Accelerate innovation with social business

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By Aileen Rodriguez

Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations to create valued customer experiences, increase workforce productivity and effectiveness, and accelerate innovation.

Many companies are now realizing the value of applying social approaches, internally as well as externally but wrestle with the organizational and cultural challenges posed by these new ways of work.

Social business involves embedding social tools, media, and practices into the ongoing activities of the organization. The question is, are organizations doing enough and reaching the right customers?

An effective social business strategy can bring like-minded individuals together to share thoughts, ideas and experiences about a company?s products or services can create valued customer experiences.

Many enterprises are using platform-based communities, such as Facebook and LinkedIn ? as well as private communities on their websites ? to foster dialogue among customers and between customers and the organization.

Social business is now moving beyond basic promotional activities. Social business practices will need to be more closely embedded into traditional marketing and sales processes, with loosely coupled marketing and advertising campaigns giving way to tightly linked lead generation and sales efforts.

As organizations expand, information and insights become scattered. Such knowledge as how to solve problems, handle exceptions to normal processes and address local market conditions often resides in widely separated, often unconnected data sources.

Conversations with our customers have revealed that there are three essential actions to be taken across the enterprise, from the CEO?s office to the farthest corner of the organization.

First, develop social methods and tools to create consistent and valued customer experiences. Ask yourself, ?What approaches is my organization using to listen to and engage with customers?? Another question to ask: ?How do my marketing, sales and customer service functions coordinate around social initiatives??

Second, embed social capabilities to drive workforce productivity and effectiveness. To help stimulate your thinking, consider, ?What areas of opportunity exist within our organization to improve collaboration through social initiatives?? Also: ?How could we use social approaches to better connect with key stakeholders outside the organization??

Third, use social approaches to accelerate innovation. Consider, ?How can improved generation of ideas have the most impact across our organization?? Ask: ?How could we better involve individuals outside the organization in our innovation efforts??

While customers are the primary focus of many companies, organizations who have experienced success in social business understand the importance of weaving social business into all levels of their organization. Now is the time to achieve a new level of transformation across all organizational boundaries.

The author is the country manger for software group of IBM Philippines

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