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Next Generation Social Media: Alignment of Business Processes and Social Intelligence

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Next Generation Social Media: Alignment of Business Processes and Social Intelligence

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As enterprises try to catch up with the social media buzz, many companies are starting to realize that it is difficult to define tangible business outcomes around social media investments. Social intelligence and social analytics are new con- cepts which have the potential to help enterprises move beyond basic marketing and define a goal-oriented strategy around social media.
The next wave of social media investments will be in enterprise programs that are designed to facilitate participation in social media interactions, analyzing the data generated and taking real time actions that govern product, marketing, distribu- tion and pricing processes.
The larger ecosystem of any enterprise includes business partners, employees and customers. Each of these constituents plays an important role in processes that govern innovation, customer experience, collaboration, supply chain, talent management and overall business growth. Social media is emerging as the glue that binds these groups and creates tidal waves that can make or break the fu- ture of any company. The only way organizations can ride this wave successfully is to track the social interactions, derive events and patterns that can lead to business process improvements across different functional areas. Another aspect of social media which is internal to an enterprise is in terms of collaborative busi- ness processes where collective knowledge sharing and decision-making is greatly enhanced through social tools.
Certain emerging trends in technology such as the collaboration between social media and mobile technology providers have created a revolution in the adoption rate of social media. The confluence of social media and mobile technologies is creating upheaval not just in competitive dynamics but also across social and po- litical spheres.
The focus of this paper is to enable organizations to define a strategy around Social Media and tie it to measurable outcomes as defined by core processes that are critical to the survival and growth of any enterprise.

As enterprises try to catch up with the social media buzz, many companies are starting to realize that it is difficult to define tangible business outcomes around social media investments. Social intelligence and social analytics are new con- cepts which have the potential to help enterprises move beyond basic marketing and define a goal-oriented strategy around social media.
The next wave of social media investments will be in enterprise programs that are designed to facilitate participation in social media interactions, analyzing the data generated and taking real time actions that govern product, marketing, distribu- tion and pricing processes.
The larger ecosystem of any enterprise includes business partners, employees and customers. Each of these constituents plays an important role in processes that govern innovation, customer experience, collaboration, supply chain, talent management and overall business growth. Social media is emerging as the glue that binds these groups and creates tidal waves that can make or break the fu- ture of any company. The only way organizations can ride this wave successfully is to track the social interactions, derive events and patterns that can lead to business process improvements across different functional areas. Another aspect of social media which is internal to an enterprise is in terms of collaborative busi- ness processes where collective knowledge sharing and decision-making is greatly enhanced through social tools.
Certain emerging trends in technology such as the collaboration between social media and mobile technology providers have created a revolution in the adoption rate of social media. The confluence of social media and mobile technologies is creating upheaval not just in competitive dynamics but also across social and po- litical spheres.
The focus of this paper is to enable organizations to define a strategy around Social Media and tie it to measurable outcomes as defined by core processes that are critical to the survival and growth of any enterprise.

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Next Generation Social Media: Alignment of Business Processes and Social Intelligence

  1. 1. 183 Next Generation Social Media: Alignment of Business Processes and Social Intelligence Vinaykumar. S. Mummigatti, Virtusa, USA INTRODUCTION As enterprises try to catch up with the social media buzz, many companies are starting to realize that it is difficult to define tangible business outcomes around social media investments. Social intelligence and social analytics are new con- cepts which have the potential to help enterprises move beyond basic marketing and define a goal-oriented strategy around social media. The next wave of social media investments will be in enterprise programs that are designed to facilitate participation in social media interactions, analyzing the data generated and taking real time actions that govern product, marketing, distribu- tion and pricing processes. The larger ecosystem of any enterprise includes business partners, employees and customers. Each of these constituents plays an important role in processes that govern innovation, customer experience, collaboration, supply chain, talent management and overall business growth. Social media is emerging as the glue that binds these groups and creates tidal waves that can make or break the fu- ture of any company. The only way organizations can ride this wave successfully is to track the social interactions, derive events and patterns that can lead to business process improvements across different functional areas. Another aspect of social media which is internal to an enterprise is in terms of collaborative busi- ness processes where collective knowledge sharing and decision-making is greatly enhanced through social tools. Certain emerging trends in technology such as the collaboration between social media and mobile technology providers have created a revolution in the adoption rate of social media. The confluence of social media and mobile technologies is creating upheaval not just in competitive dynamics but also across social and po- litical spheres. The focus of this paper is to enable organizations to define a strategy around So- cial Media and tie it to measurable outcomes as defined by core processes that are critical to the survival and growth of any enterprise. THE POWER OFSOCIALWEB Social Media is characterized by the use of various kinds of tools including blogs, microblogs, social networks, location based networks, collaboration tools, multi- media, professional networking, social games and many others that are still evolv- ing.
