Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Recent observations through interactions with small to medium sized businesses

Recently, I've had several conversations with a number of businesses here in New Zealand. I've been talking about social business transformation and the key benefits that it brings to the business. Global research shows that the average knowledge worker can have up to a 30% increase in productivity through the use of social enterprise platforms. The financial benefits for an organisation based on this one statistic alone, provide for a significant return on investment.

I've said it before, a lot of social media specialists here in New Zealand struggle to get their heads around return on investment. Some people go as far as saying that it's not important as what they're doing is experimental. And in almost the same sentence, those people state that the organisation whom they're working for won't invest in social media. I often remind them that the fact that the organisation is paying their wage is indicative of a significant investment.

I've also noticed that social media strategy plans are superficial and possibly even detrimental to the overall goals of the organisation. They fail to align strategy with organisational goals and culture, while allowing for behavioural changes as people release information, and expertise traditionally trapped within corporate silos. Corporate executives are often signing off strategic plans for the use of social media within the enterprise without fully understanding the potential and the pitfalls for the organisation.

New Zealand businesses desperately need to consider social business transformation. There's sufficient evidence to suggest that businesses in other parts of the world, who are going through this transformation, are quickly becoming market leaders. In many cases, the gap between the market leader and the laggards is increasing exponentially.

Just today, I was talking to a social media manager at an organisation using Yammer.  When asking him if everyone within the organisation was using the platform, his response indicated that he thought it was an unrealistic expectation.  It makes me wonder about the maturity of the organisations strategic plans around the social enterprise. A social enterprise includes all employees all of the time through the use of strategies and cultural alignment. No, I'm not talking about the existing culture of the organisation, but a cultural transformation that must take place. A culture where employees are recognised for their contribution in solving business problems and reducing the expense of doing business, where the most valuable employees with an organisation habitually share all that they know rather than hoard information thinking that it will keep them secure in their job.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with this view. I have seen a similar thing in India and global markets, when I have interacted with various businesses.

    Everyone wants social media for status and not for business growth. This is because the leaders are ill-informed about the same. I think there is a huge opportunity for all leaders to understand this better.

    In my view, it is my belief that the emerging industry leaders are those that understand this and use the social media platform for their business growth and I can see many do that and I am helping many to do so too. I think they will get ahead of the race because of this.

    As said in this article, the "serious" leaders need to not only understand this fact, but also catalyze the transformation in their organisations. This is a cultural change, a social change, a value transformation, a learning, a journey and the leaders who can make this happen in their organisation, will be recognized hugely in the coming years. Not because of status , but because of the business results !


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