This will be somewhat of a shorter post for me. I know the novels are getting to be a bit much! So I was chatting away on twitter the other day and Bruce Kneuer and I bumped into each other and we started talking about the Social Business. Now we only have a 140 characters so this is how the conversation went:
So after thinking about the context that was swirling around in my head I responded with this 140 characters:
@keithprivette response to @BKneuer
So then Bruce kindly puts this request into me:
The 140 That Sparked a Diagram
So I decided to visualize Bruce’s question into a model so I can understand what is swirling around in my head. This is a visualization to represent how much over lap we have with people, technology, and processes to interact internally and externally at the same time. Our customers have a much much much better idea of what our companies are, how they are ran, and who is running them.
Here is the model that represents the ideas and what action could be taken based on interconnecting within the Social Business constructs.
Social Business Ideas Swirling in My Head
So Bruce thank you for prompting with your very though provoking question. This is what I have so far. It is basically a model to get the people, technology, and processes working together to solve and innovate. There is a ton of details that need to be filled in and I know that. Just thought it would be fun and educating to share and fulfill a request for information at the same time. Open to any and all comments.
Please leave a comment below about what is missing, what you like, what you don’t like, where there is flaws, why is technology as big as the business, your cracked and stop doing this, anything!
So the previous post talks about WHY in the title and after reviewing the post I did not even scratch the surface or even answer the question of Why. So this post is the follow up to Why you need a Social Business Analyst. The Business Analyst has evolved to be a very intragel part of the software development lifecycle and plays a major role (yes this is a biased opinion) in keeping the worlds of business and technology synthesized. The role has evolved to be a skilled and well positioned professional for a company, thinking about how to integrate the business’ strategy, process, technology, and implementation of a its Social Business architecture and operations.
Just check out a google search on Social Business Jobs, you will notice many of the skill sets this implementation needs, now look at what a good Business Analyst comes with, now integrate their personal and professional social profile and BOOM the Social Business Analyst.
Here is a diagram of the dynamic skill set of the Business Analyst:
The Social Business Analyst
Here are some criteria to answer the question Why:
1. We know how businesses work better with technology
The Social Business Analyst is well versed at understanding what the business processes are and how they are made more efficient within technology. This understanding is critical to implementing the Social Business, because about 70% of your business is run with technology. The other 30% is run by people making decisions about the information coming from those technologies. Scary, hey….not really technology has freed us up to actually have more conversations and better data for making decisions.
If you look at the Enterprise2.o & “Social Media” landscape, technology plays a huge part in your ability to execute your strategy and operations. People will say “It’s not about the technology, blah, blah, blah!” I disagree! It is about technology and technology from the perspective it helps make your Social Business run efficiently, effectively and in the most cost effective way. A Social Business analyst must know how this ever changing world of social technologies (Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Jive, SocialText, Crimson Hexagon, Radian6, and operational technologies (SAP, PeopleSoft, Concur, Salesforce.com, SAS, POS, Sterling Commerce) must integrate to make the Social Business work.
2. Organic nature of requirements gathering
Yes, you heard me right requirements come to a project or initiative in very organic and dynamic nature. There may be methodologies methodologies step by step processes, structured traceability, but how to get and gather requirements can be rather organic. This typically is the best way to design solutions that people will actually use. When you become to robotic or “order takerish” with going to meeting, gather, document, ask questions, going to another meeting, gather, document, send email, meeting…..can you see how fast collaboration, organics, and innovation gets stifled in this process. A good Social Business Analysts does not have to think “Oh what is my next step in this methodology”, we just think this way, to easily get, analyze, model, document, use, and communicate information for the betterment of the business.
3. Document and model everything
Yes almost to a fault….but isn’t this what is going on all over consumer technologies these days. The Social Business Analyst document requirements in an organized fashion so people can actually use the information to make decisions. You will never see me produce a laundry list of requirements! We make pictures for all of our words in the form of process models, state change digrams, user interface process models, conceptual data models, and wireframes (yeah we like to mock up screens to get people talking). This helps the widest audience use information to make decisions. Managing this information in well architected, maintained, and open tools makes a project or initiative run soooooo much smoother. If you run projects devoid of these tools or run your organization like the “cobbler that never provides his\her children with no shoes” it will be a painful thorn in your side. I have seen both and thorns hurt!