  2. 2. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 184 “The popularity of social media is undeniable—three of the world’s most popular brands online are social-media related (Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia) and the world now spends over 22 percent of all time online on these brands. For the first time ever, social network or blog sites are visited by three quarters of global consumers who go online, after the numbers of people visiting these sites in- creased by 24 percent over last year. The average visitor spends 66 percent more time on these sites than a year ago. (Source: Nielsen.com) The latest statistics published by Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook on demograph- ics and usage patterns are: • 200 million registered accounts on Twitter as of January 2011 (Source: Twitter) • Twitter users send a billion tweets each week. • Facebook has more than 600 million users with 42 percent in the Ameri- can continent, 27 percent in Asia and 25 percent in Europe (Source: Facebook). • Linkedin has over 100 million users with more than 50 percent users outside the USA. • Linkedin is used by 69 of the Fortune100 companies and Linkedin oper- ates in 200 countries. (Source: Linkedin ) • 152 million—The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by Blog- Pulse by 2010 end). Nearly 10 percent of the global population uses Facebook and the count is in- creasing by the day. While this fact signifies the reach and influence of just one social tool, the usage and reach is by no means homogeneous across social tools. Different target segments subscribe to different social networks and use tools that best suit their needs and preferences. A recent article by Nielsen on “Introducing Generation C: The Connected Collec- tive Consumer” from Nielsen’s Consumer 360 Indonesia conference, is very in- sightful. Key excerpts from this presentation are “Gen C is not a target audience but a community of digital natives that will partner with brands. To successfully market to Gen C consumers, brands must create fresh, cultural capital for Gen C to talk about—a process which also gives them “status” within their cohorts or tribes and social networks. According to Nielsen, Gen C is characterized by the following traits: 1. Tribal behavior—form their identities by belonging and expressing them- selves within “tribes” 2. Social status derived by what you share—gain credibility by expressing opinions, sharing ideas, observations and thoughts 3. Bee-like swarm behavior—mobilize as one with their tribes like bees around topics that interest them 4. Social oxygen—Mobile devices have become “social oxygen”, enabling them to connect, create and share opinions and thoughts with their tribes 5. Continuous partial attention—As experts at managing content and infor- mation, they engage in never-ending conversations, constantly “live- streaming” their experiences to the world 6. Chameleons –constantly changing and morphing their identities to simul- taneously belong to as many different tribes as possible 7. Co-creators—The social web has brought out “democratization of creativi- ty”
  3. 3. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 185 What does this volume of traffic and information exchange on social media mean to corporate enterprises? We have enough data and information around how to leverage social media for marketing and branding. The focus of this paper is not on marketing or the analytics around branding such as awareness, brand attributes, purchase intent, lead generation or around web presence such as number of clicks or response to trials and surveys. Instead, this paper focuses on tracking the huge volumes of data exchanged via social tools and filtering this information to generate patterns, events and intelligence that can trigger critical processes for an organization around all departments. Enterprise use of social media needs to focus on deriving tangible business out- comes, directing consumer behavior or tracking customer response in real time that can trigger processes around: • Innovation and crowd sourcing • Tracking customer perceptions and feedback on products leading to pro- active customer service and support • Proactive tracking of queries from potential customers- Lead generation • Word-of-mouth advertising by peers and social groups • Attracting talent through interest groups and professional networks • Micro campaigns through regional communities, channel networks and interest groups SOCIAL ANALYTICS &SOCIALINTELLIGENCE What is social web analytics? Philip Sheldrake in his ebook on social web- analytics, describes Social Web Analytics as the application of search, indexing, semantic analysis and business intelligence technologies to the task of identifying, tracking, listening to and participating in the distributed conversations about a particular brand, product or issue, with emphasis on quantifying the trend in each conversation's sentiment and influence. An article published in Business Week (“Wanted: Social Media Sifters”—25 Octo- ber 2010) covers this topic in some detail. Companies such as Coca Cola, Kraft Foods and Procter and Gamble are now employing social media analytics firms to sift through all the chatter and derive meaningful information that can help them define their strategies. Organizations such as Dell have set up listening platforms and listening posts which can track key digital metrics on public social media sites like Twitter and YouTube. If we can tie the business processes that govern marketing, product engineering, customer service and innovation to the data that gets generated through social networks, we can start getting a better handle on the social media investments through the returns measured in terms of Key performance Indicators (KPI’s). A recent blog post by Anne Stuart titled “Getting started with Social BPM”1 touch- es on the topic of Social BPM and how collaborative processes can be influenced through social media. Why is it so difficult to connect the two worlds of social me- dia and BPM? One simple reason is that social media and related information is so dynamic that it is very difficult to derive a pattern out of it, whereas BPM initia- tives are built around repetitive processes that have a finite start and end point resulting in a business outcome. Social intelligence deals with how we use the data and information gathered through social web analytics to define patterns and predictive analyses and gen- 1 http://www.ebizq.net/topics/social_bpm/features/13159.html]
