Changing Your Business Into a Social Business

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Carlos' Bake Shop, a social business

Social business requires new thinking, including an ability to view the organization in a flatter, more horizontal way and a willingness to change workflows.

Minervini initially ran into some resistance from employees, as well as from the management team. "We had people saying, 'We have email, we have Facebook and Twitter. Why would we need another social tool?'" he says.

Nevertheless, the company rolled out the social business platform and trumpeted the potential benefits. The result? It has revolutionized the way the bakers and store sales teams work.

"We have a large volume of custom cakes coming out of a 75,000-square-foot commissary in Jersey City," Minervini explains. "The facility operates 24 by 7.

"Chatter is now the de facto standard for internal communication, from order to delivery. If a key decorator is away, they aren't left out of the communication and dialog process. When they return, they can view any changes in color, shape or schema."

The results have been impressive. Minervini says that errors are down by more than 30 percent, and crews are able to produce cakes and other custom products faster and more efficiently.

In addition, managers now have access to a data and analytics dashboard that allows them to instantly view store performance, and which products are hot and which are not. They can see sales and transaction patterns in depth.

"Management and workers are sold on the platform and on the ability to communicate and collaborate in a way that wasn't possible in the past," Minervini reports. "As we undergo a national expansion and even move into the global arena, the ability to connect people and view order streams is critical."

Social Studies

Building a framework for success in the social business arena requires an eye on what's most important to the business, Accenture's Harles points out. "It's not necessary to boil the ocean and try to do everything. It's important to find the most important business case or business cases and build outward and upward from goals and objectives."

Along the way, he adds, it's critical to stay focused on the fact that all roads eventually lead back to the customer. This means that an enterprise must monitor sites such as Facebook and Twitter, use social listening and analytics, and deploy communication and collaboration tools that holistically improve the speed and quality of business interactions.

Capgemini's Fross says that successful social business sometimes requires a reappraisal or even a complete reassessment of internal roles and responsibilities. It may also require training on how to use platforms effectively, ways to use data capture and analytics tools, and new standards for sharing and protecting information across a broad social business network.

He adds that companies also need to provide their employees with "the right tools and structure to collaborate in the most effective way possible."

Image courtesy of Carlos' Bake Shop.

This article was originally published on 2015-06-18
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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