Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My new book "Social Strategies in Action: Driving Business Transformation"

I have not taken any vacation this summer because I want to take time to reflect. I want to pause and think and write down what I see, what I experience, and I hear from my peers as to how social media technologies have been utilised within companies to drive business transformation. The result is my new book (my publisher prefers to call it a report) titled "Social Business in Action: Driving Business Transformation" which has just been released. You can see the Table of Content and download a free chapter here.

When I read articles about social business, many of them focus on how marketing, PR or customer service team are using social media to reach and engage their target audience. This is not what my book is focussing on. There is not a lot of published examples as to how social media is being used within companies (behind the firewall). For those I am aware of, many are produced by consulting companies and they tend to be a bit high level. I know a lot of great work has been done within companies, but they are hidden and not easily accessible with the depth that is needed to guide practical actions. So I decide to put together 13 examples in this report. For each use case, I introduce what the business is trying to achieve,  what changes (sometimes quite unexpectedly and radical changes) are needed to drive a new way of working;  what worked and what did not work; and end with the lessons learned. 

These use cases, all showcasing how business transformation is happening from the inside out, cover a wider range of business areas and are all very very business focus. In other words, no social chit chatting, no sharing of grandma photos, and mostly not even the word "social" is being mentioned. I started reflected on practical examples around these 16 area, and eventually zoom down to 13 examples.
  1. Innovation – crowdsourcing ideas from employees, inviting them to build on one another’s ideas and voting for the best;
  2. Employee consultations – seeking input and ideas to drive improvement in business processes;
  3. Online internal communications – increasing staff engagement with a new style of newsletter and executive communications;
  4. Knowledge marketplaces – creating a place to allow people who do not know one another to interact, for example with a question and answer forum, or the ability to anyone a question at an ‘online water cooler’;
  5. Expert communities – connecting people who share subject matter expertise so they can learn, discuss ideas, and share best practices and mistakes with one another;
  6. Knowledge bases – using the social intranet to create and curate product and marketing materials and share them with the sales team. This can also include subject matter experts blogging their insights to reach a broader audience;
  7. Product innovation and life-cycle management – enabling product teams to gain insights from client-facing teams to enhance products and build employees’ excitement to share new product releases; 
  8. Expertise location – finding experts based on the content they share or comments the post; following experts so their updates and knowledge ‘follow’ the employees;
  9. Events management – building and continuing momentum for strategy meetings or employee events;
  10. Process improvement – streamlining business processes by bringing unconnected and fragmented processes, content, updates, meetings, all in one place, e.g. for account planning, safety logging, and risk management processes;
  11. Project management – enabling project managers to connect with project team members, sharing updates, meeting minutes, project documents, and facilitating discussions;
  12. Sales enablement – connecting the sales team to align priorities, developing account plans or pitch decks, connecting the global sales team to share client insights to spot opportunities (some call this ‘social CRM’), and sharing real time market and competitor insights;
  13. Operational efficiency – reducing support costs, building a dynamic knowledge base, and improving response time to support questions;
  14. Learning and development – enabling social learning to allow deeper self- reflection and learning from peers, enabling leaders to reflect and share leadership experience to help junior staff to learn, and improving job morale and job satisfaction by enabling employees to learn on-the-job in real-time;
  15. Onboarding new hires – enabling new colleagues to tap into the global network on day one; and
  16. Research and development – collecting market research and competitors’ insights from external sources and publishing latest research findings to reach followers.

    This is the first time I author a whole book, and the learning curve is huge for me. I welcome readers' comments (whether you resonate with the examples or not) and feedback (good or bad) to enhance my journey. Leave me a comment here.


Christine Bruce said...

Bonnie, this is fantastic. I am so looking forward to seeing more.

Anonymous said...

Terrific! I can't wait to read the whole thing. To really change how companies work, we need to hear more and learn from practitioners like you who are driving change from the inside.

JenOkimoto said...

Bonnie - Congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment. I look forward to reading your book, Jen

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Bonnie! An interesting book to read.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Bonnie! An interesting book to read.

Mary Thompson said...

Congratulations on the book, Bonnie! I'm going to check it out, it may be quite helpful as I work on my Master's program at DU in Organizational/Professional Communications - New Media Marketing, and in my current "Integrating Social Media" class!