I have been meeting with a lot of clients and see a lot of discussion around governance and structure required. In a survey done in 1Q 2013, we see 2.7X the focus on developing social business governance.
Because there is no natural organizational owner of “social,” an effective governance structure must balance responsiveness and inclusiveness.
Being inclusive means engaging stakeholders early and broadly to build shared understandings and expectations. Responsiveness provides for clear accountability and speed in decision making. The challenge is to build governance structures and processes that accomplish both.
Having a relationship with your employees not just rules makes a huge difference in how successful you are!
Achieving the transformative value of becoming a Social Business involves connecting all parts of the organization (including channels, partners and customers) in new ways. It often requires quite new ways of managing people, flatter organizations, and significant cultural change. While becoming social provides individual flexibility, it’s important that the change achieves the unifying value for the company of the new goals and culture.
A strong governance program facilitates coordinated change. The governance is led by two complementary leadership groups who’s members include the major “organizational structures” (e.g., LOBs, Finance, Supply Chain, HR, Channel Management, …).
The first, the Executive Sponsor Group, defines the strategic linkage and goals of becoming a social business. Members are leaders across the organization. The second is a Digital Council. These are executives who are responsible for the organization-wide, execution creation of the Social Business plan. The representatives are often the social business leaders in their respective LOBs and functional areas, which ensures focus on the vertical and horizontal needs.
The Digital Council focuses on the key areas of a social program:
- Community Management – Provides a common approach to drive change and adoption at and across the LOB and functional level. It includes actions like community management, Content Management, community analytics, and best practices. While the focus is value at the LOB / functional level, the governance processes has a Center of Excellent that shares best practices to create a common social voice and approach across and outside the organization.
- Metrics and Measurement – Covers all elements of data and measurement. Starts with analytics / listening to guide the where and how to engage socially. This includes internal analytics of social networks, expertise, and projects, as well as the external listening and analytics. This group also is responsible for creating and automating the overall program measurements to track success, progress on the plan, and social return.
- Reputation and Risk Management – Focuses on 3 main areas: 1. regulatory risk and compliance(if relevant), social record retention for general discovery, and other legal and financial risks; 2. policies, guidelines and processes for the organization and associates to participate in social media (for example, IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines); and 3. proactively managing the organization’s reputation and having a defined plan to respond to various levels of negative media or emergencies.
- Standards – This group focuses on process and technical standards for a social business. While LOBs, major business functions, etc. require the freedom to build their social programs tailored to their needs, the Standards group ensures that the overall company can be nimble in connecting across boundaries in ways not always anticipated. Standards for brand and ways of connecting with partners, channels, clients, etc. ensure that the company is viewed as coordinated and focused on needs vs. a “collection of parts.” On the technical side, a common social business framework enables the new ways of working.