"Our recent social business report suggested that 67% of executives thought that social media had the opportunity to fundamentally change their businesses. The number was higher for companies that were deriving greater business value from these technologies. Compelling reasons, rooted in fundamental concepts of economics and business strategy, support this belief that social media will fundamentally reshape not only individual organizations, but also the business environment as a whole."
Last year, for instance, Pentland’s lab put sociometers on 80 employees at a Bank of America call center in Rhode Island. The inconspicuous badges used Bluetooth and infrared signals to measure which co-workers the test subjects talked to every minute for a month and, later, another period of six weeks. After the first month the MIT researchers could see that individuals who talked to more co-workers were getting through calls faster, felt less stressed and had the same approval ratings as their peers. Informally talking out problems and solutions, it seemed, produced better results than following the employee handbook or obeying managers’ e-mailed instructions.
So the call center tried its own experiment. Instead of staggering employees’ coffee breaks as it had previously, it aligned their breaks to allow more chatter. The result, Bank of America told MIT a few months later: productivity gains worth about $15 million a year.
"Other findings from the study include:
Almost 40 per cent of respondents indicated that they collaborate with external teams on every project
More than 56 per cent of respondents identified that collaboration tools are of critical importance for their businesses.
The top reason for using collaboration tools was to develop better products and services, followed by fostering better relationships with suppliers, and bringing products and services to market faster.
Ease of access to tools, low starting costs and ease of deployment were nominated as key considerations when selecting and using collaboration technologies."
"I’ve been working with a very large financial services company, and we went in there to develop a strategy for these collaborative tools. But we couldn’t get any meetings with the executives to interview them. And finally, we got down to what the problem was: these executives were spending ten hours a day in meetings, and it turns out that 80 percent of these meetings were informational. So, there’s your killer app for that company. They can free up 80 percent of their time by getting out of these informational meetings and onto a collaborative platform where you use the tools of our time to create a high-performance organization."
"Complex business means we should be able to access not only collective intelligence, but emergent intelligence — solutions that emerge from complex systems, without residing in any part in any individual’s head. Emergent outcomes — the ones promised by social collaboration, social marketing and social in general — are not just a hope and a prayer, but real. Trusting in them is not foolish but wise. Our human networks, thoughtfully connected, with some smart methodologies will help us to apply complexity to complexity and make progress against now-intractable problems.
Enterprise 2.0 is not about social, it is about thinking very differently about what is hard. About what is impossible. About what IS possible. About your role in it, and about how a human chorus of intellect can help.
Enterprise 2.0 will measure outcomes dispassionately (with equipoise) as a way to ask questions without assigning blame. It will focus on learning as innovation, and disentangle accountability, blame and outcomes. It will depend on the connected circulation of insight and information of a network, often knowledge-less solutions, and the deepest respect for what people can and will bring to the table, given the chance.
Our mission in the next handful of years is to seek to understand these issues better, so that we can build organizations that can look complexity in the eye and not blink."
"In the midst of this marketing brilliance stands the key purpose of workplace collaboration: enabling better and faster problem solving, by facilitating access to knowledge, resources and expertise throughout organizations and beyond their boundaries, in order to foster better decision making."
"Start talking to each other – who cares how you do it.
Build projects, not echo chambers: Start building new ways for everyone to participate. Don’t worry about it being social. You’ll figure it out.
Reconsider the generic social network. Don’t ditch it but instead make social transparent in your product development app or whatever you use to get things done.
Make blogging a core way for how the company communicates to each other and the world. You will never need a social media director if a lot of people are blogging. People who write are forced to think. That’s a good thing. It’s actually nutritious for the mind.
Narrate your work. Start teaching people how to tell stories about the way they work day-to-day. Help them share it.
Give developers more freedom to make things. They will do far more for the company than one social media director can ever do.
Design for Failure. This is a concept popular in the DevOps movement. It can apply to the entire organization. Treat the company like it is an experiment. Expect failure and design accordingly.
Teach people how to use data. How to collect it, how to use the tools to analyze it and how to act on it.
Rethink what websites get blocked inside the corporate walls. Open up a bit.
Finally: cloud accountability. There are lots of ways now to make sure that costs are kept in check so you can justify all those new efforts that come when you do fire that director of social media."
"In discussing each of these themes, Simon drew upon the work of teams of colleagues who were contributing to transformation. His presentation exemplified Harold’s principles. Simon narrated his work in a transparent environment. He gave evidence daily support for social learning. He has made time available for reflection and sharing stories."
