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Is social media a waste of time for accountants? (3 of 3)

Here are the remaining 4 big things the Fast Company article referred to.

4. You don’t need to eat the whole social business elephant in one bite

When asked, “How do you eat an elephant?” the sage pygmy replied, “One bite at a time.” And so it is with social business initiatives. IBM itself tried a number of different approaches internally: First by using a wiki to draft its social computing guidelines, and more recently by offering a “Social Computing Demystified” course to help more IBMers become digital citizens. These smaller building blocks helped pave the way for bigger initiatives like the expertise locator that now taps into nearly 3,000 IBMers from around the world.

5. A social business can be a good business, too

The same tools and processes that go into creating a social business can also be put to use for social good. To test this notion and in honor of its 100th anniversary, IBM asked every employee “to take a full day and dedicate it to skills-based service.” Calling it the Centennial Celebration of Service, thousands of IBMers shared their expertise and then their experiences on IBM100.com. “Now you have in this social business program the permissioning and guidance matched with content so IBMers can get started and experiment [with social business],” said McCarty.

6. Enough already with the useless email chains

Most companies rely on email as the primary means to share information among employees, despite the havoc it often creates. “Email is a very limited tool and does a lot of things to silo work efforts,” McCarty noted. Calling it “completely antisocial,” McCarty believes that a social business needs to employ more collaborative digital work tools (well beyond email) that are asynchronous, enabling a geographically disperse team to do great work together.

7. It’s okay to fail as long as you do it quickly

Since not every social business initiative will take hold, it is important to try lots of approaches and move on when one doesn’t work. IBM describes this as “agile development.” “You can’t spend 10 months planning it and then launching it–the idea is to learn quickly and if we need to, fail quickly,” McCarty said. As case in point, McCarty claims the first iteration of their expertise locator went from concept to a test on IBM.com in four weeks with new iterations following in monthly succession sprints as short as two weeks. McCarty firmly believes this particular social business program, although still in its infancy, has infinite possibilities.

The objective of the last 3 posts were simply to say this … – social media is NOT  a waste of time for accountants. In the same way as the internet, mobile phones, web sites & fax machines are not a waste of time!

Keep well,

James E

Is social media a waste of time for accountants? (2 of 3)

The Accounting profession, naturally, is a part of and of course serves the business community. So it is expected that the profession considers and reflects on the thinking, attitudes, trends & practices of the business community.

With the above in mind, here are some thoughts I picked up from an article that appeared in Fast Company last month (see http://www.fastcompany.com/1779375/move-over-social-media-here-comes-social-business) where the autho interviewed Ethan McCarty, Senior Manager of Digital and Social Strategy at IBM, spent the better part of an hour with me explaining the ins and outs while providing specific examples of how IBM is testing various social business approaches both internally and externally.

There are 7 big things that business need to keep in mind regarding social media.

1. Social media will be dwarfed by social business

While social media has helped many companies become more customer-centric, it is treated primarily as a modestly effective marketing tool. McCarty explained, “Social media is about media and people, which is one dimension of the overall world of business. With social business you start to look at the way people are interacting in digital experiences and apply the insights derived to a wide variety of different business processes.”

2. People do business with people, not companies

One of the notions behind becoming a social business is that your employees should be front and center in your digital activities. “Since IBM no longer sells consumer products, the brand experience for IBM is an experience with an IBMer,” an experience that is increasingly happening online, McCarty said. To support this idea, IBM recently started adding IBM “experts” to various web pages–an action that in A/B testing dramatically improved page performance and revealed increased confidence and trust in IBM in focus groups.

3. Your employees need to be digital citizens, too

Becoming a social business means recognizing the need for your employees to become “digital citizens” and providing the training for them to manage their digital reputations. Accordingly, IBM not only trains its experts extensively, it is now building out “personal dashboards” to help them see the impact of their various interactions. “Good conversation creates good outcomes and that brings value to the organization and to the individual,” McCarty said.

Tune into the next post to read the remaining 4 big things.

All my best,

James E