Will You Succeed or Fail with Social? It depends.
By Jim Lundy
Will you succeed or fail with Social? The tag line in the title, it depends, is there because for all the hype that Social receives, many enterprises expect they will succeed with Social no matter what. The reality is far different: many enterprise first attempts at going social fail. They fail often because the advice they receive is bad or mis-informed. Yes, lots of people claim to be experts at Social, but most of them are not practitioners. They have not done it – built an ESN, deployed an ESN, or learned from the initial failures. They haven’t experienced Social Use Cases (Enterprise Social Networking, Social Learning, Customer Communities). That doesn’t stop them from hanging out a shingle and proclaiming themselves to be a Social expert.
In fact, my tweet over the weekend was: New Industry Trend. Write a book, put Social in the title. It got a few favorites and some retweets. This is basically what is happening. People are now sending me their new Social Books and they quickly go out to the garage. The bottom-line is whether you are a provider or an end-user, it is buyer beware. The advice you get might not be current or it just might be flawed.
Social isn’t easy
Let’s cut to the chase. Social Networking in an enterprise isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are lots of reasons that ESNs fail. The way you adopt an ESN is as important as the product or service you pick to serve as your ESN. On building and deploying an ESN, I’m here to declare Aragon Research as the experts. In fact, we help clients avoid mistakes, in part because we have lived through some of them. Our most recent Research Note, Getting Started with Enterprise Social Networking, Six Best Practices, is a great example of cutting through the hype. If you are an end-user, we actually have an RFP template for an Enterprise Social Network, that is part of the tools in our new ITEX Service.
One of the hot topics in Social Networking is Search. Is the search that you have smart search or is it Dumb? What? The answer is, is your provider using machine learning to actually recognize content and patterns and organize them. Many are and that is the good news. The bad news is that many are not and that is a losing strategy when it comes to helping your users find the content they need in the social network you select for your enterprise.
The Social Layer is coming to HCM
In 2013, Social HCM is an area that is going to heat up. Who will succeed and who will fail in executing those strategies? We watch markets and besides covering Collaboration, we actually cover the Talent part of the HCM Market. Collaboration has always been about getting people to interact. Social HCM is more about engaging people than in looking back at past performance. New players are entering this market from start-ups to major Tech Titans, such as IBM.
We wrote about Social HCM earlier this year (See The Five Priorities of a Social HCM Strategy) and this will be a growing part of our 2013 Research Agenda. There are many facets to Social HCM and this is giving rise to many new Services and Software offerings. Social Recruiting is changing the way enterprises look at traditional ATS based systems. At the same time, Social Recognition may have a bigger impact on performance than the process of writing and delivering the annual performance review.
The rise of Social Marketing and the Marketing Suite
For all the hype around SCRM (Social Customer Relationship Management), Social Marketing is a category that is relatively young and is still coalescing. Some call it Customer Experience, but it is actually more than that. Our upcoming Strategic Report on Social will cover the Platforms and the Apps and how Social is spreading across all of these areas.
For a long time, the focus was on the Customer Community. Today, more enterprises want to do more and the CMO needs a better way to do things than by trying to integrate a bunch of tools that often don’t work that well together. The Marketing Suite is still in its formulative stages.
Making Sense out of Social in 2013
Making sense out of all of this is what we help our clients with. Of course having covered Social since 2006 makes a difference. We have lived it, we know the space and we help enterprises with their strategy and with understanding of who the players are in the market. One thing is clear: 2013 will be the year that more enterprises go Social. Some enterprises will be making their first attempt at Social, while others, having learned their lessons the hard way will be replacing a first generation effort with a new Service. Our Social Predictions note that is coming at the end of the month will help set the stage for next year.