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Tell me if you've heard this song:

 

I show how #socbiz can change us, I give them studies and tales.

That seems to make them happy, but it all grows somewhat stale.

I don't know what they need now, I can't say that I'm sure,

But executives seem bent on asking for so much more.

 

I got the measurement blues.

Everybody knows I got the blues.

If I could give them ROI,

My blues would turn into good news.

 

(Don't worry. I won't quit my day job.)

 

It's all about benchmarking.

 

You can't measure whether something is making a difference or not, unless you know what the thing looked like before you tried to make that difference. And yes, so much of what #socbiz can reduce, replace, improve, or make newly possible is considered "soft dollar," but that's not even half of your measurement story.

 

Here's one way to figure out what you need to benchmark before implementing your #socbiz project

 

Once you've figured out which groups of people or business processes you want to start with, ask these questions:


1. How do you measure your group or process today? Typically, a group or process is measured in a very concrete way. For example, sales and dealers measure individual productivity (how much revenue they generate in a given time period), win rate; call centers measure the cost of a customer phone call, customer satisfaction; marketing measures number of lead conversions, brand awareness levels, web site traffic; professional services measure project delivery time and quality; operations measures customer support costs, employee on-boarding costs, M&A on-boarding costs; this list goes on.



2. What is your hypothesis about how #socbiz will positively affect those metrics? This is where you create a vision for your stakeholders. For example, using #socbiz behaviors and technologies can decrease employee on-boarding time by 25%, decrease customer support calls by 28%, and increase employee satisfaction by 30%, according to some reports. Just taking a fraction of these reported improvements might be enough to warrant further examination and investment in your project.


3. What data must you gather to benchmark your hypothesis? If you're betting that #socbiz can significantly decrease the time it takes to on-board a new or newly acquired employee in a specific job function, such as sales rep, customer service rep, or engineer, then you'll need to gather some numbers, including: average base salary within a particular job function, and the current time it takes for a new employee in that function to achieve 100% productivity. Then, you'll need to know how many of those types of employees are hired within a given month or quarter. With this kind of data, you can apply formulas to calculate the potential value of your #socbiz hypothesis. Do this for a a few more use cases or hypotheses with buzz-worthy groups or processes, and you'll have the beginnings of a data-driven business case.


4. Which senior executives care about this? Now that you've the potential value of your #socbiz project, find a senior executive who cares about your hypothesis, and even more importantly, is tasked with improving what you've identified. For example, the SVP Sales will care about on-boarding new sales reps faster, because that can potentially lead to that rep closing more deals earlier. You might want to shop for critical business initiatives in your company's annual report, if you've got one.


For more helpful social business tips, register for the JiveLive Tour (http://bit.ly/HGkfN7)

I once worked with a client who... well... freaked out because they were overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to start their social business project. After we all calmed down, though, we started.

 

Starting is the most important step you'll take.

 

StartNow.png

Where did we start? With whatever was keeping them up at night. For them, this was trying to choose the right groups of end users to start with. Because, let's face it - however you start, that's how you continue. Those first users end up setting the tone and examples that others will follow.

 

Do you want #socbiz to be something folks do only when they have the time? (FYI: they'll never have the time.) Or, do you want it to be a critical part of how things get done inside/outside your organization?

 



Start with the right groups and processes.

 

Here's one way to figure out which groups or processes to start with.


Ask these questions:


1. Which groups or processes are "buzz-worthy"? These are those groups or processes that, when you're successful injecting social business behaviors into them, everyone else in your organization will notice and want some for themselves. The best places to look for these are in sales, call centers, R&D, engineering, consulting - basically, any group or process that ultimately makes the firm money, saves money, innovates faster, or satisfies customers better.



2. How do they do a particular process today, and what problems exist? This is when you want to document the "before shot" prior to doing your Social Business Extreme Makeover, if you will. You want to ask the people who know the process the best about how they find, connect, and collaborate with other people and content in order to enact that process, or, if it's a process they're not even doing yet, why it's important for them to do it going forward. You want to make a list of all the applications and events they use (hint: it'll likely be email, conference calls, instant messaging, and some knowledge management, collaboration or document management system). You'll also want to know what the problems are. For example, ask how long it takes customers, or sales reps, or customer service reps to get answers to questions; or how marketing finds and grows the number of brand ambassadors; or how inefficient collaboration with partners and customers is; or how many quality ideas are generated and refined by employees, partners and customers.


