This week I shared What Industry Analysts Are Saying on the heels of our recent analyst conference. My conversations with these folks always migrates to what they're seeing and hearing in the market and how they're using social media to do that. So here is a Q&A with Allan Behrens of Taxal on the focus of his current research and how he integrates social media in his his work.
What is top of mind with your clients right now?
"Rapid time to value and how to gain advantage over the competition. Positive differentiation and understanding and ranking of best practices with others with similar problems in like areas of business."
What areas are you focused on from a research perspective currently?
"From a technology standpoint there’s a lot of interest in areas of multi-disciplinary engineering. Of course this varies by market but in principle constituents include products containing elements of, for instance, mechanics, electronics, electrics, software, hydraulics and control logic and programmes. Indeed recent acquisitions from the likes of Dassault and LMS and Siemens’ own launch of MCD (Mechatronics Concept Designer) show increasing interest from PLM software suppliers in systems and multi-disciplinary segments.
Another topic of interest from the IT industry is the changing dynamic of solution development and sales channels in response to evolving technologies. How to predict and manage change in sales, product and service provisioning - the impact and application of cloud technologies and the move of software to service oriented delivery (SaaS) is having a material effect on the software industry and is of significant concern to business partners and suppliers alike."
Since we talked about social media quite a bit at the event, can you share why you are engaged in social media? What value do you find in the online conversation?
"Very simple – I know that not all I comment about is of interest to others but if just a small amount of what I find interesting or think adds humour, value or incites thought, I’m absolutely delighted!"
What social media tools do you use (blogs, Twitter, Linkedin…)?
"On the whole I use Twitter for business insight, general comment and thoughts in real time. I’m not a ravenous user like some, but rather tweet when I feel I have something to say. LinkedIn is good for business networking and community discussions and I try to keep Facebook for friends and family. I have a blog site www.taxal.com/blog, which I use when I want to offer deeper insight into a briefing, subject matter or events that I think others may have interest in."
Do you have a Twitter strategy? ;-) Joking, but more seriously what content do your followers engage with the most?
"People tend to respond to topics which are newsworthy and insight opinion – humour, personal and, of course, business."
Can you point to an example of something you learned or found out via social media vs. traditional channels like e-mail or press releases or vendor events?
"In general there are areas such as breaking news, independent insight and feedback that are available via social channels – an example on the breaking news front is a very recent company (public) launch which I heard of before some of the company members!"
Can you recommend a LinkedIn Group you think PLM/CAD customers should pay attention to?
"I subscribe to a few groups involved in areas such as sales channels, varying aspects of the IT and PLM industries and manufacturing sector specific – some better than others, and some far too salesy! Those who follow me are welcome to look at these but I haven’t any favorites (apart from my HP alumni group). I’m always open to look at new groups and do so frequently, usually prompted by one of my LinkedIn contacts."
How do you manage your time in social media channels (dedicate x amount a time/day or some other way your organize your approach)?
"Good question! I am a ‘time-slice’ user. Often using it as an opportunity to take a break from something else. I try not to let it consume my life – it’s easy to get distracted by pop-ups and the like. Facebook access (personal) is usually an evening/weekend task although aggregators such as Tweetdeck do make looking at updates easier and quicker."
Do you think of us (Siemens) any differently from our engagement in social channels?
"I think it helps to humanize communication. I respect that people and companies are prepared to make themselves approachable and are open to public discussions – good and bad."