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How Companies Can Move Past a Trough of Disillusionment in Social Business

Dion Hinchcliffe is Chief Strategy Officer of The Dachis Group and co-author with Peter Kim of Social Business by Design (Jossey-Bass, 2012).

In this interview, Hinchcliffe says that some companies are finding themselves in what he calls a "trough of disillusionment" in their social business projects, but he explains that this trough is a normal part of the technology adoption cycle. He says that the tools for social business were originally created for consumers, and so presented business specific issues surrounding security and administration that are just now being addressed.

Hinchcliffe provides advice on how a company can show progress towards becoming a more fully enabled social business. A key one, he says, is to measure how far apart the distance is between a social activity and the connection to specific work or business process activities. He also says that those firms that are most advanced in their social business initiatives are those that employ executive leadership, perform community management capabilities, build social business literacy for employees, and do not artificially isolate their various social business efforts. Most important of all is to connect social tools to how work gets done.

When it comes to the matter of measurement, Hinchcliffe advises correlating social business efforts with one's existing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); doing this will help convince other executives about the value of a social business effort. It also is important to "turn the knob on social to the right." In other words don't make social business efforts just a little window dressing, or you'll only get incremental results. Hinchcliffe discusses how companies have "used social to knock one of their business processes out of the park" by taking this more assertive tack.

Finally, Hinchcliffe talks about what companies are facing when communicating to people around the world and in other cultures through the firm's centralized social network.

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