Last week, I participated in CMSWire's April Tweet Jam about growing and engaging customer communities. I want to take the opportunity to dive deeper based on which topics people in the Jive Community are interested in discussing further. Below you will see my answers. I want to hear from you: which answer would you like me to expand on?
One person suggested that 'Likes' are a key way to measure value, my response:
For more information about proving business value, check out this best practices paper.
Over the last few years marketers have become increasingly knowledgable and skilled in social media strategy and tactics. We've dedicated resources to creating content on social media; we've shifted our percentage of media spend to favor digital executions; and, we've spent hours on the weekends culling through spreadsheets full of page views, likes, shares, comments and unique visitor data. However, somewhere along the way in spending 6 figures on marketing tools, we've forgotten about the investment we've made in the marketers and agency partners who actually develop the strategies and get the work done.
While social media has opened new channels through which to communicate with our customers, it's also caused us to be much more tactically-focused. In effect, we've created silos within our marketing teams handicapping efficiency and productivity. When it comes to launching a new product, getting every marketing discipline together at the same time and aligned on strategy can be like herding cats. When we add on the additional layer of a global marketing team, it's shocking we ever get anything out the door because we don't have one central place to coordinate, share and learn from each other. In the end, too many new products launch late and/or are over budget.
It's time to move away from operating tactically and instead strategically "network" our marketing organizations to drive the greatest potential productivity. Taking the skills we've honed working in social media can help us cross the chasm into becoming a social business. Social business technology offers marketers the ability to bring all key stakeholders into one place (regardless of where they're physically located) to develop strategy, to plan and assign tactics by discipline, to execute the strategy, and to review performance data to identify opportunities to optimize the campaign.
Today, I'm throwing down the gauntlet - it's time for us to move our marketing organizations into the 21st century and become social businesses.
Social Media, Social Marketing, Social Business – what’s the difference?
As marketers we’re really great at coining terms and using them to mean different things across B2B, B2C and our industries. For the purpose of our discussion, I will define them in a business context as:
As Nilofer Merchant notes in her article “What we talk about when we talk about social”
No term is ever complete. Each of us are building on each others' ideas as we collectively grapple with understanding and decoding what is happening, and what we think it means. . . . When we focus on tools alone, I think we're making a mistake. . . .The bigger point is that major changes are afoot that change value creation, the meaning of work, and the structures for our institutions.
Semantics aside, our focus for 2013 should be on realigning the culture of our marketing organizations to first focus on the people – the marketers – who are doing the work and secondly on the tactics they need to execute.
If it's good enough for our customers, why isn't it good enough for us?
Today most marketers at least know about social technologies and many of them have been executing on an external social strategy. At Disney, connecting with guests wherever they were was important and key to our success. We had dedicated resources to developing content and to engaging with guests across the social web. But until 2011, social media was something we leveraged as an external communication channel. This didn't just happen at Disney, it happens every day across marketing organizations (B2B and B2C) - we continue to use social media to develop relationships with our customers, but we haven't taken it inside our team to drive productivity and competitive advantage.
How do we bridge that gap? How do we take the best practices we’ve developed around connecting, sharing and learning with customers in social media into our marketing teams?
Let’s start with a story. Say you’re launching a new product. The first thing you need to do is develop your go-to-market strategy. Typically as a brand or product marketing manager, you consult (or conduct) research and learnings from previous product launches, determine the benefits of the product features, assess what the competition is doing and take your first pass at a high level strategy. After that you probably review your ideas (in PowerPoint) with your manager and maybe your manager’s manager…and the VP…and the SVP…and finally there’s a decision. Throughout all of these conversations you’re the person behind the curtain building and rebuilding PowerPoint slides or Word documents based on everyone’s feedback. You send along copies via email and get more feedback. A couple weeks or months (depending on your company culture) later, you’ve got something that you could turn into a creative brief and share with your cross-functional team to “kick off” the launch plan.
Even at this early stage in product launch planning, you’ve had to consult many different resources for historical information; you’ve sent around about 50 emails; you’ve gathered feedback manually from several stakeholders (some of which is conflicting); you’ve had to plan and re-plan meetings due to crazy schedules; and, you’ve iterated on PowerPoint slides 10 times.
Now imagine if all of your key stakeholders had access to the documents and could provide feedback in one place. You wouldn’t have to worry about the administrative tasks in setting up and rescheduling meetings.
Once the strategy was baked, you could open up your product launch “war room” to your cross-functional teammates and your agencies. You’d have one virtual area where you could bring in anyone around the world to connect, share and learn when it was convenient for them.