3. How would you do that process, using social business behaviors and technologies? This is where you need to first understand the capabilities of #socbiz software, and help your stakeholders understand the potential new way of doing things. They will have no idea what is possible, other than what they've experienced in public consumer social networks, which promote usage "when I have the time." You know better. If you're trying to change the way your organization works with #socbiz, then you need to focus on using it "because it's critical to how I do my work." For example, instead of emailing 3 people with a question, a sales rep can ask 3,000 by simply posting their question in your community - they'll likely get an answer faster from people they don't even know, and the community will vet the answer for correctness. You never get that in an email! Or, perhaps a customer can read questions and answers in your community, and never even need to call your call center. Maybe your employees, partners and customers can submit ideas and refine one another's concepts, vote them up or down, thus better prioritizing what your engineering team should focus on.


Once you get answers to these questions, you'll have a better idea of who to start your #socbiz project with to get early success.


For more helpful tips, sign-up for the JiveLive Tour, coming to a city near you!


Last night, I was having dinner with some folks in my social circle.  One of them exclaimed, "Good news! We FINALLY get to hire an internal community manager."  We all raised a glass to toast the victory. See, he had been battling to get a headcount to manage his social intranet for years.


Based on his struggle, I decided to develop the Top 10 Roles of an Internal Community Manager.


Now, for some huge Social Business software customers these will come as no surprise, but at smaller companies with more modest resources, an FTE might bust the budget. In these cases, carving out a partial responsibility and making it official reduces the danger of the social intranet becoming beloved in concept but largely shelf ware.

 

So, here’s the list of the Top 10 Internal Community Manager Roles they often juggle:

 

HiRes.jpg1. Ambassador. One of the biggest drivers of social business success is company culture. Community managers help form a successful company culture by being open, responsive, and strategic. 


2. Unifier. Community managers helps unite distributed leadership on the best practices for internal collaboration. 


3. Builder. Skilled managers focus on best ways to structure and design for interaction and engagement. They also stimulate conversation and have content plans until the community matures.


4. Coach. They are excellent at articulating how employees can use the new technology to accomplish real business objectives, without leaving their comfort zone (which often means their email inboxes). 


5. Cheerleader. Community managers often bust out the virtual pompoms.  They reward positive behavior. 


6. Leader. One of the most important jobs of the community manager is to identify effective volunteer advocates and facilitators for various units (marketing, sales, finance, R&D, manufacturing, etc.). Without these foot soldiers, the community will not take flight.


7. Game Maker.  No, I’m not referring to Panem! Community managers come up with awesome techniques to keep employees engaged and reward the most active contributors or the executives who “get it.”


8. Listener. Community managers understand better than anyone the “pulse” of the employee base.  They often can be the voice of the masses when it comes to marketing ideas, product features, etc. 


9. Governor. Community managers help develop and enforce social media guidelines.


10. Analyzer. Successful community managers can help point to real business value (ie. Employee satisfaction, productivity improvements, increase in sales, etc).  They can also do predictive modeling based on sentiment, help find the true expert in a given area, and understand valuable enterprise relationships.

 

I want to hear from theInternal Communities, What’s the biggest value you bring to your organization?



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Jive in SharePoint

 

SharePoint has been considered the de-facto platform for enterprise intranets and document management for close to a decade. SharePoint has allowed companies to build a combination of managed pages for the organization such as the main landing page of the intranet, official pages for HR, Sales and all other departments in the organization.

SharePoint has also allowed teams to create their team’s intranet sites where they could share documents and content for the entire team to consume.

 

In many organizations SharePoint equals Intranet.SharePoint Screenshot-2.png

 

I had the honor to be part of the SharePoint product team for several years while I worked for Microsoft and must admit it was exciting to see this product thrive.

 

The biggest challenge SharePoint is facing today is user engagement. While it is the place to go to consume data, it has not managed to become the place where people engage. Engagement in my view is when you spend more than 1 minute on a page where all you do is try to find and download a file. Engagement is where you actually do proactive collaboration, discussion, share ideas and comment on other people’s ideas.

