You’ve done all the right stuff. Your organization has evangelized and implemented Enterprise Social capabilities, and from what you can tell, employees are making connections and creating value inside and outside the company. Yes, things are humming along nicely. You know this because you’ve been diligent about observing and listening. But here’s where things can get sticky. How do you take the next step to uncovering and assessing, in an evidentiary way, the extent and benefit of what’s going on? The easy answer is – analytics. Right? Sure, that seems an appropriate direction, but easy is up for debate. Let’s explore.
What is Enterprise Social Analytics? Essentially, we’re talking about analyzing collected data and looking for patterns or behaviors that yield unexpected insights. These capabilities will help organizations make informed judgments about who’s using the software, who those users are connected to and the extent of those connections. In short, the primary objective of analytics is to influence business outcomes. Here’s how. Enterprise Social Analytics can:
Identify and eliminate disconnects between work groups; increasing the quality of an organization’s internal connections
Offer insights that support change; like broad or departmental reorganizations meant to elevate process efficiencies
Measure user adoption; analyze, validate and optimize how the tools are being used
Provide guidance on allocation of resources, utilization of assets, and time-management concerns
Begin with the basics. Grow from there.
Often, analytics is not an up-front consideration. In fact, most organizations haven’t measured usage on internal social deployments yet. The firms eyeing analytics tend to be further along in the journey. And it’s good to start simple. Gather details on how many employees are participating, who they are, and how fast the group is growing. What are folks liking, following or sharing? And keep people at the center, then layer on analytics to learn more about them and how they do their jobs. The idea is to uncover context regarding where the conversations are happening and why. How many relationships are forged? Are genuine experts being identified? Are hierarchies being considered or disregarded? Sure, these kinds of questions are more difficult to quantify. But yet they strike at the heart of the value of Enterprise Social.
What’s trust got to do with it? In a recent survey and report evaluating success with business analytics overall, a leading researcher and major industry player uncovered nine levers of differentiation. These levers, it seems, enable organizations to create value from expanding volumes of data gleaned from a variety of sources. The last of the nine, surprisingly, was identified as trust. Otherwise classified as organizational confidence. And it’s not what you think. It’s not about the quality of data or reliability of the analysis. It’s that old-fashioned kind of trust, between individuals. The kind that’s earned. The study states, “Within organizations creating value from analytics, there is a strong and pervasive level of personal trust.” What’s super interesting about this is the tie to culture; that all-important ethos of a company that permeates processes, systems and outcomes. In a previous post, we affirmed that Enterprise Social can (and ideally, should) impact the culture of an organization. These findings add grist for the mill. Note to leadership; when implementing internal social tools and analyzing their impact, it’s downright crucial to consider how best to evolve the company’s cultural tendencies.
As Analytics go, Enterprise Social Analytics is the newbie.
To start, leading players like SharePoint, Yammer, Chatter, and IBM Connections now offer basic analytics in their social software. A handful of more comprehensive tools (and services) are extending value by integrating social and traditional data sources. A good example? The People Analytics solution from VoloMetrix. In this case; analytics is applied to email, calendaring, instant messaging and social platforms. The result is laser-like visibility into where your organization is focused, providing potentially game-changing insights. The chart above (called an Enterprise SocialGraph) is output from one of the tools. This visual offers granular detail around how individuals and teams work together. The next wave of this fledgling discipline goes even further, linking analyses of Social Media and Enterprise Social. This emerging path seeks to uncover insights for every social connection related to an organization, particularly at the intersections.