That’s the recurring question that comes when a business starts its social and digital transformation : we understand the interest, we have some ideas about where we want to get, but where should we start. Eight year’s we’re been hearing the same questions, eight years the same answer is given but the question comes back endlessly. To such an extent that we can wonder if :
- not everyone agrees on the matter and businesses are lost in the middle of conflicting advice.
- the message has not been repeated enough tomes
- no one wants to hear the answer…at least the one that makes sense.
The first step is not to deploy any solution or even wondering which one should be deployed. This will come later. The first step is not to identify communities. It will also come later.
No transformation without clear indicators
No. The first thing to do when you’re starting your social and digital transformation – as for any project but it seems to be less obvious here – is to ask yourself what you want to improve.
I say “what you want to improve”, not what you want you change. One is the stating point, the other the consequence and we can see too many projects starting with a list of what should change – often the visible part of the iceberg – without wondering if there’s something missing, if all this stuff is necessary or what will be impact be. What one should want to improve is an indicator. Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s not – a this points – about changing the way people collaborate, share, work, report etc. One should find the indicator(s) that must be impacted. Indicators will vary and be more or less numerous depending on whether your project is departmental or enterprise-wide.
Selling better means no things. Reducing the sales cycle, the conversion rate, the number of meetings to issue an offer is much better.
Improve marketing effectiveness ? Why not, but it means leads of better quality, less time to adapt to market transitions and build new offerings etc..
Improve project management ? Number of meetings, time spent for coordination and reporting, respect of schedule and budget.
I let you adding what matters to you to the list.
Indicators are starting points, not a lucky consequence
Once you know you indicator, find out what operating models, practices, would impact it in the right way. And once you’ve identified these models, you’ll be able to choose the right technology or adapt/improve/customize an existing one. Or not. As a matter of fact you’ll see that to reach your goal you’ll have to work on :
• the style of leadership of those who lead the teams concerned by the indicator
• organization structure and work practices
• Skills to acquire and postures to develop
• Sometimes job descriptions
The purpose being to make the change in the way things are getting done both logical and acceptable in the enterprise and in everyone’s work context.
If the indicator does not exist create it
One more thing. Sometimes the indicator that matters does not exist and you’ll have to create it. Sometimes it exists but is not well measured or in an inappropriate or incomplete way. That’s a major concern anyone should have in mind before starting anything.
Since you’re here, make the most of the opportunity and identify and fix a very frequent situation : having in the same people people supposed to contribute to opposite goals. That’s a good start for collaboration programs people always wonder why they fail systematically.