 

So when we joined Jive right after the OffiSync acquisition, my team and I decided to take on a project where we would make the intranet a more engaging solution for the enterprise, fully realizing that a big part of realizing this vision would be to make SharePoint a more engaging platform. The main tool at our disposal as new Jivers was of course the Jive platform. So we embarked on this journey to take a social platform and combine it with the best of SharePoint and through that deliver a new kind of Intranet, an engaging one.

So what did we do? We take any existing SharePoint site and inject Social engaging capabilities in it. Every document can now be discussed, calendar items can be socialized, shared, discussed and liked, every site has an engaging micro-blogging capabilities that let people share ideas and comment on others.

 

What I’m mostly proud of is the fact that I believe we have something special here, something that will let customers keep SharePoint if they wish to do so, make that the de-facto document management system, keep that as the intranet platform, yet make it engaging, make it a destination where users will spend most of their time to collaborate, share and express themselves.

 

Can’t wait to get this to the hands of users, I know they will love it. I am also thinking about all the IT folks that run SharePoint with whom I’ve engaged over the years trying to find ways to make SharePoint really become the main collaboration platform and widely adopted. I’m sure it will be a fun ride and a fun way to make SharePoint great.

 

What's your take? What has your experience with SharePoint been like? Is it currently your intranet? Are you trying to socialize it?

When something doesn’t work at home, you might complain on Twitter or use your smartphone to report the problem. Or you’ll search for a solution on-line and fix the problem yourself.

But what do you do at work? Probably nothing.

At most companies, it’s simply too hard to fix small things. Every department has their own portal and their own number to call. It’s not nearly convenient enough, so you just live with the problem or leave it for the next person. And dissatisfaction and disengagement multiplies.

There’s a better way. And it may be more important than you think.

 

The Broken Windows theory

In 1982, two sociologists wrote an article that said, in essence, small breakdowns in a society, left untended, lead to bigger breakdowns.

“Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”

One of the authors subsequently worked as a consultant to the NYC Transit Authority in the late 1980s, when they started to target graffiti and minor violations. Later, he influenced the Police Department, leading to NYC’s  “zero tolerance” and “quality of life” strategies that are widely seen to have significantly reduced both petty and serious crime.

Broken windows at work

While the debate continues about causation and correlation, most people agree that the Broken Windows theory matters because social cues matter. That is, “individuals look for signals within the environment as to the social norms in the setting and...one of those signals is the area's general appearance.”

What are the equivalents of graffiti and broken windows at work?

They're the broken speakerphone and missing network adapter in the conference room. The leaking sink and mis-set clock. The empty vending machine and the dirty pantry.

It’s an endless list of little things, typically in shared spaces, that are big enough to irritate someone but not so big that they’ll do much to report it or put much effort into fixing it themselves.

Those seemingly little issues add up to a culture where it’s okay for things not to work. And quality and productivity suffer as a result.

3 ways to modernize employee service

Improving customer support is a classic use case for social tools and practices. It’s not often applied inside the firm, but it could be. Here are 3 ways to improve service for employees.

Make it easy to report issues - and for service providers to engage: instead of every department having their own way to report a problem, social platforms let anyone post a simple complaint from their iPhone, iPad, or desktop. Those same platforms make it easy for the right people to listen, engage the person complaining, and fix the problem more quickly - all in a way that everyone else can observe. (Here's a recent example from BofA's customer service on Twitter.)

Let people help themselves: the internal helpdesks at your firm - from HR to IT to facilities - are anachronisms and almost pure waste. Each one consults their own knowledge base to handle endless phone calls and emails, largely the same questions over and over. Using a single collaboration platform instead boosts self-service by providing a universal set of on-line forums. That makes it easy for anyone to search for answers, provide feedback on the results, or ask their own questions.

Let people help each other: When the problem can’t be readily solved by a forum or by a service provider, it can be usually be solved if you find the right person. Here's where on-line, role-based communities are extremely valuable. They make it easy to get your question in front of relevant people and to identify experts on specific topics.

“Doesn’t anybody care?”

We have all of this at home. (We don't call the Google helpdesk. And, increasingly, even municipal governments are adopting social tools and practices to improve service.) We can and should have better service at work, too, because it’s better for the employees and better for the firm.

Responsive service inside the firm sets cues for the rest of the organization and shapes  the culture. It says:

“We care about our workplace. We care about our employees. We care about the quality of our products and the service we provide for our customers.”

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