Archive for the ‘Enterprise 2.0’ category

How to Lay the Groundwork for your Social Business Rollout

March 14th, 2011

Using the Japanese practice of Nemawashi to “go around the roots” of your enterprise

You must prepare for your Social Business Software (SBS) rollout with people at many levels of the org chart, whether you’re creating an employee community, a branded online community, or one that interacts primarily on mainstream social Web platforms. Jennifer Bouani, Director of Interactive Communications and intranet manager at Manheim, did just that, using an approach similar to the Japanese practice of Nemawashi.

Nemawashi (根回し) in Japanese means an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback, and so forth. It is considered an important element in any major change, before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all sides.

~ Wikipedia

But, to do this, you have to be connected well enough to get your SBS message delivered to the people concerned. (The irony of this doesn’t escape me.)

Here are questions that Jennifer likely answered when creating her Nemawashi-inspired communication plan.

  1. Who do I need to convince? Why?

    Example: The Director of Product Management, because her team needs to answer questions posted in the community by Sales and Service employees, prospects and customers. If they don’t answer them in a timely manner, we won’t meet one of our SBS objectives. And she must support – even reward – their efforts to do so.

  2. What will SBS do for them or their team? What business processes or problems could it replace, reduce, improve, or newly enable?

    Example: Product engineers and marketing managers can replace the many repeated questions they get via one-off emails, instant messages, and phone calls by spending that time instead answering the question once in the appropriate community. This will propagate their knowledge to more people with less effort. It will free up more time to deliver on the product management team’s overall business objectives.

  3. How do I get my message to them in a way that they’ll actually listen?

    Example: Our executive IT sponsor will ask the VP of Product Management for 15 minutes of their next weekly department call. He will briefly explain our overall SBS objectives, then I will describe why it’s important for the PM team to participate, what benefit they’ll get out of it, and what we need from the managers in order for this to work. I’ll share our rollout timeline for their group, and where they can get more information.

Do this for each key group that is critical to your initial SBS success.

How to Plan a Social Business Software Pilot

February 25th, 2011

Six steps before you launch your socbiz pilot

You’ve already gained executive sponsorship for your social business software pilot. You’ve selected groups that, if successful, will create buzz in your organization. Now it’s time to plan it.

1.  Interview key participants from business units and IT

It’s kind of like requirements gathering, but different. Many are new to social business software, and simply don’t know what it’s capable of delivering. Here are some questions to ask your business users. Consider turning these into a questionnaire to send to folks who want to participate in your pilot. We use this at Jive, and use the answers – along with other information – when planning design, launch and governance strategies.

Questions for Business Users

  1. What is your group’s name and general contribution to our business?
  2. How many people will use Jive?
  3. Where are they physically located?
  4. What is their general attitude towards social business software? What concerns do they have?
  5. What cultural or language differences within your group should be considered?
  6. How does your group want to use Jive? Complete this sentence from their perspective: “I want to… “
  7. How are they getting what they want today, without Jive?
  8. What would they do in Jive to get what they want?
  9. How will you know if your group is using Jive successfully? What will the indicators of success look like?
  10. Who will facilitate your group’s use of Jive, and help others incorporate its use into their work routine?

IT needs to know that the solution fits within the existing technology landscape. Here are some questions to ask IT:

Questions for IT

  1. What are your overall objectives for proving Jive in your technology environment?
  2. What other public web properties, or intranet, networking, collaboration, or knowledge management solutions, do you hope Jive complements, reduces, or replaces?
  3. How do you want to implement user authentication and provisioning?
  4. What other business systems must Jive integrate with to meet technical pilot objectives? Are they truly critical to pilot success?
  5. What governance processes must Jive work within during the pilot?
  6. Who will administer Jive during the pilot? Do you plan to acquire administration training?

