Tuesday Jan 15, 2013

Socially Enable Your Enterprise

no silosWith social displaying its importance for every consumer-facing department and application across the enterprise, silos are crumbling and the reality is setting in that a comprehensive, integrated social tech solution isn’t a luxury…at least if you want to stay competitive.

Oracle Sr. Director of Product Management Chad Estes is giving a presentation today at CloudWorld, Dubai. In case your private jet isn’t warmed up and ready on the runway to get you there, I thought I would pass along some of his takeaways on socially enabling the enterprise.

The socially enabled enterprise has powerful connotations when it comes to the increasingly all-important consumer experience. Why is it important your customers are happy?

*Almost 40% of consumers have Tweeted about a brand.
*58% have Liked a brand; 41% have shared content about a brand.
*A comScore study shows over half the US smartphone population used their phone to do retail research while inside a store.
*75% of social users have posted a negative comment after a bad customer experience.
*A typical user will tell an average 53 people about a poor customer experience.
*86% of customers will start doing business with a competitor after a bad customer experience.

I didn’t really have to tell you that happy customers are important. You’ve heard it before. They’re increasingly interacting with you and each other, they’re being influenced, they’re vocal, and empowered. Oh, and they expect a real-time response. How to keep them happy using the social networks on which they’re engaging us is a bigger issue for the enterprise. Workflows are getting turned on their heads.

Altimeter Group says companies now average about 178 corporate-owned social media accounts. And there are numerous niche technologies available to execute social strategy, from marketing to publishing content, to gamification, analysis, online advertising, SEO, etc. Once you put all that together, you have to put on your conductor coat and tails and orchestrate every instrument so you positively affect the customer experience. Whew.

Multiple devices, multiple social networks, multiple departments, overwhelming data, it all can be managed, shared and acted upon if your technology partner brings an integrated, seamless enterprise platform to the table.

Look for a cloud-based mission-critical enterprise infrastructure, platform and applications suite that includes social relationship management tools that can extend social’s power across every consumer-facing touch point (marketing, sales, customer service, and HR). The result you’re looking for is extensive social insight and data that’s married to other enterprise data, providing the actionable, real-time view of the consumer I’m talking about.

In the end, your socially enabled enterprise will be the textbook picture of a customer-centric organization, delivering the kind of enhanced, seamless experiences that will make your brand irresistible.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Dec 04, 2012

How to Set Up Your Enterprise Social Organization

The rush for business organizations to establish, grow, and adopt social was driven out of necessity and inevitability. The result, however, was a sudden, booming social presence creating touch points with customers, partners and influencers, but without any corporate social organization or structure in place to effectively manage it.

Even today, many business leaders remain uncertain as to how to corral this social media thing so that it makes sense for their enterprise.

Imagine their panic when they hear one of the most beneficial approaches to corporate use of social involves giving up at least some hierarchical control and empowering employees to publicly engage customers. And beyond that, they should also be empowered, regardless of their corporate status, to engage and collaborate internally, spurring “off the grid” innovation.

An HBR blog points out that traditionally, enterprise organizations function from the top down, and employees work end-to-end, structured around business processes. But the social enterprise opens up structures that up to now have not exactly been embraced by turf-protecting executives and managers. The blog asks, “What if leaders could create a future where customers, associates and suppliers are no longer seen as objects in the system but as valued sources of innovation, ideas and energy?”

What if indeed? The social enterprise activates internal resources without the usual obsession with position. It is the dawn of mass collaboration.

That does not, however, mean this mass collaboration has to lead to uncontrolled chaos. In an extended interview with Oracle, Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang and Oracle SVP Reggie Bradford paint a complete picture of today’s social enterprise, including internal organizational structures Altimeter Group has seen emerge.

One sign of a mature social enterprise is the establishing of a social Center of Excellence (CoE), which serves as a hub for high-level social strategy, training and education, research, measurement and accountability, and vendor selection. This CoE is led by a corporate Social Strategist, most likely from a Marketing or Corporate Communications background.

Reporting to them are the Community Managers, the front lines of customer interaction and engagement; business unit liaisons that coordinate the enterprise; and social media campaign/product managers, social analysts, and developers. With content rising as the defining factor for social success, Altimeter also sees a Content Strategist position emerging.

dandelion modelAcross the enterprise, Altimeter has seen 5 organizational patterns. Watching the video will give you the pros and cons of each.

Decentralized - Anyone can do anything at any time on any social channel.

Centralized – One central groups controls all social communication for the company.

Hub and Spoke – A centralized group, but business units can operate their own social under the hub’s guidance and execution. Most enterprises are using this model.

Dandelion – Each business unit develops their own social strategy & staff, has its own ability to deploy, and its own ability to engage under the central policies of the CoE.

Honeycomb – Every employee can do social, but as opposed to the decentralized model, it’s coordinated and monitored on one platform.

The average enterprise has a whopping 178 social accounts, nearly ¼ of which are usually semi-idle and need to be scrapped. The last thing any C-suite needs is to cope with fragmented technologies, solutions and platforms. It’s neither scalable nor strategic.

