Tag Archives: #AboutMe

Brand

This Writer’s 2012 New Years Blogging Resolutions

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I’ve begun to feel a convergence lately—of tools and motivation, of desire and actual potentials toward reality, of wherewithal and professional and personal need, of hubris and humility. I ain’t all that good at this social media thing—and I need to be. And so I’ve determined to more directly invoke my editorial calendar and focus on the task at hand: writing productivity. Continue reading

Brand

The Google Profile, Google+ and my own personal brand

google plus

google plus (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

With the advent of Google+ and the new-prominance of my Google Profile within the tool, I figured it was time to give it a makeover to more truly reflect who I am today. I’ll be updating the language to highlight current assignments, projects, skills, obsessions. And who knows, maybe I’ll actually put into practice the grandaddy of all web writing principles — brevity.

The exercise will drive massaged Twitter and LinkedIn profiles as well, and perhaps even a few existential ruminations. Here’s one: In the rush to write off the social phenomenon as petty, narcissistic, and now-obsessed, perhaps we could all benefit from a meditative and brutally sincere approach to personal profile management. Done well, it could prove a centering ritual, and further motivate us to live and work up to our own hype.

So much for brevity…

Meantime, here’s the old Google Profile language for posterity’s sake:

I am a business writer first and a sales and marketing professional second.

My current focus is in the area of front-end business-to-business (B2B) sales operations—specifically on equipping reps in the field with the best possible materials to meet the requirements of their customers’ buying process. Sales document optimization is an outcomes-based process after all—and an outlet for my skills in information design and desktop publishing. But the area I find most gratifying is also the one in which I find sales organizations in the greatest need. It’s Sales Knowledge Management, it’s a technological and cultural enigma, and it’s a singular joy for a worker of my temperament.

Sales Knowledge Management is a systematic approach to collecting, synthesizing, and sharing critical corporate, market, and product insights throughout the sales team, and broadening the availability of that knowledge into multiple contexts—from sales letters and e-mail to proposals to online customer portals. With enhanced access to knowledge and easy-to-use assembly tools, reps can spend less time finding answers and creating materials—and spend more time selling. (For a more detailed discussion of SKM roles in B2B selling organizations, refer to my post on the Roles of Sales Knowledge Management.)

The contents of my blog are my own thoughts and observations—codified and organized to help me better think through problems, remember solutions, and maybe even help others experiencing the same issues in their work and their lives. I am interested in the phenomenon known as enterprise content management, and the structured communication processes necessary to move knowledge between producers and consumers.

While I understand that any discussion of knowledge management must go above and beyond technology, my training and background often compel me toward the tools and methods used by those involved in content creation and management. I’m influenced by Shaun Slattery’s work on Textual Coordination. (For my take, see my post Toward a Technological Repertoire in Mediated Writing.) Similarly, I’m intrigued by the use and benefits of social media and user-generated content in a professional environment—the so-named Enterprise 2.0 movement.

From time-to-time, I’ll post items I find interesting from my iPod, from around the internet, around town, or around the house I share with the best wife, two sons, and dog a guy could ask for.

Infor acquisition of Lawson finalized

GGC Software Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Golden Gate Capital, and Infor, a leading provider of business software serving more than 70,000 customers, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Lawson Software, Inc., under the terms of the merger agreement disclosed on April 26, 2011, effective as of July 5, 2011. Pursuant to the terms of such merger agreement, Lawson’s stockholders (other than stockholders who have perfected their statutory rights of appraisal under Delaware law) will receive $11.25 per share in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding taxes, for each share of common stock they owned immediately prior to the effective time of the merger. 

I’m excited about what the future hold for my company and our product direction. I hope to have news of developments in my area of interest, as evidenced elsewhere on my site.

As any news becomes public, I will be sure to include comment.

In the meantime, this is an auspicious time, for sure.

