SPSTC: Ray Wang on ‘Addressing Key Challenges in Social Business Adoption – Lessons Learned in Putting the Social Business Maturity Framework to Work’

Disruptive technologies specialist Ray Wang began his session on "Assessing Social Business Evolution" at SPSTC this morning by explaining that the research results he'd be sharing hadn't yet been published, and wouldn't be until next week.  The research that was the foundation of Ray's presentation was conducted via a survey conducted by his employer, Constellation Research, an independent research firm. 

Ray listed the five consumer "forces of change" which will dominate enterprise decisions this decade as being: mobile; social; cloud; analytics and game theory; and video and unified communications.  Consequently, Ray noted that the consumerization of IT will require a shift to enterprise class applications and, given the mixture of IT and business desires (simple, scalable, safe, secure, sustainable, sexy), these desires must be in balance for organizations to be successful.

The five phases of maturity that Ray identified, pointing out that "You all did this with SharePoint" were:

  1. Discovery
  2. Experimentation
  3. Evangelization
  4. Pervasiveness
  5. Realization

Accordingly, Ray said that the particular business challenges reflecting each phase of social business maturity are:

  1. Discerning hype from reality; garnering exec support
  2. Identifying meaningful metrics; incorporating social into business models
  3. Choosing the right tools; fostering internal collaboration
  4. Scaling to match demand; ensuring long term funding
  5. Keeping up with social innovations; developing social business governance

Sharing some of the as-yet unpublished survey results, Ray said that "Early social business adopters perceive different challenges by maturity," citing the difference between challenges identified by survey respondents in 2010 versus those identified by respondents in the recently conducted 2011 survey.

Ray then moved on to a discussion of best practices surrounding each phase of social business maturity: 

  1. Regarding discerning hype from reality: "What's important is case studies," so test use cases with proposed functionality. Regarding garnering exec support: "Figure out how it improves your existing efforts" by focusing on business value, and involve both business and IT in early discussions.
  2. Regarding identifying meaningful metrics: Begin with the end in mind, and work backwards to the key processes and people that need to be involved, and plan for change management. Regarding incorporating social into business models: Evaluate existing business models for social intersections, include social elements only when they make business sense, and incorporate convergence.
  3. Regarding choosing the right tools: Start with case scenarios, understand the integration points, shortlist based on business value, and identify trusted advisors. Regarding fostering internal collaboration: Determine key actions to drive collaboration, develop rewards, lead by example, and invest in change management.
  4. Regarding scaling to match demand: Invest in systems and processes, tier activities by business value, consider where outsourcing plays a role, and plan for phased adoption. Regarding ensuring long term funding: Include projects with annual budget cycle, show progress with metrics, and secure a business and an IT side champion.
  5. Regarding keeping up with social innovations: Invest in a continuous innovation cycle, and develop cross-functional teams to build out innovation portfolios. Regarding developing social business governance: Create social business policies, develop training and communication programs, and cultivate internal and external advisors.

In conclusion, Ray identified the rules for successful social business as being:

  1. Trust is the new social currency
  2. Social is a cultural shift
  3. Building community is the goal
  4. P2P (People to People) is today's reality
  5. Social business is just good business

As a final remark, Ray emphasized the final point by saying that social as a standalone concept will go away because, ultimately, "It's just good business, it's how we work naturally."


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