2.  Prioritize objectives and define scope

Now that you’ve gathered the data, start prioritizing. Is this a pilot of technology, or is it a pilot of usability, usefulness to the business? It’s difficult to do both. And there’s no point in proving technology if it’s not useful to the business, right? My advice: prove whether it’s useful to business users first before diving into deeper technology needs, such as integration with other business systems or web properties.

3.  Define success criteria

You gathered success indicators from your business users in Step 1. Guess what? Those make great success criteria. For example, if your Sales organization wants to replace all the emails they send to Lars and Nguyen, asking where presentations are, who owns the relationship with Customer X, have we ever done Y before with a retail customer, etc., then one good success indicator would be reports from Lars and Nguyen that they’re getting significantly fewer emails. Couple that with significant increases in micro blog posts, discussions, documents, bookmarks, Likes, ratings, blogs, etc. about where presentations are, who owns the relationship with Customer X, and so forth, and you’ve got the beginnings of success.

TIP: A pilot is NOT the time to try to prove greater business impact. Remember, you’re proving usefulness to business users first. You cannot, for example, correlate 1-2 months of use by your Sales organization with faster win rates, increase in deal sizes, etc. But, you can get anecdotal evidence that they’re finding people and information faster, sharing tribal knowledge in greater quantities with more folks across Sales (and potentially across the organization), and collaborating with their customers more effectively, in the case of an external Jive community.

Figure out your data collection approach. Put “give feedback” buttons all over the place – in the banner, on the landing page, on the overview page for main places. When people click it, make it open a discussion in edit mode, within a place called “Feedback.” Encourage people to click the button in your communications. Have some early adopters create feedback so that others have an example of what you’re looking for. And, do a user survey. “As a result of using Jive, I am better able to: ” then list all the I-want-to’s you collected in Step 1.

4.  Determine pilot project timeline

Nothing happens if it’s not on the calendar. My favorite motto.

Pre-launch planning and development

What you’re doing right now is pre-launch planning and development. Figure out how much time it’ll take to interview participants, determine success criteria and the ways to collect that data. And, figure out how much time you need to write introductory emails or other communications. Whether you want to personalize the out-of-box look and feel to better reflect your company’s identity. Where to put the “Give Feedback” button. What calls to action to highlight on the landing page. And so forth.

Active pilot

How long do you want your pilot to run? How much use will it take to collect enough data before you can analyze whether it was successful or not? It all depends on your company’s culture, the efforts from facilitators and the community manager, the clarity of your communications (particularly around tool confusion for employee pilots), and so on. I’ve seen pilots generate success indicators in one month, and I’ve seen them take 10 months. Generally, the more effort you put into pre-launch planning and development, the faster you get to success. Just like anything else in life.

Post-pilot analysis

How long will it take to collect and analyze the data? If you’re doing end-user surveys, give people at least a couple of weeks to respond. In the meantime, comb through all that glorious feedback you received. Be sure to plan enough time to create your simple and articulate report for your executive sponsors and your users.

5.  Define roles and responsibilities

The top two roles to define are community manager and system administrator. See Community Managers Part 1: Definitions for details on the former.

Additional roles include:

  • Facilitators that come from each business group that is participating
  • Topical SMEs in those groups who are, for example, required to answer questions from the Sales team in Jive versus in one-off emails, phone calls and instant messages
  • Advocates who encourage others to use Jive to enact purpose-driven use cases that map to those I-want-to’s

6.  Define Go/No-Go decision date and next steps

Once you’ve seen indicators of success or failure, what’s next? Do you on-board more groups? Does the pilot shut down? God, I hope not, if it was successful. There’s no better way to kill momentum than to take away a successful pilot. If your pilot is successful, BE PREPARED TO EXPAND. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Alright. Get to it.

“What’s In It For Me?”

February 8th, 2011

Part of the buzz among social business practitioners for the past few months has included WIIFM, or What’s In It For Me. Basically, we’ve been discussing how to get people to use social business software, how to show them WIIFM when launching a new community or trying to revitalize one.

