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Corporate clients to prioritise social business

Traditional C-suite roles and working dynamics ‘fundamentally’ changing 

17 July 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Two thirds of mature companies use social business tools to understand market shifts.

That’s according to a global survey of more than 2,500 business executives, which found that the percentage of executives who think social business is important has doubled in one year.

It found that just under half (45 per cent) of mature organisations use social business tools to improve visibility into operations and to identify internal talent.

Four factors were highlighted as being key to organisational success in using social business: leadership, measurement, quality content and appropriate processes.

"Regardless of the specific C-suite role, our study identifies steps that leaders can take on the path to social maturity," said Doug Palmer, principal at Deloitte Consulting and co-author of the report Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear. "Strategic leadership remains important in the process and creates greater value."

The survey found that social business has risen on the management agenda, with 36 per cent of respondents called social business "important" compared to just 18 per cent last year. This increase in importance was reported across many industry sectors.

However, more than half of executives still rated their organisations as underdeveloped in their usage of social business. When asked to rank their company's social business maturity on a scale of one to ten, 52 per cent gave their company a score of three or below. Just 17 per cent ranked their company at seven or above.

The research found that there are three key factors halting progress in social maturity: lack of an overall strategy (28 per cent of respondents); too many competing priorities (26 per cent); and lack of a demonstrated business case or strong value proposition (21 per cent).

The study also found that more than 70 per cent of chief executive officers, chief information officers and chief marketing officers believe that social business is an opportunity to fundamentally change working dynamics. Chief digital officers are also entering into the C-suite to guide digital strategies and manage content.

As such, the research found that the ‘traditional’ roles and interactions of the CEO, CIO, CMO and now chief digital officers are changing and opening up opportunities for new ways to effectively collaborate.

Integration of social business into functions across each organisation, such as strategy, operations and daily decision-making processes, was found to be important.

However, the report notes that businesses with more developed capabilities do not view social business solely as an application or a tool. Instead, they map social business capabilities to business challenges.

To achieve success, it says company leaders should actively foster a culture that drives social usage and use appropriate processes to enable achievement. Creating, curating and refreshing high-value content is important to being socially effective, but measurements should be used as social maturity evolves through experimentation and learning.

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