The prepared, effective social enterprise has a technology partner that can quickly and holistically integrate emerging platforms and technologies, such that whatever internal social command structure you’ve set up can continue efficiently executing strategy without skipping a beat.

@mikestiles

Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

Social HCM: Is Your Team Listening?

Word BalloonsDoes integrating Social HCM into your enterprise make sense? Consider Sam and Christina.

Sam is a new hire at a big company. On the job 3 weeks, a question has come up on how to properly file an expense report to get reimbursed. It was covered in the onboarding session, but shockingly enough, Sam didn’t memorize or write down every word of the session. The answer is probably in a handout, in a stack of handouts 2 inches thick. It also might be on the employee web site…somewhere.

Christina is a new hire at a different big company. She has the same question. She logs into her company’s social network, goes to the “new hires” group, asks her question and gets an answer in seconds.

Christina says, “Cool!” Sam says, “Grrrr.” It’s safe to say the qualified talent your company wants is accustomed to using social platforms to communicate and get quick answers. As such, Christina is comfortable at her new company, whereas Sam is wondering what he’s gotten himself into.

Companies that cling to talent communication and management systems that don’t speak to talent’s needs or expectations put themselves at risk. Right from the recruiting stage, prospects can determine if a company has embraced the communications tools of the 21st century. If they don’t see it, alarm bells go off. With great talent more in demand than ever, enterprises should reconsider making “this is the way we do it, you adapt to us” their mantra.

Other blogs have clearly outlined that apart from meeting top recruits’ expectations, Social HCM benefits the organization itself in terms of efficiency, talent performance & measurement.

Recruiting:
Jobvite shows 64% of companies hired using social. 89% of job seekers are using social in their search. Social can give employers access to relevant communities of prospects and advance the brand. Nucleus Research found general hiring software can provide over 1,000% ROI by reducing churn and improving screening. Social talent acquisition should perform at least as well.

Learning & Development:
Employees, learning from the company or from peers, can be kept on top of the latest needed skillsets and engage in self-paced training so as to advance within the company.

Performance Management:
Just as gamers are egged on by levels and achievements, talent can reach for workplace kudos, be they shout-outs from peers & managers or formally established milestones. Plus employee reviews become consistent and fair as managers have access to the cumulative feedback social offers.

Workflow and Collaboration:
With workforces dispersing in terms of physical location, social provides a platform that helps eliminate drawbacks that would have brought just 10 years ago. Finding and connecting with just the right colleague to get the most relevant info at any given time has never been more possible…or expected.

While yes, marketing has taken the social lead inside the enterprise, HCM (with the word “human” right there in its name) is the obvious locale for the next big integration of social in business. The technology is there. At Oracle, Fusion HCM apps are deeply embedded with Social HCM…just one example of systems taking social across the enterprise.

Christina’s company is communicating with her in ways she’s used to. Sam’s company may as well be trying to talk to him using signal flags.

@mikestiles
Photo via stock.xchng

Tuesday Oct 09, 2012

Is Your Company Social on the Inside?

water coolerAs we talk about the extension of social from an outbound-facing marketing tool to a platform that will reach across the entire enterprise, servicing multiple functions of that enterprise, it might be time to take a look at how social can be effectively employed for internal communications.

Remember the printed company newsletter? Yeah, nobody reads it.

Remember the emailed company newsletter? Yeah, nobody reads it.

Why not? Shouldn’t your employees care about the company more than anything else in life and be voraciously hungry for any information related to it?

The more realistic prospect is that a company’s employees don’t behave much differently at work where information is concerned than they do in their personal lives. They “tune in” to information that’s immediately relevant to them, that peaks their interest, and/or that’s presented in a visually engaging way.

That currently makes an internal social platform the most ideal way to communicate within the organization. It not only facilitates more immediate, more targeted (and thus more relevant) messaging from the company out to employees, it sets a stage for employees to communicate with each other and efficiently get answers to questions from peers. It’s a collaboration tool on steroids.

cocktailsIf you build such an internal social portal and you do it right, will employees use it? Considering social media has officially been declared more addictive than cigarettes, booze and sex…probably.

But what does it mean to do an internal social platform “right”? The bar has been set pretty high. Your employees are used to Twitter and Facebook, and would roll their eyes at anything less simple or harder to navigate than those. All the Facebook best practices would apply to your internal social as well, including the importance of managing posting frequency, using photos and video, moderation & response, etc.

And don’t worry, you won’t be the first to jump in. WPP's global digital agency Possible has its own social network called Colab. Nestle has “The Nest.” Red Robin’s got one. I myself got an in-depth look at McGraw-Hill’s internal social platform at Blogwell NYC.

Some of these companies are building their own platforms, others are buying them off the shelf or customizing readymade solutions.

But you won’t be the last either. Prescient Digital Media and the IABC learned 39% of companies don’t offer employees any social tools. Not a social network, not discussion forums, not even IM. And a great many continue to ban the use of Facebook and Twitter on the premises.

That’s pretty astonishing since social has become as essential a modern day communications tool as the telephone. But such holdouts will pay a big price for being mired in fear while competitors exploit social connections unchallenged.

Fish where the fish are. If social has become the way people communicate and take in information, let that be the way communication is trafficked in the organization.

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