Ray Wang has been a highly respected analyst of social business in enterprises for years. Here he discusses how social business evolves in more socially developed businesses, which uses are growing, and how social business is changing the future of work.
For a survey of the social business landscape, MIT Sloan Management Review turned to Ray Wang of Constellation Research. We asked him about the traits of socially networked companies, where leaders are fostering the use of social applications like gamification and how social business is changing how employees work together.
Do companies that have more developed social capabilities have specific characteristics or traits?
Short answer is yes. Leadership plays a critical role, but companies such as Procter & Gamble or Nike or Wells Fargo combine leadership with a broader force, the consumerization of technology. This adoption of disruptive technologies in the consumer world have people asking: Why can I do much more at home and outside of work than I can inside of work? With these social tools, I’m planning an event or having a conversation with a friend, or sharing and idea, or even collaborating in real time. How do I do this at work?
It’s key to understand the organization’s cultural persona first and then build an adoption strategy that matches culture or moves the culture. Leaders tend to come from the market leader and fast follower types.
What leaders are encouraging the development of social business?
Chief digital officers get it. They are looking at social in terms of being able to close the gap between strategy and execution, execution and measurement, and measurement and strategy. This is a loop required in integrated marketing and social business. In fact, they get better insights, really trying to take this data, transform it into information and insights, then figure out: how can we make better decisions? So there’s a data-to-decision path that the chief digital officer is taking, which is pretty powerful.
The CMOs, I think, are on their way to figuring this out. The chief marketing officers were looking at it more as a PR thing and crisis management, and now they’re realizing okay, there’s a lot here — this goes a little bit deeper.
Chief product officers definitely get it because they’re looking at this right now to accelerate innovation and collaboration around contract workers, disparate workforces, different teams, partners and suppliers.
The CIOs are saying — well, we’ve already got SharePoint.