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Tech for Tomorrow

Doug Mow

Social BPM - Reality TV Ep 2

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How does one go about building a social BPM strategy and plan anyway? After all, amidst so much speculation about what it actually is, can you really design a viable program? The answer is yes, and here's one approach to social BPM, a year into its process, that may provide answers. After all, it's time to move away from hyperbole that social BPM is the bane of IT's existence (specifically that end users are confused and needy) and address reality.

One year ago, my company embarked down a path toward social enlightenment. This was summer 2009, before Twitter became the marketing darling it is today. Many consider the foray into social a grand experiment or, worse, toying around. I considered it more "hedging a bet" that someday a social platform would be critical to the company's success. As we started our journey, there were no hard and fast rules, objectives, business goals or ROI metrics. But we were not willing to set off blindly, and we determined that Phase One would focus on building a viable platform to sustain our success. A big part of this was setting clear performance goals for participants, posts, followers and fans.

We faced many hurdles in the beginning. Our social media and marketing ecosystem included many channels, from Facebook and LinkedIn groups managed by former employees to Wikipedia entries, but our effort was disjointed and too marketing (broadcast) oriented. We needed to reconcile our existing presence first and then strategically address participation, disclosure, governance, and security for our future social media and marketing efforts. Think Iron Chef competition on the Food Network; limited time, pre-determined ingredients, racing to provide the best outcome.

One year later, our company follows a strategic approach to social media, and we manage a sustainable platform that includes regular contributors, an engaged Twitter following, a vibrant blog with regular contributors and loyal Facebook fans. Our social media platform is an integral part of our online strategy, which is, in turn, a critical component of our integrated marketing strategy. Every announcement, press release, event and corporate development is pushed through a standard social media distribution process to maximize exposure and efficiency. All of this was accomplished and would not have been possible without diligent planning and deliberate execution. None of it was easy. The journey was part American Idol, Tweeting for the judges, and part Jersey Shore, having to reject blog posts because they were too "colorful".

Recently, my team started asking "what about social 2.0?" Now that we've built a viable platform, what do we actually do with it? One area of expansion is adopting a more interactive stance toward social. Interactivity demands that we engage our collective, conversing with them, engaging in dialog and debate and exchanging points of view. What else?

Enter social BPM. For us, social 2.0 means introducing the capabilities of our platform into each and every facet of our business, both internally and externally facing. I've posted in this forum about how companies in other businesses could use social to improve their end customers' experience. Now we face the challenge of doing that for ourselves. Can we leverage our social platform to engage our prospective customers? Can we increase loyalty among existing customers? Can we use the platform to improve collaboration among globally distributed internal teams and improve our processes?

What does social BPM look like from the trenches when you are standing in it over your head? True innovators will proactively build capability and capacity and then seek ways to apply these newfound capabilities to improve their businesses. We're doing that today, and I'm proud that we're now hard-wired to use our new social platform each and time a new opportunity comes to improve our business and business results. It's now part of who we are and how we operate. We made it through the Apprentice without hearing Donald Trump yell "you're fired!"

In a way, social technologies are no different than any new enabling technology such as the web or mobile. The key is how the business evolves in the face of new technology and channels to become better at what it does.

Do you have ideas on how social technology or disciplines can make our business better? I would love to hear your ideas.

What about innovation? How does your organization innovate? Does it use outside help? How does your organization adopt new technologies? Reluctantly? Haphazardly? In an organized and methodical, yet laborious approach? Or, swiftly, decisively and effectively? I'd like to know.

Doug Mow blogs from a business executive's perspective about IT trends, tech news and life in the trenches of an Enterprise 2.0 transformation.

Doug Mow

#CMO of Courion Corporation responsible for all branding, communications, messaging, online and offline marketing. Courion is the leading provider of access management tools that provide maximum access to corporate IT assets with minimal risk.

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