The division of labor reduced organizational effort and the cost of work in factory production. The division of labor also increased the quality of work through specialization. This led managers to focus on the efficiency of activities separated from other activities and organizational design seen as the planning and execution of a collection of independent, but connected jobs forming the organizational workflow system.
Connections were based on top-down command-and-control and horizontal, sequential processes. In both cases the action of one part was meant to set off the action of another. Interaction was understood as one-way signals, a system of senders and receivers, a system of causes and effects.
In the cause and effect model of communication a thought arising within one individual is translated into words, which are then transmitted to another individual. At the receiving end, the words translate into the same thought, if the formulation of the words and the transmission of those words are good enough.
A social business follows the different logic of complex causality. In this model, communication takes the form of a gesture made by an individual that evokes a response from someone else. The meaning can only be known in the gesture and response together. If I smile at you and you respond with a smile, the meaning is friendly, but if you respond with a cold stare, the meaning may be contempt. Gestures and responses cannot be separated but constitute one act. Neither side can independently choose the meaning of the words or control the conversation. Thus you can never control communication.
The cause and effect model of management presumes accordingly that leadership potential resides within the individual person, who is the cause. From a social business standpoint the individualistic view is fundamentally misleading. One cannot be inspiring or energizing alone. These qualities are co-created in an active process of mutual recognition. An inspiring person is only inspiring by virtue of others who treat her this way. A good decision is only good if there are agreeable people around. Mutually recognizing and mutually supporting relationships are the sources of vitality. Actions always emerge in a network of relationships – in co-action.
Four Ways Enterprise Social Networks Drive Value
Despite the promise and potential for ESNs, they have only received moderate traction. The problem is that most ESN deployments to date have been treated as technology deployments with a focus on adoption and usage. A different way to think about this is that ESNs represent a new way to communicate and form relationships — and because of that, can bridge gaps that exist in terms of information sharing and decision-making processes. To better understand these use cases, we found that they boil down to four different types of gaps in the organization — tough problems that can’t be addressed by the current technology, process, or culture.
Encourage sharing. Remember how revolutionary email was? It fundamentally changed the way we communicated by reducing the cost/effort and collapsing the time frame and scaling it to include multiple recipients. Social represents a fundamental change, simply because, at its essence, it encourages sharing. The simple presence of a status update box on a page encourages people to share their thoughts, activities, and expertise.
Capture knowledge. Capturing the collective knowledge of an organization is a daunting task because it includes a wide range of facts, information, and skills gained through experience. Yet few people proactively sit down each day to document and capture their knowledge. ESNs provide an opportunity to do just that, by capturing glimpses of knowledge through profiles, activity streams, and interactions.
Enable action. Having an ESN in place means that operations and processes can begin to change as well. This happens when the day-to-day process changes because the ESN enables new relationships and behaviors that address a gap that prevented actions from being taken.
Empower employees. The last way ESNs drive value is that they empower and embolden people to speak up and join together, as well as gives them opportunities to contribute their skills and ideas.
A network is not a model of how an organization manages itself. More to the point this kind of network has only really achieved significant scale with the development of "social" technology. But the existence of these networks does change how an organization and its enterprise works. You can't plan networks or force fit them into any pattern. You can't constrain a network to be purely within your own organization - at least not if you want to get any value from it. Networks involve customers/citizens and partners. In fact every participant in a network is a partner - not in some corny marketing sense but in the reality of the exchanges in the network. Networks support communication across channels you didn't predict in advance. They cross any organizational unit you might have defined - even following the VSM. For all these reasons networks are great sources of innovation - and that innovation is emergent.
My post the other day on Dachis deleting blog posts of employees who left has led to quite a bit of Twitter conversations - not all of them equally pleasant nor a true example of Social (Business). I feel that this extra post is needed to bring some closure, and achieve some lessons learned. I'll show how the story has unfolded, and also
I wrote Is Dachis rewriting its own history because at that point I had found that certain blog posts were no longer present, and Dachis (Dave Gray, informed by Peter Kim) ensured me that no blog posts had been removed.
In the light of those contradicting facts, writing the post was inevitable
“What’s the point?”
The problem was that I was talking about what I had instead of talking about what they needed. They didn’t want yet another tool or thing to do. They wanted help.
So I started over.
“Our goal is to make things easier for you. Easier to find answers and experts. Easier to share better ways of working with people who do what you do. Easier to coordinate work in your group and across groups.
If we make all of that easier, we’ll make your jobs better while we unlock tremendous value for our company.”
