Why social business initiatives fail
Very sneaky, Gartner! First they hail the dawning of a new age in business collaboration – with two of their lead analysts even writing a book about how social strategy is the key to tapping the “collective genius of your customers and employees” – and now they hit us with the bad news: looking ahead to 2015, 80% of social business initiatives will have missed the mark.
Did they get it wrong? Was it all hype? A big hoax on hopeful workers looking for better ways to collaborate?
Not at all. This isn’t an attempt to backpedal; as the new report points out, their predicted shift toward social business is ongoing, far-reaching and inevitable. And it’s a good thing for the vast majority of businesses, potentially facilitating not just an improved process here or there but a transformed work culture.
So why are 80% failing to fully deliver? There are some very common root problems lurking behind most of the missed opportunities. The problem often begins when businesses believe they’ve purchased a magic bean and all they need to do is “set it and forget it” and, voila, collaboration is underway. Your people – not a shiny new tool – will always be the key to really changing the way you do things. Here’s Gartner VP Carol Rozwell:
“There is too much focus on content and technology, and not enough focus on leadership and relationships. Leaders need to develop a social business strategy that makes sense for the organization and tackle the tough organizational change work head on and early on. Successful social business initiatives require leadership and behavioral changes. Just sponsoring a social project is not enough — managers need to demonstrate their commitment to a more open, transparent work style by their actions.”
As we point out frequently, you need a collaboration champion who can lead your team through the best practices for successful user adoption. You need to clearly articulate your expectations, not just to your provider, but to your own team as well. What’s in it for them?
“Employees need to learn how to use the new tools gradually or they may not learn how to use them at all,” writes Jacob Morgan in The Collaborative Organization. “…Employees will not use something unless there is a clear and real benefit to them… Don’t focus on technology; focus on value.”
Whether you go with SocialBridge and our best-in-class support and implementation team or you choose another solution, there’s no change in what you need to do to avoid joining that 80%. “What we saw in the first generation of social platforms was features inside an application, but if you think you can just turn it on, you’re wrong,” says Jive CEO Tony Zingale.
For more on what it takes to lead a successful implementation of your social business solution, check out digital technology strategist James Gardner’s eight adoption tips.