New to Social Business?
What method(s) have you chosen to create and sustain use of the new social business platform? Have you made a conscious decision to structure the rollout and potential takeup and mandate its use? Or have you just installed the platform software (in-house or via a Cloud based solution)? Or have you found another way to persuade your audience that it is in their best interests to investigate for themselves and then jump on board or be left behind in the fast paced and challenging digital world in which we find ourselves.
Of course social business is not just about a software platform or some combination of digital technologies. Whilst shiny new things to play will appeal to technologists and those that are just naturally curious about all things new, there are other very pressing and conflicting issues that throw up real roadblocks to walking down the new pathway of how work should get done.
Social business is not something you can categorise easily as it is an umbrella for many things, such as how people collaborate; how customers interact with us; how employees can be empowered to contribute more than they currently can; about an organisations culture, about its structure, about technology, about innovation and so on…..
For these reasons a traditional project approach where there is a clearly defined action required of each and every person who will use the new platform, just won’t work for social business. The approach that I think works best is a combination of things and first and foremost is a clearly stated vision with objectives that comes straight from the CEO. Why is this so important?
If we consider what makes an organisation tick, it’s very clearly the definition created by the CEO and CXX group, who then enthusiastically challenge the rest of the organisation to implement the vision and objectives. The CEO, etc can provide a powerful message through their articulation of support and even more so as founding members of a new social business culture. The message needs to establish objectives that state that social business must permeate through business processes. For example. Tie collaboration and conversations to Sales processes, to customer service, to innovation forums, to ideas generation, to web analytics. If social business is treated as an island function with island based software, it is likely to fail the test of “Is it relevant”? How do we then make it relevant?
Give it context. So the 2nd contributing factor to success is aligning any social business initiative to business objectives. Again the CEO and CXX group have done the hard work, eg the corporate vision and objectives, so map these to the socbiz plan. This mapping ensures people have a reason to engage with tools that will strengthen their ability to forge and maintain relationships with a broad section of people within and outside of the organisation and in the process become self managing. It also means that valuable conversational data can be retained and more importantly retrieved, during and after a project has been completed.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your social business project you would be well served by reading Social Media ROI, by Olivier Blanchard. Don’t be put off by the title, it is very relevant for corporate use of social media as well as the popular Internet sites.
Social business is not of itself the critically important thing, but it’s support of traditional business functions, allowing informed input to be elicited from all points makes it a powerful adjunct to an organisations ability to find answers fast, thereby improving responsiveness in what we all know is a very fast moving digital world.