Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Corporate Networking

In this post here >>> Andy Lopata shares some insights into current Networking thinking in Corporates. He interviewed Jeff Schick, the vice president of social computing software for IBM Corporation in New York, who described a software initiative, 'Lotus Connections' based on their own internal systems.

There appear to be 2 strands when referring to Corporates & Networking - internal & external networking.

1. Internal networking
Perhaps the IBM inititative suggests they know that networking is the way it all works anyway so why not make it more efficient. I remember talking to Keith Willett of Sanderson & Neale about some software tools that they use with Corporates. They have a product called networker to establish the real lines of communication and influence within a business. Definitely not the world according to the org chart.

2. External networking
I often get asked why Corporates don't attend networking events. Often the question is asked by someone who wants to sell to larger companies and this reveals some confusion about what networking really is. Networking is not selling and you are not going to get Corporate representatives flocking to somewhere to be sold too. On the other hand Corporates (banks, insurance, telecoms etc) often see the small business networks as places where their customers congregate and send their salespeople (to sell!) or sponsor their own or other events.

My experience is that Corporates do network externally. Mainly with their peers, and in places where they see it as appropriate to engage. An example of this is with Industry specific networks. When I was in the Telecoms Industry I belonged to the UK based Telecommunications Executive Network. Three quarters of that community are CEO/Director/VP.

Good Networking!
Dave Clarke

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