To be a truly successful business, companies have to start from the inside. They have to not only be collaborative, but everyone from the executives and CEO down to the customer service representatives should know the comings and goings of their work place. In this digital age, this can prove to be problematic, but it can be remedied.
Ryan Fuller, CEO of VoloMetrix, an enterprise analytics company spoke with CMSWire about this issue and the enterprise-related solution.
The Problem with Growth is Losing Yourself
Ryan Fuller is someone who has spent his entire career helping companies use data to improve their business model. Due to his involvement in this industry, he's seen the problems that many businesses can face as they become larger and more complex organizations. In the early 1990’s he worked as a software engineer before moving onto Cognos, a business intelligence and performance management provider as a solution architect. Following this, he joined Bain and Company, a management consulting firm, where he helped other businesses work through operating and strategic challenges. It was in his time at Bain that he began to notice a common trend in business growth: a lack of communication.
A Barrier is Never a Good Thing
Businesses can grow in different ways. Not only can they add more employees, departments and offices, but with technological advancements, more business is being done online and through telecommunication. As a result of this separation and growth, it's harder for executives to keep track of what employees and individual departments are doing.
20 or 30 years ago you use to be able to walk the halls to get a sense of what was happening…but now that’s a joke if you’re in a large company," says Fuller.
It appears that while business growth can signal personal success, the company's internal structure may be failing since there's not communication between employees.
The Enterprise Solution
Despite communication being an ongoing problem, it can be fixed.
According to Fuller, businesses first have to understand where their problems are coming from and the way to do this is through Social Enterprise Intelligence technology. Social Enterprise Intelligence and the data it provides is similar to an analytics dashboard, in that it provides companies with a detailed overview of employee engagement, so that executives can see where attention is be focused and what areas need improvement.
We tend to think of two [analytics] categories, big data and social, says Fuller. "But with social enterprise intelligence you can start to measure what time gets spent on and where teams spend time together as it shows how are people really connected across an organization.”
In order to gather this information social enterprise intelligence platforms work like an analytics dashboard by focusing on key employee trends and activities. For example, a company could use a social enterprise intelligence tool to determine what tasks their IT department is working on, what deployment, financial and performance issues they have.
We often say, this is the most powerful data you own, but have never seen before,” says Fuller. “It’s the only technology that looks across all the collaboration platforms within an organization holistically, including email, calendar, instant messaging and social media, to show what the organization is really focused on and how the teams within the organization are really working and collaborating together."
The Premise behind Social Enterprise Intelligence Platforms
With this social enterprise intelligence idea in mind, in 2011 Fuller co-founded VoloMetrix, a company that defines itself as the "first management application to break through the noise of today's complex enterprise to improve strategic alignment and execution like never before."
Since the company's launch Fuller and his team have developed a collection of tools that monitor different types of enterprise data that center around IT, sales and marketing departments. As was mentioned, social enterprise intelligence platforms work much like an analytics dashboard by monitoring key trends and activities, but at VoloMetrix there are three solutions used to find this data: the Enterprise Socialgraph, Alignment Indexing and Realtime Trending.
- Enterprise Socialgraph: This tool collects information on a monthly or quarterly schedule to show how well teams are working and collaborating together. Data is presented in the form of a chart or graph.
- Alignment Indexing: Alignment Indexing is a weekly reporting tool that provides reviews on time consuming topics, giving those working on a specific assignment the chance to re-work their priorities,.
- Realtime Trending: Some problems need to be addressed as soon as possible. With the realtime trending tool, users have access to a daily dashboard to monitor to see problematic areas before the Enterprise Socialgraph gives its monthly report.
An example of a VoloMetrix Enterprise Socialgraph
VoloMetrix also tailors these solutions to fit the a company's needs. For example, with IT organizations the focus is on deployment and service issues, while with marketing groups they look at organizational skills and prioritizing.
While VoloMetrix appears to be the only company that centers around the term "Social Enterprise Intelligence", there are many companies that offer similar services focused on Business Intelligence including Microsoft and Oracle. Other examples include SocialCast's Social Business Intelligence, a tool that provides feedback and insight on employee activities and collaboration within a SocialCast "community." Another example is Panorama, a platformed based business intelligence provider that supports companies with a more social work space so that they can improve productivity and monitor problem areas.
Fuller says while Social Enterprise Intelligence is a relatively new concept it is being supported by businesses who want to move beyond their self-imposed communication barriers and improve both the collaborative and individual work ethic.
Companies are very excited about using the technology because, at best, they have only been presented social analytics information in individual silos in the past,” says Fuller. “So while this category is really in its infancy, managers within large organizations are seeing the value in using Social Enterprise Intelligence to better manage and empower their teams."
He believes social enterprise intelligence will eventually grow into a more collaborative tool as employees become less concerned and stressed with problems because they'll know exactly where they need improvement and whom they should be working with.
Individuals in these organizations see the promise of using it [social enterprise intelligence] to ensure they are collaborating with the right people to meet their performance metrics and not distracted by other competing demands within the company," he says. "Over time, we anticipate Social Enterprise Intelligence will continue to evolve with specific guidelines and best practices for specific industries or specific departments."
Improving communication across all platforms will not only be able to help a company with their internal problems, but this success can transferred out of the workplace. If a business communicates properly, then they more adept to dealing with other problematic areas, such as improving the company ROI, sales and marketing efforts. Social intelligence tools may be key to any social businesses success.