  4. 4. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 186 erate real time operational insights that can feed into organizational processes and/or enable strategic decisions. The social intelligence paradigm starts with our ability to track information that is exchanged through social media. If we are able to derive a meaningful insight into the information thread, then we can start engaging the participants at a next lev- el. The conversations can open up new product ideas, customer service or prod- uct issues or even uncover potential disputes and legal cases. Over a period of time we will be able to create customer profiles and segmentation that can be le- veraged to direct proactive information, products and services to the target seg- ments. Social media listening platforms are emerging as key components of social analyt- ics and social intelligence strategy. As stated in the recent Forrester “Magic Wave for Listening Platforms”, listening platforms enable many tasks across the enter- prise, including marketing measurement, market research, customer support, crisis identification, and more. Social intelligence can help control, respond to and influence the factors that drive a company’s reputation and competitive positioning. It is important to track what consumers are saying about the brand, products, services or channels. Au- tomated sentiment analysis, sentiment scores, tracking of chatter on blogs/articles/videos can be tied to benchmark metrics and automatic actions triggered in real time. SOCIAL MEDIA VALUE CHAIN ACROSS AN ENTERPRISE A great validation of the importance of mobile devices is the fact that 60 percent of subscribers access Facebook through mobile browsers and most active mobile users are in Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Canada and the US, where at least 60 percent of Facebook users spend just as much time on a mobile device as on the desktop. The collaboration between social media tools and mobile operators and app developers has created a revolution in the adoption rate of social media across the developing and developed worlds alike. When we combine the business logic, social intelligence and events that have sig- nificant impacts on business, the ability to respond to the external events in real time increases dramatically. These triggers and data can feed into the business processes within an enterprise thereby completing a logical value chain.
  5. 5. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 187 Figure 1: Social Media Value Chain The above diagram gives a logical representation of the integrated value chain and data flow. Let us look at what kinds of business processes are influenced by each of the constituents vis-à-vis the larger external population, partner community and employees. The larger population can consist of existing customers, influencers, potential customers and competitors’ customers. This group can influence product deci- sions, pricing decisions, product comparisons, brand perceptions, customer ex- pectations, grievances and product dissatisfactions. The data related to these top- ics—when filtered correctly—and the intelligence gathered can feed into or trigger the processes around new products, innovation, customer service, advertisement, marketing and logistics. The second group consists of partners, strategic alliances and suppliers. Partners can be dealers, agents, brokers who will not only use social media to voice their opinions and track a community but also wish to understand how they can leve- rage the larger consumer behavior to sell a company’s products and services. Suppliers can leverage social tools for real-time collaboration and content ex- change that can greatly enhance the B2B process efficiencies and supplier rela- tionship management. Alliances can be of varied nature and social media can be a great way to keep them in loop for sharing various developments and initiatives. Development of social communities helps foster greater depth of alliance and in- novation. The employees, alumni and job aspirants groups are quite different in their social interactions but interconnected in many ways. How we design our social strategy for each of these groups can yield far-reaching benefits in terms of employee mo- tivation, retention, alumni connections, attracting job aspirants and possible re- turning employees. Creating a community through groups and blogs can keep the potential employees and job aspirants in a closed loop enabling them to tap job openings. The list of possibilities is immense and we have not even scraped the surface. Every passing day is opening up new ways of social media adoption and creative
  6. 6. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 188 possibilities. It will not be long before social media tools will be an integral part of an organization's value chain. INNOVATION DRIVEN BY SOCIAL MEDIA The latest generation of consumers as defined by Nielsen as Generation “C” is characterized by their addiction to social media and thrives on the social tools for their social and professional networking, idea and knowledge sharing. This social- media-savvy group of customers is also the most educated segment forming about 20 percent of the worlds’ population. This is also the group that is targeted by top consumer goods and services companies. This group is now being engaged by firms not just for brand awareness and marketing but also as co-creators of new concepts, ideas and products. Recently Baskin-Robbins (ice-cream chain) launched an online competition to create a new ice cream flavor which was won by a 62-year old lady from 40,000 entrants. We have seen similar sourcing of ideas from consumers by Doritos and Mountain Dew. Recently Toyota launched a competition around how its technologies can be used beyond automobiles. Why are companies doing this? The answer is simple. The new generation of consumers wants to participate, opi- nionate