Check out what Jem Janik from Alcatel-Lucent (Jive customer and 2.0 Adoption Council member), created in the Jive Community. Other Jive customers and Council members are updating it, too.

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)

Here are a few rows of the table:

Interest Individual Contributors Managers N-X Leaders
Executives
status/image of job Transparency of job Transparency of job
  • people want to know what your thoughts are, worries, etc. (evidenced eventually when you gain followership)
autonomy & influence
  • more i answer/share i build influence in community
  • i establish expertise by contributing
  • easier to reach a broad audience with content/message
  • easy way to reach a whole team & not clog up inbox
  • ability to reach a broad audience about what your org is doing and how it fits with overal company
  • if you are not participating you are forfeiting potential leadership on  the platform (other leaders for your area will form naturally
  • ability to reach a broad audience about what your org is doing and how it fits with overal company
  • if you are not participating you are forfeiting potential leadership on the platform (other leaders for your area will form naturally)

Treat employees like… consumers?

December 13th, 2010

Lessons from the social media consumer experience, applied within an enterprise social software environment

Customer Employee Support

When an employee emotionally micro blogs internally about her crappy VPN performance, something she’s put up with for over a year because she didn’t take the time to properly troubleshoot it with her IT helpdesk, don’t tell her to “submit a support ticket” – do it for her, and continue to interact with her via the micro stream. You’ll be surprised how many others benefit.

Brand Employee Loyalty

When you want employees to buy into and talk about your company’s mission, latest corporate initiatives or organizational beliefs – especially important if you’ve grown significantly through mergers and acquisitions – then hang out where they are online, and develop trusted relationships with employees by reading and commenting on their content, asking them their opinions on what you’re “selling,” and then incorporate their feedback into your overall “product.” Oh, and act on any issues you uncover.

Social Marketing Corporate Communications

When you want to target your corporate messages to be as sticky as possible, listen to the employee social intranet with your monitoring tools to figure out what current company sentiments are and what topics are trending, and then craft your message to capitalize on them. Then publish your message as a video, a blog, a micro blog, and email a link to influencers – i.e., well-connected employees – asking them to blog or micro blog about it.


An unhealthy obsession with organization (anonymous guest post)

December 9th, 2010

The following came to me via my inbox this morning, from an individual I know, an advocate for Jive, who shall remain nameless. I asked if I could share this with all of you, and they said yes. Enjoy. 😉

More often than not, toward the end of demonstrating [name of internal Jive community platform, known hereafter as “Jive”] to potential new users, I get some crusty, arms crossed, knowledge management denizen that informs me “they have a highly structured document management process”, “they need folder and sub folders and auto-tagging to ensure everything is in its right place”, “they don’t see that in Jive”, “they don’t think Jive would be useful”, “they think social is a fad like tv or venereal disease”.

These guys, ya, they are usually guys. Usually wizened (read wrinkled with gray hair). Usually unkempt (oddly). Usually ponytailed. Always unpleasant. These guys always take the wind out of the conversation. It is not for a lack of something to say in response, most times a good portion of the room rolls their eyes and we lurch past the objections by getting the conversation back to their business objectives.

Of late, I’ve decided I am going to start carrying a manilla file folder in my bag. From this manilla folder I will produce a single piece of paper, perhaps a nice linen sheet watermarked with my initials. The sheet of paper will be completely blank. I shall place the sheet in front of me and say, “Thank you for that question. I’ve prepared a response in advance.” And then …

“You’re a hoarder, aren’t you?”

“You go home in the evenings and have to navigate through corridors of newspapers to such an extent that you’ve created some bizarre human habitrail maze. But everything is in its place isn’t it. You can find it all – that receipt for sweatsocks, yes the ones you are wearing, the ones I can see poking through your Birkenstocks – you can find that in an instant if need be – it is precisely where you put it 6 years ago. Good for you. In all seriousness, it’s good to see someone embracing their pathology. Keep it up and keep fighting the good fight because sooner or later I am sure we will recognize you for the genius you are – we will build monuments of cardboard boxes that have been purposely set aside in the off chance they could be useful again; such a shame to throw away a box used just once isn’t it? You will be vindicated and I am sure this meeting is just the start of it. In the meantime, those around you have a business to run.

