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.
Fifteen years ago, buying books or shoes on-line seemed novel. Seemingly overnight, though, e-commerce and traditional commerce merged. So it’s easy to forget that e-commerce is a recent innovation. Human behaviour has changed, from browsing to buying, from surfing to selling until finally, there was no more “on-line business.” Only business.
A similar shift is unfolding now with social technology. Social media’s leaps in the past five years only hints at what social technology will do over the next five. This is the beginning of a new genre of business, one that presents an opportunity to earn customers by becoming relevant to their needs and aspirations.
IT’S YOUR COLLEAGUES AND YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Social technology is about more than engaging fans and attracting “likes.” It’s about empowering your customers and partners to engage with your brand, to build relationships that will help build your brand. It’s about building communities within your workforce where colleagues create and share ideas.
Leaders in every industry have begun taking advantage of social technology, erasing distinctions between “social business” and business. Human behaviour is changing again.
Increasingly, your customers and employees expect you to integrate social into your core business processes. Any business that isn’t social by design won’t stay in business.
A SOCIAL WORKFORCE IS A PRODUCTIVE WORKFORCE.
We are social animals, even at work. With 1.5 billion of us using social networks, you don’t need to convince your workforce of social’s value you just need to create a culture that guides and supports the application of social to your work processes.
Picture a company that doesn’t follow the flow of a strict organisational chart, but thrives as a network of communities. What if your employees could spot gaps in their expertise and quickly identify the best colleagues or candidates to fill them? Or if your staff could instantly crowd source and share their knowledge across departments, across languages, across oceans?
These aren’t idle fantasies. For example, a cement giant that faced some familiar issues above, was aware that its corporate knowledge had become globally spread. Vulnerable to file
deletion, career changes or retirement. Employees are now building a network of communities around shared skills and projects, helping the company launch its first global brand
in just a third of the time it had anticipated.
TURNING CUSTOMERS INTO ADVOCATES.
It’s only taken social media half a decade to alter consumer behaviour. Social inputs like reviews and comments could drive up to a third of consumer spending, and it’s estimated that, by 2022, social technology will enable four out of every five customer transactions. With consumers so empowered, it’s crucial for your entire workforce to use social technology to help delight customers. Your brand’s success will depend on its ability to match what it promises with what it delivers.
What if you could harness the Web into an infinite focus group. Applying social listening to on-line discussions, your company can creatively and nimbly respond to consumer sentiment. In fact, social conversation on sustainability has inspired one company to introduce greener packaging. And by incorporating social into on-line experiences to reach new audience segments, they turned customers into advocates.
ITS NO LONGER BUSINESS AS USUAL.
Investing in becoming a social business—in helping your work-force deliver an exceptional customer experience—has never been more urgent.
A 5% decrease in customer attrition can boost profits by up to 95%. And finding new customers can cost up to five times as much as keeping the ones you have.
Becoming a social business goes beyond building a social network. It demands capturing and analysing the vast amount of data that the network creates. Harnessing that data can remove boundaries inside and outside your company. Before you know it, there will be no more “social business” Only Business.
Where do you want to take your business? What are the questions you want answered?
skills and projects, helping Cemex
launch its first global brand
in just a third of the time it had anticipated.
Smarter workforce solutions help
companies attract employees, enable them to develop their skills
faster and show them how
delighting customers can improve
business performance. After outdoor retailer Cabela’s used smarter workforce technology to
rally its employees around a
formalized brand culture, its stores
with more engaged employees realized significantly higher sales
per labor hour. That’s the promise
of a smarter workforce.
TURNING CUSTOMERS INTO ADVOCATES.
It’s only taken social media half a decade to alter consumer
behavior. Social inputs like reviews
and comments could drive up
to a third of consumer spending, and it’s estimated that, by 2022, social technology will enable four out of every five customer transactions.
With consumers so empowered, it’s crucial for your entire workforce to use social technology
that faced some familiar issues. Its
corporate knowledge had been
spread all over—vulnerable to file
deletion or one engineer’s
retirement. But since 2009, IBM
solutions for social business have
helped product-development teams in 50 countries trade ideas and insights in real time. And employees have built a network of communities around shared
as a network of communities. What if your employees could spot gaps in their expertise and quickly identify the best colleagues or candidates to fill them? Or if your staff could instantly crowdsource
and share their knowledge across
departments, across languages,
Those aren’t idle fantasies for Cemex, a $15 billion cement giant
It’s easy to forget that e-commerce
is a recent innovation. Fifteen years ago, buying books or shoes online seemed novel. Seemingly overnight, though, e-commerce and traditional commerce merged.