on and influence the development of products they are going to use. They will not accept something that is not liked by themselves or their peers. This was clearly visible when GAP retail chain changed their logo. The backlash from the social crowd was so severe that within days of launching the new logo, GAP re- ceived a large number of comments on Facebook, Twitter and blogs which forced it to revert back to the old logo. Starbucks has about 20 million fans on Facebook in the USA, 1.3 million Twitter followers and about 4.5 million check-ins on Foursquare (a location-based social tool). Most global consumer goods and services companies would be missing out on huge market opportunities by not leveraging this social fan following. Let us look at some ways in which the process of innovation can leverage social media. At a high level, any innovation process will include following steps: 1. Idea Generation: Idea generation can happen through communities, fo- cus groups, blogs and social networks, wikis, product forums or chat rooms. We can leverage social listening platforms and analytic tools to gather the larger trends, consumer preferences and arrive at SWOT analysis. 2. Idea Screening: This is an internal activity and needs internal process orchestration to enable collaboration between the right groups and deci- sion making by the right stakeholders. This stage would also encompass technical and business feasibility analysis, market potential evaluation and overall New Product Development (NPD) planning. 3. Concept development and testing: This stage can have a limited expo- sure and sharing with target influencers and followers. This stage needs to tie back into the internal processes to track feedback and ensure that the product or concept is refined to suit the test group feedback 4. Test Launch and Commercialization: This is a crucial phase of the NPD and the innovation process where the feedback loop needs to be monitored through social media listening posts to ensure that corrective actions across product, service, channels or pricing are immediately ad- dressed.
  7. 7. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 189 SOCIAL MEDIA AS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TRANSFORMATION ENABLER Customer experience can be defined as the sum total of customer perception about a company and its offerings, based on multiple touch points that a custom- er faces such as: • Branding & marketing • Presales and post sales support • Merchandising • Services delivery • Websites, call centres and social media. Customer experience is measured by how customers translate this experience through: • Buying behaviour • Purchase patterns • Maintaining relationship • Voicing their perceptions Why does it seem like customer experience management is suddenly getting a lot of attention? External forces such as reduced entry barriers, globalization and deregulation are opening up the competition. Technology innovations such as so- cial media and mobile technology have created disruptive forces in spawning a new generation of demanding and discerning customers. We are seeing a con- stant change in customer demand for innovation in products and services. Internally we are challenged by siloed operations, systems and processes which are inhibiting us from getting a unified view of customer touch points and under- standing our own abilities to control how our customers see our offerings and us. Typical challenges that enterprises must contend with before they can claim con- trol over customer experience management include: • Most customer centric organizations have multiple social and traditional channels spanning from the front office to the back office and each of these channels have different ways of interacting with customers. • Each of these channels typically operate as distinct silos, each operating off of their own set of policies and procedures rather than operating as a cohesive service chain…thus delivering entirely different experiences as customers traverse from one channel to another • To compound matters, social channels have no linkage with back end systems and hence the interactions are all disjointed and have no bearing on the follow-ups. The percolation of social media has complicated the matters as customer expe- rience is no longer the domain of individual experience but a collective perception of a new generation of customers which is hooked on to social media. A next generation social CEM solution calls for a fundamental change in the way organizations handle customers—hence they need to approach it as a transfor- mation. It must include: 1. Visibility of KPIs around customer experience such as customer reten- tion/acquisition rate, effectiveness of campaigns, customer satisfaction, product and service feedback, ideation etc. 2. Real time benchmark analysis—establish internal and external metrics , track the metrics in real time, analyze gaps with competitive benchmarks 3. Actionable metrics: Capture and convert customer feedback, events and metrics into meaningful actions and align to business processes
  8. 8. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 190 4. Ensure cross channel uniformity of metrics on customer experience ALIGNING BUSINESS PROCESSES TO SOCIALMEDIA Every organization is governed by an average of 8-10 mission critical processes which dictate the revenues, profitability, competitive differentiation and customer service. We can categorize these processes under one of the following process groups: • Lead-to-order, • Order-to-cash and • Trouble-to-resolve. Each of these processes are impacted and influenced by social media to varying degrees. It depends on an organization’s strategy on how it ties social media data to these processes. Figure 2: Industry processes with high social media touch points Also we can categorize these processes under the B2B and B2C categories de- pending on whether the social media participants would be channel partners and suppliers or the end consumers. What makes this integrated approach highly valuable to an enterprise is our ability to tie in social intelligence and metrics to the KPI’s in real time and take actions through these processes. The below diagram helps describe this concept.