All of the steps to launching a product are heavily reliant on the people doing the work. Yet, we’re still so focused on marketing automation tools and the tactical elements. Given that you’re investing 70% of operating costs on the marketers thinking and developing strategies, getting input from leadership and collaborating with colleagues to drive business forward, our focus seems misplaced.
What social technologies do best is connect people to each other. We realize that from our interactions with customers and our friends on social media. If it’s good enough for our customers, why isn’t it good enough for our marketing organizations?
Becoming customer-centric starts with us walking the walk. To drive competitive advantage, marketers need to evolve into a social business - an organization that has put in place strategies, technologies and processes to systematically engage all the individuals of its ecosystem (employees, customers, partners, suppliers) to maximize the co-created value.
How is your marketing organization evolving into a social business? For best practices on transforming your marketing team, download this best practices paper.
Social Business isn't just about connecting employees and customers to "collaborate better" wherever they are, from whatever device. It's about delivering real value to businesses, to the tune of $1.3 trillion annually, according to McKinsey Global Institute.
Tuesday, April 30th at 10am PT join us for a webcast to hear how Thomson Reuters rolled out a social intranet to its 60,000 employees for driving innovation, aligning everyone to the company strategy and generating a more collaborative working environment across the 100 countries they operate in. You will get to hear from Tim Wike, Director of Intranet Strategy and Operations at Thomson Reuters, and Gia Lyons Director of Product Marketing at Jive Software.
Some key takeaways include information about how to:
Register for this webcast here.
Last night while perusing my twitter feed I saw a tweet from Mark Ragan that intrigued me:
This sounds alarming in nature, so I thought this would be a good time to discuss the points of this article.
Here is the deal: Prescient Digital, a Toronto-based agency, recently polled "651 participants from organizations of all types and sizes from across the planet". While this sample size is not the most statistically significant sample and there is no clear mention of company size, let's address the findings one by one:
The firm's 2013 Social Intranet Study found that 76 percent of the companies surveyed use instant messaging, at least in some limited way. About 75 percent use blogs. Around two-thirds have wikis, discussion forums, and user comments. It's fair to say social tools are being used widely.
However, only 19 percent of organizations rated their social intranet tools as good or very good. Even fewer executives, 17 percent, like them.
Toby Ward, president of Prescient Digital Media, says the tools are easy to come by, but demonstrating their value is considerably tougher.
"Enterprise social media is still seen, at least by the executive suite, as something that isn't necessarily mission critical, but as something to keep the masses happy," he says.
We recently worked with a top three global consulting firm to survey actual Jive customers about what the business value Jive has brought to their organization. The results can be downloaded here. I'll take a moment to share with you a few highlights. Those companies using the Jive platform reported 15% increased worker productivity and 2-4% increase in topline revenue. This is because these businesses were able to:
And that’s just scratching the surface. Employee engagement is higher when implementations are focused on specific use cases that solve real business problems for sales teams, marketing teams, customer service solutions and/or the corporate intranet. Companies doing this see better strategic alignment and up to a 24% drop in employee turnover.
Ward then goes on to describe three factors that differentiate those companies that see value in social intranets from those who do not:
First, executives accept that the technology is worthwhile and even champion it. Second, those companies make investments in the tools that fit their business goals. Third, those companies have change-management procedures in place.
These three factors have always been of the utmost importance at Jive. They alone will not make a social platform work, but without them you have absolutely no chance, as clearly evidenced by the 17% of executives that like their social tools.
Next we learn a bit about the budgets with which these 651 respondents are paying:
Companies don't spend very much on their social intranets, either. A plurality of respondents, 47 percent, said they have spent less than $10,000 on social tools. Ward adds that intranet budgets are generally 1/50 to 1/100 of external website budgets.
Intranets are viewed as simply less important than websites, because they're indirect, whereas external websites communicate directly with customers, Ward says. "It's tougher to think about," he says.
It doesn't look like we are dealing with a lot of Fortune 500 companies in this survey. In this space, it is true that you get what you pay for. A successful implementation needs to take into consideration the use cases, best practices, launch support, and much more, which you get from Jive's professional services team.
Here is a (BIG) part of the problem:
Virtually no organizations—not even those where people are satisfied with their social tools—measure the ROI of their social intranets. Only 6 percent of respondents said they do.
We fully support this statement! It is true that without measurement, you cannot justify the cost or prove the business value.
Ward then goes on to back our approach:
Yet there are measurable benefits, such as cost savings from increased productivity, Ward says. Companies could get a lot out of measuring ROI.
