Today’s interview is with Vala Afshar and Brad W. Martin of Enterays who have recently written a book called The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, which charts Enterasys‘ transformation into a truly social business.
This interview follows on from my recent interview with Neville Hobson in Lessons from ten years of blogging and eight years of podcasting and makes up number forty-five in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things and helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
Vala’s name may be familiar to some of you as I interviewed him back in September 2011 in: What is a Chief Customer Officer.
There’s some great insights in interview and less theory and more ideas about what they have done, what works and what they have achieved. Below are the highlights from our interview but take a listen to the podcast for the full story:
- Vala and Brad have just written a new book called The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, which charts Enterasys‘ transformation into a truly social business.
- There is not a standard definition of a social business but it is not a business that just uses social media tools.
- Social business is a mindset.
- A social business, for Enterasys, is one that has made a conscious decision to move from a command and control mindset to one that is driven but collaboration and co-creation of value mindset both with your employees and your customers.
- But it all starts with the Why, as explained in Simon Sinek’s TED talk: How great leaders inspire action.
- Enterasys through it’s advanced use of Salesforce.com’s tools and predictive analytics has been able to move from a defensive approach to customer service to a offensive and proactive approach to customer service.
- Doing so has allowed them to build huge amounts of trust with their customers and keep with companies that are much larger than them.
- Their approach is built on three pillars: innovation, product quality & good service delivery.
- You can’t move to this proactive approach without harnessing technology.
- Whilst culture, people and process are still the first things that you should get right, the use and leverage of technology supports the advancement of these three.
- The greater the amount of advocacy you have with your employees, your business partners and your customers the greater the opportunity to create momentum.
- Mistakes will happen and your ability to recover is crucial.
- What they are doing is definitely working as they continue to produce great results and last year won awards from the Boston Business Journal and the Boston Globe for creating great places to work.
- If you create a place that people want to show up then everything else follows.
- A key element in building their more collaborative and knowledge sharing environment is their move away from email and the use of Saleforce’s Chatter.
- Leadership is about conversations and conversations improve culture.
- Enterasys invites their customers and partners into their Chatter groups.
- They have also invented technology that allows some of their equipment to post status updates into their Chatter groups so they can keep track of their health and performance and they believe that they are the only form in the world right now that is doing this…..which won them half a dozen innovation awards last year.
- The biggest benefit of social transformation in business is humanising the business and part of that is putting a face to the business so that it is not B2B or B2C it is about P2P or people to people.
- Blogging is an important part of becoming a social business as it is an important part of expanding their ‘Why’. Twitter updates are fine but blogs are essential ways of sharing and expanding on ideas.
- Blogs are the meat and potatoes behind the tweets or status updates.
- In a social era the best ideas are going to win and it’s not about the best size or the best titles.
- In today’s era, the best strategy is ‘care more’ and that is irrelevant of size.
- A top tip for success: Be interested.
- Generally, the most interesting people are the most interested.
- Challenge convictions and none of us are smarter than all of us.
- The third party validation and their financial results make their story worth reading and learning from.
About Vala and Brad (taken from their Enterasys bios)
Vala Afshar holds the new position of Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Customer Officer for Enterasys Networks. In this dynamic role, Afshar is responsible for global marketing of Enterasys, including brand awareness, demand generation, social media, PR, analyst relations, channel marketing and much more. In addition to leading global marketing, Afshar continues to excel in driving all global services and technical support functions for the company. In his 17 years at Enterasys, he and his support team have received numerous prestigious industry awards for outstanding support as well as service ratings that are unmatched in the industry.
Afshar is a recognized social media advocate, having been the keynote of several industry events including Salesforce’s “Dreamforce 2012”. His thought-leadership has been sought after by leading publications including Forbes, The Economist, ZDNet and many more. To his credit, Vala was recently named by InformationWeek as one of the “Top 10 Social Business Leaders”, Oct 2012 and recognized by Forbes as one of the “Industry Leaders Shaping CRM”, Oct 2012. Vala was also named “2012 Top 50 Men in Technology on Twitter” by Blue Focus Marketing.
Afshar recently co-authored a book entitled “The Pursuit of Social Business.” He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Brad W. Martin is the Vice President of Quality and Engineering Operations for Enterasys Networks. At Enterasys, Martin is responsible for global software quality assurance, global engineering services, corporate program management, manufacturing technology, corporate quality control and continuous improvement. As the business lead for product and corporate quality, Martin leads a structured continuous improvement program that reaches across the business. Martin and his teams have implemented an award winning quality information infrastructure at Enterasys and have been recognized by industry publications and analyst groups for these achievements. Martin has presented the Enterasys structured quality approach at Aberdeen’s Product Design and Delivery Summit and he and his team were 2012 recipients of the “Manufacturing Leadership 100” awards in two quality leadership categories.
Martin joined Enterasys in 2000, has held a variety of increasingly senior-level engineering management positions. Previously, Martin was the Director of Global Engineering Services. Prior to Enterasys Martin was the Manager of Pre-Sale Engineering and Inside Sales at Hussey Seating Company.
Martin earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine.
If you’re interested in learning more about Enterasys’ journey to social business excellence, you can pick up the book here, or reach out to Vala Afshar and Brad Martin on Twitter as they’d love to hear from you.