Original Post from Mashable
is co-founder of Workstreamer,
a business listening platform that delivers actionable, real-time
information to business professionals.
As businesspeople, we
now have an unlimited amount of constantly updating information at our
fingertips. It holds the promise of great value (and more importantly,
profit), but it is also voluminous and fleeting. Powerful new search
engines, newfangled social
CRM systems, and a preponderance of social sites and services leave
us sitting at desks, feverishly fetching news and updates throughout
the day in an attempt to stay up-to-date.
The trick, of course, is
making sense of all that data, and putting it in context of what
companies — and who exactly at those companies — matter most.
Increasingly, we have the palpable desire to turn good data into good
decisions and profitable relationships. But how can you take advantage
of that tsunami of information without risking death by data? How can
everyday businesspeople get value out of these data-heavy services and
Relationships Still Rule
The answer to
these questions starts by first acknowledging that it’s the same as it
ever was: Business is still all about relationships. This should be
soothing to many for whom the data web is a brave new world.
business world still runs on relationships, and data is as much at home
at a cocktail hour or on a conference call as it is in a slide deck. The
game has not changed much at all. The difference is that today’s
business data has put everything in stark relief, at very high
resolution. Opportunities and risks have been amplified.
example, if I notice a partner’s company’s stock surge at the opening of
the market and tie it to a news item on quarterly earnings, I can now
send a timely congratulatory note and schedule a follow-up meeting to
discuss leveraging that momentum for a proposed joint venture.
say I am alerted to an old college friend changing his contact info on a
social network, and as a result, track down a few details on his role
at a new company. I might subsequently notice via a status update that
he is departing for my home city in a few days, and now I can initiate a
and invite him to participate on a panel I’m organizing.
most actionable business data comes from living and very human sources
like social networks, wikis, microblogs, crowdsourced contact
directories, collaboratively filtered finance communities, real-time
search engines, hyperlocal
news sites and more. Managing that data can involve a lot of mixing
and matching, comparing and contrasting.
with colleagues and contacts both create and consume data. In fact, data
isn’t cold and impersonal at all — that’s an important misconception to
put to rest. Many of your most successful and trusted business
relationships now likely run on data.
“Networking” in the
traditional sense used to take a lot of time and effort. But in truth,
all networking has ever been is the act of information-gathering — of
scouting and collating. We used to start with an idea of a person we
were trying to do business with, without nearly enough relevant
information about them. That has changed as a result of the personal
data now available via social media sources.
Now, when you finally
meet someone in person, or run into them at a conference, the
interaction can be immediately more rich and productive precisely
because of data — you can get right to the heart of the matter because
you’re having a more informed, in-depth conversation that matters.
crunching data and doing your homework, to finding a path through your
existing relationships, to setting up that first meeting with a timely
and well-researched missive, the new data-driven way of doing business
can be infinitely more productive.
the under-the-table note sharing going on in high school?
imagine having the smartest kid in school organize, prioritize and
collect notes for you, no strings attached. That’s the kind of
information advantage that is now available to us, through an
ever-growing array of new social business tools. And it’s not considered
But even despite all this new data and these
new tools, relationships are still the beginning and the end of every
There is little doubt that there will be a
fundamental overhaul in the skill-set of the average businessperson in
the next five years as companies grapple with, and realize the upside of
making better use of data, both internally and externally.
the technologies and techniques that were once the exclusive domain of
Wall Street analysts and Silicon Valley engineers are finally trickling
down to everyday businesspeople. But no matter how the world has
changed, listening is still paramount -– listening to customers,
listening to prospects, listening to colleagues, and listening to entire
companies –- indeed, listening to data.