"If they just spent a little bit more money and a little bit more time on their efforts, they would get the returns they think [they could]," he says.
..."One of the reasons why we do this study is just for this reason," he says. "You show executives the results, the findings, the recommendations. There's empirical evidence that shows if you invest, you do the change management, and you do it well, there are significant returns."
We couldn't agree more.
Be sure to download our whitepaper on finding business value here. I want to hear from you, where do you get the most value from social business?
Healthcare is complex and constantly shifting. As technology changes are occurring daily, it is imperative that the healthcare industry adapt with the technology age. Cerner is taking steps to help fix one of the largest challenges that still exists in healthcare today: communication and collaboration. Cerner wanted to speed up the process to surface clinical innovations, gather requirements, and leverage new clinical practices and technology. Their vision: go social to leverage mass collaboration and reduce time between discovery and adoption.They chose Jive to meet those needs.
While most companies clearly separate their associate-facing and public-facing communities, Cerner’s Jive-powered platform, called uCern, uniquely combines both. More than 1,700 separate healthcare organizations communicate and collaborate on uCern—of which Cerner is just one.
Although the focus of uCern is on the broader community and their needs and issues, Cerner also reaps a number of operational business benefits, most significantly the ability to answer questions more quickly and a significant improvement in the design quality of its solutions—driven by the ability to communicate broadly in parallel with its diverse stakeholders.
Cerner + Jive = Real Business Value
“With uCern, we have embraced a new culture that says, ‘Not only is it okay to share information, but we should be sharing information sooner rather than later.’ In this industry, which is typically very guarded, there are not many organizations doing what we are doing on the scale we are doing it.” Brice Jewell, Senior Manager
From its foundation, Cerner has been at the intersection of information technology and healthcare delivery. With its Jive-powered platform, Cerner, has taken on a unique role as facilitator, cheerleader, and mentor for the role social business software can play in the healthcare industry.
The benefits of social business are vast, learn about other ways that social business can impact your organization in this whitepaper.
Are you currently using social business software? How has it improved the way you work? I'd love to hear from you.
Engage, Alcatel-Lucent's social and collaborative platform, celebrated its 3rd birthday on April 6th. This article was originally posted in J. Boye blog, and is being republished with permission.
Is your organisation ready for a social intranet? Studies show that social often fails: A recent report from Gartner found that 80% of all social business efforts will not achieve the intended benefits. How to make sure that you are part of the 20% ? I recently spoke with Marc Jadoul, Marketing Director at Alcatel-Lucent and advocate for the company’s social intranet called ‘Engage’, about the benefits of a social platform – and how to reap them.
Social intranets are especially relevant for organisations that rely heavily on knowledge workers, such as consulting firms and high-tech companies. In a previous blog post, I wrote about how a social intranet can unlock the tacit knowledge that sits in the brains of the employees. Alcatel-Lucent is a typical example of an organisation that is experiencing the benefits from going social:
According to Laurie Buczek of Intel, knowledge workers spend up to 30% of their working day looking for people and information. A waste of precious time and human resources that may be dramatically reduced by providing employees with appropriate communication tools, putting collaboration and knowledge sharing on the foreplan. This is exactly what Engage aims to do.
Alcatel-Lucent’s Jive-based platform is providing a user-friendly environment that empowers over 70,000 employees worldwide to connect and collaborate with each other, and to contribute to over 4,000 work and non-work related communities. The screenshot below shows the home page of Engage (that can be further customised and personalised by each individual user). It illustrates the approach taken: a rich combination of various types of content, ranging from traditional news stories to blogs, group discussions, unanswered questions and tag clouds to help users find topics and communities of interest to them.
Alcatel-Lucent’s implementation focuses strongly on internal communities and the value that they bring. “It’s all about growing cross-organisational knowledge that we can apply in our day-to-day business” says Marc. “Communities will help to break down organisational silos, put people in touch with like-minded colleagues and provide the opportunity to learn and innovate.” A light governance model, based on a code of conduct and the principle of self-regulation, has proven its value – only on very rare occasions does the community manager need to step in. It must be noted however that – although a light governance has proven to be the right path towards rapid and smooth adoption – a new collaboration model like the one empowered by Engage can only succeed in an open-minded organisation, in which people, teams and leadership are willing and motivated to transform.
The hardest part of any social intranet project is to demonstrate the ROI. Earlier this year I wrote about the case of Omron and how their intranet delivers value to the business.
