As the world becomes more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent and the population continues to embrace social computing, today’s enterprises face the dawn of a new era –the era of the social business.
Just as the Internet changed the marketplace forever, the integration of social computing into enterprise design represents another enormous shift in the landscape.
According to IBM’s 2010 Global CHRO Study of more than 700 chief human resource officers and executives from 61 countries, less than a 23 percent use social networking or collaborative technologies to preserve critical knowledge, while just over a quarter use those tools to spread innovation throughout their organisations.
“Social networking and collaboration are still regarded by many companies as a “soft” skill, says Howard Stafford, Human Capital Management Lead at IBM. The study however suggests that these “softer” skills can have bottom-line consequences. “By example financial outperformers are 57 percent more likely than underperformers to use collaborative and social networking tools to enable global teams to work more effectively together.”
The study specifically revealed that:
· Most respondents indicated that they frequently employ collaboration tools to enhance the effectiveness of corporate communications and learning programs and to target and recruit external candidates.
· 21 percent of companies have recently increased the amount they invest in the collaboration tools and analytics despite the economic downturn.
· 19 percent of respondents regularly use collaborative technologies to identify individuals with relevant knowledge and skills, 23 percent to preserve critical knowledge, and 27 percent to spread innovation more widely.
“We believe the most effective approach to enabling a Social Business is to help people discover expertise, develop social networks and capitalise on relationships” says Stafford.
A Social Business enables its employees – and customers – to more easily find the information and expertise they seek. It helps groups of people bind together into communities of shared interest and coordinate their efforts to deliver better business results faster. It encourages, supports and takes advantage of innovation and idea creation and builds on the intelligence of the crowd - the collective intelligence of an organisation.
An effective Social Business evolves toward a culture characterised by sharing, transparency, innovation and improved decision making. By doing so, it develops deeper relationships with customers and business partners.
“Ideas and content that an organisation can leverage in the pursuit of value creation is a result of people (both inside and outside an organisation) – at the end of the day” adds Stafford. Its people documenting and sharing knowledge and ideas, while other people recognising, refining and promoting the value of those ideas and content that is the real starting point of the social business.”
And for those organisations that successfully transform into a Social Business they can potentially reap great benefits – among them the ability to deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster and enable a more effective workforce.