4. We are precocious 5 year olds when it comes to asking questions
Why do you do that? Why is that free form text? Why is there so many hand offs? Why don’t you make that required? Why not a drop down there? Why did you change for two days ago? Why would a customer do that? What questions do you want to ask of your information? What market-share would you like to capture? What do you want to capture from the customer engagement? How many users will you have? How will you service these requests? Who will use this? What do you think?
See this is what we continually do when we receive information or produce it for people to talk about. Typically the highlighted question is the one we use when we bring information to the table to discuss. The questions we use come from a place of curiosity, fill in the blanks, connect the dots, validate the dots we have connected, and always wanting to make the business more efficient for their customers, employees, investors, and communities.
5. We love figuring out how the ecosystem works together
There are no silver bullets! We understand that to solve most business problems an ecosystem must be developed and implemented to help support the ecosystem that is the business. Being that social, enterprise2.0, and cloud technologies are maturing everyday, businesses need people that have been maturing along with them, hence the need for the Social Business Analyst. With the world of clouds, API’s, sharable on just about everything, consumer technology outpacing corp technology and most businesses needing to work internally and externally, a Social Business Analyst help gather, present, and make recommendations on a platform basis, not a silver bullet.
6. We like data and finding new conversations for improving
Yes based on using the information above you achieve good data in and good data out. We continually think about the questions a business is going to have along the way once the information is being populated. We understand the value of good data architecture, good information management, what a required field does to the process, what free form text fields vs structured data in drop downs gets you down the road.
I personally love “geeking out” with data architectes to understand how we structure the data to get it back out to make good business decisions. Once did a project in Mexico City where every data field was in english and in spanish behind the scenes so you could run reports in spanish and english. This skill set comes in very handy with working with monitoring tools of the social landscape. Having a solid understanding and the ability to speak with data and information geeks will make a Social Business Analyst vital to your team.
7. Connecting the dots quickly is our DNA
The dot connecting is really evident when you go back up and look at the Social Business Analyst cube. See the solid and dotted lines intersecting all over the place. Those are just the dots to connect the resources together. Now image all the dots that need to be connected across your organization…..now think about the dots connecting the internal to the external…..now lets go really big the dots that are connecting all your costumers. Got it mapped out? Well if not a Social Business Analyst kinda sees the language of the matrix when it comes to this. The good part, with the skills above we model, decompose the information, organize it, and “bucketize” it for easier consumption and decision making.
There is the WHY of putting this job description on the docket for 2011. The WHY on hiring a Social Business Analyst in 2011, if you are heading down the “social” path (eventually it is the path, but that is another discussion). I do believe a the Social Business Analyst plays well in the Marketing, Advertising, Communication, Digital, Customer Service Call Center, Sales, and HR sandboxes.
What are your thoughts? What is missing? What were your perceptions going into this information and now what are they? Look forward to hearing from you in the comments! I want to thank Jessi Howard for emailing some feedback on the Social Business Analyst Job Description post (see email is not dead!) and encouraging me to explain the WHY in a little more detail. Thank you Jessi!
We have begun the era of businesses turning the corner of complete change in the way they are managed internally to be more affectively run externally for their customers, investors, and communities. There are many blog posts, articles, and conferences being dedicated to this very topic. Since it is relatively new on the business management landscape, people and companies are trying to figure out what works, what does not, and what does the future hold.
I decided to take a stab at the actual organizational setup, roles and types of people that will strategize, plan, operationalize, and support the social business structure. The one common sentiment that appears quite often is “how do we get buy-in from senior leaders and the c-suite” I think the best way to get buy-in is to have direct reporting and governance over the organization, people, goals, objectives and measurement of success. This gives the senior leaders direct line of site to the people and structure for it to succeed.
A social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective. The profits are used to expand the company’s reach and improve the product/service. This model has grown from the work of Muhammad Yunus and others. Social business is a cause-driven business. In a social business, the investors/owners can gradually recoup the money invested, but cannot take any dividend beyond that point. Purpose of the investment is purely to achieve one or more social objectives through the operation of the company, no personal gain is desired by the investors.
I really like this approach to the definition of a Social Business! It seems a more practical and applicable to most business settings today, whether it is a private, public or non-profit type of organization.