To understand the ROI of platforms such as Engage, it's important to understand the costs of conducting business without these tools, including the missed opportunities of not using them. At Alcatel-Lucent the approach has been to demonstrate success by collecting both quantitative and qualitative feedback from employees and business stakeholders. Some examples:
Sometimes even non-business related communities on Engage led to unexpected cost-savings. As an example, pictures taken by employees and shared in the community of interest on photography were reused in marketing materials, instead of paying for professional stock photos. “Another KPI to take into account is the positive effect on company culture, corporate image and employee retention,” says Marc Jadoul. “Recent research by Alcatel-Lucent has shown that in highly successful companies management, IT and HR work together to equip workers with productivity tools that enable a ‘New Way of Working.’”
What’s the next challenge for the intranet of Alcatel-Lucent? More integration comes to mind: currently Engage co-exists with a traditional, managed intranet for official communication and with a SharePoint platform for team collaboration. This is a typical phase in the evolution of many organisations’ intranets and matches with Jane McConnell’s model for intranet maturity.
“Today there is only basic cross-linking between the 3 environments,” says Marc. “The next step on our journey is to create a more integrated digital workplace, where employees are presented with a single user experience.”
Would you like to see more examples of social intranets and hear the stories behind them – including often some tough ‘lessons learned’? Check out these opportunities:
Just as I promised in my last blog, How to Create Support Cases, here is part two of our weekly Support Training that takes place every Friday at 8:30 a.m. PST. I, like so many, am a visual learner, so this blog serves as a step by step with images of what users will find in the Jive Community as they make their way through their private spaces to find content, participate in discussions, create cases, and more! To get an invite to the weekly training, use this blog as an instruction manual to create a case requesting to be added to our webinar. This training is great for all Jive users, new and old alike!
In The Problem with Traditional Intranets, I explained that employees are hampered by their company's traditional communication and collaboration tools across five behaviors of high performers:
Let's explore how social technologies can address these obstacles to higher performance, starting with (4) Collaborate with others to create and deliver quality work, and (5) Share their knowledge with others.
Forget about technology for a moment. What do people DO in your organization? Probably variations on the following:
And what tools do you use to do these things? Perhaps one or more of these:
That's a lot of tools.
One of the biggest problems with using all of these disconnected tools is that you can’t keep track of actions needed or decisions made across all of them, and you have no idea about the context of the work done, weeks later. And forget about using some of them on a mobile device.
First, social isn’t a software stack. It’s a way of doing business that requires the seamless flow of information, context, and activity across different applications and business activities.
A social intranet:
In short, a social intranet becomes the hub, the system of record for collaboration.
Here's an example.
Let's say an IT team is beginning to develop a new application for one of their business lines. They would likely follow a process like this:
And they'd likely use these tools to collaborate:
But, issues like these are abound:
Where is the latest Excel version of the requirements? I think someone emailed a new version yesterday.
I can't keep coding until I get an update from the Bangalore team, and they're asleep.
Who from the business side can make a decision on this new issue?
Why did the business people change the requirements again? Is it documented somewhere?
With a social intranet as the system of collaboration, all those emails and documents would automatically get posted and updated with the latest versions and replies to one place, no matter who sends them. The team can ask and answer one another's questions around the clock using email, the source control repository, and the bug tracking system, knowing that everything is streamed to their social intranet place, and made available on their most used mobile devices. The project manager can post project governance information, alerts, meeting notes, and designate decisions made and actions needed within conversation threads. Best of all: this team's work in progress would appear in the social intranet's streams and search results, get recommended to others across the company, and appear next to similar content (subject to view permissions).
That's how a social intranet helps people collaborate with others to create and deliver quality work, and share their knowledge with others while they're working. How do you use your social intranet to work better?
Learn more about how a social intranet can impact your business by downloading this Whitepaper.
For anyone that's had the opportunity to work in a fast-growing industry or company, it's often an exciting and engaging time in one's career. You experience a brisk working pace, greater span of responsibilities, and often, if you're fortunate enough, a culture around empowerment in the day-to-day operational tempo. There is one particular area of growth that I'd like to discuss, that of scaling a sales organization. This typically involves supporting a go-to-market strategy in new regions and territories or geos around the world. It entails bringing on-board lots of new bodies and programs - not only in sales roles, but in the support, enablement, financial, and logistical functions that accompany sales growth. If you're like me, you'll appreciate that ironically, the groups responsible for helping to build sales-scale, are often the most under-resourced and likely to not operate at scale, sad but true. I'd like to write briefly about the challenges we face here at Jive, and how we use our software to solve some common growing pains that commercial departments often face including the one of limited resources in support and logistics.