Early Adopters Identify HCM And Projects As The Next Growth Area For Social Business
Survey respondents chose their top 3 internal collaboration and external engagement social business use cases (see Figure 2). Not surprisingly, service/support use cases led the pack with Reactive support-External (68.9%) and Support escalation and resolution – External (64.1%). Lead generation – External in the PR Marketing category rounded out the top 3 at (63.1%). Meanwhile, Projects and HCM gain traction among the top 5 use cases. Respondents report an increase in adoption of Projects Workspaces- Internal (36.9%) such as wiki’s and similar internal collaboration tools. Meanwhile, HCM Recruiting – External (34.0%) emerged as the fifth most utilized use case.
Other general trends include:
Use cases split mostly evenly between internal collaboration (9) and external engagement (11)
Service/support (6) and Sales (6) dominate the top use cases followed by HCM (3), PR/Marketing (3), Projects (2)
Respondents identified new use cases for areas such as supply chain, finance, and innovation/PLM
Social Business deals with business exceptions rather than rules, requiring flexible answers to complex questions in dynamic environments. As such, it isn't about giving predefined answers to predictable questions, it is about giving unpredictable answers to undefined questions.
Social Business serves best where an increased distance between people on all sides is negatively affecting business as a whole.
Social Business is best for establishing ties between unknown people.
As such, it will gradually replace distance by proximity, thus swapping anonymity for intimacy
EA’s experience also makes clear the need for management to support mass collaboration—management not in the sense of controlling but in the spirit of working within the community to help members refine their purpose as well as to motivate participation, generate a flow of ideas, and facilitate decisions should the community become deadlocked.
Among the key lessons:
Support and enable individuals, but don't add to their workload.
Empower teams to make recommendations and decisions.
Provide an interactive, content-filled platform that will draw people in and keep them interested and engaged
Think big: what about communities of customers, partners, IT staff, and the entire business ecosystem?
But start small: kick off 4-5 pilots to get started
Establish governance and a competency center, but allow communities sufficient autonomy to spawn, scale and thrive
The platform and toolset are critical success factors Get help and find leverage to jumpstart the platform.
At a very minimum, communities should get people talking and sharing!
The story documents a company called Morning Star, the world’s largest tomato processor. They do $700 million in revenue a year, so this is not a small company. Two million tons of tomatoes annually. And they do it all without managers. As the article explains, in this company:
No one has a boss.
Employees negotiate responsibilities with their peers
Everyone can spend the company’s money.
Each individual is responsible for acquiring the tools needed to do his or her work.
There are no titles and no promotions
Compensation decisions are peer-based.
However, to me, the most interesting piece of information I came across when researching this case study was the fact that Sergio Escobedo, the innovation director involved in realizing Shift, apparently used executives exclusively as the initial test audience instead of workers. As I’ve pointed out in my social business adoption research, executive leadership is critical in triggering early adoption. In my opinion, this then largely explains the unusually fast and complete adoption rate that CEMEX experienced at shift (I’ve seen companies only get to 30% adoption after 5 years, for example, which is still quite good.)
PC: When do companies get to the point that they start thinking about adoption more seriously? What do you recommend?
JH: I am a contrarian. People talk about measuring the ROI. But the reality is that who ever controls the underlying assumptions can deliver whatever ROI they want. I have yet to see any enterprise that has gone back to look at the ROI to see if it materializes. It is better to focus on operating metrics. If your issue is lead time to get a bus on the road … you can track that on a daily basis. Then refine the approach. In many case studies on companies, very few had gone back and measured whether they actually achieved the projected success.
Before I get into specific examples and illustrations of where I think the list fails, let me give you four basic problems I have with it as it stands today:
1. Many of the examples on it could potentially show positive ROI but – as presented – only reference selective gains from social activity and not actual, factual, empirical ROI. If that made no sense, that’s okay. Let me explain:
For something to be ROI, you need two ingredients: The cost of the activity and the gain from that activity. (That cost is the investment. The gain is either revenue or cost savings.) It’s math. Really really really simple math. ROI is an equation and it generally looks like this:
($ Gain – $ Cost) ÷ $ Cost = ROI
($ Revenue – $ Investment) ÷ $ Investment = ROI
(You can also multiply the result by 100 to get yourself out of the decimals, but that’s a personal choice. You can do that in your head.)
Anything that isn’t the result of the ROI equation is not ROI.
Note that a gain is just a gain,like cost is just a cost. Neither gain nor cost is ROI on its own. Ever. Not in any known universe.
Put another way, bread and ham may individually be part of the ham sandwich equation but ham alone is not a ham sandwich. Ham is just ham. The problem we face today: This list pretty much mistakes ham for a ham sandwich. Good thing it was free or we would all be asking for a refund (or a word with the chef).
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