Author(s): Eddie Wakelam, Posted 11/16/11
The momentum continues to build and with it the pressures on enterprises to join the Social Computing business-enablement “club.” Many enterprises are recognizing how important it is for their futures to implement at least proofs of concept programs to leverage Social Computing. In many cases, however, the pressures to prematurely procure and implement the technologies and solutions are driving programs that are destined for failure. Why? Because the processes aren’t defined, let alone in place, to ensure that the business benefit will be realized for the intelligence that’s arriving almost instantaneously and very likely large in quantity.
These properly integrated business process changes must be ready and tied off with the enterprise stakeholders before any data arrives. Otherwise their value won’t be realized. Even worse, the enterprise’s credibility with its customers will be seriously damaged if customers don’t see evidence that their feedback is being taken into account. A major driver for social enablement is the importance of deeper and deeper customer/stakeholder engagement; not just to monitor views, but to communicate the messages of your activities, products and plans – i.e. to collaborate. Consider the potential tidal wave of data that could appear through the increase in mobile computing where the integration of social applications is becoming the rule and not the exception.
As in the adoption of any technology-enabled innovation, the ground work has to be done first. Identify the component of your business that would benefit from customer or internal stakeholder feedback and collaboration, and be clear on why and, most importantly, how the benefits can be continuously measured. Are the enterprise departments/stakeholders in full agreement with the benefits and how they’ll be achieved? What changes need to be made to the business processes (automated and manual)? How will these changes be co-ordinated with your existing people-centric systems – Knowledge Management, Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Content Management? How do these plans fit with the enterprise’s strategy for mobile computing? What are the associated costs and timescales and are they consistent with the return on investment being committed? Can the changes be harmonized with existing business/system modernization projects? Make no mistake, in a very short space of time social enablement will become an institutionalized part of the plumbing of every enterprise, so treat it like any other business-led activity.
Particularly in the case of social computing, a slick and continuous marketing activity needs to be in place. Tell the internal and external stakeholders what you want, what you will do with what you get, tell them as you go along what you’re doing and give them an appropriate and accurate feel for the aggregate of the intelligence/feedback you’re receiving. And, most importantly how the enterprise is taking account of it. As with the other business process changes that are necessary, this public relations activity must be pre-planned and diligently managed.
Professionally planned and executed Social Computing initiatives will transform the way that we interact with each other in our businesses and with our customers. As a result, if planned up front and executed professionally, enterprises will improve their productivity, time to market, relevance of products and services, quality and depth of customer engagement, internal collaboration and quality of service. Unisys prides itself in focusing enterprise change upon predictable and measurable business benefit – the integrity of our offerings demands nothing less.
The statements posted on this blog are those of the writer alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unisys.
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