2 phases for implementing social media in a corporate environment

There are usually two phases in which social media technology are implemented in a company: experimental and business transformation phase (Wollan, Smith, & Zhou, 2010).

Primarily in the experimental phase, the focus is on the social media technology tools, like blogs, forums, micro-blogs, vlogs, etc. (Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010). It is in this first phase, where the company has only implemented parts of the social media technology, and it may not be consistent across the company or the social media platforms (Wollan et al., 2010). This could have happened because a social business strategy was not drafted or implemented.  Another possibility could arise from the creation of a social business strategy where it outlines a specific experimental phase (Mathaisel, 2011).  Mathaisel (2011), stated that this possibility allows leaders like the CIO to be liberal on the technology, but still be fiscally conservative.  The inconsistencies between each technology in the second scenario could result from experimenting which techniques works best in creating relationships. However, companies should be wary that not all social media platforms will have the same type of customer base or customer segment.  Therefore, messaging can be consistent across social media platforms, but at the same time, the messaging must be tailored to the social media platform and their respective customer segment (eMedical Media, n.d.).  When this inconsistency is discovered, the silo and out-of-sync efforts will be reconciled to help move the company towards the second phase (Wollan et al., 2010).

In the second phase, the business transformation phase is where the real business value can be realized because in the first phase the derived value could be small as they are usually connected to a project or simple purpose (Wollan et al., 2010). In this business transformation phase, social media technology is seen as a strategic tool to engage and build relationships with their employees, future talent, and customers (Mathaisel, 2011; Wollan et al., 2010).  In this phase, the social media technology is integrated into the company and in particular in integrated part of Information Technology (IT) department (Wollan et al. 2010).  The integration depth into the IT department depends if the social media technology is used internally or externally.  Depending if the social media technology is used internally IT must integrate it with Active directory, data warehouses, content management, etc.; whereas if the social media technology is used externally, IT must integrate it with web analytics, logistics management, customer relationship management software, etc. (Wollan et al. 2010).

Compared to the first phase, the second phase has a more considerable amount of planning, resources, and experience (Wollan et al., 2010).  Finally, Wollan et al. (2010), stated that the key focus of the second phase was to focus on a thorough and thoughtful approach to picking the right social media technology and platform that is sustainable and scalable for interacting and building relationships with the customers.


Achieving full benefit of social technologies through a culture of trust

“To achieve the full benefit of social technologies, organizations must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and non-hierarchical and to create a culture of trust. Creating a culture of trust is even difficult for organizations that have not implemented social technologies as well. Ultimately, the efficacy of social technologies hinges on the full participation of employees who are openly willing to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the social media technologies themselves.”

The most important element from the above premise statement is that creating a culture of trust is difficult and that social technology will fail or succeed based on trust of their contributions.  If there is no culture of trust, there will be no contributions to a social technology. Even if the tool is perfect, if no one uses the tool, it was just either a waste of money, waste of time, waste of messaging, or all of the above.

It is true that a culture of trust is more important in a highly collaborative environment powered by social technologies (Burg, 2013).  It is needed because this could be an avenue where ideas can be fully expressed to improve certain parts of the company, product, or service in a constructive and respectful discussed (Burg, 2013; Li, 2010; Vellmure, n.d.; Wollan, Smith, &Zhou, 2010).

However, establishing a culture is much hard than introducing a new piece of technology. There will always be naysayers and resistors to a new piece of social technology (Li, 2010; Wollan et al., 2010).  Even though people who are willing to share their thoughts and ideas are hoping that they can do so in a trusted environment, that their shared ideas are respected, and still have a job the next day.

The leadership style that is more conducive to creating an open culture based on mutually shared respect and trust would be either an open or democratic leadership style. Both the open and democratic leadership are heavy on team participation and are customer and employee centered (Cherry, 2016; Li, 2010).  Cherry (2016), describes that in democratic leadership styles the final decision comes down to the leader, whereas Li (2010) describes that the open leadership styles give more autonomy to the team.  Thus, both are more conducive to creating an open culture, but it depends on the current company culture and the willingness of leadership to give their employees full autonomy over social technology that defines which of these two cultures will prevail in the end.


Business Intelligence: Effectiveness

Non-profit Hospitals are in a constant state of trying to improve their services and drive down costs. Thus, one of the ways they do this is by turning to Lean Six Sigma techniques and IT to identify opportunities to save money and improve the overall patient experience. Six Sigma relies on data/measurements to determine opportunities for continuous improvements, thus aiding in the hospitals goals, a Business Intelligence (BI) program was developed (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).

Key Components of the structure

For an effective BI program the responsible people/stakeholders (Actors) are identified, so we define who is responsible for setting the business strategies (Goals).  The strategy must be supported by the right business processes (Objects), and the right people must be assigned as accountable for that process.  Each of these processes has to be measured (Indicators) to inform the right people/stakeholders on how the business strategy is doing.  All of this is a document in a key document (called AGIO), which is essentially a data definition dictionary that happens to be a common core solution (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  This means that there is one set of variables names and definitions.

Implementation of the above structure has to take into account the multi-level business and their needs.  Once the implementation is completed and buy off from all other stakeholders has occurred, that is when the business can experience its benefits.  Benefits are: end users can make strategic data based decisions and act on them, a shift in attitudes towards the use and usefulness of information, perception of data scientist from developers to problem solvers, data is an immediate action, continuous improvement is a byproduct of the BI system, real-time views with data details drill down features enabling more data-driven decisions and actions, the development of meaningful dashboards that support business queries, etc. (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).

Knowledge management systems fit into the structure

“Healthcare delivery is a distributed process,” where patients can receive care from family doctors, clinicians, ER staff,  specialists, acute care, etc. (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  Each of these people involved in healthcare delivery have vital knowledge about the patient that needs to be captured and transferred correctly; thus hospital reports help capture that knowledge.  Knowledge also lies with how the patient flows in and out of sections in the hospital, and executives need to see metrics on how all of these systems work together.  Generating a knowledge management distributed database system (KMDBS), aids in tying all this data together from all these different sources to provide the best care for patients, identify areas for continual improvements, and provides this in a neat little portal (and dashboards) for ease of use and ease of knowledge extraction (Topaloglou & Barone, 2015).  The goal is to unify all the knowledge from multiple sources into one system, coming up with a common core set of definitions, variables, and metrics.  The common core set of definitions, variables, and metrics are done so that everyone can understand the data in the KMDBS, and look up information if there are any questions.  The development team took this into account and after meeting with different business levels, the solution that was developed in-house provided all staff a system which used their collective knowledge to draw out key metrics that would aid them in data-driven decisions for continuous improvement on the services they provide to their patients.

1 example

Topaloglou & Barone, (2015) present the following example below:

  • Actor: Emergency Department Manger
  • Goal: Reduce the percentage of patients leaving without being seen
  • Indicator: Percentage of patients left without being seen
  • Object: Physician initial assessment process