Human behavior changed—from
browsing to buying, from surfing
to selling—until finally, there
was no more “online business.” Only business.
A similar shift is unfolding now
with social technology. Social media’s leaps in the past five years
only hint at what social technology
will do over the next five.
IT’S YOUR COLLEAGUES.
AND YOUR CUSTOMERS.
Social technology is about more than engaging fans and attracting
“likes.” It’s about building
communities within your workforce where colleagues create and share ideas. And it’s about
empowering your customers and
partners to help build your brand.
On a smarter planet, leaders in
every industry have begun taking
advantage of social technology, erasing distinctions between “social business” and business. And
human behavior is changing again.
Increasingly, your customers and employees expect you—and your
competitors—to integrate social into your core business processes.
Any business that isn’t social by design won’t stay in business.
A SOCIAL WORKFORCE
IS A SMARTER WORKFORCE.
We humans are social animals, even at work. With 1.5 billion of
us using social networks, you don’t
need to convince your workforce
of social’s value—you just need to create a culture that guides and
supports the application of social to your work processes.
Picture a company that doesn’t follow the flow of a strict
organizational chart, but thrives
to help delight customers. Your brand’s success will depend on its
ability to match what it promises
with what it delivers.
In 2010, the Italian poultry leader
Amadori Group used IBM
solutions for social business to interpret the Web as an infinite focus group. Applying social
listening to online discussions, the
company can creatively and nimbly
respond to consumer sentiment.
In fact, social conversation on
sustainability has inspired Amadori
to introduce greener packaging. And by incorporating social into online experiences to reach new audience segments, Amadori can turn customers into advocates.
THERE’S NO BUSINESS
BUT SOCIAL BUSINESS.
Investing in becoming a social
business—in helping your work-force deliver an exceptional customer experience—has never been more urgent. A 5% decrease
in customer attrition can boost profits by up to 95%. And finding
new customers can cost up to five times as much as keeping the
ones you have.*
Becoming a social business goes beyond building a social network.
It demands capturing and analyzing
the vast amount of data that the network creates. Harnessing that data can remove boundaries
inside and outside your company.
And before you know it, there will be no more “social business.”
Only business. To learn more, visit
us at ibm.com/social-business
“LIKING” ISN’T LEADING.
The social-technology industry,
worth $600 million in 2010, will grow tenfold by 2016 to $6.4 billion.
Could you use an extra day of productivity from your staff each week?
Social technology can increase efficiency by as much as 25%.
THE RISE OF
By 2014, nearly four out of five
companies plan to invest in social technology
to foster internal collaboration and to
listen to customers.
LET’S BUILD A SMARTER PLANET.
*Frederick F. Reichheld, The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996).
IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Smarter Planet and the planet icon are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. © International Business Machines Corporation 2012.
Did you know?
46% percent of the executives in the survey stated that they had increased their investment in social technologies in 2012 and 62% stated that they will increase their social business investments in the next three years.
Social business transforms the way organizations communicate by using interactive engagement models with customers, employees, and suppliers. To better understand the opportunities, challenges and risks of weaving social business into the organizational fabric, and to provide a path to progress for organizations looking to capitalize on its benefits, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed more than 1,100 executives and conducted 26 in-depth interviews with widely recognized social business leaders.
The study found that most companies today largely use social business in marketing and public relations. However, the use of social technologies and approaches is expected to rapidly extend into a wide range of front-office business processes, in particular customer service, sales and internal communications. Leading companies are increasingly incorporating social technologies into their processes to increase revenue, attract talent and share knowledge across and beyond the boundaries of the organization.
Over the next three years, the majority of survey respondents indicate they will increase investment in social technologies to improve and expedite communications and access to information and people. Organizations are applying these investments to:
- Create valued customer experiences
- Drive workforce productivity and effectiveness
- Accelerate innovation.
