Do you care about your influence? What tools do you use?
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Social business is just getting started. But its value is clearly emerging for innovation, operations, leadership and marketing. So what are companies really doing?
In 2012 MIT Sloane Management conducted a survey to really investigate that question. Below you will find my highlights and takeaways from this study.
Even though social technologies have been around for some years now. The sentiment from the report is that many companies are still holding back on the adoption of social tools. Of those surveyed, 52% said that it was important or somewhat important to them today. Whilst 86% believe that it will be important or somewhat important in three years.
Social business is primarily viewed as a tool for external facing activities with marketing departments, sales and customer services being the main driving force with customer relationship management being at the forefront.
The second important use of social software was to drive innovation and competitive differentiation. So whilst the majority see the importance over the coming years most are viewing social tools as external activity, with a smaller group understanding its potential for internal innovation and collaboration.
The report highlights the biggest barrier is leadership vision. However it is noted that CEOs are twice as likely to drive strategic adoption of social tools than the CIO and CFO.
Lack of understanding on how to measure the effectiveness of social tools is also cited as an inhibitor of adoption with many not measuring at all. Social business depends on leadership, metrics may not be critical when experimenting with social software, but as it becomes more important to organisations, having metrics in place can help managers assess, encourage and reward related behaviours. Helping shift their cultures to be more compatible with social business. CEOs recognise that leadership can be improved with social business, may be more than other members of the C-Suite.
Gartner estimates that the failure rate for social business projects is 70%. That is astonishingly high. Factors that could be responsible include:
– Not using the software deployed to solve a true business problem
– Integration into daily work flow
– Lack of senior management support
– Thinking email is a collaborative tool
– The use of “Social” with the word “Business” vs “Social Media”
– Not realising we are Human. (The three basic psychological factors : The need to connect, feel competent and the need to be autonomous in one’s actions)
The report asked “Why do you use social business at work?” The top three answers being : To network, effectiveness and to voice opinions.
Motivations to participate in social business activities are thus far from superficial and even go beyond just our social nature. They can help fulfil basic psychological needs.
The report also noted that larger organisations and smaller organisations appreciate the value of social business more than that of mid size organisations. With the smaller companies saying they could increase their voice and connect with customers to really make themselves seem bigger than they really are.
A clear vision of how social media supports the business strategy was top facilitator in the report. So the first step in your social business journey is to create and communicate the broader social strategy for your organisation. What business challenges are to be solved with social business activities? What is the Strategy to make this happen? What technology best supports these objectives? What kinds of social networks will support this strategy? Most important is to realise that your social business journey will take time, require and drive changes to your business processes. Defining organisational structure an how you interact with customers and employees.
Take the time to access where you are today, identify problems that are currently being addressed with social tools. Consider if the correct resources are being directed towards the right problems. If you are heavily regulated make sure you have governance process in place to address these. Identify the people or roles that will focus on social business and how these individuals will coordinate with each other. Use listening tools to collect information about your brand, customer service and competition. This area hols tremendous potential for organisations.
Ensuring that your business has enough resources is fundamental. Have you chosen to assign the tasks to an individual or will it be on top of someone’s day job. Will you have incentives in place, targeting and rewarding the correct people. Have you resources in place for communication, content creation, community management and training.
Whilst the report makes it clear that many companies are not measuring and whilst in experimentation mode this may not be so important. Measurement will however need to be conducted especially when redefining practices and processes, measuring adoption thought will be misleading so not advised. For people, often what matters most is whether the tools helps them to do their jobs more effectively.
Given that social business is just getting started you may be tempted to wait. But that approach may delay achieving its potential in your organisation, to the detriment of your innovation, leadership, operations and marketing.
Almost everyday I get the opportunity to discuss the digital landscape, present and future, with some bright minds. The latest study from IBM the 2012 Global Student Study, collected the results from over 3,300 students from around the world and it forms a fantastic read. You can get a copy from me here: Download
Here are some excerpts I found interesting.