Here is my diagram of an approach to structuring your social business group organizationally. This will be the basis of the ideas below:
Org Chart of the Social Business Group
There are some main components for this structure to be affective and effectively run. The following will be discussed in this post:
2. Business Metrics
3. Get the People out there
4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People
5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management
6. Reverse Mentoring
The planning is a critical function of the Social Business. The planning has to have an understanding of the collective needs and wants of the organization. A centralized function around planning will provide an enterprise view of all the competing needs and wants of the organization. What the Social Business Group will have the ability to do is collectively prioritize all of these competing needs of all your organizations. One of the byproducts of this centralized planning of the internal and external social business is that silo’d organizations start to share goals, objectives, and measurements of success.
The planning also leads a more collaborative effort to tactical and operational execution of these needs and wants. The Social Business Group will have the ability to flow work back and forth between their group and organizations that will more than likely have the people to execute the tactics. Depending on the needs and wants the Social Business Group can execute for an organization, which allows organizations within the enterprise to expand and contract based on the needs and wants. This cuts down on hiring for duplicate resources for tactical execution. The Social Business Group can synthesize organizations inside the enterprise to leverage one resource for these execution tactics, instead of 4 organizations hire 4 people and they end up all doing the same thing and costing the company four times as much. This group ensures the planning and execution of the social business both internally and externally.
2. Business Metrics
The Social Business Group is driven by Financial and Non-Financial metrics. This group will be responsible for continually monitoring the effectiveness of the needs and wants based on pure financial returns, non-financial activities that will help drive financial return, and reviewing short and long term course correcting success. The Social Business Group will be held responsible for reporting the success and or failures of executing needs and wants. This group will be held to review activities in the future.
So if the need or want has a business case of a return of financial investment in 3 years, when that 3rd year rolls around the group will be responsible for reporting on these numbers. If the numbers are not reached there will be accountabilities and responsibilities that will need to be explained and corrected to find a new program to find that return or documented so history does not repeat itself. There will be a repository built for keeping track of these programs. The following areas below could be some areas that the Social Business Group will be responsible for planning, executing and supporting on an ongoing basis
a. The hiring and retention of employees
b. Finding leads to and tracking the success of closing for financial success
c. Increasing customer satisfaction
d. Increasing market-share for a product or service
e. Increasing spend within the current loyal customer base.
f. Decreasing expensive Call Center phones and leverage more online customer service channels
g. Drive purchasing on niche markets with niche ways of marketing and advertising.
h. Decrease operating costs by reducing duplication of efforts across the silo’d organizations.
These are just some of the financial and non-financial accountabilities and responsibilities the people, processes, projects and technologies will have in this group. To achieve any of these metrics the Social Business Group must be sharing, collaborating and ensuring people and technologies are working together to achieve. The days of silo’d achievement metrics are over if you want to succeed. Success is NOT derived in silos anymore. Unless there is a group fully dedicated to ensure shared metrics are achieved then they really are never achieved. Look at your goals and objectives for 2011 see any shared goals with other silos and your bonus tied to if achieved or not…….didn’t think so.
3. Get the People out there
The Social Business Group does not sit in cubes all day long taking orders or waiting for the next project come in. They are fully integrated with all business functions throughout the organization. They need to seek out the individuals that want to energize the company using new collaborative processes and technologies internally and externally. Most businesses are operating outside their firewall with business partners as well as consumers and investors. This group is always seeking ways to understand the flow of information for decision making and moving the organization and its people forward.
This group is responsible for making sure there are seamless leveraging of the processes and technologies. This group is held to a make sure groups are interacting sharing and collaborating to ensure shareable metrics achievement, sharing of successes and failures, and reusing as much process, information and technology as possible. This cuts down on 8 monitoring tools for 6 different organizations and 6 different groups managing their business and people in a silo. This is complicated and not much costly. The organizations cannot honestly report if they are being successful for the organization as a whole without the infusion of the group ensuring cross collaboration and initiative completion.
About 60 to 70% of these folks will have community management in their DNA. They will always be seeking out people, technologies, and paths to succeed. They will continually look to help, but within helping discovering new ways the organization or people can achieve success. This group of folks will be involved and engaged behind the firewall as well as beyond it.
