The Social Enterprise marketplace is maturing as major corporations invest real dollars in projects with a “social core”, analysts and research companies are releasing reports of tangible business benefits with social, and recently, SAP hired (and made a huge investment in) Social Enterprise icon, Sameer Patel as Global VP, Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software Solutions. While many early adopters have made some strides in the space and the early majority are finally moving into social technology mainstream, some firms are still trying to decide how they will maximize a significant social technology investment. And as they explore, these firms tend to have a lot of really good questions that they want answered before they move forward:
“How will I know that I’m getting a return on my investment?”
“How can I measure success?”
“Which technology(ies) has(ve) seen the highest adoption?”
“How can I drive real business benefit with [insert tool/technology here]?”
“What are others in my industry doing?“
If you’re in this same camp, don’t feel too overwhelmed or discouraged; Altimeter recently released a report finding that “most organizations are still early in their Social Business maturity“.
However, we wouldn’t recommend holding off for too long as you may be left in the dust by your competitors, employees, and partners – adopting is gaining.
Good news is, breaking the bank for a huge social initiative isn’t the only (or even the best) way to get started with the Social Enterprise. Taking on any (or many) of the below are simple ways to explore adopting the Social Enterprise and mitigating risk of falling behind your competition:
- Read a selection of acclaimed blogs, articles, or publications about Social, that you come to trust, on a regular basis. Get a feel for what’s going on in your industry. Educate yourself, your team, and form a POV on social. I happen to like TechCrunch, Mashable, TheBrainYard, PretzelLogic, GigaOm or this blog :)
- Try out a free tool or a trial version on your own and get a feel for the principle ways in which social technology works. Explore how you can share, categorize, filter, and discover information. Make it social…get a few colleagues or peers involved with you so you get the full experience. Social is about people after all.
- Wondering how to define success with social? Ask yourself how you measure success today. Could you define metrics or data points that help you measure success today? If not, social technology can already give you a leg-up from where you are today, since it’s rather easy to automate the collection and analysis of data.
- Attend webinars, conferences, and speaking events. Even if you don’t get your most pressing questions answered or satisfy all of your curiosities, you have a starting point. You get some perspective on what you know you know, and perhaps what you know you don’t know. You know? But more importantly as you become aware of the capability of social, you also begin to formulate your own opinions of how your firm can leverage the social enterprise.
- Ask your colleagues, partners, and customers about their experience with social. How are they interacting with it? With whom are they currently using social technology? Where are they having positive experiences? Negative experiences?