The Measurable Success of Social Business
Michelle Tuttle 270007BS9K firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  kristen_corpolongo pam_moore michelle_tuttle measure success people sandy_carter slideshare roi patterns whitepaper socbiz h2h
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Social Business is no longer considered a passing fad or simply hype. As the industry has matured the concept of gaining value through improved communication and collaboration has become much more widely accepted. Aiding that acceptance has been the evidence behind the business impact that companies are realizing through their social business practices. The recent IBM executive white paper "Applying Social Business: The repeatable patterns that improve business processes and provide return" presents seven methodologies for embedding social capabilities that can help companies enjoy real benefits and stay competitive.
The evidence behind the impact of social business is compelling. In July 2012, the McKinsey Global Institute reported that social technologies within an enterprise can "raise the productivity of interaction workers … by 20 to 25 percent." More recent results from by MIT Sloan Management Review indicate that 62% of managers surveyed now report that their social business initiatives are at least somewhat successful at meeting their stated business objectives. Furthermore, 63% of respondents report that social business has positively affected business outcomes at their company, and 59% of respondents in multinational companies report that social business helps them operate across geographies.
However, while it’s true that social business is here to stay, there is one very important question that remains hard to answer for some: How do you increase social business success and gain a measurable return on investment (ROI)?
First and foremost, as noted by Kristen Corpolongo of Information Week, "To increase social business’s success rate, companies need to focus on people in all stages of the project." Social business is about people—connecting people, sharing information and insights and building relationships. This point of view is shared by Pam Moore, CEO and Founder of Marketing Nutz, who writes, "Social media did not invent the need for human relationships in business." Companies need to use blogs, networks communities, and other social tools with a particular purpose in mind: to solve problems for people—first as individuals and then as groups and organizations. After all, it's people that are on the other end of these communications. Success depends on their response and participation.
Once you have the human element and a particular need in mind, the next step toward success or attaining measurable ROI is building social business into specific business processes. Sandy Carter, author and IBM General Manger of Ecosystem Development and Social Business Evangelist, says in a Forbes interview, “Realizing a meaningful ROI depends on how you deploy social. The key to remember is that you will not see results out of the box.” Companies that look for opportunities to replace and optimize their internal processes through social technologies are realizing an ROI.
The results that Sandy Carter speaks to are illustrated in the "Applying Social Business" IBM executive white paper. The study demonstrates best practices and how organizations are optimizing these processes and becoming social businesses. As your business becomes more social, I highly recommend that you adopt some of these findings to help ensure your success. And through every aspect of your adoption, keep people as the main focus.