We think of Social Business as a great meal. But what is a great meal? It’s something cooked with skill; made from the best ingredients; delivered with excellence; and enjoyed with people you like and trust.
At Grundfos we are actually putting together a Social Business Cookbook. The cookbook contains valuable recipies (use-cases) and a list of ingredients. I’d like to share some thoughts on one of the important ingredients: A Social Business Ecosystem.
A Social Business Ecosystem is a connected set of interacting organisational capabilities, triggers, and events – internal as well as external. Its how people, information, processes and platforms connect in such ways that it creates value both for the organization and individuals.
We made a simple model with some typical key components, that looks like this:
The best configuration depends on what business goals you specifically decide to make your ‘must win battles’. Assume that you want to maximise your influence when it comes to Water Business, it could then look like this:
By listening to customers in public forums and groups, insights about needs and wants are derived and channeled to the right internal community or function. Based on this, interesting content is co-created by Experts and Thought Leaders in the form of a blogs or videos.
Marketing maximizes the effect of the content, aligns with current activities, and distributes it the right global and local channels. In addition it is amplified by your own employees in to their own networks. As customers and prospects interact with the content, or in dialogue with an employee, patterns about what they are interested in is collected and distributed to sales for action.
Market influencers are identified and coupled with company experts – not only to manage them, but also to listen to them, learn, and understand market changes and trends.
The strength of a well-designed ecosystem, is that you can stay effective even through periods of dramatic change. And change is the only certain characteristic of the business case:
• New entrants such as networks and technologies will always emerge – sometimes with the speed of light – making other well-known platforms obsolete;
• Experts and social empowered employees will grow their networks and digital literacy, and new influencers will emerge
• New partnerships will trigger new collaboration and co-creation opportunities, in areas that today cannot be imagined;
• And as your company transforms into a globally connected enterprise, new business models, needs and processes will change the way information and knowledge flows, inside the company, as well as outside.
From a technology perspective, there is no “one platform” that can manage the full scope of the Ecosystem – not today, and probably not tomorrow. Connecting the right tools and platforms must therefore be part of the strategy. But it is a fine balance since having to many connectors also comes with challenges. To manage this balance, all functions must work together in understanding local and global business needs, and what solutions that should be applied to support these.
So, with the current speed of change (global and local market needs, technology, human behavior, etc.) instead of slowly building a strictly governed and highly controlled management system, our bet here in Grundfos is on making small, quick iterations. Only then will we have a Social Business Ecosystem that learns to co-evolve and adopts by its own. How about you dear reader, do you have a well defined Social Business Ecosystem?