Previously, we had written about what it means to become a Social Business, putting some level of definition to the term itself. Although it does begin with understanding the consumer offerings such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., becoming a Social Business should not be a project left strictly to the Information Technology team to bring in a solution that “mimics” these well known applications. One of the key terms in this article’s title is “Business,” and the participation of the Line of Business in the process can’t be overvalued. Too often, organizations take an “if you build it, they will come” approach to Social Business projects. After all, “Everyone loves playing with Facebook!” and, “I’ve found lots of job opportunities on LinkedIn,” so why wouldn’t they do the same with my internal application? Wouldn’t it just be successful on its own?
Well… no. The key to any successful Social Business initiative is to involve your key stakeholders from within the business, early and often. Your business sponsors are the ones who will recognize that social tool such as communities, file sharing, profiles, and activity management, can enable their people to apply relevant content and expertise in new ways, leveraging the human capital in the organization. Without their key involvement and support, any social business initiative is destined to the same fate as the Beta tape (for those who remember that far back!): it seemed like a great idea at the time, but just couldn’t get anyone to really buy into it.
Not to completely dissuade you from trying to go after this panacea of business success, there are a few simple points to keep in mind, and trying to involve the Line of Business personnel.
First, old adages hold true: don’t boil the ocean. Although many – generally within IT – believe that simply deploying Social Business solutions and making as many executives aware as possible will result in widespread acceptance and adoption, a more pragmatic approach of identifying a pilot group has a higher likelihood of success.
Second, develop use cases. Even selecting a small, manageable line of business with an executive sponsor who is committed to Social Business success will not be sufficient to drive the expansion and adoption of the technologies. In order take the case beyond the pilot group, having a set of use cases that demonstrates the applicability in the context of that group is what will enable you to start bringing others into the fold.
Finally, start thinking of ROI. Being able to demonstrate the financial return is ultimately what any CFO is going to require in order to support the investment. When the use cases are being developed, identify business challenges that can have a quantitative impact assigned, such as being able to close one additional loan per week in consumer banking, or completing a project ahead of schedule and under budget with easier access to project information.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list; a more thorough examination is beyond the scope of this publication. However, it should give you a framework when developing your Social Business project initiatives, and enable you to truly transform YOUR business.
To arrange time with a Sirius software specialist, contact your Sirius Client Executive.
Michael Sieber is a Program Manager with Sirius Computer Solutions.