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.

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