The Big Customer Social Shift
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.