It should go without saying that any software used in scale-building really should come after a well thought out plan is in place. Software helps, but technology is only as good as the business techniques and processes they support. I'm saying this because as a sales ops leader, I know too well that lots of tools don't help if you're not underpinning some helpful processes. Scaling a sales organization for global deployment is not easy and you have to have operational methods in place that you can replicate and build scale around. Solid growth planning for sales involves:
A truly, exceptional growth plan is also one in my opinion that considers change management for sales organizations and the rest of the company. Here's where certain kinds of software can bring true force-multiplication for scaling up, but I'll get to that.
Take sales-capacity planning as an example. A sales capacity plan tells you "how much revenue or productivity you can drive with how many sales bodies, and at how much cost." It's a framework that can support decision-making, but it's still just a framework. The best processes still need human judgement and collaboration to vet through assumptions before the data can help inform investments. At Jive, we tend to peddle process and collaboration simultaneously inside of the company, meaning we share what we're working on fairly transparently so people throughout the organization see what you're working on. We open up the Intellectual Property to be viewed by others (except for sensitive content of course) and allow collaboration and insights to flow to us from there as authors.
Collaboration around models and even ideas is best performed early in the development cycle of information assets. It's a little un-nerving when you first start working in this paradigm of social business, but you soon see that some forms of "crowd-sourcing" when designed properly can help fill in gaps, and surface additional insights when building a model. Sales capacity plans make assumptions about people and their levels of productivity, but when scaling a sales org, these assumptions often cannot hold due to local customs, regional differences about how business is performed, etc.
For instance, let's say your plan assumes the same ramp-up timing for sales reps in a territory say between the UK and Australia. You will quickly find that reps in Australia tend to take longer by an average of 1-2 months. Why? There could be lots of reasons. One I learned about that seems to be validated over and over is that working, business-relationships require more time to develop between vendors and buyers, as a general rule. Business relationships in that part of the world tend to be based on time and preference rather than a distinct purchasing process or transactional nature in conducting sales. There are a number of other seemingly small differences in culture and business practices that require human insight and knowledge sharing between employees in that region and the central planning organization back at HQ. Regional specific sales practices were crowd-sourced to me some time ago via Jive, and it's made its way into how we recruit and develop on-boarding regularly. Having a collaboration platform is critical to bring a level of planning knowledge that can help you make better decisions when scaling out.
I said earlier that certain software tools bring a type of force-multiplier to the task of scaling a sales organization. Social platforms are definitely in this category, as we use Jive for 2 key areas of developing scale:
When a rep comes to Jive, they quickly learn that our prescribed sales methodology and tools "live" in one space inside of our instance of Jive. Reps are "pointed" to this virtual store-house of knowledge and encouraged to do things like take self-study, watch product training or corporate pitch videos, and ask questions of their peers. Or better yet, see questions already asked and addressed by internal experts. This use of a content location that provides collaborative capabilities allows new users to not only locate standardized materials and training, but it also allows users to voice their specific needs in a new location, and they can work directly with content creators to meet localization, language, or other regional business and compliance related requirements. It gives us a balance between centralizing the curation of sales collateral and customizing tools needed by a rep in a part of the world that needs something outside what we provide. This is the first part of scaling for sales that can help when support organizations in marketing or operations are resource-constrained.
Sales Rep Ramp
Capacity planning typically requires finance and operations to work together. There are numerous examples for how collaboration around management planning processes can be enabled, but the one I want to illustrate here is focused on the line sales manager and sales rep. Closely tied to onboarding is the ramp-up process to get a sales rep productive in his or her new territory, which at Jive, involves getting a sales rep situated in a territory and quickly focused on the right customers and opportunities. I don't mean training here either, but rather the process by which a company can provide the guidance and instruction for maximizing opportunities during the ramp-up phase for a new rep.
A social collaboration platform can quickly help a rep get the HOW portion of the selling cycle. This HOW portion is about communicating the coverage model, who's who in the organization, rules of engagement, and most importantly, best practices from top reps already successful in the sales organization. Jive allows us to share best practices and document key selling steps used by our top performers. We capture this knowledge and share it in a social way on our platform, and we map this knowledge at specific points in the sales methodology so a rep anywhere in the world, at any time knows what works and what to watch out for as they engage customers. Our system gives us the ability to impart and distribute selling know-how in a way that opens up learning so it flows from those that know to those that need it most: the newest rep in a territory.
Learn how you can better scale your sales organization and provide better strategic alignment, download this Whitepaper.
Have you been a part of a sales organization that was scaling globally? What are the biggest hurdles you encountered? Comment below.