Setting Sights on New Heights with 7 Summits!

Snapped a shot of the Marquette crew while walking to the office last week. Thought it was a fitting visual metaphor.

Announcing my new gig today! [Press Release]  I’ve accepted an offer to work for a gutsy startup with big plans: 7 Summits. Based out of Milwaukee and Chicago, this fast-growing team has been #killingit building award-winning Jive communities that succeed on a foundation of strategy and solid user experience to deliver clearly articulated business results.

I first heard about the firm via my friend and ex-Moxie (then, nGenera) colleague, Steve Elmore. Steve had recently taken a position there as VP, Social Business Strategy.  I’ve known Steve for a long while, and he’s definitely one of the handful of my industry friends that sees the opportunity for social business through the same lens I do.  When Steve started telling me about the culture and vision driving 7Summits, I felt like it was kind of a dream come true for both of us if we could both be part of a team that shares our core social DNA.

While I was researching career opportunities in the market, I received a couple of other great offers.  But, during my evaluations, I kept coming back to 7Summits.  I ultimately made the decision on a short list of defining criteria:

Experienced Leadership that Executes with Rigor

7 Summits is exceptionally well-managed.  There is a mature and focused approach to goal-setting and performance that permeates every facet of the business. As a result, the company is on a strong trajectory of organic growth. The founders, Paul Stillmank and RJ Reimers, held executive positions at Manpower, Whittman-Hart, and Accenture and know how to scale a services business. The core focus on business direction, achievement, and results combined with a sincere intention to build a company culture with character and integrity at its core is refreshing and highly attractive.  One of the most impressive indicators for me was the outstanding reputation the company enjoys among the clients I surveyed.  Most especially because the company has done very little to elevate its brand.  In other words, the reputation was earned the hard way with performance vs. promotion.

A Culture Based on Shared Values of Openness and Inclusion

The company is run as a social business.  Content is openly shared on the company’s internal Jive instance and daily stand ups occur to gauge how everyone in the company is doing.  Every voice matters and the company operates as a team. Culture is the single greatest asset to a services company. I learned this first hand in my experience covering the largest IT services players in the 90s.   During the interview process, I perceived a company culture based on group goals, a dedication to excellence, and a genuine concern for the customer. (Fantastic!)  My personal goal is to fit in seamlessly with the team and expose this tremendous esprit de corps to the outside world.  The company culture and story will be a magnet for customers, partners, investors, and talent for years to come.

A Platform for Social Business Advocacy

As a trusted advisor to its clients, the company matches passion about the promise of social business transformation with purpose and provides its clients a roadmap for how to achieve the promised results.  And the “soft” side of social does not get buried in the business of delivery.  In fact, “Enhancing people’s lives” is part of the company’s mission statement.  In other words, this is a company that gets it. Internal social, external social, and everything in-between.  It’s the first dedicated firm in the U.S. I’ve come across whose business is centered exclusively on delivering social business solutions to every corner of the market: Marketing, IT, or any progressive business unit that wants to introduce social capability to operate more effectively.

In short, I look forward to introducing this company and the transformational work it is doing to my regular readers, fans, and friends of social business.  We will be heading to JiveWorld next week and I will be proud to participate in the fun programs the company has in place to galvanize the believers.  (Please let me know if you’ll be there!) Additionally, the company is on a growth trajectory and is recruiting smart talent looking for a new home to exercise their passion for this work that we’ve all come to love.  I encourage you to apply for any of our open positions.  If I know you personally, make sure to drop me a note too, so I can add some texture to your application. You can reach me directly at susan.scrupski at 7summitsagency dot com.  And keep checking the job board.  New positions are going up all the time.



Mama Weer All Crazee-Social Now!

Indeed, a Quiet Riot is percolating in the heretofore boring ERP sector.  I spotted Josh Greenbaum‘s post on “Enterprise Relationship Planning” this afternoon.  In the Council, we have dredged up a 90s label– The Extended Enterprise— to categorize discussions about how our members are architecting their socio-collaborative initiatives to span partners in their supplier, distributor, and delivery chains.  Included here is the massive momentum around Social CRM that is touching the customer in personal ways as well and reinventing what it means to be proactive and responsive to existing and potential buyers.  One of our largest members recently  made a platform selection choice based nearly exclusively on the chosen vendor’s ability to bridge to external collaborators while retaining the ability to keep the conversation secure behind the firewall.  All of our members are somewhere in the adoption phase of evaluating these options.  The confluence of all SaaS and enterprise legacy systems and social is coming… It’s not if, it’s when.

The unique thread that links the revitalization of  all these mechanical, cumbersome, process-driven software “systems” is people.  People with intelligence, with tacit knowledge, with “exceptions” expertise.  We had a fantastic Council guru Q&A last week with Socialtext’s Ross Mayfield.  Socialtext cites a whopping statistic that turns traditional ERP on its head, “An estimated 60 to 80% of an organization’s work is ‘exception’ oriented.”  Squeezing the life (variability) out of a process is passe and will be replaced or supplementing with social data to improve its effectiveness, not detract from it.  This is a revolutionary idea.

This sentiment is expressed by one of our members, Todd Weidman,  who was discussing the rigidity of the Six Sigma process:

“In my experience in financial services, it’s used as a framework to eliminate as much process variation as possible. The processes become repeatable, follow a strict pattern, and ideally you reduce the cost of any transaction (and make it predictable, standard, and outsourcable). That’s fine if your building something to spec (manufacturing), but in any service-based industry, client needs demand many different types of solutions – think financial planning – there may be a number of different inputs for a customized solution. That, of course, requires collaboration between participants.”

Indeed, the future is about relationships.  And relationships are about people, not stuff.

ITSinsider is looking for love not work… :-)

humptydumptyI read an old-fashioned user-generated column in Newsweek this week where a young woman quoted her mother as saying, “…finding a job you love means never working a day in your life.” For the past nearly two years, I’ve had the special privilege to cover the Enterprise 2.0 sector as an employee of nGenera. Hands down, I have had the best job in the business. I’ve met extremely bright people and have had the opportunity to listen to real Enterprise customers as they struggle with the choices related to introducing 2.0 into their large enterprise environments.

I will continue to work with nGenera, as the company continues on its journey. But I will continue as an independent, not an employee. Although, admittedly, it’s scary facing the prospect of not having a salary during oh, say, the worst economic crisis ever in my adult life time, I remain optimistic. Let’s just say I’m taking a huge leap of faith that dictates when I jump off this ledge, there will be a large, strong net– the social web– ready to catch me. I’ve been inspired by so many in the 2.0 community to trust, to share, to work together to achieve common goals. Now I’m putting my own rhetoric to the test. Is there a market here or not?

I hope you’ll help me prove there is. If you’re interested in speaking to me about any way I can help your organization grapple with 2.0, or if you’re a vendor who feels misunderstood and under-appreciated, you know where to find me– I’ll be home, here on the social web. I look forward to having a conversation.

And, if you really want to help, but don’t have a budget (lol), do me a social networking solid and leave me a recommendation on LinkedIn.

I’ve redecorated my room.

Hope you like it.  It’s been a long time coming that I switch to my own domain and a theme refresh.  Please bear with me while I work the kinks out.  As far as I can tell, all links (in blogrolls and posts) are re-directing to this new domain.  This post is a test for my own feed-reader.  If you have any advice about having done this sort of thing yourself, please leave me a comment.  Thanks!