March 6, 2012

2012: The year of B2B social business adoption

How B2B firms can reduce their cost of sales 30-50% by using social platforms

Christopher S. RollysonBased on CSRA’s recent research as well as my 25 years’ experience with guiding B2Bs’ adoption of disruptive technology, I predict that 2012 will see significant social business takeup among B2B pioneers. First, a critical mass of B2B executive leaders are familiar enough with social technologies to consider them for the first time. Second, the business driver will be the economy. During the past 4-5 years, enterprises have continue to cut costs wherever they could, but few are performing at the level they want to be. B2B sales and marketing are under more pressure to perform very efficiently than ever, and some leaders will enlist social business because they have tried everything else.

B2B adoption

Although I have served numerous B2C enterprises, I have a more profound understanding of B2B because my businesses and employers have sold to businesses. Web 1.0 (“The Internet”) adoption is a very useful pattern for understanding Web 3.0 adoption (we’re way past Web 2.0 now). For brevity, I’ll use it, along with some other patterns, to explain why my crystal ball says that 2012 will see serious B2B adoption of social business.

  • Adoption of disruptive technology begins with consumers because their cost of trying new things is far lower than businesses’. In addition, families, since they include people of all ages, are hotbeds of disruptive technology adoption. What’s better than confounding parents by doing marvelous things that they don’t understand?
  • B2B executive parents, being upstanding responsible adults, always reject such frivolities at first; however, they cannot stop themselves from peering over their kids’ shoulders. When a situation occurs in which the disruptive innovation adds surprising value, their attitudes begin to change. They start experimenting (what’s the No. 1 reason execs joined Facebook?), but since they have preconceived notions about how things should work, the learning process is slow. But they eventually learn to adopt the disruption in their personal lives.
  • Once executives get comfortable enough with the disruption, the adventurous portion of them starts taking its disruption-enabled “approaches” to doing things to work. Experimentation continues for a while, during which the disruption is a “nice to have” option. In some cases a situation develops in which the innovation adds surprising value in the work context, which drives adoption further.
  • Social business — applying social technologies to evolve business processes — is reaching this point. Another Web 1.0 lesson is that the early 2000s’ bad economy helped Internet adoption after the meltdown. Although most executives were too ready to dismiss “the Internet” as a fad, enough of them persisted and proved the value in increasing areas of business.
  • At PricewaterhouseCoopers, I helped B2Bs apply Internet applications to their business processes. Once they dropped the assumption that the Internet was about Pets.com and money-losing online bookstores, they could start thinking about how they could save serious money by empowering stakeholders with real-time information and the ability to transact with their enterprise systems.

Continue reading

March 2, 2011

Two faces of social media: marketing vs. enterprise 2.0 collaboration

Seeking out value from social media for human resources

David SparkHere’s some of my coverage from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., in November. I was covering the event for Dice and Dice News.

Sure social media is a great tool for marketing, but its communications capabilities make it a great tool for your company’s HR department as well. In a chat with Oliver Marks (@olivermarks), head of the HR track at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference and consultant with the Sovos Group, I asked him about how various industries are approaching the use of social media tools in the workplace and in the recruiting process.

November 10, 2010

How social tools are improving human resources

From left, Oliver Marks (Sovos Group), Eric Lane (Intuit), Ciara Smyth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Tony Treglia (Aviva), Bill McNee (Saugatuck Technology)

There’s gold in your employees’ personal social networks

David SparkI’m at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara, Calif., this week covering the event for Dice and its companion media division, Dice News.

Human resources is a time- and people- intensive task. Recruiters spend the majority of their time just building relations with prospective employees or people who could refer them to talent. We all know that social media in general has increased our ability to build and maintain relations with people. Prior to Twitter and Facebook, do you remember anyone telling you they had more than 1,000 friends?

If social media has proved to accelerate relationships and knowledge of these relationships, how can that information be put to better use to support all of human resources’ needs? Social tools can be used to manage compensation, benefits, acquiring talent, grooming talent, aligning employee success with business success, matching like-minded employees and cultivating innovation within the organization. How can HR people leverage social media to make their job more efficient and easier to do?

Somebody’s got to be doing it better, and luckily those people were on a panel discussion “Human Resources Meets Enterprise 2.0 and the Cloud” (#e2conf) at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.:

Continue reading