In Community Managers Part 1: Definitions, I shared my observations about the different types of community managers – those primarily focused on executing ongoing practices – but didn’t spend too much time on the Program Roles – those focused primarily on executing proactive programs. (Also, my apologies. My schedule won’t accommodate an in-depth study of community manager backgrounds, which would have been Part 2.)
There is a third role which perhaps sits above these, called the Strategist.
In reading Altimeter Group’s The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist. Be Proactive or Become ‘Social Media Help Desk’, I’m struck by the many similarities between the Corporate Social (Media) Strategist:
Definition: The Corporate Social Strategist is the business decision maker for social media programs – who provides leadership, roadmap definition, and governance; and directly influences the spending on technology vendors and service agencies.
and the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist, who is primarily focused on strategies for enabling employees and contractors to get work done better, faster, smarter – i.e., Organizational Effectiveness – through the use of social business behavior, processes, and technology.
The three similarities that strike me most are the challenges they face, what makes them successful at their job, and their job responsibilities. The following data from Altimeter’s report could just as easily describe the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist:
Challenges They Face
Social Strategists are plagued with a variety of challenges. We uncovered six: 1) Resistance from internal culture, 2) Measuring ROI, 3) Lack of resources, 4) An ever-changing technology space, 5) Resentment and envy of the role, and 6) A looming increase in business demands.
What Makes Them Successful
[Social Strategists] act more like program managers and resources for the whole corporation. These decision makers have a wide range of responsibilities, some not as glamorous as their public social media personas may suggest. In fact, many of these duties are similar to those of program managers in any business unit.
One major difference, though, is that the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist/program manager doesn’t seem to have a discrete budget or overall decision-making power. Instead, they must work with a governing steering committee made up of multiple executive sponsors and senior advisors from all over the organization, including IT, Legal, Corporate Communications, Marketing, and HR. They are a role without a well-defined home.
I’m currently working with a few large clients who are taking on both social media and enterprise 2.0 projects as parts of a greater social business endeavor, and I’m looking forward to better understanding how their Corporate Social Strategists (from Marketing) and their Enterprise 2.0 Strategists (one is from Corporate Communications, another client’s E2.0 strategist is from Corporate IT) work together as they implement socially re-engineered business processes that span multiple business units (intranet), a specific group of business customers (extranet), and the entire social Web.