Three weeks ago I attended the third Social Media for Business DellB2B event, this time held at Google’s offices in London. Then I was supposed to attend Dachis Group’s Social Business Summit, also in London, but ended up watching the Twitter feed instead. Whilst both events included some great sessions, they shared a frustration: utopian quotes that sound great in theory but can be hard to put in to practice. Here’s a sample:
||No. The impact of participating or not in social media is not equal for all businesses or industries.|
||Yes, but so do most retail stores, call centres, middle management etc.|
||Tell Apple that!|
Many organisations could benefit from adopting social media. But it is too often pitched as the new utopia all businesses should aspire too. Businesses have plenty of flaws, not listening too or conversing with customers is just one of them.
I’ve seen oodles of research and presentations proving that performance appraisals damage moral, lower producitivy and encourage poor behavoiur. For one example, see Crashing with the nose up (2001). Yet still they are a staple of business life and Dilbert cartoons.
For businesses seeking to benefit from trends and technologies such as social media, it can help to understand, if not overcome, some of the barriers that prevent adoption. And O’Reilly Radar has a great post to help identify them: 5 reasons why we still don’t have invisibility cloaks.
Here are the soundbites: As always, it’s well worth reading the full article.
Decision-makers have many choices when investing scarce dollars on IT projects. Many great ideas fall by the wayside and never make the light of day in favor of more pressing enterprise needs. Social media may not cost much, but it is never free.
Today, fewer and fewer solutions remain islands. There are often so many inter-dependencies that even a small change has downstream impacts that must be considered. Social media often starts out as an island. Can it justify staying that way?
Every CIO needs to understand, for his or her organization, the pace at which new capabilities can be deployed. It’s probably a lot slower than we all think. Social media rarely provides instant hits, think marathon rather than sprint. That does not help speed up internal adoption.
We are wedded to the past. We like the things we know more than things that are new and unknown. There’s a reason we go back to that tried and tested Excel formula when we know we have the same capability in the latest ERP system. People don’t change their habits over night. And social media is all about changing habits.
Reconciling organizational and individual interests is a messy business. And it’s highly complex. I imagine many of us can tell our own stories of how we observed decisions being made that had little basis in reasonable logic. We’d like to pretend it isn’t a factor, but all too often it is. And pretending won’t help your social media project.
Five points applicable to all new systems, social media is just one. Enjoy the memorable quotes at your next conference but never forget, the devil is always in the details.
- Crashing with the nose up – why performance appraisals fail, blog post
- 5 reasons why we still don’t have invisibility cloaks, O’Reilly Radar
- Dell B2B Social Media Huddle 2, blog post
- Dell B2B Social Media Huddle 1, blog post
- Social media requires discipline, blog post
- Social media can protect systems, blog post
- Blogging mistake help improve policy, blog post
- Social media judges the Olympics, blog post
- Analyse and act on social media trends, blog post
- NLab Social Networks conference, blog post
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