The social enterprise is a collaborative, living and an engaged organism. It is flatter, it is nimble and it is smarter. It understands its market conditions and organizes itself in advance for it. It embraces change as its only constant.
But you might be asking, "What enables this?"
Leadership? A must Yes.
Technology? A definite Yes.
Enabling Natural Human Interactions
After leadership and an inclusive and open culture is in place, it is through the use of social technology that we enable our enterprises to become true social beings. The technology layer enables us to be more agile and organize for the market conditions in real-time. It also allows us access to better insights so we have meaningful, deep and informed interactions with our internal and external ecosystems.
Typically, a social enterprise infrastructure is comprised of hardware and software. The hardware network layer needs to be smart enough to allow the environment to scale and interact in real time and the software layer must be smart enough to provide the venue for accelerated knowledge driven interactions with constituents inside and outside the company. The key concept here is to enable natural human interactions. Because only a natural human interaction is genuine and authentic enough to be leveraged to drive actual business.
Businesses that are relatively experienced with social business perspectives and techniques are already seeing opportunities to improve internal business processes and techniques through better access to insights and pattern detection.
Data Analytics Inform Social Enterprises
The beauty of social networks and social media is in data analytics. Each and every interaction leaves a data point and builds upon a knowledge repository which allows for better and smarter future interactions.
For example, from an e-Commerce perspective, Amazon already incorporates user behavioural data in their sales recommendation engine in real time. The telecommunications space is utilizing social media insights to gauge network traffic and outages. From purely social media’s perspective, Twitter utilizes real time tweets to identify current trends and forecast potential trends, which are now being used by traditional media to identify potential stories.
Once a social enterprise has gained a critical mass in adoption towards social, it can utilize the real-time data streams of multiple social interactions to have an ability to:
- Find Better Expertise -- How many of us work with someone who is also an expert in another unrelated field but was never recruited nor has ever participated officially in that field? Their participation on social networks, internal and external, allow us to have an ability to detect and identify their uncataloged capabilities and interests. In some organizations, HR departments are utilizing this ability to recruit internally first for emerging areas of interest for the business.
- Increase Knowledge Sharing -- Being able to efficiently capture, analyze information and re-utilize knowledge assets has exponential benefit to sales, marketing, support and product units within the organization. Better knowledge sharing also allows quicker revenue recognition and unnecessary costs associated with inefficient tactics based on poor data. Reutilizing of assets is an immediate positive ROI benefit.
- Gain Better Market Insights -- As my colleague Vala Afshar routinely calls out, “No matter how big you are, there are always more smarter people on the outside, than on the inside, of your business.” A common challenge faced by businesses of all sizes is an inability to understand the evolving needs of existing and potential new customers and markets. Utilizing social monitoring tools to "listen" and understand the social media space allows businesses to become smarter by identifying trends and gain deep insights into competitive, industry and customer ecosystems. Imagine launching a new product with deep insights in competitive landscape, positioning, branding, messaging and pricing.
- Improved Risk Management -- Imagine being able to identify potential customer service issues before they become a viral topic on Twitter? Real time social analytics allows businesses to mitigate potential risks and utilize the medium to amplify the positives. Immediate positive impact on speedy communications of new or revised safety policies, regulations and improved ability to address crisis scenarios are often seen by social enterprises.
- Better Process Management -- Minimize or eliminate delays through knowledge sharing, tagging and trend monitoring. If we know that a certain device or software app is causing a specific issue, then we have an ability to address it faster and efficiently. From a personal social interaction to a machine generated social interaction, the analytics allow us to identify the KPIs that matter the most to an social enterprise.
A greater need for social for business has grown out of fundamental changes in how our business operate today in the connected economy. Customer preferences and markets are evolving faster than ever. A social enterprise is smart enough to capitalize on the real time nature of the ecosystem it operates within. Use of real time analytics in social interactions, files and other digital assets in our ecosystem allow the social enterprise to identify patterns and relevant data points that provide it with an ability to organize for our real time connected economy. That is the true agile social enterprise.
Title image courtesy of Sergey Nivens (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: To read more from June's focus on What's Next for the Social Enterprise, go here.