TechnoVision 2016 – Social Is The New Oil

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We Collaborate #1 – Social Is The New Oil   The power of social is here in many obvious and some less obvious ways. ‘Always connected’ consumers share not only what they think, but also what they actually do. However, getting closer to the needs and actions of customers may just be part of the […]

We Collaborate #1 – Social Is The New Oil
The power of social is here in many obvious and some less obvious ways. ‘Always connected’ consumers share not only what they think, but also what they actually do. However, getting closer to the needs and actions of customers may just be part of the strategy to leverage the power of the crowd. With opportunities to apply social energy to internal operations or even to create entirely new, disruptive business models, a real step-change is required to determine where the ultimate benefits exist fo the Digital Enterprise in the making. In the end, ‘social oil’ could turn out to be the most important business asset of them all.

‘Social’ is no longer simply about new ways of collaborating with customers. It’s now business as usual for the best performing Digital Enterprises. It delivers the power of connection to the individual, and if permitted and connected, to the entire enterprise. Leveraging the potential of social not only improves customer experience, it has the potential to change the way everyone inside and outside the defining membrane of the Digital Enterprise connects and feels about what they do and who they do it with.

At this point we’re all but too familiar with hotel chains that don’t have any hotels but sell the most rooms, taxi conglomerates that don’t have any cars but sell the most rides, merchants that don’t have any stores but sell more goods than anyone else and groups of digitally enabled social citizens that together are bigger than most countries on Earth. Social, digitally connected humans and machines are the new normal.

The get the most value from Social, the top performing Digital Enterprises:

  • Continuously look for ideas to tap into the value of Social and to continuously apply those new ideas. It’s literally building pipelines to allow unknown value to flow across networks of humans and machines.
  • Make best possible use of  brand, knowledge, people and business relationships to find and share new opportunities.
  • Share and learn from everyone it interacts with.
  • Use the untapped power of individual knowledge, personal brands, relationships and connections from employees, customers and trading partners to expand the pipeline.
  • Adapt the business to the changing notions of privacy, command, and control of information flow.
  • Change policies across Legal, Marketing, Risk, Quality, Finance, Sales, Communications, Executive Governance, HR, Recruiting and virtually every other function that needs to adapt
  • Manage trust in an increasingly complex ecosystem.
  • Determine the best use of socially integrated business operating models, to tap into Free Agents and to crowdsource, while balancing risk and reward from same.
  • Think about the social implications and possibilities of the Internet Of Things, with smart devices and sensors potentially becoming part of the social network.

Not all consumers are the same, though. There are those that will connect and those that won’t. Both need to be interacted with in different ways. It’s not one size or even one channel fits all anymore.

There are those of us that expect to be connected, to get answers in real time and to be able to collaborate on our own terms. We want the right information, at the right time, with the right level of trust, with the right level of security, at the right cost, to be able to do what we want to or need to do at that moment, from where we are. We want to see and control our information ourselves or we want to be delightfully surprised to get the help we need in the right “attentive but not creepy” way that will make us share our delight.

We want this in our lives as consumers but we also want it as employees, as citizens and friends, fans, followers, montors, idea sharers, sales people, agents and perhaps even those that say “I don’t do all that social stuff”. The power of ‘Me’ and the power of ‘We’ are here, enabled by new ways to digitally connect, share and impact everyone that cares to participate.

PowerStream – the self-proclaimed “Most Social Utility in Canada” – connects with customers and trading partners through multiple social channels, progressively using innovative technology to drive growth, merging with other utilities to form one of the largest Utilities in their market. And there are many more excellent examples of brands that are doing an amazing job on social media.

In 2016 and beyond, organizations are tapping into social for new value. With social sentiment a key digital commodity, investment in tweets rather than seats (physical channel-based interaction) should be a core focus for the enterprise. This requires a paradigm shift in perception of the strategic value of social data, followed by a repositioning exercise across the entire customer and employee experience, to truly assess where social can make that decisive difference.

Whatever social assets an enterprise may possess, here are four tips for getting started whilst being suitably prepared:

1. Create an external social oil refinery to gather brand, product, and market sentiment. Focus on specific customer experience-led outcomes. Start small and prepare a centralized store of clean and irrefutable customer — and possibly machine — event data on which to deliver social media monitoring needs.Think Salesforce, Brandwatch, Crimson Hexagon, GNIP, Google Analytics, Sysomos, and Lithium.

2. Develop a workforce-to-customer interaction network to keep the enterprise in sync with the outside world. Consider sharing platforms, cognitive computing, and robotic process automation to accelerate the capture, interpretation, and refinement of sentiment change across the enterprise’s network of influence. This will create the foundation for conversion of insight-to-action on a real-time basis. Think UiPath, Shrebo, IBM’s Watson, and Blue Prism.

3. Build an always-on, real-time Business Data Lake for 24/7 social analytics and insight. To ensure that you’re constantly responsive, you will need to store everything at speed and analyze anything on demand against a set of actionable metrics across your key points of process interaction. This will require massively parallel fast data capabilities. Acknowledge the corporate reality is a fedarated, distributed one and build on agile platforms such as Pivotal, Cloudera, Couchbase and MarkLogic.

4. Build or use an innovation capability – such as the Applied Innovation Exchange – within the enterprise to bring together top colleagues, clients and trading partners to learn and apply new Social ideas at top speed.


Expert: Andy Heppelle  

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 201 update series. See the overview here.

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