Create Valued Customer Experiences
As today’s consumers become ever more technology enabled, failure to communicate with them through the media they prefer can create an engagement gap difficult to overcome. C-level executives recognize this, which is why, in two recent IBM C-Suite studies, the 2012 Global Chief Executive Officer Study and the 2011 Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, senior executives expressed a strong desire to use social tools to understand customers and create experiences that attract and retain them. Leading organizations, such as American Express, are focusing their social business resources in three areas: listening to and engaging with customers, building communities to share information and insight and creating better sales and support experiences.
Drive Workforce Productivity
Applying social business technologies within a company and its surrounding value chain can substantially improve visibility of knowledge, finding and building expertise, and collaborating with partners and suppliers. This use of social technologies spans most industries, including, among others: automotive, banking, insurance, manufacturing, retail, and increasingly, government. Organizations such as TD Bank, CEMEX and Boston Children’s Hospital are finding innovative ways of collaborating inside and outside the organization to improve productivity and reduce time-to-competence.
Social technologies have made it significantly easier to raise the visibility of new ideas, regardless of their source, allowing companies to acquire new ideas from almost anyone who touches their organization. Companies such as LEGO Group and Beiersdorf are finding new ways of reaching out to their entire ecosystem to come up with new ideas that have a direct impact on their business. Social technologies also enable organizations to host structured innovation efforts like Jams and Hack Days as well as tap into collaboration arising from day-to-day work. The IBV study details how some organizations are implementing these approaches to accelerate innovation in their firms.
Embed Social in the Organization
Purposeful deployment of social technologies is integral to organizations realizing business value from their social business investments. Social business is a disruptive and transformative approach that can yield measurable returns when applied to specific business outcomes. Yet, this study uncovered the fact that only about 20 percent of organizations can identify key performance indicators and track ROI on social business projects. Organizations also need to understand and mange the risks associated with employing social technologies to become more interactive with and transparent to customers, suppliers and employees. The report noted that organizations need to implement change management practices if they are to deploy successfully social technologies.
Ten Tips for Navigating Your Organization Through a Successful IBM Connections Pilot
Proof of concept, pilot, or evaluation, call it what you may, but most organizations nowadays are sticking their toe in the water before “going social”.
For many, it’s a big move. Transforming isolated data silos into a consolidated social platform that delivers outstanding collaboration and creativity benefits yet also challenges traditional reporting hierarchies may intimidate some. So, running a pilot is judicious.
Like most software implementations, social software is often piloted in a proof of concept before roll-out. This gives management and users confidence in the outcome as a viable solution, allows time for user acceptance testing and prevents any “issues” being rolled out to a broader audience. The solution can be fine-tuned post pilot and rolled out. Because social software is new, unique challenges apply and flexibility is essential.
Experience is sage in this new era of social business; learning from the mistakes and successes of early adopters will enhance your chances of success. Here are some points of consideration, learned from the real, world which may help you with your pilot.
8. Create a social, sharing culture
The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologie:
There’s plenty of research and comment around topics such as finding new customers, customer satisfaction, collaboration, building value, individual benefits from embracing Social technologies… This report demonstrates that IBM is ahead of the curve for adoption (own use) and for solutions for firms embracing (for their use).
Key findings include :
The speed and scale of adoption of social technologies by consumers has exceeded that of previous technologies.
– Several distinct properties of social technologies make them uniquely powerful enablers of value creation. The most fundamental is to endow social interactions with the speed, scale, and economics of the Internet.
– Based on in-depth analysis of usage in sectors that represent almost 20 percent of global industry sales, we identify ten ways in which social technologies can create value across the value chain.
– Companies that rely heavily on consumer insights for product development and marketing purposes have an opportunity to create value by engaging with consumers on social media and monitoring social media conversations to generate consumer insights and market intelligence.
– Individuals and the communities they form will derive much of the benefits of social technologies.
– Giving social interactions Internet scale, speed, and economics carries risks. These risks include identity theft, loss of intellectual property, violations of privacy, abuse, and damage to reputations. Social technologies also can disrupt traditional business models.
– The benefits of social technologies will likely outweigh the risks for most companies.
Download the full report HERE
Interesting study from Corporate Executive Board (23 companies, incl IBM) on how to get into sales earlier — when the client is “learning” vs. when they are looking for a vendor. Key finding is that high performing sellers use social media to gain access to opportunities more often than other sellers. Good insights on the new role of marketing, the partnership of mktg and sales, and the impact of using social media in sales.