Then you need the following social business elements to be front and centre.
Content – the sticky bits that people use to drive their interest
People – the movers of thought, connections, actions
Places – where content lives
Business Processes – how the business does what it does
Context – the glue linking all other elements together
Community – where it all happens
I created the diagram below to illustrate the important relationships that exist between all elements and without any one of them the picture is not complete. You can call your environment whatever you like, eg Enterprise collaboration, private social networking or social business but at the end of the day it needs people, places, content, context, business processes and a thriving community to be a complete “enterprise” capable social network, together with tangible business objectives to map to.
Social Business is not a complex beast and as we look at each of the key elements of Community, Context, People, Places and Processes we can appreciate that we use these every day in a variety of ways, not necessarily as linked or with the same intent.
The intent of social business is to use all of these elements with a target outcome of finding a new and better way to do business.
Why then do we need a new way to business?
In a word “DIGITAL”. Employees, customers and other business partners are forming new and extending old relationships using digital platforms. These relationships are in place to assist with both social and business activities and have demonstrated an ability achieve results. A case study in point. According to Gallup, 71 percent of American employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. Clearly there is a cost to replacing employees. Highly educated employees, often a large percentage of a company’s knowledge workers, are the most difficult – and – expensive to replace. The accepted estimate for the cost of turnover is approximately 100 to 150% of an employee’s annual salary. It’s not hard to do the math and work out that keeping employees happy and engaged is the recipe for improved productivity.
Overall financial performance can also be affected. Companies rated in the top 25 percent in employee engagement metrics, posted earnings per share (EPS) growth nearly 9 percent higher than EPS growth of comparable companies that had lower employee engagement – (taken from Transform, by Christopher Morace).
The success of a new community, based on a social business software platform will only continue if the members see value in content being contextually relevant to what they do day in and day out. Content has to either relate to a project, business objective, part of a broader initiative that may be based on a business process, such as customer service, employee onboarding, employee performance, product development and so on.
Social business has the ability to record conversations and integrate them with other business systems, for example Telstra, Australia’s leading telco has created Crowdsupport, a thriving customer community of 130,000 customers. Crowdsupport is a feeder to Telstra’s overall customer service strategy and is able to enlist the assistance of any of the 130,000 customers who are members, reducing the previous bottleneck of overloaded call centres.
So when you are designing the social business framework for your organisation come back to my diagram and continually ask yourself whether you are thinking holistically enough to ensure you are linking content to people, places and processes, using the strength of a community to drive business results.