  9. 9. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 191 Figure 3: Alignment of Business Strategy to Social media investments The business process management layer within an organization becomes the con- fluence of organizational strategy, KPIs and real time actions based on social in- telligence. It also ties into breaking the silos behind each channel by ensuring that irrespective of the source of an event/transaction/intelligence, we are able to apply the same policies and procedures and bring the same roles into accounta- bility. Also, the feedback loop and continuous optimization is ensured where the Business activity monitoring feeds the actual metrics into comparison with benchmark KPIs. SOCIAL MEDIA ENABLED CONVERGENCE SOLUTION FOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TRANSFORMATION Earlier in this paper, we identified the challenges around customer experience management. We now address this topic in terms of a potential solution that can bring various technologies together and help in offering a unified data, process, content and user experience across all channels. There are various technologies and platforms in which an organization will have invested over many years which may include multiple channels for customer inte- ractions, customer relationship management, process management, content management, business intelligence, search and collaboration, complex events processing, integration and SOA, in addition to an array of system of records. As we embark on social media investments, we need to tie in the legacy investments with the social data and intelligence coming from the vast array of social plat- forms. A suggested approach will be to go with a convergence solution that is leveraging existing investments as well as new tools around social media. The below diagram provides a schema for such a solution:
  10. 10. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 192 Figure 4: BPM-enabled convergence solution for social media The key components of this convergence solution will be as below: 1. Listening Platform and Social Analytics: Listening platforms are emerging tools in the social marketing and social commerce space, which are helping social strategists to tie real time events to actions and alerts. Forrester has released a report on listening platforms and Nielsen, Ra- dian6 and Converseon have been rated as the leading tools in this space. Listening tools are great when we want to track vast amounts of data across regions, markets and segments and use the output to monitor brand reputation, safety and security issues, labor issues, employee chatter, competitive intelligence, innovation trends and news. 2. These tools analyze the conversations, buzz and any kind of information exchange that happens in the social media in real time and produce out- put in terms of trends, influencers, audience, participation level etc. 3. Multi—Channel Integration Strategy and Tools: An important element of this solution is the ability to integrate all channels of customer interac- tions and provide uniformity around business processes, policies and procedures, data access, knowledge and content access and user expe- rience. 4. Business intelligence and complex events processing: The data gen- erated through traditional channels and social media can be better leve- raged when we apply BI and CEP technologies to go deeper into analyz- ing events and patterns that are impacting the corporate goals and strat- egies. 5. Business Process Management: The BPM layer is a crucial orchestra- tion layer that brings the ability to take real time actions and trigger or- ganizational processes. The BPM layer when accompanied by a strong rules engine can enforce compliance checks, straight through processing and exceptions handling. 6. Enterprise integration / ESB: Finally we need a seamless integration to transaction systems and systems of records so that the data that is gen-
  11. 11. NEXT GENERATION SOCIAL MEDIA 193 erated through analytics, processes and multiple channels is captured and used for further mining or made actionable. CONCLUSION The social media revolution is just taking shape and will only expand to include every aspect of an organization’s touch points with its external and internal stakeholders. Hence the earlier an organization embraces social media and aligns its social media goals to its overall strategy, the better for its competitive differen- tiation and sustained growth in customer base and revenues. The challenge will be to realign its systems, processes and even organizational roles to suit the new approach. The next generation social media programs will be not so much about innovation in the tools themselves, but in how we bring these tools into organiza- tional strategy and define our processes around social media. Also this won’t be a onetime effort or investment. We will need to make a beginning somewhere and continue in small steps and optimize as we go. Most companies are still exploring the best ways to leverage the power of social media and hence there is no perfect recipe for success in the social media world today. Aligning business processes to social media outcomes is one sure-shot way of measuring how well we are aligned in terms of our social media and corporate strategies. REFERENCES: 1. (Nielsen) http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire 2. (Forrester Research) February 22, 2011: Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter: Communicating The Right Data To Different Internal Stake- holders by Nate Elliott with Emily Riley, Sarah Glass, and James McDavid 3. Philip Sheldrake: ebook on social web analytics (2008) 4. (Crowd factory, digital influence group, Racepoint group) Measuring Social Media ROI—march 2010 5. July 12, 2010: The Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010 by Zach Hofer-Shall.

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