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What Is Social Media, Anyway? (And Why Managers Should Care)

Despite the considerable amount of attention paid to social media by business, the press, and academia, managers still don’t have a clear understanding of what social media actually is. Managers need to understand the nature of social media so that they can understand its strengths and weaknesses for their own business. If they don’t — in a market environment increasingly influenced by social media — they may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.


Driving E-Business Excellence

In trying to bring about e-business transformation, companies have paid too much attention to technology. To help company leaders see the bigger picture, the authors developed a research-backed model of e-business value creation based on eight e-business drivers — from mastering supplier-related processes to optimizing IT applications aimed at customers — that lead to operational excellence and improved financial performance.

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Why Social Business?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Velo Steve.

Why we’re exploring the social business phenomenon — and the kinds of questions we will be asking in our new Social Business Hub.

In 2010, I had the good fortune to interview several employees of Kaiser Permanente, the California-based health care company.



How IBM Builds Vibrant Social Communities

“I see IBM as a social business,” says Jeff Schick, IBM’s vice president of social software for IBM. “We’ve broken down the barriers of reaching out to the people within the organization” — not to mention partners and clients as well. And the company is making it easier for its client companies to do the same thing.


Making Business Sense of the E-Opportunity

Web-based technology is creating opportunities to rethink business models, processes and relationships along the supply chain. How new are the strategic concepts? The author constructs a coherent map of the e-opportunity by identifying three domains that exist within operations, marketing and customer service.

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Size Matters in Social Business Adoption

In the recent survey on social business that MIT Sloan Management Review conducted in collaboration with Deloitte, respondents were asked how important social business was to their business. When we looked at which companies answered “important” it became clear that size matters.


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Social Business Research Study Launched

MIT SMR has launched its 3rd annual global study on social business, exploring how social technologies and social data are changing company operations and corporate behavior. Now we need readers’ help. Please tell us how social business is evolving in your company via the short survey we’ve designed. The survey will take about 10 minutes of your time. It will help us to continue our inquiry into how social business is influencing the practice of management.


The Art of Selling with Social Tools

“Our lives have increasingly migrated online in recent years, so why wouldn’t [sales] reps want to connect with customers on the social media front as well?” That’s the logic of Hearsay Social, whose platform lets sales people keep track of what their customers are posting on Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook. Says Gary Liu, vp of marketing, “social media can be used very effectively to enhance real-world interactions.”


Building an Effective Global Business Team

How can companies reverse the generally weak performance of faltering global teams? The authors‘ survey of 58 senior executives from five U.S. and four European multinational organizations reveals the corrosive effects of a number of cross-cultural impediments. The authors elaborate on how carefully crafting a cross-border team‘s charter, composition and process work holistically to increase the odds of success.


2014 Findings: Fueling Social Business Maturity

  • Read Time: 19 min 

The advance of social business is having a clear impact: 63% of respondents agree or strongly agree that social has had a positive effect on their company’s business outcomes.

T-Mobile USA is a case in point.


Nilofer Merchant

How Social Tools Can Help Your Company Avoid Strategic Failure

Although most companies think “social media” when they hear the word social, author, consultant and business executive Nilofer Merchant says firms need to expand their understanding, and think about the transformative ways social tools change how an enterprise operates.

Among the fundamental ways social technologies alter companies include removing bottlenecks in decision making, freeing work from jobs; leveraging customers as co-creators; and getting customers to engage around a shared value.


Rejuvenating a Brand Through Social Media

When Nestlé UK invited customers to vote for a new chocolate bar flavor, the company’s target customers participated in droves. By leveraging social media for the Kit Kat brand, the company was able to build positive word of mouth through consumers who became brand advocates; increase sales; and generate a higher return on investment. The process followed a four-step framework that any company can use to extract valuable information from the vast amount of data generated by social media.

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Social Business By the Numbers

The general interest magazine Harper’s includes a famed feature every issue called the Harper’s Index. It’s a list of facts about anything and everything in the world. Here, we present our version of an Index highlighting the facts and stats we’re intrigued by in the world of social business. Among them: the contrast between the percentage of CEOs and CIOs who believe social media is important to their business.

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