I have been asked recently to discuss with a range of business people my reasons for using LinkedIn – what I like (or don’t like) about LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the preferred social network of business people. It is an excellent platform for me, as an independent consultant, to provide detail about my skills, experience and interests. Simultaneously it offers me excellent background information on other people and companies – be they clients, potential clients, competitors.
I have taken an incremental approach to using LinkedIn. I started with basic detail and over a period of time have expanded this to provide more information about my previous experience, current areas of interest. I have built my network incrementally – seeking introductions to some people, responding selectively to requests to LinkIn.
I have used a range of functionality offered on the site, including:
tags to tag/ categorise my contacts e.g.
polls to research specific topics with my connections
Answers to find answers to particular technical areas
Participated in groups of internet e.g. semantic web, business networks such as Kilmacud Crokes Business Network
Search to obtain background information prior to meetings – at both individual and corporate levels
Jobs to post job offers
the WordPress application to cross post from this blog to my LinkedIn profile.
Finally I have cross referenced from various sites which I maintain to my LinkedIn profile.
This is a question faced my many businesses; it’s also a familiar question for me in my role as an external advisor. And as with all of these situations there is no definitive answer. It depends.
Read an excellent piece of AMR research written by Jim Shepherd on the same subject (September 2009).
This reminded me of a number of the core questions:
What are you trying to achieve?
Have you a plan for the business?
Have you an understanding of where the current application cannot meet current of future business needs?
Are you using the power of the current application/ application suite?
Are you having issues in terms of support and/or enhancements?
Does the application vendor have a roadmap (and the resources to deliver on the roadmap)?
What is the user forum telling you?
Have you the budget and the internal capabilities to take on a new ERP project?
Is the current application(and associated support costs) a fit for the size of your business e.g. in the context of any significant downsizing?
Given that ERP implementation represents open heart surgery for most businesses the decision to change is not to be taken lightly. As against this must avoid good money after bad money.
Often there will be vested interests within an enterprise – those with a status quo agenda, those seeking other changes, perhaps off the back of an ERP implementation. It is a key decision for any business – and needs to be made in a structured, unbiased way.
Is your doctor still writing up manual cards to track your checkup visits? Is your doctor writing out prescriptions for you to take to the local pharmacy? When you attend a clinic for XRays, MRIs etc how are the records forwarded to you/ your GP?
Huge investments being approved in the US to drive ePateint records/ ePrescribing – with targets for cost saving, improved patient care, etc.
Interesting discussion in recent BusinessWeek article re adoption of these solutions – and major costs involved for individual doctors or small clinics (e.g. 3 doctors). Also covered in a Reuters story re ePrescribing last month.
Given all of the challenges facing us in the Irish economy will be interesting to see how we can implement these types of solutions in the Irish market place – to drive quality of service and greater efficiency (and cost savings).