Now I am not here to throw chaos in your face and call it sunshine. But I want everyone to think about the way they use documents today, your SharePoint sites, your shared drives with team project folder structures, your Atlassian Wikis. You’ve invested a lot of energy into finely crafting an organizational structure that will last a thousand years. Does anyone really use it? Do people still put things where ever the hell they want to? Do people create their own organizational structures because, like Goldilocks, some of the other structures just aren’t quite right?

Well for all your hard work, you’ve designed a Leviathan, it protects your information in a maze of organization and it defeats any ability you might otherwise have to elaborate on the work of others.

“Invest your energies in doing your jobs, not curating your insecurities”

But I understand your fear. I am here today to tell you that you need fear no more. I am here to tell you that you can go about your business, you can ask one another questions, you can search and find information and you can invest your energies in doing your jobs rather than curating your insecurities. You are afraid because you can only think in 2 dimensions, you are Cartesian – and there is nothing wrong with that – but it will drag you down and will keep you from reaching your potential because you exist in a multi-dimensional world and there are advantages to gain from the other dimensions; advantages that will make you more productive and more successful.

Your sacred organizational structures are irrelevant. When you want to find something, do you cast that objective into some unnatural hierarchy of storage – through some Linnean taxonomy that has been imposed? Or do you think about that thing in terms of it’s immediate context? Who are the people responsible for it? What type of thing is it? What collective is most knowledgeable? And that is the beauty of Jive, it exposes the dimensions upon which you naturally traverse. With Jive you have access to the authorship, not just of a single element but a whole body of work – I can find you as a subject matter expert and I can traverse the content you have contributed to our community. I can see all the places you contribute, I can access the contributions of others against that topic and I can find other content similar to my interests based on it’s contextual relevancy rather than its imposed catalogue. I can also focus on content as a type – find only dialogue, text, video, analysis as needed. These are the natural content types that have meaning to you in the manner in which you really prosecute your responsibilities as an employee.

“Don’t meander through a haystack – Search!”

Beyond the benefits of contextual relevance, that today, sadly, have been kept from you; beyond these amazing benefits, you can now search. Search! Actually look for natural language descriptions of what you need and have relevant results returned to you. You don’t need to meander through some haystack of organization – you can simply, search. You expect that of the world-wide-web; why do you not expect that of your workplace? Your simple search will then facilitate you back into the virtuous cycle of contextual relevancy and then you have the opportunity to enhance the community through your own contributions.

So, you can choose to confine yourselves to subfolders. You can choose to hack off your potential as though it were a vestigial organ. Or you can embrace the future unencumbered from the chains that have thus far rendered your best efforts useless.”

I would then like to vanish in a puff of smoke – I am still working on that bit.

Social Business Strategists: Social Media vs. Enterprise 2.0

November 15th, 2010

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

What Makes Social Strategists Successful at Their Job

Job Responsibilities

[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.

Community Managers Part 1: Definitions

September 22nd, 2010

Differences and similarities in social business activities and related  job roles

Introduction

As many experienced at JiveWorld 2010, when it comes to which social business role is responsible for what set of activities, we are all struggling to reach a common language. Others have adroitly identified the differences between “community” and “social media,” so I won’t cover that here. Instead, I’m going to focus on the differences and similarities in what is done in three areas – Employees (Intranet), Customers/Partners (Extranet), Social Web (Internet) – and who does it.

Part 1: Definitions

First, let’s talk about what typical online community activities are. Then, I’ll describe who does them. There are horizontal, “always on” online community behaviors, or Ongoing Practices, and there are vertical, “start and stop” online community event series, or Programs.

