Saturday 10 December 2016

Why ‘Enterprise Social’ is the future of corporate communications

Eleanor Collier

Published 15/03/2016 | 18:16

Engage, Collaborate and Connect
Engage, Collaborate and Connect

‘Enterprise Social’ is revolutionising corporate communications.

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Companies that have made the move to social are leaping ahead of their competition and seizing market share by spotting trends and revealing previously unexploited pockets of valuable information. 

But what is ‘enterprise social’ and why are companies now making the move to create ‘digital communities’ and changing the way that they work?  A white paper commissioned by Microsoft reveals that companies taking this approach and fully supporting social engagement are experiencing four times the business impact than less engaged companies.

Enterprise Social is an important enabler in an organisations ‘digital transformation’. The new report reveals that the “absence of community in the workplace is deeply distressing”.  “A weekly conference call in which each person recites a litany of updates is not a community.  Even an hour-long daily team meeting is not a community.  A focus group is not a community and doesn’t stimulate innovation”.  The situation is cited to have become so bad that Isaac Getz, Professor at the top-ranked ESCP Europe School of Business found in a five-year study that only 27% of workforces are actively engaged.  A shocking 59% are not engaged and an alarming 14% of employees are actively disengaged. 

Engage, Collaborate and Connect

So what do companies need to do to engage employees and develop this new social way of communicating and ‘connectedness’?  They need to:  1.  Engage:  Empower employees with an open, transparent culture and give every employee a voice, making them feel more connected to the organization and giving them the opportunity to make a difference.  2.  Collaborate:  Provide a robust social, communications and collaboration framework with a common view of customers and the best tools for ideation and innovation.  3.  Connect:  Bring people and resources together, based on a common understanding of the company’s mission and competitive landscape.

What is the Business Value of Enterprise Social?

As companies contemplate the move to social, a ‘fifth phase’ of modern business collaboration is now underway.  This has created a new set of rules that organizations must now learn to compete in the economy as equals.  The leaders who will succeed in this ‘fifth phase’ are those who welcome feedback, leverage the wisdom of crowds, create opportunities and foster workplace environments that promote innovation. Put simply, those organization embracing digital transformation.

According to a study by the PulsePoint Group, in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit, companies that fully support social engagement are experiencing four times the business impact than less engaged companies.  They list the following benefits.

• An average 3% to 5% return on social engagement.  The most engaged businesses are reporting a calculated 7.7% business impact.

• Improved marketing and sales effectiveness.  The top two areas where executives thought social engagement had real value were improved marketing and sales effectiveness (84%) and increased sales and market share (81%)

• New ideas for products.  57% realized big returns either by crowd sourcing new products or letting customers know new products will be derived from future social engagement.

In addition, PulsePoint found that successful companies have:

• Active executives:  The top two-thirds of organizations achieving the highest returns, reported that their C-suites are active advocates of social engagement.

• A wide reach:  The most sucessful companies extend social engagement beyond marketing and communications to sales, product development and other functional areas to generate greater business impact.

What are the Building Blocks for Enterprise Social?

There are four key building blocks for successful Enterprise Social Network building: 1.  Culture – A culture where executives make it comfortable to communicate issues; 2.  Analytics – Monitoring, measuring and adapting is crucial.  3.  Social – A good understanding of social networks and how best to use them; 4.  Technology – You cannot create a social enterprise without the technologies to support it. 

Having considered these building blocks, a three-step process is then suggested for implementation.  Firstly the company must provide a vision for social enterprise and the expected outcomes. 

Secondly it’s important to develop a community management plan where you align resources, people and technology in support of the overall vision.

Thirdly, it is important to execute on the plan by identifying champions within your oganisation who will help to promote the vision and the changes associated with it.

While customers and employees connect freely to share their wants and needs using social technologies outside of work – the time has now come to change and improve corporate communications and develop these social technologies within the workplace and create true digital communities. 

While enterprise social is a new way of working, the goal of leadership will always remain the same:  to grow and nurture people so that they are capable of achieving business objectives through shared missions and measurable performance.  But the crucial ingredients for success are now advancing beyond the old business collaboration models to a new and better enterprise social one that is more strategic and yields far  greater results.

Read more about the rise of enterprise social with this whitepaper – download here. You can also read article from John Ennis, Global Technology Strategy at Microsoft Ireland, on Building a Social Network Culture – click here.

Watch here to see how ESB and more than 85% of the Fortune 500 are using Yammer to transform the way their organisation works together.

Learn how you can Activate Yammer as part of your Office 365 license and connect your Office applications with advanced social capabilities

 

Sponsored by: Microsoft

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