SMW Review: Impressions from Sandy Carter's Coffee Talk
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org |
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The Next Big Era
It's been said that the hardest part of a workout routine isn't the workout at all, but rather the simple act of putting on your shoes. Finding the motivation and willpower to make the mental commitment is often what trips people up the most and keeps them from engaging in what they know is good for them. And we know that working out is good for us; there's solid science behind all the physical and mental benefits, plus there is the way that we feel afterward. But the issue: how to GET STARTED.
This analogy came to my mind as I listened on Wednesday morning to Sandy Carter (IBM's VP of Social Business Evangelism and Sales) address a small audience at the intimate "library" of the Birch Coffee House in midtown Manhattan. Out of the many concurrent activities happening throughout New York for Social Media Week (#SMW12), we all chose specifically to be at this event, and for good reason: we all know it's time to put on our shoes and get started with transforming into a social business. We already know there's solid science behind the 'health' benefits of becoming a social business (I'll define enterprise health here as measurable ROI, enhanced product innovation, workflow optimization, and super-fit business processes). We're aware that Social Business is a $200B marketplace, that over 90% of companies using social business tools are deriving hard benefits (McKinsey Global Institute), and that standout organizations are 57% more likely to allow their people to use social and collaborative tools.
We just need help lacing up, that's all.
And that's where Sandy comes in; she is our metaphorical trainer and IBM thought leader who has developed the outline - the routine, if you will - that a company needs to follow to get started on its social business transformation. (You can outfit yourself with a treasure trove of social collaboration tools and solutions from IBM - and clients can even take advantage of a no-charge Collaboration Assessment Tool to get started). Her advised "routine," eponymous with the title of this SMW event, is "Get Bold! Creating a Social Business Agenda.” It’s aptly named, for it’s not a rigid prescription, but rather a personalized agenda and set of best practices that has been compiled after years of rigorous research and working with thousands of clients worldwide. And it is 'bold' because IBM is predicting social business to be as big - if not bigger - than the internet in terms of the tools and techniques that will impact business. Social may well be Porter's sixth force.
As we sat there in the early morning, elbow-to-elbow in our cozy 'library', sipping on lattes and taking notes, Sandy explained the steps a company should follow in order to launch its social business transformation and drive engagement (n.b. the first level of engagement is internal deployment and those in highly-regulated industries will appreciate that). But before she walked us through the steps*, she first made sure we were all on the same page as to what a social business is - and what it isn't. As a newcomer to IBM, I know I needed to hear this again. Its hallmark traits of being "engaged, transparent, and nimble" come from embedding social tools and technologies in all of its business processes. In other words, it is a business that uses social tools and techniques to engage employees and clients internally and externally, so that it may become more transparent in sharing and finding expertise, which in turn allows it to act and respond more nimbly to change. And if change isn't constant in this age of disruption and hyper-competition, I don't know what is. Sandy also articulated what I think is a very important distinction between social business and social media: social media focuses on demand gen and marketing (important efforts, of course), but it does not fulfill the strategic purpose that social business does, which is to fundamentally improve business processes and outcomes. It's PR versus supply chain; it's Cemex creating its most profitable product of 2011 as a result of resource sharing and collaboration via its internal social networking platform. (IBM has a bunch of powerful Customer Testimonials like this online if you'd rather watch than read.) And one of the coolest aspects of social business is the infusion of IBM's analytics capabilities into the entire process; Big Data is big and when I hear how IBM is weaving analytics throughout its suite of social business solutions, I suddenly find myself listening to a 3-D conversation, instead of just a linear one.
One of the things IBM does really, really well is THINK. And the company is not just a thinker, but a doer. It knows how to take its ideas and innovations and transform them into consumable, effective products and solutions that make its clients better. It’s clear, as a new IBMer, I am excited about the company. But I can honestly say I see these things happening. IBM has thought about social business quite a bit and it's executing hard on this; after all, it is its own customer and brand ambassador for social business. IBM transformed itself into one not only out of necessity (IBM has more employees than some countries do people), but because it understands that the rapid shifts in technology and communication are changing the way the world works. And it wants to help its clients be successful in this new world, this "next big era." It wants to help you lace up and outpace your competitors. And that was a point that Sandy stressed repeatedly and that I think the audience internalized: those who do not adopt social will be left behind. Get started....
I caught up with Sandy after her event. Watch her two minute recap:
*Sandy's Social Business AGENDA is outlined in her book, Get Bold! Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business (2012). Align your goals and culture, Gain social trust, Engage through experiences, Social Network your process, Design for reputation and risk management, Analyze your data.