Ongoing Practices

Similar to answering the phone when it rings and responding to email when it arrives, ongoing online community practices are primarily reactive behaviors. They are ad hoc responses to something that has happened. They typically do not have discrete funding tied to them, and do not have required formal success metrics. They are just “part of the job.”

Such ongoing practices include:

  • Notifying someone of a discussion thread they should chime in on
  • Approving access to a private group
  • Replying to a tweet or Facebook fan page post with an answer, or relevant link to more information
  • Responding to Partners’ questions in an external branded community
  • Handling reports of inappropriate use in an employee community
  • Monitoring negative comments about your brand in the social Web
  • Much, much more…
Programs

Programs, while ongoing, are made up of planned events with start and stop dates, and are primarily proactive. They usually have discrete funding tied to each of them, and require some sort of formal success metrics.

Such programs might include:

  • Corporate communications intranet content program
  • Employee profile completion awareness program
  • Partner enablement program
  • Brand champions program
  • Employee onboarding program
  • Product marketing program
  • Many more…

(I’d argue that Movements are a third area, but perhaps are an evolution of the two above into a single, new thing. If you want to learn about Movements, be sure to read the Brains on Fire book and get connected with that organization’s excellent group of kindred spirits.)

Now, let’s talk about who does this stuff.

There are several roles responsible for enacting Ongoing Practices and Programs, with many people fulfilling multiple roles. There are many other roles who participate, but are not necessarily responsible. I’m only focused on the responsible parties.

Roles for Programs

These roles are responsible for planning, creating, implementing and measuring their respective programs. I think there’s enough understanding about what these roles do, so I’m not going to cover them here. Just know that they exist and are tasked with producing results in their focus area, using social business practices and software/media, as well as more traditional communication/networking/collaboration/marketing tools, channels, media, etc.

  • Corporate Communications Director (example)
  • Employee Engagement Director
  • Sales and Channel Enablement Marketing Manager
  • Customer Marketing Manager
  • Partner Marketing Manager (example)
  • Social Media Marketing Manager
  • Product Marketing Manager
Roles For Ongoing Practices

When it comes to Ongoing Practices, things get much murkier. There are three primary roles, differentiated mainly by where the people in their community decide to participate online (there’s a whole offline component to “community” that I trust you already understand):

  • Internal Community Manager (example): focused on people who participate in employee communities
  • External Branded Community Manager (example): focused on people who participate in dedicated support, partner, business, developer, learning, conference, etc. communities
  • Social Media Community Manager (example): focused on people who interact with their company’s people, products, and brand in a variety of social Web communities, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

There are two other roles worth mentioning – one is a superset of one or more of the above, the other is a subset.

  • Enterprise Community Manager (example): usually focused on people who participate in one or more communities, whether internal, externally branded, or social Web
  • Individual Community Manager (example): usually designated to a portion of a community rather than the entire thing, e.g., Partner Community Manager

Like I said, in many cases there is one person responsible for both the Program and Ongoing Practices in a given area. In other cases, the Program Manager has the luxury of a team of people across whom responsibilities are dispersed.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Differences and Similarities between Community Manager Types

Practitioners know the things analysts and consultants don’t

August 3rd, 2010

Practitioners, analysts and consultants all play important roles when an emerging business practice is, well, emerging. But, if I had to choose who to listen to during these formative years, I’d choose practitioners.

People want to talk to others like them, who’ve successfully done whatever it is they’re trying to do.

Social business, my favorite emerging practice, is set to hit $3.1 billion in spending by 2014, just for social media marketing alone, forget about the $4.6 billion spending prediction that will enable Enterprise 2.0 social business behaviors. If your organization plans to participate in this evolution, you might want to learn from those who’ve been there, done that.

