Setting the Social Business Strategy: How to Begin Your Social Business Transformation Successfully

December 18th, 2014Social Business

Although few remain who question the vast potential social technologies have for the enterprise, many organizations struggle with how to build a solid strategic foundation for their social business transformation. Since social technologies, by design, impact the entire organization, alignment and buy-in to the overall social business strategy is a difficult first step.

An effective social business strategy must address many challenges, such as:

  • How do you drive executive alignment and support?
  • How will we make decisions across business units and functions?
  • Which capabilities are most important to your business?
  • How will you drive adoption and usage?
  • How do you educate and train our employee base?
  • What technology platforms will we utilize?  How do they align with our existing application base?

A clear and comprehensive strategy is the foundation for break-through results.

At Unisys, we utilize a four-step approach to developing a social business strategy.  The approach is holistic, ensuring that you address not only the technology components of the transformation, but also the culture, leadership, and change management components required to make your transformation a success.

Step 1:  Define the end-state vision and objectives

Without executive alignment, many organizations struggle to develop the momentum and support required to succeed.  Development of a clear end-state vision and objectives ensures that you put the business’ needs first.  By helping the business understand and articulate how social capabilities can improve their productivity and job performance you gain buy-in and support for the social implementation.

Step 2: Perform a readiness and capability assessment

Finding out that there is no effective forum to make decisions across business units and functions half way through a deployment is no fun.    A comprehensive readiness and capability assessment should be used to identify and address key risks before you deploy any social capabilities.  Critical areas that should be evaluated include:  leadership alignment, governance, culture and communications, education and training, as well as technology readiness.    With the risks identified upfront, you can hold meaningful discussions with the business on the commitments required to make the transformation successful.

Step 3:  Develop the value proposition

Driving and maintaining alignment to the social business strategy is significantly easier with the development of a social business value proposition.    Documenting the expected business benefits, estimated investments, and business commitments required provides an effective means to monitor and measure the progress of the transformation.

Step 4:  Define the high-level roadmap

The high-level roadmap is the one-page summary of how your transformation will progress over time.  Only critical business capabilities and milestones need to be identified, along with rough time frames and goals.  The roadmap is not meant to be a detailed implementation plan, but should serve to document and identify agreed-upon priorities and rough time frames.

Social business implementations are complex, multi-year, enterprise undertakings.  By following a holistic and structured approach to developing your strategy, you can greatly increase your chances to succeed.

Tags-   Social business


K Andrew Lee

Andy is the Global Portfolio Director for the Unified Social Business Practice at Unisys, and is responsible for defining and delivering the Unified Social Business capabilities to external clients.