Whilst the early days of social media usage saw companies chasing somewhat false prophets, such as more followers or likes, the social business movement aims to do what it says on the tin. In the social business world, results are all important, and being able to prove the ROI of your work is paramount.
Earlier this month I wrote about a couple of Australian manufacturers that have used social business with great success. Such successes are not limited to the manufacturing sector.
CIO.com report that language learning company Rosetta Stone have also achieved considerable commercial returns from utilising social business.
The company uses Salesforce.com for many of its internal services, and reports that use of Chatter has improved collaboration, communication and productivity.
The company has 1,700 employees spread around the world, and traditional communication methods were proving ineffective.
"When you have a lot of these teams in offices all around the world relying on email, travel and phone, you don't get as much done," Rosetta Stone CIO Pradeep Mannakkara says. "Our workforce is somewhat younger, too, and they use social tools in their personal lives. They kind of expect it at work now," he continues.
After an initial pilot project proved successful, Chatter was rolled out to the entire workforce. The project was not without cynics however, not least at senior level.
"What if someone posts something inappropriate? How do you manage that? What about confidentiality? I had a lot of questions and heard a lot of debates. But what it comes down to is this: Technology is evolving and you can't try to police and control everything," Mannakkara says. "It got to a point where some of these conversations were silly. This is the sort of thing that stops progress."
"You need to gauge the temperature of the exec team by doing a bite-sized implementation," Mannakkara continues. "You need to feel out their tolerance for social and pitch it to them in a way so they see the benefits."
Getting employees on board
With C-level buy-in secured, the next challenge was to achieve widescale adoption amongst employees. Mannakkara says that they focused on the communication benefits of the new social platform.
A pleasing benefit of adopting social business has been a marked reduction in the number of emails sent and received. Chatter feeds are now displayed during company meetings so that employees can contribute at a senior level.
Such engagement has made a social devotee out of CEO Stephen Swad, who has two computers in his office that scroll through the company Facebook pages, Chatter feeds and website.
"He's staying on top of it all to see what employees are saying and what customers are saying. Their voices are just as important as the products we sell." Mannakkara says with pride.