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Digital Transformation

Social Technologies: The Business Payoff

I’m at an eWeek Sponsored half day session that focuses on Social Business.  Marcia Connor was the first speaker.  She’s a Principal at SensifyGroup (@marciamarcia).  She focuses on helping people work at jobs that don’t suck.

One of the key problems is the sheer amount of data out there.  The internet adds 34 Gigabytes each day.  This information deluge means that 1 in 2 business leaders say they don’t have the information needed to do their jobs.

  • Our brains transform 100 million connections. They are capable of doing more than we expect of them today.
  • Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave than disengage employees.
  • You can get measurable payoff from social technlogies
  • You can get cost savings and other value from social
  1. Many eyes make light work.  One travel agency was able to find a good italian translator.  The inquiry found lots of answers but one particular person piped up and said, “I learned Italian at home and would love to help.”  She got permission and the company saved $15,000 in translation fees.
  2. This same company used a hashtag to account for money saved.  That feed got 2-3 examples per day.  After the first month, they accounted for $150,000 saved.  These are examples from what they were already doing.  It’s the simple stuff that adds up.
  3. Another large insurance company was trying to get a site license for a stock photo site.  They were denied for budget reasons. They got creative and used their social tools to hold a great pictures contest.  Within one week, they had a huge number of photographs that people gladly shared and freely gave permission for the photo’s use.  Again, this was easy to do using the culture you may already have.
  4. The rugby team uses analytics from headbands during games to figure out what kind of injuries happen by seeing what was happening and how they were hit.   This has allowed them to better understand how the player got into that injury situation and allowed them to better treat the injury.  It helps them “get big and strong, fast.”  That same experience can translate to the business world.
  5. One sales guys had a call with a Kevlar boat maker. He did lots of study and finally gave up and put a question out if anyone knew about Kevlar boats.  By the next morning someone responded with the knowledge not only of Kevlar boats but also about that particular boat company.  This knowledge helped with the presentation the next day.
  6. Plenty of organizations say, “We don’t have a culture that allows us to share because of regulations, culture, etc……”  Marcia notes that she works with companies like the CIA.  It may be more related to a level of fear.  “I have yet to meet an organization that can’t create those connections.”
  7. One lady at the large insurance company had one lady who wrote reports and stuck them in a drawer for 30 years……….waiting for the time when she could more easily share the report and get it into the hands of those in the field who could use it.


What are the obstacles?  Answer, one more program is not going to help you.  It’s more about the people and the organizational obstacles.  Your objective is to remove those obstacles in your path.  It’s not a matter of adding one more policy. It’s a matter of figuring out what people are capable of doing.

Cool quote: “Tools don’t get socially interesting until tools become technologically boring.” (by Clay Shirky)

Cool quote: “One company measured by counting people as they left work looking for a ‘twinkle in their eye’. That’s what is was all about for that company.”

There are four things between here and the place you want to go.

  1. Ask key questions. What works are your colleagues doing using social tools.  
  2. What outmoded activities today could be replaced with socially connected approaches tomorrow?
  3. When will you ask the people around you (including neighbors and kids) how they might measure social outcomes?  
  4. Where can’t you stive for social connected approaches at work?  How can you start the change?

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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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