There are a number of proven, repeatable actions, referenced as patterns, that add measurable value when applied by an organization using social tools:
- Finding expertise
- Gaining external customer insights
- Increasing knowledge sharing
- Improving recruiting and on-boarding
- Managing mergers and acquisitions
- Enabling and improving workplace safety
These are proven set of value-producing actions. You can begin by applying just one pattern. Later, as requirements grow, you can realize more benefits by implementing other patterns over time.
Employees inside an organization typically do not proactively share information with each other. This results in increased time to solve common business problems and reinvented solutions. Using social analytics to discover hidden knowledge, as well as the ability to search and publish resources results in:
- Rapidly locating the right people or information to solve a problem.
- Finding the best resources to assist customers and partners.
- Documenting solutions to problems to help others in the future.
- An engaged and productive workforce.
Gaining external customer insights
Organizations need to understand the needs of their current and potential customers in order to provide them with relevant products and services. Furthermore, as organizations move from mass marketing to targeting key individuals that can influence a large number of future customers, the need to employ social monitoring tools is crucial. Listening and responding to these social conversations has the following benefits:
- Quickly understanding the needs of current and potential customers resulting in faster time to market with the appropriate products and services.
- The ability to find and engage with key customer influencers that can act as advocates for the organization.
Increasing knowledge sharing
The inability of the organization to know what information already exists results in rework and duplication of effort. The effect of this is increased cost and delays in revenue recognition. Adding social communication capabilities to existing enterprise applications encourages open conversations between employees and makes the knowledge in peoples heads as accessible as those in documents. Adding gamification to the social portal increases the likelihood of the desired behavior. The benefits of improved knowledge sharing include:
- Increased productivity of the workforce due to the ease of publishing, sharing and locating important information.
- Better innovation due to more relevant and diverse information easily available.
- Decreased cost due to the elimination of reinventing solutions and the time needed to find information.
Improving recruiting and on-boarding
It is essential that an organization is able to attract talent and best match their capabilities to the skills required. When these new hires begin work, getting them productive as soon as possible and in touch with those in the organization with the expertise they require, is also important. The use of externally and internally facing social capabilities assists in connecting candidates with Human Resource and hiring managers to find the best candidates. Once an employee starts at the organization, a social network that links them to existing employees with domain knowledge and easy access to the right information speeds up the time it takes for a new hire to be a productive asset. These social capabilities benefit as follows:
- Matching the right person to the right vacancy as fast as possible, thereby streamlining the hiring process.
- Providing new employees with easy access to the right people and information, increasing the chance of retention and reducing the time it takes them to be productive.
Managing mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions are difficult for all parties involved. Executives from the different organization have different visions for the resulting entity. The staff of the affected organizations involved do not always understand what is transpiring at a strategic and tactical level. In the case of an acquisition, the company being purchased often suffers from poor retention of staff.
Social network capabilities allow for executives and Human Resource to communicate with the staff of the affected organization to share information on tactical and strategic issues. A social network also allows for the discussion and decision making processes that take place during such an endeavor. This leads to the following values:
- Higher chance of success in achieving the merger and acquisition.
- More effective vision setting, discussion and decision making before, during, and after the merger and acquisition activities have taken place.
- Accelerated creation of a single company community and culture.
Enabling and improving workplace safety
Since safety regulations change often, it is difficult for the organization to stay abreast of these changes and remain compliant. Communicating the safety requirements to everyone in the organization is another challenge, compounded in a distributed environment. Providing the latest safety information, as it changes, on both a mobile and social platform yields the following benefits:
- Project delays resulting from safety concerns can be minimized.
- Innovation in safety procedures can be increased as workers and safety officials communicate more regularly.
Consult the document in the references section for detail on these social business patterns. This document includes IBM’s experience and concrete actions the organization can take to implement these patterns.
Social Business Patterns White Paper