Social Business Implementation Challenges – Metrics, Risk, and Change Management

Debra comments on three big social business implementation challenges, coming out of a recent IBM study.

But all of this doesn’t just happen by virtue of establishing presence on external social networks or even by implementing an internal social business platform, the respondents noted.

According to the report, organizations that have experienced the most success in social business approaches have made fundamental changes in the way employees work. Three key issues must be addressed, based on interviews and survey responses:

(1) Companies need to consider how to incorporate social metrics into their traditional enterprises and processes.

(2) Companies need to understand and manage the risks associated with social business.

(3) Change management is a critical requirement for embedding successful social business practices in an organization.

My Comments
1. Metrics can be hard, and can be easily twisted to prevent things rather than enabling the exploration of possibilities. It’s definitely a topic for conversation, because it puts into sharp focus the value the organization is seeking from social approaches to the market and internal work. Sometimes the value doesn’t come for 3-4 years, though, when you have everyone working in a new way, a major problem occurs, and the organizational system can effortlessly sense and respond. If staff were still working together using older approaches, it would all be more difficult. This speaks to the importance of re-imagining how to get work done, too, rather than merely re-creating established ways in the new technology.

2. All of life, business included, offers risks. Change is a risk. But so is standing still.

3. The study talks about change management; I talk instead about “adoption,” because “change management” is too often relegated to a one-time email telling people to use the new tool. Given I wrote the book on User Adoption Strategies, the activities noted in Debra’s blog post from the study are all applicable. I’d summarize the emphasis in this way though: social business / collaborative approaches change how people work individually and together. That definitely requires more than just making the tools available and hoping that everyone will use them. It will require various approaches / activities / strategies.

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