People like you, who’ve been there, done that

You have a chance to learn from and connect with these folks, who’ll be speaking at the only social business conference that features practitioners who’ve successfully engaged employees, customers, and the social Web.

Employee-Facing Social Business Practitioners

Photo of Tony Uphoff

Tony Uphoff
CEO
United Business Media TechWeb


Claire Flanagan
Director, Enterprise Social Business Collaboration and Communities Strategy
CSC

Photo of Ken Hamel
Ken Hamel
Senior Vice President of SAP Global Presales
SAP

Photo of Jennifer Bouani
Jennifer Bouani
Director of Interactive Communications
Manheim

Photo of Len Devanna
Len Devanna
Director of Digital Strategy
EMC

Photo of Angelique Finan
Angelique Finan
Program Manager, Office of the CTO
VeriSign

Photo of Brad Fitzgerald
Brad Fitzgerald
Community Manager
Mattel

Photo of Ted Hopton
Ted Hopton
Wiki Community Manager
United Business Media

Photo of Wolfgang Jastrowski
Wolfgang Jastrowski
Head of Unite Communications & Collaboration
Swiss Re

Photo of Greg Lowe
Greg Lowe
Social Media Strategist
Alcatel-Lucent

Public-Facing Social Business Practitioners

Photo of Mark McKenna
Mark McKenna
Managing Director and Head of Marketing and Communications
Putnam Investments

Photo of Jennifer Hidding
Jennifer Hidding
Director of Interactive Channels
Lifetime Fitness

Photo of Mark Finnern
Mark Finnern
Chief Community Evangelist
SAP

Photo of Stephen Maiello
Stephen Maiello
Senior Manager
Charles Schwab

Photo of Dianne Kibbey
Dianne Kibbey
Global Head of Communities, Portals, and eProcurement
Premier Farnell

Photo of Trisha Liu
Trisha Liu
Enterprise Community Manager
ArcSight

Photo of Scott Palmer
Scott Palmer
Worldwide Channel Web Strategy
Intel

Photo of Greg Sanders
Greg Sanders
Director, Global Online Services
McAfee

Photo of Deirdre Walsh
Deirdre Walsh
Community & Social Media Manager
National Instruments

JiveWorld10 Conference Agenda | Register today

The benefits of implementing a community advocate program

July 29th, 2010

I’m in the midst of moving beyond soft launch of our one-month-old advocate program for the Jive Community, called Jive Champions. One benefit to such programs is that these members routinely share their thought leadership, expertise, and guidance within and beyond the community.

Here are just a few gems the Jive Champions have shared since we started the program.

By Jamie Pappas, Social Media Strategist, EMC

By Greg Lowe, Social Media Strategist, Alcatel-Lucent

Discussion with Claire Flanagan, Director KM and Enterprise Social Business Collaboration and Communities Strategy, CSC

By Roy Wilsker, Senior Director Technology Planning, Covidien

By Tracy Maurer, System Engineer, United Business Media

By Ted Hopton, Community Manager, United Business Media

By Jennifer Bouoni, Director Interactive Communications, Manheim

The Jive Community has so many more excellent contributors, too! A few of them should expect an email from me soon, inviting them to join the Jive Champions. 😉

Becoming a Social Business, One Process at a Time

July 13th, 2010

Originally posted on Edelman Digital

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked with several clients to plan and implement employee- and customer-facing social business initiatives. I’ve found it ironic that, while many enterprises decide to implement social business software and encourage social business behaviors in an effort to break down silos between employees and employees, employees and customers, and employees and the social Web, they approach their implementations from a very silo’ed perspective. For example, employee-focused pilots tend to take root in a business unit, then IT and/or Employee Communications teams take over when it grows into a strategic initiative. And in the mean time, Marketing and Corporate Communications are leading a completely separate customer- and social Web-facing social business initiative. The left and right hands often don’t meet until their procurement office gets the purchase orders.

