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Adi is a social business blogger and community manager that writes for sites such as Social Business News and Social Media Today. Away from the computer he enjoys cycling, particularly in the Alpes. Adi is a DZone Zone Leader and has posted 1284 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

How to translate social business into bottom line results

02.15.2013
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Social Business, and indeed social media in general, often struggles to prove its worth in tangible terms.  I’m talking dollars and cents here.  Without that clear and visible ROI it will always struggle to gain credibility in the boardroom, with executives dismissing it as a nice to have diversion that won’t really help their business.

A newreportby Deloitte suggests that the value from social business can be found in the cracks.  The research, penned by John Hagel and the legendry John Seely-Brown, reveals how many organisations still operate under the belief that they function according to best practice, yet 60-70% of employee time is spent dealing with exceptions to those rules.

They believe that social business comes to the fore when making these previously invisble exceptions visible.  They suggest that it should be used to both identify when these exceptions occur and then make a record of these interactions and behaviours that were previous hidden.

Connecting these with the metrics that matter

Deloitte then assigned value to this process by ensuring that they’re connected directly to the financial metrics that matter to most senior executives.  From these financial metrics there are typically operational metrics that drive them.  These are then subsequently broken down further into front line metrics, and it’s here that social business technology can make a real difference.  If you can figure out how to impact those metrics then it suddenly becomes much easier to gain the attention of senior management.

The report goes on to highlight that often the problem with social business isn’t in making a difference, it’s in that positive impact actually being measured.  If you can begin to measure the metrics that really matter however, not only can you prove ROI, but you can also gain an understanding for what’s working, and importantly, what isn’t.

About the report

This “Social Software for Business Performance” paper discusses:

  • Profound changes are underway. The current technologies support standard business processes but fail to support the dynamic informal communications needed for resolving exceptions. Employees need tools that enable them to navigate organizational boundaries, connect to the right people and accelerate exception resolution.
  • Skeptics will finish last. Companies that want to successfully implement these tools should develop a strategy for deriving tangible operating performance improvements and achieving competitive advantage through the intelligent and targeted application of social software tools.
  • Focusing on adoption is a dead-end strategy. Adoption metrics have not historically addressed what matters most to employees, managers or executives. As long as adoption is the primary measure of success, resistance, at all levels, will likely block successful social software deployment.
  • Companies must be strategic. Social software, applied against the problem of exception handling, can directly and measurably impact operating metrics and improve business performance.
  • Companies must be decisive. Too often, companies implement social software without clear business objectives or a strategy for moving the needle on organizational performance. These efforts typically fail. Our focused approach helps executives select the exception-handling opportunities that can have the greatest impact on operating and financial metrics.
  • Companies must act now. Companies that move quickly can reap significant financial rewards and develop skills and experience that has the potential to help them build a stronger competitive position over time.

Download ithere.

How do you measure the impact of your own social business projects?  Do you tie them in with key organisational metrics?