Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Measuring the Value of Social and Mobile Solutions in the Enterprise


"The impact of new technologies is invariably misjudged because we measure the future with yardsticks from the past."  Stephen Baker

How does one measure the value of mobilizing and socializing an enterprise?  In the book Social Business by Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies, written by Dion Hinchcliffe and Peter Kim, they report that in 2010, McKinsey and Company published survey results of companies engaged in social business activities that  showed firms engaged systematically in social business processes had 24 percent higher revenue.  Frost and Sullivan found similar results showing companies that deployed social tools saw improved performance in innovation (68 percent versus 39 percent that didn’t deploy), sales growth (76 percent versus 50 percent that didn’t deploy), and profit growth (71 percent versus 45 percent that didn’t deploy).  From those results it appears something good happens to companies when they embrace the social business concept.  I think it is too early to say exactly how these improvements happened, but at this stage it is simply important to recognize the correlation.

Measuring the ROIs for mobile and social is difficult.  We know the exercise of determining an ROI is useful in order to set priorities, but most of us, down deep know these innovations are important and necessary even if we cannot exactly identify the ROI.  They have significantly changed the way we all communicate in our personal lives, and they are guaranteed to change the way we communicate in our work lives as well.  These innovations are changing the very way business is done.   At the least we should be studying these trends and engaging in pilot projects.

Some of the most significant changes social and mobile technologies are making in the enterprise today are based on:
  • faster communications
  • more open exchanges of ideas
  • reduced communication channel hierarchies that prevent open communication
  • communication accountability - names are associated with ideas
  • faster identification of problems
  • knowledge exchange
  • more collaborative decision-making
  • shared situational awareness
  • data-driven decision-making
What is the value of having enterprise-wide situational awareness?  What is the value of being able to see an entire project or account discussion in one collaboration site?  What is the value of eliminating artificial barriers to ideas and innovations?  It is a whole new way of doing things and we may have to develop new yardsticks for measuring these capabilities.
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Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for SMAC, Cognizant
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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.