Love the blog posts from Luis Suarez and this one is no exception as he challenges the terminology of using ‘social business’ and also where the next level of sponsorship will come for the tools and methodologies used to make the workplace a more ‘social’ (‘open’) place to work.
I agree ‘social’ still struggles to hit the right targets. Terms such as ‘social intranets’ and ‘social business’ may be used within the industry but to the people that sign the cheques and deploy the campaigns within the business it sits on the shelf with other terms such as ‘user generated content’ and ‘semantic web’ – people just don’t care how they are bracketed.
I like the term ‘open business’ and steers closely to my belief that the tools that enable greater engagement, collaboration and knowledge sharing within organisations that will lead to greater innovation for the company and a more democratic and inspiring place for employees to work and develop work / life balance. My only concern is the Risk and Compliance people in organisations may raise a concern if they hear of becoming an ‘open business’.
In terms of sponsor these type of tools currently IT and CIO (if there is one) have ownership or responsibility for much of the deployment. A savvy CIO will see how they can become a perfect fit for them to go beyond IT, step up, and take an enterprise-wide view.
A CFO may also become a good sponsor. Now, this is less obvious. Why get the numbers person on board here? Well, collaboration is first and foremost about creating economic value; it’s a strategic search for good cross-company projects. Many CFOs also oversee the strategy department, so why not add cross-company strategic activities to the portfolio?
I would steer away from Internal Communication, Brand or Marketing if you are looking for the social (open) tools to untap hidden expertise, knowledge or innovation. In most companies the more traditional Marketing and Communication roles have other priorities and agendas that don’t sit well with this type of tool. For example, Marketing may be extremely pleased if the social tool is fully brand compliant and has all the latest corporate messages. But that may turn users off in drove as the goal will be to create relationships and networks that create new value.
The head of HR should be a perfect fit for new streams of sponsorship and potential adoption campaigns. Good collaboration requires the right incentives, performance evaluations, promotion criteria, and people development. So it’s only natural for the head of HR to take on the role; that entails going beyond HR issues and working with others, such as the CIO, to craft a holistic solution to disengaged employees.