E-Commerce with an emphasis on Social Technologies
Joanna, so glad I saw your post. Very timely.
Just yesterday I had two separate, unrelated conversations with FinServ friends in CLE, one a rising star Millennial with a top-tier bank, and the other, a Web-savvy Boomer with a top-tier regional brokerage, both frustrated with their organization’s policy prohibiting the use of Social Media. The Millennial isn’t sure that his company, as much as he likes it, is the right place for him longer term. His concern is around his own professional growth in the context of a company whose actions, in spite of corporate words, clearly indicate that it doesn’t value staying current with technology and the culture it serves. The boomer spoke about the recent surge in turnover at the firm, good people in the middle of the org chart that are leaving because of inflexible policies around working from home and other cultural issues that cause them to not only see, but jump at other opportunities, and thus forcing the boomer to have to go to clients and introduce yet another client relationship manager, etc., etc., etc.
Your spot-on writing, and thanks for sharing, raises the issues. I’m going to write a bunch of stuff and then share this post with a bunch of people. I hope others do as well. It’s an urgent discussion.
I really hope the C-Suite, ALL of them, sees this and other articles like it that point to the real-deal around Social and FinServ. Each C-Suite member needs to understand how Social is impacting their domain, whether it’s Finance, IT, Claims and Service, Actuary and Pricing, certainly Legal & Compliance, HR, and of course Sales and Marketing. Not to drop a lot of Social Tech lingo, but if nothing else, Online Reputation Management is critically important. And Organizational Voice is central to ORM. And the C-Suite is critically important to OV. It’s no longer good enough to do a carefully crafted PR piece every now and then or a quarterly earnings call that the average person can’t relate to.
What I’ve found in working with C-Suites on Social Tech Strategy is the importance of a simple process to get from current state to future state.
This needs to be a facilitated discussion in the board room with the C-Suite and perhaps their direct reports, preferably off-site and at least one full-day or two half-days. I know a handful of proven experts in Social Tech, those with a track record, a following, credentials, and a willingness to call it like it is, and a desire to transfer knowledge as well as the process to keep that knowledge current. I call it Building a River of Information. Hire one to come in and facilitate the discussion. The circular arguments must end. There is too much data at our fingertips to continue to waste precious time arguing about the same things over and over.
Form a clear set of organizational Social Tech goals, ones that support the wider enterprise goals, whatever they may be, and a cross-functional Social Tech Implementation Team that represents the entire enterprise. Give the team the C-Suite blessing, marching orders, a budget to work with, time away from other duties once a month, etc. In other words, this is a legit team, not an afterthought placation.
Then go into a 6-12 month process of working through the strategy for the enterprise, complete with high-level issues and tactical implementations, each of which works together to accomplish the enterprise goals and reach the desired future state. The teams needs to chew on and definitively answer questions like:
Roll out the strategy and the commensurate cultural change initiative, because, as Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch”, right? Seriously, the elephant in the Board Room is that the enterprise will need pretty significant change in order to implement the strategy – call it Social Business, Digital Business, becoming a technology company in the business of risk management, whatever. The point is, as an example, Progressive Insurance has become a technology company in the business of underwriting risk. And their growth in the last 15 years has been stunning. But in general, it’s a whole new set of people and processes? People need to be changed – it’s just the way it is. New people, new processes, up and down the enterprise. Because you can’t put old wine in new wineskins – or new wine in old wineskins.
Sorry for the rant Joanna, but I know you for one, as a technologist with Actiance, will agree with these sentiments and the desire to share them for the sake of the industry. Yes, I’m one of those guys that wants to be hired and facilitate the C-Suite and strategy development process, and thus I’ve become like a heart surgeon with a very narrow focus in a very broad field. Social, Mobile, Analytics & Data, Cloud, tools, metrics, generational preferences, the future of work, and how technology is changing culture, finances, risk, and so on are SO BIG that I want to take every chance I can to influence thought, and hopefully positive change, in these areas.
Because if you’re not growing and advancing, you’re circling the drain.
Thanks, Joanna. You rock.
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