Chris J Powell

The Social Enterprise – It is more than just Facebook and LinkedIn

The Social Enterprise is a practice that has grown in both ability and in adoption in recent years.  The number of clients that I work with who are in the throes of a SharePoint or other ECM / Collaboration implementation is impressive to say the least.  But the real question is…if it is so darn popular…why is it the best kept secret?

What is the Social Enterprise or Enterprise 2.0?  One of the best definitions I have seen for this comes from Andrew McAfee:

Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.

The importance of the customer to most companies is lost in the mire of profits, balance sheets and board meetings but the reality is, the customer must come first.  Placing that level of importance on the satisfaction of those who pay all the bills is the first major step to building a Social Enterprise.  It is not nearly as important how you connect the dots, placing the customer in the center and allowing all the interaction the business has with that customer be on a unified front is key…it prevents the over saturation and makes a single voice be heard (THE CUSTOMER).

Last week I gathered with a group of really intelligent members of my work family and we looked at exactly this problem.  All of our efforts circle around the customer and there are people in every department that strive to do the right thing and support the customer but there is not a unified and consistent message.  The building of a Social Enterprise does not start from the outside…while connecting with customers is important…the Social Enterprise needs to create a culture of participation, engagement and collaboration from within…if it is ever to succeed doing the same with its customers.

Every point of contact, support and opportunity should be gauged and measured to make sure constant improvement.  The connections made between Sales and Production and from Production to Marketing needs to be on point and all about doing moving the Customer firmly to the middle of the equation with all points firmly focused on providing EVERY customer World Class Support and Service.

I am lucky to not only have had the honor of working with 4 solid performers but to be given the opportunity to take 2 days out of my work week to sit in a room and build a future of what the company I work for needs to do, to become FASTER, SMARTER, STRONGER!

The Social Enterprise has also been called Enterprise 2.0 and I have followed the progression from traditional business methods to the newer and faster paced world of 2.0 (hey every thing is better when you stick a 2.0 on the back-end right) and it is about the connections we make and the focus we put on ourselves that will allow for that transformation to happen.  In reading Enterprise 2.0: How to Manage Social Technologies to Transform Your Organization I fell in love with the concept of making everything that I do matter for a bigger goal than just my own goals.

There is an old saying that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.  This journey for me started 16 months ago…I try hard to connect, engage and support not just my customers but my colleagues too.  Social is all about connecting…and sometimes the biggest disconnect is in your own back yard…the benefits of working collaboratively on projects across departments is key.  Anything done in isolation tends to stay exactly as it is.

Well.  Today I present our Enterprise 2.0 plan to the execs at work…our ideas are radical, our method is sound…and the end result…well nothing is guaranteed in life but better connections internally with a focus on all connections to our customers…well that can’t be a bad thing…cheers!

Chris J Powell

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