Our new survey results suggest that companies are starting to derive real value from social business tools. But that value is concentrated most strongly in companies that have reached a certain level of sophistication in their social business initiatives.

T-Mobile USA, a provider of wireless voice, messaging and data services based in Bellevue, Washington, started its social business initiatives in much the same way as many other companies — adding a Facebook presence, monitoring mentions on Twitter and engaging with customers on social media. But today, as T-Mobile is changing its business model and business processes — CEO John Legere has moved the company away from long-term contracts for wireless services — social business tools are increasing in importance.

Melissa French, director of marketing systems for T-Mobile, explained that, without longer-term wireless service contracts, “we had to become relevant to our customers every day. And to be relevant, we have to know what they’re saying and how they’re saying it, and what it could mean to us. So that was just an amazing opportunity to relook, rethink. And it really sparked us to open our minds to a different way of doing business. So that’s when we started investigating how social media could get us closer to the customer.”

French and her team are preparing for an integrated future in which systems analyze social media data not only to understand how marketing messages are resonating (both from T-Mobile and its competitors), but also to improve both operations and customer service.

“We believe that we can not only learn valuable information from the sentiment coming in, but we can also use that channel to proactively communicate back out to our customers,” French explained. She envisions a future that includes a different way of engaging with customers and associates as a result of social business tools and the data that are generated by engagement through these tools.

Similar stories echo across our latest research. Companies are starting to derive real value from social business, but this value is concentrated most strongly in companies that have reached a certain level of sophistication in relation to their social business initiatives, which we refer to as social business maturity. We define “social business” broadly to include activities that use social media, social software and technology-based social networks to enable connections between people, information and assets.

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References

1. J. Mann, T. Austin, N. Drakos, C. Rozwell and A. Walls, “Predicts 2013: Social and Collaboration Go Deeper and Wider,” Gartner Inc. report, November 28, 2012; S. Shah, “Navigating IT’s Blurring Boundaries Leads the CIO Agenda for 2014,” CIO Journal, published by wsj.com, December 10, 2013; and S. Grimes, “The Rise and Stall of Social Media Listening,” InformationWeek, March 18, 2013.

2. As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Services LP, which are separate subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

1 Comment On: Finding the Value in Social Business

  • Praveen Kambhampati | April 7, 2014

    A very compelling reason for an organization to think long term is to be part of the change by itself and play role of a catalyst in the transformation. It appears that Similar is the role played by a few organizations that are adapting the sophistication of Social Business tools.

    Evidence today indicates having policies around jamming mobile phones and blocking Yahoo, gmail, would be outdated. Any organization still working on such premise, in this socially revolutionized business world, can be easily rated as outdated. That almost comes as another parameter of evaluation for investors to consider before putting their money into a hugely successful organization with such policies. It could well be a flash in the pan.

    All the HR policies of the world are in for a transformation. All the gates and barricades for interaction with peers and fellow technicians in the industry would be open going forward with widened paths and official status enabled for the interactions. The hours of Social Interactions would be productive and these would well be included into the performance appraisal system under the creativity and innovation achievements for the means and source of thoughts.
    Its a new paradigm and organizations need to redress themselves out of the silos and confidentiality.
    From patented and protected ecosystem, businesses are increasingly transforming to a knowledge based sustenance and Social acceptance is getting more and more critical both at corporate levels for organizations to partner and individuals to benchmark, compare and adapt.

    The adaptability is slow as a few organizations are still not comfortable to give away with the traditional approach of discipline and controls but Social Business tools as disruptive technologies have to be understood and accepted for their breakthrough changes and a sophistication for fast track in a new generation business ecosystem.

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