Social Media in the Enterprise – It’s Not Just Social!

Along with the much of the world, New Zealanders are big Facebook users. Over half of our population has an account and Facebook has even overtaken TradeMe (NZ equivalent of eBay auction site) as the most popular site for New Zealanders. 

But the reality is that the power of social tools are generally not being exploited within our workplaces, and there is a fair amount of cynicism around their usefulness within the Enterprise. However, some organisations are starting to use Enterprise social media to enable more efficient, effective, and mutually useful connections between people, information and assets.

At Deloitte, we have several enterprise social media initiatives in flight, and recently deployed Yammer globally across our member firms. It is fair to say that in New Zealand, we also encountered initial challenges and I have to admit that I was also a skeptic when it was launched over a year ago.

However, there are now no shortages in stories highlighting the value that Enterprise Social Media has created in our own organisation. It is a tool that has allowed us to self-organise and solve problems in smarter ways – I’ve found hidden talent, shared project experiences, solved problems faster and increased collaboration across our different service lines (e.g., working with Enterprise Risk Services) though this medium. Yammer also allows many of our practitioners who are frequently on the move to stay in touch with their colleagues and keep up to date easily through their smartphones, be it at the airport, taxi, or bus stop. For an example of how Yammer was used by our Australian colleagues to overcome an odd set of challenges as a result of the Puyehue volcano eruption in Chile, click here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOjk1yR0ea8

Where do I start?

Social Media in the Enterprise is a journey and success cannot be achieved overnight. Unlike an externally facing branded Facebook Page, the tools need to enhance existing processes, tools need to be integrated to existing technologies, and business benefits must be defined.

Depending on where you are on the journey, here are some key questions to consider:

Envision. Will the social media vision stand on its own or be part of broader business objectives? What value can be generated? What is the high level business case?

Define. What are the priorities for enterprise social media? What are the capabilities and features users expect?

Plan. What processes need to be defined? How will content be generated? Who in the organization is likely to adopt social tools, and why or why not?

Tool. Can existing technologies be leveraged? How many vendors need to be engaged? Will tools be integrated with existing technologies?

Launch. Will a pilot group be used? How will functionality be rolled out? Will a coordinated social media branding effort be undertaken?

Grow. What can be done to encourage adoption and use? How will the deployed tools change and be refined? Who will the advocates be?

Comply. How will content be managed? Do guidelines need to be modified to accommodate a new way of business?

Govern. Who needs to oversee and monitor tools? What support structures will be put into place? How does enterprise social media stay relevant and top of mind? Measure. What metrics will be monitored? How will success be defined? How will ROI be measured?