What do you need to become social?
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social_business connect_2013 connect roi reynout_van_adrichem_boog... connect2013
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Nearly three years ago IBM put social business on the map. If you'll recall during Lotusphere 2011, the discussion was around what organizations could and should do to become social businesses. A year later, during Connect 2012 it was actually IBM's customers telling other customers how they have become social businesses. That was really powerful as it shows the (sometimes intangible) benefits of a social business.
Focusing on the benefits is an increasingly interesting topic, and one that was featured in a recent study by the IBM Institute of Business Value. While most companies want to know the ROI upfront before investing in Enterprise Social Software (ESS), yet according to the study, only 20 percent are able to track ROI. I was reminded about this as I was in my car listening to the audio book Enterprise 2.0 by Andrew McAfee. There was a statement in the last chapter that the ROI case is not always about the attached dollar figure. (I wish I could tell you what page, but as I said, I was listening in my car. My apologies!)
The ROI of ESS is not immediate - similar to the implementation of a digital telephony system or a web conferencing system. It requires more time and effort on the part of cultural change management and getting social embedded into the existing processes of an enterprise. This does not mean there is no ROI case to make! There are a lot of success stories and there are also reports, like McKinsey's, that state that enterprises using social business are outperforming the companies that don’t. IBM even delivers workshops and other services like the Business Value Assessment focused on the benefits of becoming a social business, providing clients and business partners with case study examples of successful social businesses, and helping them to develop an agenda for driving social adoption.
There are a lot of examples of the benefits social business has brought companies that started to use enterprise social software. Most of the examples on that blog post give hard numbers or time reduction, but the best example is TD Bank. The result they had with their ESS was that the employees were proud of their bank, felt valued and had more trust. Those things are not measurable in hard currency, but real value for your enterprise.
Be sure to register for IBM Connect 2013 to learn more about the benefits of becoming a social business.