Social Business for 2012…Stand & Deliver

I apologize for not blogging for a while, I have been going through some professional challenges, and I am happy to say those challenges have passed, and I am ready to resume my ramblings and writings about things social….

In 2011, there was a lot of news coverage on the impact Social Media had regarding world events (Arab spring) and assorted other events in finance, media, etc.  With regard to Enterprise Social Networks, the big stories were the Social IPOs of LinkedIn, Jive Software, and many others.   While the market performance of these companies is still unfolding, and the feasibility of the long term sustainability is unknown, what is clear is the need for the vendors and partners of these Social Software companies…. that 2012 will be the year where the narrative moves from promises to executions regarding the business advantages Enterprise Social Software can provide. 

The public acceptance of Social Media is undeniable, yet within the enterprise there are still significant barriers to acceptance and proper adoption for the business benefits to be quantified.  Political and financial obstacles provide the greatest challenges, and without the proper change management program, employees can feel Enterprise Social Software is simply another tool; another layer of complexity delivered by an out-of-touch IT department. 

@Greg2dot0 published his 5 predictions for Social, and there are 2 that caught my attention:

(1) ROI of Social tied directly to process metrics.

Within my own enterprise social journey, I created the change management program around linking the usage of Social Software to hard numbers such as cost savings from on-boarding, reduction in attrition of employees, revenue from sales cycle velocity, etc. 

(2) Stop focusing on adoption and focus on solutions

As @Greg2dot0 points out, adoption is a phase, not a method, and I agree.  Executives investing in Enterprise Social Software want to know there are benefits for this investment.  They hear about the cultural changes, this new way of working, and the other benefits of Enterprise Social Software, but now the time must be to demonstrate real value, business value which can be measured and validated.

As IT departments are dealing with reducing budgets, consumerization of IT, and the loss of key talents to other companies, and they are struggling more than ever to deliver business value.  So it makes sense for IT to be more metrics and business focused when partnering to install Enterprise Social Software solutions. 

Cloud computing can offer the agile computing model necessary for IT to keep pace with business, but there is typically so much legacy IT within companies, the Cloud hybrid model is usually discussed for moving forward.  It is this legacy IT that also brings the opportunity regarding Enterprise Social Software.   Of course the cloud does not provide low-cost models, but the subscription model does provide opportunity for the beginnings of the change management programs needed to bring a socialized work enviornment to the company. 

While the employee has their day-in-the-life processes, which may be inefficient, challenging, or downright painful, a good Enterprise Social Software, architected along the transformation of business processes, can alleviate some of the employee’s pain , while churning some cultural transformation activities.  The decision can be made to cut ties with some of the legacy systems and leap forward using the newer Social applications.  It is key here to storyboard for employees, a clear, easy-to-understand model of how their work processes will improve, and how that translates into business value; either top or bottom lines.

So while 2012 brings new hope that Enterprise Social Software will become an integral part of the IT portfolio, and act as the basis for changing how we work, how the corporate DNA is shaped, and how business can be transformed, it is time for Enterprise Social Software, and those who champion its cause to STAND AND DELIVER….

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Filed under Information Technology, Management, Social Business

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