Social Business Transformation (Part 1)

Six Stages of Social Business TransformationOver the last six months or so, we have been posting a regular series of articles on the need for organisations to move from social media to becoming Social Businesses. Our thinking in this area has been influenced by a number of different authors (see previous posts here). One of the most influential has been Brian Solis author of ‘The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Customer Revolution’.

In his most recent blog post – The Gap Between Social Media and Business Impact: 6 Stages of Social Business Transformation – Brian argues that social media is becoming a lot like email; every organisation is now doing it. The last few years have seen a rapid increase in the pace of Social Media adoption, mainly for marketing and customer service.  However, according to Brian, there is a growing disconnect between the use of social media and the bottom line.  This is forcing many executives to rethink their overall approach to social and the infrastructure put in place to support it. As a result of this reflective process, social media initiatives will transform into deeper Social Business Strategies.

Social Media Social BusinessBased on an extensive research study with Charlene Li (co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies), Brian identified a major gap between organisations who just execute social media programs and campaigns and those that specifically invest in social business strategies. The former tend to invest in social media without intentions or outcomes being tied to business goals

A Social Business, on the other hand, aims for deep integration of social media and social methodologies throughout the company to drive tangible business impact.

Based on their research, Brian suggests that only:

  • 34% of businesses have a social strategy closely connected to business outcomes
  • 28% adopt a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision
  • 12% were confident they had a plan that looked beyond the next year
  • half of all companies surveyed said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

Based on their research, the authors identify six stages of Social Business Transformation shown in the image at the start of this article (please click on image to enlarge); and explained in more detail in the blog article.

Scottish FlagIt is interesting to note that the findings reported in Brian’s most recent article are almost identical to the findings from our own State of Digital Scotland Surveyconducted in the Autumn of last year and reported in more detail here.

A key finding from our own survey was that the level of social media adoption in Scotland had increased rapidly but few companies had a clear social strategy or action plan for ‘getting there’. The lack of strategy is limiting the scope of social implementations and the level of business benefits derived. More importantly, the lack of strategy is preventing companies from transforming to become Social Businesses.

In the Digital Scotland Survey, 90% of respondents claimed to be using Social Media (100% in Brian’s research). However, only 35% were using it strategically – almost identical to Brian’s 34%.  Only 5% of those participating in the Digital Scotland survey had made the move to becoming a Social Business.

In a follow up post, we will map out a pathway for your organisation to become a Social Business.

As usual, all comments and feedback are very welcome.

What stage is your own organisation at in becoming a Social Business?

Jim, Alan and Vincent


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