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.