Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pesonal Branding for Social Business ...'what's in it for me?"

This is an evolving topic,and one that is written about frequently.  As an example, I enjoyed reading Why Personal Branding Matters to Big Companies.   It's interesting to think about the question 'what's in it for me' from both the company and employee perspectives.  On the flip side, these benefits come with risks.   Successful Social Businesses will be able to balance these elements to drive value.

So what are the benefits?
  • From the company's perspective, the ability to empower every employee to be the 'voice' of your company's brand is very powerful. Think about it ... it's an opportunity for the company to benefit from the personal and professional networks of every employee.  It provides a transparent vehicle to demonstrate the expertise of employees through interaction, which goes beyond typical marketing and advertising. 
  • As an employee, it provides an opportunity to build their personal eminence, and be recognized outside their company.  This could have benefits for their performance rating in their current job.  It also provides a mechanism to make them a marketable skill for their next job, and provides an on-line resume if they were to get terminated by their current employer.

How about the risks?
  • In order to fully realize the value, companies need to have a high level of trust of their employees.  There is certainly a risk of one employee speaking unfavorably of the company, or behaving inappropriately in social conversations.   If this employee is influential, this activity could have negative effects on the brand.  There is also a risk of employees not being able to answer questions from a key current or future customers.  Another risk often discussed is the risk of loosing key talent to competitors.
  • Some employees may perceive this activity as an invasion of privacy.  Often, it's difficult to keep you professional and personal persona's separate.   How much information do I want to share about my job with my network?  What happens if I say something wrong?

This You Tube video summarizing the Forum on the Future of Leadership has some some terrific insights here I'd definitely recommend you taking 5 minutes to take a look.  One of the quotes from Jamie Dimon (CEO, JP Morgan Chase) is both comical, but true:  "I was in a meeting the other day where we were going through Twitter and Facebook ... we have all these laws and restrictions ...I said to them ... if we invented the phone today, we would not be using it for 20 years...because you guys would be saying ... oh ... information is going outside the company... people are saying what ever they want, and you can't control it ..."

The point here is that the value of participating will far outweigh the risks.  The risks identified today are driven by today's culture.   Companies need to change their culture to trust their employees, to open lines of communication and encourage dialog.  That's when companies and employees both will see the benefits of becoming a successful Social Business.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How do you become a a Social Business? Create your A.G.E.N.D.A.

Check out this YouTube video by Sandy Carter, Vice President, IBM Social Business Evangelism and Sales.  The concepts highlight key focus areas in support of building your Social Business ... and is easy to remember :-). 
  • It all starts ALIGNING organizational goals and culture.  Sure ... companies need to define goals, but that's the easy part.  The real challenge is about transforming organizational culture, which could take years.   Culture change needs to be driven from the highest executive levels in the company, and be adaptable across the vast geographies that many companies operate.  
  • Once companies have a well documented and communicated strategy and a supporting culture, GAINING friends through social trust is the first step in the journey.  Employees should be encouraged to define and nurture their social eminence - their professional profile.   This again, is a journey and could take months/years to develop.  
  • Building eminence is about ENGAGING in relevant conversations and providing valuable insights to your peers ... i.e. building social trust.  Gaining friends and effectively engaging will be most effective as part of a supporting corporate culture that provides clear guidance and incentives that align to the overall goals.  
  • Once companies have established these elements, they can begin to NETWORK changes into existing business processes.  Social is one of many 'inputs' to your business processes, and Social will be one of many 'outputs' to that same process.  The way to effectively scale to a Social Business is to seamlessly integrate social into the way businesses operate.   
  • The last two bullets are focused on risk management and metrics.   Your customers are talking about you.  It's important to DESIGN a response process to assure that you are able to listen ... and quickly respond.   This is not an optional step.  If you don't respond, it's possible that your competitors will.  ANALYZING your data provides you with an opportunity to learn about what works and what doesn't.  Having a feedback loop and being iterative in your Social Business journey is essential!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Social Business - what is your company's risk profile?

Enabling employee participation in social discussions does come with risk.  It also comes with a an opportunity to provide significant business value.  Companies need to think about the risk/benefit tradeoff, and how it aligns with their company's values.

It's an age-old issue .. if companies are risk-adverse, their rewards are likely to be minimal (safe).  In some regulated industries, there are strict guidelines that must be followed that may restrict employee participation in social discussions.  If we put regulated industries aside, companies that have a risk adverse culture will find it difficult to trust their employees to collaborate directly with customers and partners.  They rely on the traditional 'push' messaging, which requires approval through an established process.   It's interesting to consider new risks for this model.... the risk of loosing existing market share to companies who enable social conversations.  Companies need to realize this new risk, and evaluate their response based on their corporate culture.  Not participating at all is probably not a sustainable position long term.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are start-up companies that are in business to take risks, with the goal of significant rewards. While this is a small percentage of companies, they may be best positioned to take advantage of new white space opportunities in this new social era.  Since they have minimal 'rules' and process, they are able to create a stronger voice in social channels than their competition.   They are best suited to meet the needs of the 'new' customer who will make purchasing decisions based on my personal interactions and support. 

The environment is changing, as are customer expectations.  Companies need to understand the changing landscape and take a hard look at their risk profile.  What has worked in the past may not work in the future. Exciting times ahead :-) 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready to provide guidance around personal/professional persona?

To continue the theme of talking about readiness to adopt Social Business, let's take a deeper dive into the topic around the blurring of personal and company persona.   As companies start to encourage and enable employee participation in social media to drive business value, it's important to consider how to or if employees should include their personal social interactions with social business discussions.  Should they have a single profile?  Or, separate profiles for work and personal?   This is a tough issue, with advocates on both sides of the spectrum.

Many believe that employees should be encouraged to blur the line between their personal and professional persona.  The benefit of this is to give the 'userid' a personality, making even the business conversations warmer.  It also provides an opportunity to network with business collegues on non-work related topics.   I've heard numerous examples where important relationships have formed over topics such as gardening, biking, traveling, etc.  These relationships could reap business benefits and connections that would not otherwise be made.

Others believe that it's best to have separate identities on social networks.  The concern is that my relatives and friends do not really care about work related topics, so why should she be exposed to them.  When you blur your persona's, it makes it difficult to keep selected personal topics private.   Some say that it is possible to carefully set your privacy settings in social networks, but it does take continued diligence to assure that they are kept up to date.

So, which is best for Social Business?  I've come to the conclusion that 'it depends' on what the employee wants to accomplish.  Rather than diving right into creating and linking profiles, it's critical for employees to take the time to put together their social eminence plan.  What do they want to accomplish professionally?  What level of engagement do I currently have personally?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to blurring personas vs. keeping them separate?   This plan is also critical to have upfront, so you can think about what conversations you want to listen to, and engage with.  Without a plan, it is easy to wonder aimlessly in social spaces.  I know we have all felt that frustration on the internet ... and the same thing applies with social networks.

My advice for companies?   Encourage your employees to participate in social conversations.   Give them tips and education around how to put a plan together.  Establish goals for yourself.  Once you understand your goals, you can then go ahead and start setting up your profiles.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready to go beyond pilots?

 To continue the theme of talking about readiness to adopt Social Business, let's take a deeper dive into the maturity element that was highlighted in the HBR article "Taking Social Media from Talk to Action".     "For many companies, social media use is still viewed as an experiment." There is a Social Business maturity curve for companies, which should drive their focus areas.  Let's look at companies at both ends of the maturity curve.
  • For companies just starting this journey, their focus should be on defining their strategy and future goals.  As a secondary phase, they could begin to experiment with justifying value using pilots.   That's terrific, and should be encouraged.
  • Companies that already understand their Social Business strategy typically understand the inhibitors/ actions that need to be taken.  They have taken the time to understand the value, and often have the benefit of pilot results.  The challenge?  Many identified inhibitors are very hard to solve, and require company wide transformational actions.  Examples include the elements discussed in my previous blog posts:  Strategy, Culture, Demonstration of Business Value, Funding, Training, etc.   The question then becomes ... how and when do you get out of pilot mode?  It takes significant company commitment to implement a pilot solution across the enterprise.  If you leave it to the typical company processes, these large transformational investments require inclusion into the yearly Financial planning cycles ... which could delay roll-out for a year.  With the changing landscape, the solution will be seriously behind competition and are at risk of de-prioritization against current needs.
Getting beyond pilot mode is the next real challenge.  It's easy for executives to say 'Yeah, we're doing that'.  In reality, it's been a successful pilot that relies heavily on passionate volunteers in their spare time.  What is needed is a new way to think about prioritization of enterprise wide scaling.  This is an area that is yet to be solved, but it's becoming recognized that a new business  model needs to emerge quickly.  If it doesn't, then the risk is that small start up companies (who have the flexibility, are agile, and have access to Investment sources) can gain some of your current market share.

Couple of ideas have surfaced, but this is definitely still work in progress.    Below are some 'food for thought' ideas in this area.  I welcome your thoughts and suggestions!
  • Consider the investment as part of the sales and marketing budget, rather than through the typical  POR (Plan of Record) budgets (i.e. IT spending, HR training, existing strategy).  Maybe this could be thought of as more of an investment case for a new Social Business revenue opportunity?
  • Perhaps a business justification based on the risk of not fully participating?  This would not be the typical investment to revenue case, but rather an investment to protect a loss in current revenue streams..
Taking the step out of pilot mode is a difficult one.  The companies that transform their culture and fully embrace Social Business benefits and enterprise wide investments will take a leadership position in this significant emerging market opportunity.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready with a supporting culture?

To continue the theme of talking about readiness to adopt Social Business, let's take a deeper dive into the culture element that was highlighted in the HBR article "Taking Social Media from Talk to Action".     "Many organizations seem to operate under old paradigms, viewing social media as one-way flow marketing messages, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to monitor, analyze, and participate in the millions of conversations between consumers"    In my opinion, there are two main drivers to this:
  1. Companies are not listening to what is being said about them
  2. Employees are not given 'permission' to engage in a dialog with customers because the perceived risk is too high
In terms of listening, the HBR article points out that "...while more than half are using social media, only about one-quarter of users said they could identify where their most valuable customers are “talking” about them. And, less than one-quarter (23%) are using any form of social media analytic tools, with only 5% using some form of customer sentiment analysis."    Why is this?  You would think that companies could just buy an off the shelf listening capability.  However, it's not that simple.  This is an example of culture change that needs to start with long term commitment.  This commitment needs to include transformational changes including training, resource allocation, funding prioritization and on-going management focus.  While there is significant benefit to listening and engaging with your customers, it could be a bigger risk if you start down that path and then are not prepared to support your end of the conversation.  Listening is the first step to engagement.  Is your company ready to fully support all aspects of the response you will be sure to get?

To the second point above, let's say that companies have established a listening capability.  Typically, Social Media managers will monitor the conversations and route them to the appropriate employee for engagement.  Are your employees ready to engage (beyond the small number of external communications professionals)?  Have they been given 'permission' to speak on behalf of their company by their management?  Are they adequately trained?  Do they know where to go for help and support if required?  On the surface, this also looks easy ... but in reality it takes culture change. It requires trust and a willingness to accept risk (with appropriate mitigation in place like training).

It easy to leverage social within the boundaries of the old paradigm, but that's not Social Business.  It's a journey, but the rewards can be significant.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready with a strategy?

In my last blog post, I highlighted some interesting topic areas that companies should consider as they get ready for the new Social Business era.  

Here, I'd like to take a deeper look at Social Business Strategy.  The "Taking Social Media from Talk to Action" HBR article provides a statistic that is concerning:  "Two-thirds of users have no formalized social media strategy in place.... many organizations’ activities seem more focused on “making noise” about their company and products, and less on understanding and participating in the conversations already going on about them on the Web."  Why is that?  Perhaps their competitors are 'doing something' in this space which compels them to 'do something' quickly?  Maybe they decide just to start a pilot in this space to better understand it.   Some may realize that it could be very difficult to stop a pilot in this space once companies open the 'social doors' to their customers.  Fast is good.  Collaboration is good.   But ... it will just be about 'making noise' until companies understand how to channel this goodness into Social Business value.  It all starts with strategy, followed closely by an understanding of the long term investment and business value it will drive. 

OK - now your company understands need to create a Social Business Strategy.  What are some key elements that should be considered?  Here are some areas to think about: 

  • Have you listened to what your customers are saying about your company?  How about what they are saying about your competitors?  Do you see opportunities and/or gaps?
  • How does your company collaborate with customers today?  If you gave them more of a 'voice', where could that drive benefit for your company?  Sales?  Development?  Service?
  • If you had a community that supported your company, how could they help drive more sales?  How could you reward this type of behavior?
  • In addition to thinking about collaboration externally, are there efficiencies and benefits that could be gained through employee usage of social media internally?
These are just some questions that companies should ask themselves as they develop strategies to leverage social for business purposes.  Of course, you need to develop and measure success criteria to understand what is working, and what needs to change.  I'll pass along some good advice that I received .... this is a marathon, not a sprint.  If you demonstrate continued passion and focus on the customer in support of business goals, the benefits will follow. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Social Business - is your company ready?

Harvard Business review released an interest report entitled:  "The New Conversation:  "Taking Social Media from Talk to Action".   It provides some very insightful data about what companies think about the new Social age, what their current maturity level is, and what their concerns are going forward.  If you have an interest in this area, it's worth a read.

This report highlights a couple of very interesting topic areas:
  • Strategy:  "Two-thirds of users have no formalized social media strategy in place.... many organizations’ activities seem more focused on “making noise” about their company and products, and less on understanding and participating in the conversations already going on about them on the Web."
  •  Culture:  "Many organizations seem to operate under old paradigms, viewing social media as one-way flow marketing messages, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to monitor, analyze, and participate in the millions of conversations between consumers"
  • Maturity:  "For many companies, social media use is still viewed as an experiment."
  •  Budget:  "Just 20% of social media users have a dedicated budget for their social media activities, with marketing controlling that budget in almost half the companies ... This reflects just how experimental many organizations view social media and how they have been reluctant to commit resources, perhaps because they are still not certain of its goals, effectiveness, and impact on the organization.
  • Demonstration of business value:  “It’s hard to define value when we are still trying to measure it. We will get it eventually, but right now we are stabbing in the dark for measurement criteria.”
 As I reflect on the important topics above, here ares some others that companies should think about as they move from talk to action:  
  • Blurring of personal and company persona:   As companies start to encourage and enable employee participation in social media to drive business value, it's important to consider how to or if employees should include their personal social interactions with social business discussions. 
  • Company risk profile:  Enabling employee participation in social discussions does come with risk.  Companies need to think about what is the risk/benefit tradeoff ... and how does that align with their companies values. 
It's evident that Social Business is driving a paradigm shift for many companies, just as it was in the e-business era.   To fully embrace Social Business, companies need to seriously consider cross-company transformational changes to their culture and business processes. This paradigm shift could effect HR, Legal, Finance, CIO and product development organizations.  It's a fundamental change in the way we work. 

These are exciting times with great opportunities!  Is your company ready for them?

I'll talk more about each of the areas above in future blog posts.  I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Social Business - customer perception becomes business reality

IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) recently published very insightful report titled:  From Social Media to Social CRM.  Based on extensive survey results from both consumers and business executives, IBV uncovered significant gaps between what customers want and businesses think they want in their social media engagement.  Consumers desire tangible value such as coupons and discounts, while businesses feel that they want to learn about new products.  The table below highlights the significant perception gap.

Note: Consumer: N=1056; Business: Learn N=333, General info N=336, Submit opinion N=334, Exclusive info N=333, Reviews/rankings N=333, Feel connected N=331,
Customer service N=331, Submit ideas N=332, Community N=329, Event N=332, Purchase N=334, Discounts N=331.
Source: IBM Institute for Business Value analysis. CRM Study 2011.
Most customers want to use social media for personal reasons ... to connect with friends and family, not with companies. Consumers are willing to interact with businesses if they believe it is to their benefit.  Have you noticed that many successful social media campaigns often include some type of prize or incentive?  Even recent TV commercials feature stories where customers who tweet about their brand are surprised with prizes in coffee shops or airports.   While that is an interesting business tactic to introduce customers to social media, it can get expensive and have questionable long term returns.

Survey results show that businesses are three times more likely to think consumers are interested in interacting with them to feel part of a community.  It's clear that businesses are overestimating consumers’ desire to engage with them to feel connected to their brand.   In reality, these two activities are among the least interesting from a consumer’s perspective. 

So ... what does this data tell business executives?  First - they should assure that they are getting continuous direct consumer feedback about their social media initiatves.   Are they working?  What needs to change?  What is the perceived value to the customer (as compared to the expected value from the company's perspective)?  As the report suggests, businesses need to stay laser focused on customer value to avoid falling into the perception gaps they've uncovered.

If you are interested in the Social business area, this report is definitely worth the time to read.  I welcome your insights ... and perceptions :-)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is Social Media Employee Training is overrated?

I stumbled across a very insightful blog post called Empowering Your Employees May Solve Your Content Problems.  It talks about the idea that employee training is overrated ... what is really needed is management permission to try things. 

Is employee training overrated?  My first reaction was that training is often touted as the mitigation to many social media risks.  Worried about leakage of confidential information?  Training is the answer.  Worried about inappropriate employee behavior that could impact your brand image?  Training is the answer.   You get the point ... training is often the answer to many Social Media concerns.  It can't be overrated ..... or can it?

When you think about training ...
  • is it about how to use Social Media?  The user interfaces are fairly self explanatory...  
  • is it about following Business Conduct Guidelines?  This should be about acting professionally, and not doing anything 'stupid', which should be expected of all employees...
  • is it about getting the majority of employees to have a consistent social messaging?  While this is valuable to a point, companies have to make sure their social conversations are not perceived only as glorified marketing channels...
If employees would take some time and 'jump in' to social media conversations, they would quickly be able to train themselves on most of the items above.  What is holding many of them back?   According to the referenced article: "What they need is ownership approval to practice, and the flexibility in their daily work agenda to have the available time to create digital content." 

So, maybe Employee training is overrated.  What IS needed is Management training ... at all levels. Maybe the focus should be on Social Media Management Training.  This does come up in various feedback, but is often not prioritized.  If we focus on Management Training, employee usage will follow.  Food for thought :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unlock the power of internal conversations

Most companies have an internal capability to collaborate between employees.  Some have sophisticated social tools that enable their employees to share information within the firewall, while others have manual processes.  To be successful in Social Business:    Internal Conversations + Social Media = Sales Conversations.  As discussed in this referenced blog post, companies should start slowly on this journey.  Start with an agile process that enables fast learning and iteration.  Select specific target areas, assure policies are in place and understood, and measure results.  Over time, with management encouragement, this will drive a culture shift for employees towards open collaboration externally.

For me personally, I am beginning this shift.  When I want to start an internal community/team discussion, I ask myself:  Will we be talking about anything confidential?  If not, would the conversation have higher value if shared externally?  Surprisingly, in many cases the answer is that an externally community could provide additional value and insights.  The next challenge is to get everyone on the team comfortable with open collaboration externally.  It's a slow shift, but I see it beginning to happen.   I'd encourage everyone to begin that thought process and be an early adopter. It's a journey .. the first step is the hardest.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interesting concept - spending based on Social Business Maturity

I recently read a slideshare presentation from Jeremiah Owyang entitled How Corporations should Prioritize Social Business Budgets.  I found it very interesting, and thought provoking.  Here are a few insights ...
  • 'Overall budgets increase as social business matures.'  This is counter to typical business cost curves.  The traditional theory is that a company can find and implement cost improvements as they mature and become more efficient.  It's interesting to think about how to 'sell' this concept to the finance team.  Perhaps Social Business investments should  increase as a 'migration' from traditional spending as ROI  becomes more evident.  The age-old challenge still exists ... how to stop work in 'the way we have always done things' projects in favor of new Social Business.  
  • 'As social business matures, team sizes grow but spread cross-functionally across the enterprise.'   As companies think about staffing requirements, it's interesting to think about scalability and long term sustainability.  Even though dedicated teams may be more efficient in the short term, are they affordable as a long term strategy?  Perhaps Social Business should just a part of everyone's job.  It's like the analogy of using the telephone or instant messaging ... social capabilities are part of the tool kit that employees have to enable them to do their job better.
  • 'To scale, organizations organize differently as they mature.'    It is interesting to think about a centralized or decentralized model for scaling.  Ultimate Social Business success is when it is completely integrated into a companies processes, including HR, Legal, Finance, Strategy, etc.  This requires a culture shift to promote open sharing, with a realization that open dialog will result in improved business results.  
The entire presentation is worth a read ... thanks to Jeremiah for sharing it openly with the broad community.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Social' risks - are they unique?

Social Business is all about mitigating risks in support of driving business value.  Risks come in multiple dimensions:  business, legal, HR, technology, etc..  As companies begin to better understand the risks resulting from participating in social conversations, it's interesting to think about which are unique to 'social', and which are fundamentally enterprise risks that existed years ago.  Some examples of potential risks :
  • Someone could post some comments that could potentially damage a company's brand image.  
  • An employee could post confidential information, which could impact a product announcement.
  • An employee could share someone's personal information, which could violate privacy laws.

The question is ... are these unique to social?  Prior to social capabilities ... could someone write an article in a newspaper that could potentially damage a companies brand?  Could an employee e-mail a confidential document to an un-authorized person?  Could an employee copy an external person on a personnel e-mail to an employee with their personal information?

The answer to all of the above is .. YES.   While there are some risks that could be unique to social, most of them are not.  So, when we talk about social business and the associated risks, what are the 'social' risks?

We need to consider the dimensions of risk:  their impact and likelihood of occurrence.  
  • Impact:  While many of the risk themselves may not change, their impact may change .... due to the viral nature of social.  In the case of the newspaper article above.  This comment may only be viewed by a few thousand people (depending on the distribution of the paper).... while it now has the potential to spread in a viral fashion to millions of people very quickly.   
  • Likelihood:  Let's now think about the likelihood of occurrence dimension.   With the easy access to blogging tools and twitter feeds, there are millions more people with easy access to express their opinions (both good and bad).  Could this drive a greater likelihood that someone may post some comments that could damage your brand?
When companies consider the social risks in these new dimensions, they will need to identify ways to mitigate these 'new' risks.  It's highly recommended that companies take the time, and conduct a Social Media risk assessment.  I'm sure it will uncover new insights and recommendations.

I welcome any comments or additional insights you'd like to share.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Manager Memo ...Not Working but Networking!

I liked the title from the ZDNet Blog post, ... Not Working, but Networking.  This is catchy, and powerful at the same time.   There is growing consensus that active participation by employees in social channels will provide business value.  But... there are still many managers that haven't yet gotten the 'memo'.  Blogging and tweeting are seen as personal social activities and are discouraged by many managers, since there is not a clear understanding of how it links to their department mission.  It does remind me of the days where employee use of the internet was also viewed as wasting time.   So, what needs to change?  It's easy to say that the culture of the company needs to change, but it's certainly an evolution. I see it in three major phases:
  1. Grass roots efforts by early adopters is the starting point.  Passionate employees go outside 'cultural norms' and participate (with or without specific management permission). Value derived from these efforts can be used to start momentum within a compnay.
  2. Executive leadership needs to set company wide agendas and strategies in support of Social Business.  Once this happens, it can drive support organizations (i.e. HR, Finance, IT) to align to common goals.  This is the phase where cultural norms begin to shift
  3. Company wide management support, especially at the 1st level, is one of the mature phases of the evolution.  When management uniformly supports cross-company collaboration and social conversation, culture will begin to shift.
Social Business is a journey.  I find it fascinating to watch the evolution happen...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The pendulum swings again with Social Business

Over my 25 year career in large corporations, I've seen the pendulum swing in many areas.  I remember 'dumb terminals' on my desk driven from mainframe computers ... wow, I must be old :-).   The pendulum swung completely in the other direction to an individual workstation solution.  While this had some benefits (allowing customization), it certainly had some drawbacks as well (challenge of security, sharing common documents).  With this new era of social business and cloud computing, I see the pendulum swinging back once again.  People are realizing that there is some value to centralization for certain areas.  Cloud computing has many of the attributes of mainframe technologies, with social computing capabilities enabling easy collaboration across team members.

The pendulum effect has come to mind as I think about one of my current focus areas:  Social Intelligence.  In large enterprises, it's common to have individuals and business units create social listening and action plans based on their specific goals.  With the availability of free web capabilities, it's difficult to control.  While there are benefits to having individuals participate, they are missing out on common linkages between data .  In this new era, there is significant value in the intersection of information.  It's the age-old struggle between individual control and the benefit of the common good.  The challenge for organizations is to provide technology that enables individual customization of a common set of data.  Users are demanding it.   I agree with many of the insights in a recent blog post:  From Community Management to Command Centers.  Companies need to figure out how to effectively engage conversations in real time, encourage individual employee participation ... all while assuring that these actives are connected and leveraged across the enterprise.  It's the next real challenge!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social Media 2011 prediction: Culture change

Happy New Year! 

I've been catching up on some great blogs with 2011 Social Media predictions.  Most agree that this will be a year where Social Media tools and capabilities start to demonstrate business value.  What is my prediction?  I think that 2011 will be the year where business cultures will shift away from the risk adverse culture of 'try it and see' to a more risk acceptance/mitigation culture that realizes that the rules have changed.  Executives will come to the realization that in order to compete, they need to enable and encourage their employees to be open, collaborative with clients and partners. 

Culture change is foundational, and typically very slow.  On the other side, the technology for early adopters moves very quickly.  In 2011, these enablers will have reached some level of maturity.  When companies change their culture in 2011 and take advantage of the available capabilities, the possibilities are endless.