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Putting Social Business to Work

Cindy Cheng, ​Sr. Director of Marketing Communications, EMEA, Appian
June 15, 2012

There's no doubt that social media has gone mainstream in the consumer world. Most businesses in the early days stood on the sideline, dismissed it as a fad, or resisted it by blocking all employee access to social networking sites. Increasingly, organizations are accepting or perhaps tolerating the use of social media by employees.

The early adopters in the business world, however, are embracing social media and finding ways to experiment with it, leverage it, and even monetize it. MIT Sloan Management Review collaborated with Deloitte and published findings from the2012 Social Business Global Executive Study. Here are my key takeaways from the report.

How important do you think social software will be to your organization's success in meeting the following challenges over the next two years?


Social business is creating significant opportunity and value for companies in marketing, innovation, operations, and leadership.Tom Poole, Managing Vice President for Mobile and Social Media at Capital One, indicated that "people have begun to realize there's a better model to how we work as teams that is social driven. Instead of a push model, where everybody is told about everything via the email channel, you have more of a pull model....You actually subscribe to the content you want to hear about, and you contribute to the communities you want to contribute to."

That is absolutely true. The traditional push communication model based on email, instant messaging, phone calls, meetings, and water cooler chats is ineffective, tiresome with little accountability and visibility. It doesn't foster open communication andcollaboration. It also has minimalcontext, nostructure, and nomeasurable outcomes. Furthermore, we know that the value of bringingworkandsocialtogether far extends marketing, innovation, operations, and leadership. Appian customers are using work social solutions in a variety ofindustrieswith a myriad ofuse casesto improve and optimize all aspects of work.

The importance of social software is expected to rise by 250% within 3 years. According to the report, "while only 18% of all survey respondents believe social business is important to their organization today, 63% say it will be important in three years." Facebook, Twitter, and other consumer-facing social media sites have reached majority adoption but using social for work in the enterprise is still in the early stage.

Organizations like Manulife Financial, CME Group, and the US Veterans Administration are at the forefront of implementing solutions that get the work done through social means. The common social interface and features make complex, powerful work automation capabilities intuitive and easy to use. They also deployed solutions and quickly gained user adoption with minimal or no training. While most companies are determining how to make social software work, these innovators already know that work social is the way and it is here to stay.

Implementing social business initiatives is challenging and 7 out of 10 projects failed. The MIT report sites this Gartner estimate while asserting that the reasons for such high failure rate include: "not using enterprise software to solve a true business problem; failing to integrate social software into an organization's daily workflow; and a lack of understanding and support from senior management."

Similar statistics have been reported on process improvement and ERP projects. Perhaps this is the norm for most enterprise technology projects. Or is it? Most Appian service engagements completed on time, on budget, and with quality. The end results? Clients get the solution and benefits they want, gain faster return on investment; Appian gets more projects and score an average of 95% clientsatisfaction rating. In terms of speed and agility, many client projects were successfully implemented in just 4~6 weeks by Appian Professional Services and partners.

Come onboard and be an innovator in your industry with work social. Tap into the most powerful and underutilized resource within your organization - your people. Read how to leverage modern social, mobile, and cloud technologies to work more effectively with intelligent processes.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing

Cindy Cheng