Growing up with social and mobile technology at their finger tips, students have already integrated technology into their world view. When thinking about major forces, students are much more preoccupied with the impact of the economy on the job market, versus CEO’s who are are focused on technology integration.
Digital, social and mobile spheres are quickly converging – connecting customers, employees and partners to organisations and to each other. As a result, employees are beginning to be empowered as part of open, less rigidly controlled organisations. Customers are increasingly engaged as individuals rather than market segments – anywhere and at any time.
Although business leaders are acutely aware of the pervasive influence of new digital channels, students view them as even more important. Only 56 percent of CEOs use Web sites and social media for customer relationships today, compared to 70 percent of students who believe organisations should do so. Today, CEOs believe face-to-face interaction is the most important tool in building customer relationships, while students cite social media and Web sites. Both students and CEOs do agree, however, that traditional media falls behind both face-to-face interaction and social media/Web sites
Five out of ten students said they interact online with people they don’t already know – in other words, they use social media to reconfigure and expand their social networks into totally new areas. In fact, even before finishing college, students are joining professional social networks such as LinkedIn to establish and benefit from professional relationships.
Students are moving past the “personally social” and seeing the connection between social media and global citizenship. The majority of them, 61 percent, said that social media has helped increase their awareness of the world. They believe that, compared to older generations, social media has made them more aware of global issues and how they can make a difference in the world. Nearly half of students said social media has given them a more powerful voice in society.
Top-five questions from the 2012 IBM Student Study with greatest regional variation.
What did you think of those answers? Is the older generation ready to take steps towards transparency? Drop your comments below and say hello.
CEOs are searching for customer insight.
Customer insight has always been highly prized, in recent years the pursuit has changed in two key ways. First there is far more raw data to draw from than ever before. Second, “knowing the customer” is no longer confined to segmentation,statistical averages and historical reference. Its is about knowing a customer as a human being – interests, attitudes and life circumstances that bring to life the preferences and needs.
Can organisations pick up on these cues, especially from the outside?
But even if they discover it, are their organisations equipped to respond with relevance and speed?
Where are you looking for insight?
What challenges are you facing in this data rich complex society?
The new buzzword for today’s modern leader is Connections.
I would like to encourage you to join the event tomorrow at 12pm ET 7pm BST and participate in the conversation with four remarkable thought leaders:
Kris Pederson – VP North America Business Transformation Leader, IBM Global Business Services
Bryan Kramer – CEO + President, PureMatter
Dorie Clark – Strategy Consultant, Author, marketing & branding expert
Melissa Schilling – professor of strategic management and innovation and technology at New York University Stern School of Business
Feel free to share this invite with others. There is no registration required so just visit this Livestream Channel to attend the event.
I look forward to seeing you today. Have a wonderful day!
In these difficult times, CEOs are turning to partnerships and technology to help them overcome the challenges their organisations are facing. CEOs that drive their organisations to innovate, collaborate and understand their customers better will be well-placed to achieve success, both now and in the long-term.
UK lags behind in organisational ‘openness’, holding businesses back from collaboration, finds CEO study. FULL ARTICLE
Collaboration is key to employee success FULL ARTICLE
Be one of the first to get your copy, there is a registration link below.
Some of the topics covered are :
- How are CEOs responding to the complexity of increasingly interconnected organisations, markets, societies and governments – what we call the connected economy?
- What specific changes do they plan to make within their organisations?
- Where do CEOs see the greatest opportunities to differentiate and lead? And
- What external forces are demanding their attention today?
To find out, IBM spoke with more than 1,700 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders from around the globe.
They will reveal our findings in May 2012 with the publication of their fifth biennial edition of the IBM Global CEO Study. This study, is the largest of its type ever undertaken. It will be the newest in the IBM C-suite Study series, a comprehensive collection of thought leadership, informed by and intended for senior business leaders.
Every business needs smarter thinking. Register now to be among the first to read the insights in the 2012 IBM Global CEO Study: