In yesterday's social journeys blog post, I walked you through the first 2 parts of the enterprise social journey I most commonly see: activity streams and communities. In today's post, we'll take a look at the remaining 2 parts: specific business problems and structured business processes.
Focus on the problem
In the third stop along the social path, companies start to focus on specific business problems. Where communities let people focus on topics, social platforms with the right functionality can let people focus on innovation, corporate communication, knowledge base creation, recognition, expertise discovery and other capabilities.
At this stage, the flexibility and openness of social is merged with specific flows to focus on an outcome like ideas for new products or targeted delivery of corporate messaging with immediate feedback. We’ve seen companies avoid expensive branding campaigns, for example, by having employees come up with naming ideas. We use our innovation capabilities to let customers and partners drive our product direction.
The challenge to succeeding at this stage is that you need both specific functionality built to solve the problem (a standard stream just isn’t great at collecting and prioritizing hundreds of ideas), and you need clear ownership in your company.
With some success at specific processes built to take advantage of social, companies start to look at the fourth stage of the journey.
Social meets process
In the fourth stage, companies look at the rest of the structured business processes to see where social can help. This is typically marked by starting to work with structured data from backend systems in conjunction with the social platform. So, for example, the ability to easily comment and get a reply on a request for spending money can make the approval go faster while tracking the conversation as part of the decision.
The challenge at this stage is having the technical capabilities to bring these systems together (connectors, security controls, etc.), and the understanding of the business to know what combinations will truly have impact. This stage is further than most companies have travelled, but it is the clear next step on the path.
When you can see a clear destination where the journey leads, it can often be tempting to jump to the end. I know that I sometimes get ahead of myself and the people I’m talking to by leaping to the future where we’ve already made work better. But social is a journey. When you set out on this journey, it’s good to know there are benefits and challenges at every stage. But it’s exciting to see where the journey can take you. What’s your next step?