Sullivan
Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan
Melanie Turek, Frost & Sullivan
Audrey William, Frost & Sullivan APAC
Adrian Ho, IDC
Christine Bardwell, IDC
Maribel Lopez, Ind.
Sheila McGee-Smith, Ind.
Stephanie Watson, MZA
Ian Jacobs, Ovum
Blair Pleasant, UC Strategies / CommFusion
Jim Burton, UC Strategies / CT Link
Marty Parker, UC Strategies / UniComm
No Profile Found
Don Van Doren, UC Strategies / UniComm
Nancy Jamison, UC Strategies
Zeus Kerravala, Yankee
Sheryl Kingstone, Yankee
And there you have it. A representative sample of who uses social media and who’s just trying to talk customers into buying into it. Given the consumerization of the enterprise, I think it’s more than fair to question vendors' and presenters' use of the tech and toys they’re selling. In decades past, it was understandable that an analyst or executive didn’t have a PBX running under their desk, but today that’s changing.
As I have said repeatedly, as an end user exploring a new technology, I’d talk to those who use it and those who have NO vested interest in you buying it. “Do as I say and not as I do” is not a convincing mantra.