Playing A Role in Social Business Transformation

The entrance of social media into the workplace fascinates me.  The idea that people – their personality, opinions, and casual conversations – provide tremendous value to business seems foreign to the traditional, command and control corporate world.  Social media puts a spotlight on how antisocial businesses have become.  Over the past few years many businesses have neglected to nurture relationships with constituents – employees, customers, business partners, investors.  The current Social CRM rage humors me because business has always been about relationships.  It took a deep recession to remind us that we need to be listening and communicating with customers regularly in order to retain them.  I predict once the job market improves, this realization to take care of your people will shift to employees.

Today, the market remains focused on specific social destinations (e.g., Twitter, Facebook).  However, the opportunity for social software in the workplace runs deeper than destination sites where marketers run campaigns.  Social media introduces new behaviors, and with that expectations, for communication both inside and outside the firewall.  Social business transformation is applying the principles of social media – transparency, trust, empowerment – to the workplace.  Social business doesn’t stop with a Facebook page and Twitter handle (read my former colleague Mike Fauscette’s blog about Comcast for an illustration of my point).  I believe a tremendous amount of work lies ahead for companies to undergo social business transformation.  My experience as a research analyst covering social software at IDC peaked my fascination with how social business transformation would play out.  Are  companies able and willing to undergo the structural and cultural change required to engage and respond in realtime with customers on the Web?  Forecasting market trends at IDC, I developed a strong desire to work more closely with practitioners and play a more direct role in helping businesses conquer these new challenges.  Hence, I have decided to pursue an opportunity as a consultant with Dachis Group which will provide me with intense experience helping companies redesign to be social businesses.  I’ll be blogging about my observations from these experiences on the Dachis Group Collaboratory.

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2 thoughts on “Playing A Role in Social Business Transformation

  1. Things don’t change overnight, so yes, I agree it is a longterm opportunity with lots of new ways to leverage the new tools that are evolving every day.
    However, one microcosm of the problem is embodied in your very blog: With the parenthetical reference to Mike’s blog about Comcast. Most of us are too pressed for time (especially with so many new social tools to use!) to read thoroughly or for very long. We make our impressions in soundbites and snapshots.

    Those who do a quick browse of the link you added will only see the top of his post, where he excoriates the company, but the footnote shows a happy resolution! He DID get contacted by @comcastcares and his customer service problem was resolved practically that day. Their service record aside, this is an example a business tapping additional platforms for customer contact and adding personal touches where possible, through new mediums that we are only just now learning to navigate effectively. The unfortunate part is that a lot of people won’t take the time to scroll down and read that positive end to his story. Like Yelp where good or bad quick reviews may land adjacent to the business profile — sometimes the luck of the draw and sometimes by advertising dollar design — what is visible on top is making or breaking some businesses. And that is why the need to be present and participating fully as a business is essential.

    • Thanks for calling me out on this. I agree that my reference is limited to the first half of the story about the technician visit. I should have added more explanation about Comcast delivering an inconsistent customer service experience via the technician and Twitter. It’s true that when Mike published his blog post about the incident, the problem was resolved within the same day. But why did it have to get to that point? As Mike blogs, social business transformation is about cultural change across the entire business, not just with one department using Twitter.

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