How CIOs Can Take Charge Of Business Social Strategies.
Becoming a social enterprise, aka digital transformation, isn’t just about having a Twitter presence or a sales force equipped with iPads. It’s about embedding social into all parts of your organization which requires hard work and a lot of change. CIOs are one of the key cornerstones to making that happen but probably not in the way you’d expect.
Most companies would agree that becoming a social business is frankly better business – it can boost sales, improve employee retention and enhance customer satisfaction. Becoming a social enterprise puts the customer and employee at the center of the universe rather than the enterprise.
While there are numerous examples of companies like Burberry using digital technology in innovative ways, recent research by Capgemini Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business found less than 20 percent of large traditional companies are truly reshaping their business for digital – and most are only partially reaching their potential.
To be successful, enterprises should be stubborn on vision and flexible on the details. For CIOs, this means re-envisioning their role from seeking control to providing guidance, helping the IT department become solution enablers rather than gatekeepers.
While it might not be intuitive to a CIO, most work required to become a social enterprise is about changing mindsets and cultural acceptance. Only a small piece is actually about having the right tools and integration – most social solutions don’t require IT management. Here are a few recommendations to help ease the transition:
– Training = the Most Overlooked Part of the Process: In a social enterprise, your staff works differently. Some roles will disappear and others must learn new skills. CIOs should not only make their teams aware of how their roles will change, but help them make that shift. CIOs also have a hand in training employees. While training employees on a new ERP system is understood, most enterprises wrongly assume everyone knows how to properly use social tools.
– Governance Often Takes a Backseat: I have seen companies end up with 25 Facebook pages or 20 different social monitoring tools. CIOs should maintain visibility, rationalizing their application landscape by meeting regularly with the CMO and other key stakeholders to discuss current and future initiatives. That’s not to say CIOs should not be afraid to say no to initiatives that don’t fit within the broader business strategy.
– Social Does Not Mean Separate: Social is simply another channel. It’s not a separate silo. CIOs should take a user-centric approach to integration, tying new platforms into existing systems especially for CRM. I hear all too often about social media teams responding to a customer complaint on Twitter, directing them to customer service only to have the agent ask them again to explain the problem. That information must be integrated.
– Don’t Create a Policy for Policy’s Sake: Most policies aren’t created to help employees, but to reassure other stakeholders. Policies should be used to provide guidance, not to police employees. The CIO’s role will shift towards empowering people rather than telling them what is not allowed. At Capgemini, each country can have its own social media presence with only a few rules to serve as guidance such as only launching a presence once you know what your goals are, and who will be maintaining those channels.
– Look Bottom-Up: Five years ago, MySpace was the leading social network, now it’s Facebook. Things change. Rather than forcing employees to use certain platforms, CIOs should investigate which are already being adopted internally and embrace them. Attempting to introduce another tool won’t be a success.