Becoming a social business necessitates that companies engage and collaborate with their different stakeholders: employees, users, customers, partners, suppliers, analysts, influencers…. in ways they haven’t done before.
“As the world becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent and the population continues to embrace social computing, today’s enterprises face the dawn of a new era – the era of the Social Business. Organizations that successfully transform into a Social Business can potentially reap great benefits – among them the ability to deepen customer relationships, drive operational efficiencies and optimize the workforce.” IBM
Social Business – A New Dynamic!
We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. ~ Craig Davis, former CCO J Walter Thompson
In my blog post: Make Social Your Business™, I outlined the importance and the reasons why companies need to make the transition to becoming a social business a MUST!
But the transition isn’t a walk in the park (it is more like a complete transformation rather than a simple transition) and presents challenges on multiple fronts for businesses: cultural, organizational, technological and financial.
Cultural Related Challenges
Culture is the most overlooked, underestimated factor determining whether social media succeeds or fails in a company. And when corporate culture and social media are pitted against each other, social business will always fail. Always – Adam Christensen, Juniper, former IBM
Companies are very “siloed” – becoming a social business implies that they connect the dots between their customer-facing department and functions to enhance the overall customer experience with their brand (one unified message through multiple touch points).
A social business requires a cultural shift from silo to collaborative – a paradigm shift that shouldn’t be underestimated. Before companies can engage, share and collaborate externally with customers, partners and the community, companies must first collaborate within.
To engage with peers, clients, and partners, a company must leverage its employees to be subject matter experts and to have the right conversations. Now, if the culture of the organization is not open, these goals will be very difficult to reach – Sandy Carter, IBM
Organizational Related Challenges
Over the years, businesses have moved in an opposite direction distancing representatives from customers through technology, automated processes, and through the introduction of outsourced representatives and website connection. Customers were practically penalized for trying to seek attention. All was done, in the name of operationalization, efficiency and profitability.
Many companies don’t quite know how to move forward and where to begin on their social journey. They lack clarity – no clear roadmap or “personalized adoption strategy” and the lack of alignment between customer-facing functions: product, sales, marketing and customer service/support only makes the transition more challenging.
Technological Related Challenges
By 2015, 35% of enterprise IT expenditures will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget – Gartner
Part of the organizational transformation includes not only enhancing or creating new business processes but also adopting the technology needed to support, facilitate, and measure these changes.
IT Leaders need help assessing and delivering collaborative capabilities that work with enterprise IT systems, maintain organizational security and operational integrity, and meet the changing needs of collaborative communities.
– What tools and techniques are available to help drive social media within the business and infrastructure and operations?
– What are the best practices for leveraging social media to optimize IT infrastructure and operations?
– How to integrate social capabilities with existing applications and processes?
People resist change – lack of adoption of the tools even once implemented (the empty bar syndrome) – has to be a top-down approach and requires involvement from management and executives.
IT worries about risks, privacy, governance, security, confidentiality, loss of control and reputation management and is overwhelmed by the explosion of data in size, volume and complexity from multiple channels (call center, surveys, campaigns, social media, applications) (structured and unstructured data).
Financial Related Challenges
Difficult to tie social business into metrics (financials or operational) executives care about and are willing to fund.
Struggles to leverage investments in legacy systems while introducing new technologies.
Invest in POC (Proof of Concept), incremental changes, measure constantly and adapt rapidly.
Benefits to the Organization
A social business will most likely outperform its competitors because it is focusing on relationships with their clients, partners and employees by engaging new technologies and platforms that powerfully and easily connect them in trusted and experiential way. They are treating their employees, customers, partners and suppliers as stakeholders – Gartner
By 2015, the 20% of enterprises employing social media beyond marketing will lead their industries in revenue growth – Gartner
An IDC Research concluded that the key benefits to a social business approach include:
– Deeper relationships with key internal and external stakeholders;
– More organizational transparency and agility;
– Higher employee productivity and satisfaction;
– Increased customer, partner, and supplier engagement;
– Accelerated product and service innovation through employee, customer, and partner feedback;
– Extract intelligence from social networks.
No matter what department or role, IDC believes that there is potential for greater business results to be achieved through fostering better communication and collaboration practices inside as well as outside the enterprise. Social technologies enable people to connect and interact with unprecedented speed and ease.
Connect and engage with customers to create brand awareness, generate qualified leads, build better products or services, reduce time to market, increase revenue and foster brand loyalty.
Connect, collaborate and share with your employees for operational excellence, increase productivity, decrease operating costs, foster innovation, gain a competitive edge, engender employee satisfaction and retention.
Connect with your partners to drive channel sales, improve integrations and reduce risks.
– 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their blog;
– 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook;
– Company websites with a blog get 55% more visitors;
– Inbound marketing leads cost 62% less than outbound.
In Part 3, I will discuss: How to Become a Social Business?
Your thoughts, comments and ideas are always welcome and truly appreciated!!