Jeff Kempiners is the Vice President and acting Group Executive responsible for Avanade's business in the Southeastern USA. Jeff has held a variety of leadership roles within Avanade, including Group Executive for Central Canada, Canadian Chief Technology Officer, and Director of Consulting for the Canadian business. Jeff began his career with Avanade in 2000 based in the Chicago office, where he was a project lead and integration architect. Jeff's career spans over 10 years of delivery experience within both Accenture and Avanade, and an additional 7 years of leadership experience in the Avanade Americas business.
Jeff is a nominated founding director of the IFIP IP3 Global Industry Council (GIC). "...Global Industry Council Directors are specially nominated and invited to serve within the UN-[founded] body as internationally recognized luminary executives, thought leaders, and visionaries and for their strong history of providing substantive contributions to global business, industry, society, education, and governments..."
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Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Jeff, can you profile your extensive success history prior to your current role and some valuable lessons you wish to share from these roles?
"....In my prior experience I've seen about the last 20 years of technology implementation. One of the interesting concepts that I've drawn upon is to gauge where each individual organization and in particular, where those draw trends in industry groups around a willingness or reluctance to accept new technology...."
Can you profile your current role and what you hope to achieve?
"....I'm looking at market trends, industry group priorities, making sure that Avanade offerings and delivery capabilities align to what the market demands and will be over the next few quarters....It's interesting to see that social media in particular is moving from the long term goal to the short term impact in a number of vertical markets...."
Can you overview the current state of social media and what impact this has?
"....Those three areas are the current state (not necessarily the look-forward state), of social media – product line awareness, demand generation or buzz and internal and external collaboration...."
What are the challenges of social media in the enterprise?
"....There are some security and personal data privacy issues in the mix, but culturally we're reluctant to embrace any technology that can be seen as a potential time waster...."
Where do you see social media evolving in the next 5 years?
"....It's shifting today from a disruptive technology to a business critical communication and collaboration tool....As those tools of technology emerge to effectively be a robot to read all of the social media chatter that's out there and attempt to aggregate that unstructured data, categorize and report it in order to make smarter decisions, I believe this unstructured data will be a key source of business intelligence going forward...."
In an interview with Dr. Kishore Swaminathan, chief scientist for Accenture and founder of their lab, he talked about company boundaries being very porous because of all the social media happenings around the world. Even the nature of job roles are going to change completely....Do you see the same kind of evolution occurring?
"....The next step is now we're not just always on, but our personal lives are now exposed to our professional lives. It's not just our professional lives are invading on our personal time but it's rather our hobbies, likes and dislikes, those with whom we choose to associate, suddenly become part of our profile...."
Do you see this evolving, all of this social media becoming a part of this singularity movement that's going to happen or could happen or this global brain idea that's out there?
"....There's a lot of different buzz words there, some call it the hive mind taking after the beehive concept, others call it crowd sourcing, and in a negative connotation some call it group think, so you have to be conscientious of the negative side of it as well....But overall I am a true believer that it is not just a global body of knowledge but it can also be protected IP, the keys to the castle, the intellectual property that runs business captured from the minds and habits of your employees in such a way that it makes new employees’ training and acquisition that much easier to accomplish, and of course any industry or organization that has an aging workforce issue...."
Can you summarize what you see are the opportunities of social media?
"....I see the opportunities today mainly as marketing related; building brand awareness, brand loyalty, even a bit of recruiting and retention....Other opportunities come from the data generation channels...."
What happens if an enterprise doesn't engage with social media?
"....I don't believe it's an issue of what happens if you don't, rather what if the timing is bad. Entry into this world either too late or too early could bear results that are less than ideal...."
What is the cost of social media to the enterprise? What is the budget impact of social media to the enterprise?
"....Ultimately there's a level of participation on these sites that will match any budget it might have....If you decide to do human participation you need to educate your employees on what is and is not appropriate...."
How do you measure the return on investment on social media?
"....It’s really hard because correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation....The true return on investment is very difficult to measure because there are so many soft metrics involved with this...."
How does one find out more about social media: pros and cons? What are your recommendations here?
"....I'd recommend getting close to a company that has a breadth of expertise in the specific area of social media you are looking to address....This is one of those times when it makes sense to engage with an external party because it is a disruptive technology that's moving quickly....Engage with an external party just to get outside of the mentality of your organization...."
From a broad context do you have any additional recommendations?
"....Most important is to hold the projects accountable to any promise on return on investment and make it clear that the measurement will happen upfront. Define how you're going to measure success before you enter into the world of social media...."
Can you provide an update of your work outside of Avanade such as on the Global Industry Council – why do you serve?
"....I'm a real fan of the fact that the Global Industry Council is global in nature, and of course I'm a passionate advocate of IT as a profession and those two things converge very nicely with the GIC and I'm proud to be a founding member...."
What added questions would you ask and what would be your answers if you were doing this interview?
"....Where do you make the investment, both personal and professional? What will be the next big thing?...."