Forrester, KMWorld, and the evolving Content & Collaboration (C&C) function #contentstrategy

Putting the right people in place to lead content and collaboration (C&C)
initiatives for enterprises and government agencies is a growing imperative. The
skills mix required to deliver and to scale up enterprisewide workplace
solutions—like enterprise social tools, infrastructure for engaging Web
experiences and content management—is changing. Raw technology skills are of
lesser importance than in the past; instead, today’s content and collaboration
professional needs to be able to influence stakeholders across IT, legal,
communications, marketing and human resources.

In partnership with KMWorld, Forrester Research recently surveyed more than 200
professionals engaged in those initiatives. Their goal—supporting anywhere,
anytime access to information and expertise—remains unchanged. But the people
making those objectives happen are now highly compensated managers leading
cross-functional teams, particularly in sectors like technology and
telecommunications, financial services, government and business/professional
services.

A very nice encapsulation of what my career has evolved into. Mentions diversity of job titles and official roles in our ranks (a sign of immaturity overall, I’m certain), a broad cross-secton of industry application, where companies are investing, how much salary we tend to make and associated project responsibilities, barriers to success, and future direction. Of note: “Among other changes, Forrester believes the role of the C&C professionals will: organize and invest according to the industry they serve; focus less on technology, and more on people, process and change; orchestrate the interests of multiple functions; and take a greater role in mobilizing the enterprise.

New Role! Content Strategist, Infor Customer Direct Sales

So the transition is complete. Extra special thanks to friends and family who have supported me through this period.

As many of you know, the best possible scenario has come to fruition and I’m back at Infor, working for a fantastic team, and doing the precise work I’ve been steering myself toward for the past several years.

I am now in charge of design, architecture, training, and support for the Customer Direct team’s intranet portal–built on the SharePoint 2007 platform.

I have responsibility for its transition to the 2010 release, as well as for the optimization of the site’s content towards sales enablement for the nearly 300 inside sales reps and business development personnel comprising this global team.

To that end, I’m exercising the cohesive principles of content strategy–an expanding professional identity, community, and body of knowledge blending business analysis, quality standards, information architecture, interface design, search engine optimization, and user advocacy.

This is a fantastic opportunity to exercise my core technical communications skill set to streamline the operational performance of an energetic, if slightly disorganized, enterprise selling team.

Infor sells well over a hundred products into nearly every industry on a global basis, and is positioning itself as the premier alternative to SAP, Oracle, and the other big ERP players. I’m delighted to be playing a part in that mission.

For more information on this role, and to connect with me, please check me out on LinkedIn.

Wrapping up a fantastic sales knowledge project

I just completed a contract for a friend in the proposals world. Her team produces enterprise software proposals for the public sector, and she wanted a functioning knowledgebase of reusable solution and selling content.

I designed a solution for her based on the Pragmatech product suite and an enterprise taxonomy overlay. I also refined her Microsoft Word templates using advanced styling to improve their usability from the writer’s prospective, and to better integrate them into a partially-automated system.

Now her team can access a single repository of chunked proposal knowledge—from cover letters to executive summaries to RFP questions and answers—and pull that information directly into Microsoft Word in a format to match corporate standards.

This short-term assignment marks the fourth such role I’ve performed since 2005. Building, managing, and productively using corporate knowledgebases is a gratifying role—and a critical one for companies who need to optimize their content stores, produce quality deliverables, and contain costs.

Challenges I’ve experienced, and would bring to the attention of those who wish to do this kind of work (or those looking to hire someone to do it), are ensuring you have the proper skill set to bring to the work, and providing the role with the visibility and authority necessary to grow adoption.

Too often “knowledgebase administration” is the part-time function of an already overburdened proposal writer, or it is a full-time junior role occupied by someone without the skills, incentive, or power to maximize the system. In either case, the individual typically moves into another role and any positive momentum is lost.

APMP research bears this out: salary studies consistently reveal that knowledge managers earn less than proposal writers. Sales organizations shoot themselves in the foot over and over again.

I have been fortunate in my experience to work with some excellent teams and open-minded leaders who see the value in this vision for sales knowledge management.

I’m moving on now to another full-time opportunity (a coming home of sorts) where I will have the luxury of more tools and more flexibility to add value to sales teams. Five years after backing into this niche from a decade of the standard technical writer’s life, I’m increasingly optimistic.