Enterprise Social is top-of-mind for every business leader worth his or her paper. That’s why SPR Consulting is bringing its well-earned insight to the topic via an eight-part blog series; designed to help organizations get the most from this pivotal trend.
Consumers are serious about social. A full 67% of all Internet users are active on social media sites. And the numbers suggest undeniable value for the participants. After all, month after month, they keep coming back. Yet many business leaders still ask, can the value of social tools really translate to my enterprise? In a word? Uh…yeah! The question is no longer whether thoughtfully-selected social tools can impact your business. The question is…how?
Buffer post, May 2, 2013, written by Leo Widrich.
So let’s take a moment to align our thinking. What is Enterprise Social? Essentially, it’s the adoption of tools and processes that propel new modes of collaboration, information sharing and decision making across and beyond an enterprise; allowing employees, partners and customers to build new value together by crashing through conventional hierarchies and silos. And it’s working. Smart businesses are already deeply engaged in becoming more social. And those who haven’t begun the journey are late to the party. Here’s why it’s crucial to begin now.
1. There’s no more B2B or B2C. There’s only H2H.
Humans communicate with humans, period. And today 1.5B people around the globe have at least one social networking account. Social technology is a normal part of daily life for a bunch of folks, and there’s no turning back. Like never before, they easily share things, uncover solutions, keep up with friends and public figures, and discuss topics that interest them. These facts bring me to reason #2.
2. Your employees, partners and customers are among these people.
Inside your business, employees want to harness information, connect, engage and work together in new ways. They expect options like the ones they have in their personal lives.
Outside your business, customers have become savvier; empowered by the wealth of information they can access. They too expect to connect in new ways. The consequence? Swift, seamless communication is no longer a luxury. It’s a business necessity.
3. By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials.
This generation (also known as Gen Y) grew up as the World Wide Web found its footing. Technology, social tools and mobility is inherent in the fabric of their lives. They wouldn’t know how to exist without the ever-present technology that they depend on. To spur innovation and fresh ideas, your business must fling open its doors to this bold new crowd of thought leaders. In truth, even Boomers have evolved into digital natives; and attracting, engaging and retaining the best employees (Boomer, Gen X or Gen Y) depends in large measure on your willingness to embrace this new way of communicating. Only offering them email and a file share is a non-starter.
4. Your competition is already doing it.
Studies suggest that 72% of companies are engaged in using at least one social software tool. Perhaps more telling, 82% of those currently invested say that over the next 12 months, they plan to extend social to other business areas, heightening the value prop. Of course, many are moving to the next level by deploying true Enterprise Social tools, like Microsoft SharePoint or Salesforce Chatter. Dragging your feet on this only puts you further behind.
5. Enterprise Social is disruptive! Or is it?
Depending on who you ask, the answer will vary. And so what? Truth is, the balance of power has shifted from the corporation to the individual. And technology is nothing more than a brilliant enabler. Content, authenticity, integrity, reputation, commitment and follow-through remain the true currency of any successful organization. Deploy Enterprise Social to mimic a flattened world – allowing direct contact between stakeholders: customers to product developers, VPs to frontline workers, salespeople to suppliers and so on. As a result, processes will become more streamlined and communications more satisfying and effective. The goal is a nimble, lean and connected enterprise.
Now what? First, plan to come back in about a week and check out the next post of the series, 6 BIG don’ts on the road to Enterprise Social. And since you can’t wait to learn more, read this social whitepaper to see what my colleague at SPR Consulting has written. His comprehensive whitepaper breaks down the components of Enterprise Social; from profiles and newsfeeds, to activity streams and analytics. It’s satisfying food for thought as you assess the value of these capabilities for your organization.
Questions and comments can be addressed directly to:
User Experience & Social Collaboration Evangelist – Senior Manager