“Can business processes and social media co-exist?” – This was one of the first big questions on day 2 of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit asked by Bertrand Duperrin from Nextmodernity and that question lead to a very interesting discussion of the role of social tools in the world of Business Process Management (BPM) – something that links nicely back to the theme from day 1 of harnessing the conversations taking place in the organization. Traditional BPM lack a proper feedback loop to ensure proper organizational learning, but if you intelligently integrate social tools, this gap may be filled.
Another very valid point from the BPM conversation was that you need to focus on visibility of the social features. If you just add a social layer inside the processes, you may find yourself creating ‘social silos’ effectively working against the purpose you are trying to accomplish. One thing that struck me was that nobody seemed to have succeeded and although everyone agreed that we should start with the people using this, I was not left with the impression that this was happening at a large enough scale. If we are to succeed with more ‘social’ business processes, we simply MUST get out there and involve people – all people.
After Business Process Management, the next track focused on ROI – or rather how we should forget about the way we traditionally think about ROI. Alexander Richter from CSCM presented some very interesting thoughts on this topic arguing that we obviously need to measure the outcomes of social business initiatives, but you have to take many things, eg. organizational maturity, into consideration when setting your success criteria – you can see his slide deck here. Social media is inherently about WIIFM (What’s in it for me) but there is just no universal answer to that question – hence the M for ‘Me’.
Personally, I got a lot of inspiration from this – particularly from Peter Kim from Dachis Group who mentioned both social network analysis (SNA) and net promoter score (NPS) as measures that could be useful. We need simple metrics similar to the NPS but the challenge is that these metrics are subjective and flawed in many ways. HOWEVER this may not be such a big issue. You are measuring internal tools/services = the metrics must first and foremost be relevant for the company, so wouldn’t it be possible to reach internal consensus about interpretation and KPIs? I believe so. OK, You will not be able to benchmark against others, but if we the starting point is that every company is unique, why would you want to benchmark based on fixed KPIs? Surely it would result in nothing more than discussions on why ‘we’ are different from all the others….!
The closing keynote by Dion Hinchcliffe from Dachis Group was exactly as inspiring as I had hoped for. He provided lots of insights into the success factors for social business and some of the emerging trends. I think everything can be summarized nicely to say that it is all about organizational transformation and how we adapt to continuous and rapid change. The organisation of the 21st century will be about radical change, social engagement, ecosystems, and knowledge flows. A summary of the presentation would almost be a blog post on its own, so instead I encourage you to check it out on Slideshare.
To summarize two days in the frozen French capital: Good conference with lots of input, but the presentations and discussions also brought some underlying frustrations and questions to the surface. I see two ‘forces’ working in opposite directions: We stick to the arguments about how the value of social is very hard to measure, but at the same time we are reluctant to make decisions due to the lack of objective data. The bigdata trend will help here, but the above ‘conflict’ must be reconciled to get things moving. Right now we are in a position where we know that something needs to be done, but not quite how…
The final lesson from the conference comes from Fabian Seewald who explains Enterprise 2.0 in less than 2 minutes using some rather unusual means 🙂
Thank you to old and new friends for a couple of inspiring days in Paris and congratulations to the Kongress Media team with a very well executed event. If you are looking for more information, you can find links to presentations, etc. on this wikipage