Altimeter's Six Stages of Social Business Maturity
As with any new technology, rates of adoption vary considerably across the marketplace, and social business is no different. A few years ago Gartner consultant Anthony Bradley outlined what he thought were the main stages of social business adoption.
- Folly - managers not only believe social business offers few benefits, but indeed they believe it detracts from what the business wants to do. It is literally a waste of time.
- Fearful - managers in this stage believe that social business is dangerous. It allows customers to bad mouth them or employees to waste time. Social exists in a highly risk averse environment here.
- Flippant - at this stage, managers can't ignore social, but equally they don't take it seriously either. It's something they have to do to 'fit in', but they're not convinced of its benefits.
- Formulating - we now enter more promising territory, where managers appreciate the benefits of social and also appreciate that it takes a structured approach to achieve this.
- Forging - at this stage, social leaves the marketing or IT silo it has previously resided in and is more organisation wide
- Fusing - the final stage remains sadly very rare and is when social is a fundamental part of everything the organisation does. They are truly social businesses.
- Planning - this stage typically sees organisations setting the foundations for what is to come. It involves listening to stakeholders and formulating strategies based upon this.
- Presence - next organisations start to take action, creating their presence on social media.
- Engagement - now social is less of a novelty and more a way of doing business. Organisations at this stage will have a number of people involved in community building and management.
- Formalized - three steps are key to this stage. Firstly a C level sponsor is required. Secondly a social business hub is developed, and lastly core governance policies are created.
- Strategic - this stage sees social becoming more and more on the radar of senior executives, and it begins to become an organisation wide thing rather than being stuck within silos.
- Converged - here is the holy grail, the point where organisations cease to have social policies, and instead social is just how things are.