• Add a Comment
  • Edit
  • More Actions v
  • Quarantine this Entry

Comments (4)

1 Philip Sheldrake commented Permalink

Hi Blythe, I haven't read the white paper yet (why does it ask me to fill in 12 fields and review 5 tick boxes when I already have a login here?), so I'm just commenting on the content of your post here.

I wonder if this approach might be guilty of being prescriptive. I note, for example, the absence of any reference to strategy. I realise this might be one of the most over-used words in business, and I mean specifically that which denotes the organization's understanding of where to play and how to win. It seems that, irrespective of what that strategy might be, the advice here is to emulate some IBM customers and focus on these seven areas.
We're told these customers created business value. Value is frequently deduced from non-fiscal metrics (a la Balanced Scorecard style approaches), where such metrics are purposefully designed to align organizational resources and direct performance in executing strategy. In so many words then, such suites of metrics are bespoke and have ROI built-in by design.
Assuming the organization has established a certain maturity in developing strategy and in business performance management, the advice here then is to finish with taking a look at what the metrics say. Yet this recommendation mistreats the role key performance metrics play. Measurement is synonymous with management. Performance metrics are not simply a retrospective yardstick of success, or perhaps a device one can call on to post-justify the adoption of a prescriptive social business 'pattern', but actually guide the development of tactics and the allocation of resources.
I am an advocate of the principles underpinning social business, but surely the sophistication offered by the technologies and services from companies such as IBM means we can get specific not general.

2 Lamont Bowens commented Permalink

This is great.

3 Blythe Howard-Chou commented Permalink

Thanks for the feedback, Philip and Lamont.

Philip, I am going to email you a copy of the paper. If you'd like to get in touch with the author, please let me know and I will connect you. The repeatable patterns mentioned in the paper are prescriptive by their nature, but each organization adapted them to their own needs and strategies.

4 Adam Smye-Rumsby commented Permalink

Philip, as an IBMer that works with clients evaluating IBM's social business offerings, I've learned that some clients struggle to understand what social business might look like in their organization, particularly in the early stages of their social business journeys. The paper intentionally presents a set of repeatable, broad applications of social business that have a universal appeal and provide a starting point. They are not intended to usurp the role of a social business strategy (which IBM helps clients with too, incidentally).
The audience for this paper are the executives and leaders that oversee social business initiatives. In my experience, those responsible for social business initiatives still need to justify investment in them, and metrics such as ROI are influential in those decisions. While I agree metrics are "not simply a retrospective yardstick of success", executives need something tangible upfront to take to their boards when they are seeking investment; something they can point to and say "look what our industry peers and competitors achieved. This is why we need to do this". Several years ago IBM created the social business AGENDA workshop for clients just starting on their social business journeys. I wrote about the workshop previously in this blog (https://www-304.ibm.com/connections/blogs/socialbusiness/entry/getting_everyone_rowing_in_one_direction1). I mention this because the very first topic in the workshop is Aligning Organizational Goals & Culture, where IBM helps the client establish which metrics are most important, and set specific goals for the planned social business initiative.

Add a Comment Add a Comment