From Silos > To Strategic Focus

However, if you can somehow remove these organizational-chart blinders sooner rather than later, the big picture becomes clearer. You can focus on the full business processes you’re trying to evolve, and all of the people who need to participate in social business transformation – employees, prospects, customers, and partners. You’ll then have a better chance of identifying the “from” you wish to leave behind, and the “to” you want to become.

In my new role as Communities Program Manager at Jive, I’m responsible for infusing existing business practices with social business behaviors (among other tasks). So, we focus first on the process and who enacts it before we figure out where social business software can improve or innovate how we do business.

Here are a few business practices we’ve evolved into social business practices, categorized by how most companies are measured:

REVENUE GROWTH

Attracting Leads: From Static Website Content > To Interactive Thought Leadership

To attract more leads, we’ve augmented our static website content – case studies, whitepapers, customer webcasts, etc. – with content from influential and, well, pretty damn smart employees, customers and partners in our customer-facing Jive Community. Most of these mavens and connectors are part of our newly launched Jive Champions program. But, while the content is great, it’s the willingness of these Champions to interact that puts the zing in this particular sauce.

We routinely market this thought leadership content in the social Web. We, of course, “FaceTweetIn” it, but we also use social media monitoring to listen for and then engage folks who are interested in our or our competitors’ products and services. My colleague, Mike Fraietta, listens to 100% of the Twitter stream, plus everything else out there, ready to share our community’s thought leadership when appropriate (he’s one of our Jive Champions, so he dispenses advice and shares his experiences along the way).

I also make sure to market this content and its resulting discussions to our employees in our internal social networking software environment. Sales, Support, Services, Product Management, and our executive staff are very much plugged into our prospects and customers, which means they can propagate our thought leaders’ content in a very targeted fashion to progress a sales opportunity, or increase customer penetration.

We have another social business practice focused specifically on progressing a sales opportunity that includes integration between Salesforce.com, our employee-facing Jive SBS instance, and our customer-facing Jive SBS instance. That’s another blog post, however.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Crisis Management: From Not Knowing > To Proactive Engagement

Before we had social media monitoring capabilities, the only way we’d know about a brand-related crisis was if someone accidently stumbled across a blog post, Facebook group, or tweet. We’ve evolved that practice into listening to the social Web, and proactively engaging our prospects and customers before sentiments get too out of hand. Now, when our brand starts to take hits in the social Web or in our customer-facing community, we post the negative items in our employee community so that we can get the right eyeballs and actions on it immediately.  And, we join the negative conversation as soon as possible, offering to listen and take their feedback back to our colleagues.

I think my favorite part about this scenario, however, is that our customers have come to our rescue on our behalf, both in our customer community and in the social Web. Many of these customers are now part of our Jive Champions program.

INNOVATION

Developing Products: From Bug Tracking > To Interactive Ideation

We’ve always loved hearing from our customers about what our products need to become to make their work lives better. But, collecting their feedback through support cases, then submitting it into feature/bug tracking software where nobody but our engineers saw it didn’t leverage the collective innovation our customers could produce. We evolved this process into one that promotes interactive ideation. Customers now submit, comment, and vote on product ideas in our customer community, playing off one another’s ideas to refine what they really want. Our product managers join these discussions to ask for more clarity, run initial product plans by our customers, and learn at a glance what the top ideas – i.e., the most wanted ideas – are. They sometimes bridge specific discussions into our employee community so they can collaborate with product engineers “behind the scenes” before responding to customers.

And, just to make sure our customers know they’re being heard, our product managers periodically blog in the customer community about the status of specific ideas and how they relate to our roadmap, which I then FaceTweetIn, naturally.

None of these From > To’s would have happened if we hadn’t gained buy-in from executives, mid-level managers, and most importantly, the people enacting the practices. Here’s the engagement plan framework we used to identify, incent, empower, and engage key actors in these processes.

My next big task is to measure how all this social business activity correlates to any changes in key business metrics. That, too, is another blog post.