4. Eclectic Group of Roles and People
The Social Business Group looks very different than most traditional organizations within the enterprise. Since the group will need to be proactive as well as reactive when it comes to technology, people, problems, issues, and solutions, they need to have this eclectic look, feel and interaction, mainly between the people and technology. Organizations will no longer have the ability to isolate the process from the technology or the people that asks for technology and the people that deliver technology. This group will be a reflection of the mantra “Business is IT and IT is Business”
This group will have marketing, business technologists, subject matter experts, project managers, art directors, call center operations leaders, interactive technologists, “infrastructurists”…..This will be an eclectic group of individuals working together to make the group be efficient and the enterprise to be efficient in the execution of needs and wants. This group will be responsible for blending all things traditional with new, this silo and that silo and business and technology in specifically in the areas of:
Initiative Management and Metrics
This group will keep the ecosystem of internal and external in balance and understand when it is not in balance. They will have the ability to understand and react because the relationships of trust have been built with key partner groups and issues or innovations can help efficiently because the time and people were involved all along the way. The only way to achieve this balance is to have an eclectic team working for the betterment of the organization as well as themselves.
The following picture shows the different roles or titles that will reside inside the Social Business Group for the enterprise:
titles in social business group
5. Solid Line and Dotted Line Management
The solid and dotted line organizational structure is the most interesting of organizational design. The solid line gives you control and dotted gives you influence or responsible for execution. Both of these relationships are completely necessary for this organizational structure to work. It essentially boils down to top down and bottoms up meeting up for organizational success and execution. The dotted line provides visibility and shared responsibility in making sure each organization is successful on its own as well as part of the whole organization.
Having the dotted line to these organizational units shows solidarity with these organizations as well as a shared responsibility that if this organization needs to be working with another organization or an organization could use another organizations resources or help; this group ensures and communicates these actions.
With the solid line in place to c-suite this group is responsible and accountable for organization goals, objectives, mission, metrics and return. There is no red tape, there are no trickle down or roll ups, there are just direct line of site of investment and return for the whole organization. This essentially becomes an strategy, planning, operations and tactical execution area for the executive office and officers. Being that most Executive Offices represent the whole organization, they should have a group dedicated to making this a reality. A SWAT Team for the Executive Office of real hard core business and technology planners and executors that are flexible and adaptable for real return for the organization.
6. Reverse Mentoring
The senior leaders of most companies need to be brought up the digital and community interaction landscape. By leveraging the solid line organizational structure the Social Business Group is responsible for training and educating of the people they are reporting to. This will help with vision, business direction, business decisions, and investment. I have found once you unlock the navigation and using the tools within internal and external communities, senior leaders feel a part and then take the responsibility for furthering the execution and success of the Social Business structure for their organization. Once the senior leaders can see how shared goals, responsibility, and information are used for true financial returns they cannot get enough of the interactions with the people and tools.
This is for the betterment of the organization and the people. The one thing I would caution against doing is isolating this group from the rest of their people while they “get up to speed”. Building “walled gardens” for them to play to learn will have adverse affects when trying to integrate back into the fold of the whole company. In their “walled gardens” the senior executive WILL NOT get the sense of all perspectives from top to bottom, because they are only learning from their peers. The public learning together does a lot for building trust and relationships in an organization at all levels.
So what do you think? Will this work in your organization? Do you see any other benefits to this centrally located organization? Please let me know in the comments. Don’t get me wrong, this is not going to be easy. This one won’t be just snap together a org. chart on a powerpoint and it happens. This one takes into account the people and behaviors that will need to change along with this.
Like I infamously put it at a #jmu612 event here in Minneapolis “We are fundamentally changing the way business has been done for the last 50 years, if you try and take this on yourself or within one silo’d organization, it’s like climbing Mt Everest in your boxer shorts, you’re never going to make it!” You need a team, you need buy-in, you need technology and you need new ways. Without it, good luck….
Well that seems to be the general feeling I get discussing this topic with marketing, communications, pr, and leadership in those groups. So I am going to present why this role is highly suited for being part of the social team. The core skills and specialties of this role make integrating social strategies, processes, and technologies for problem solving and innovation essential to be apart of these newly forming teams. The following are my reasons to challenge the blasphemy or heresy perspective and rhetoric!
A Business Analyst………
1. Looks at problems and assesses viable solutions using people, process & technology
Yes the Business Analyst realizes there is no silver bullet. You need all three aspects of people, process, and technology to problem solve or innovate. The Business Analyst is aware the solutions will work these things as an ecosystem. The Business Analyst will ask the right questions, document the information gathered, analyze that information and have the ability to put that information into readable content for business and technology disciplines to understand. Business Analysts helps the social media project teams co-create these solutions in a rapid fashion because we understand how and what the ecosystem needs for execution. One of the biggest soft skills we use is curiosity to discover information. With every problem or potential idea to innovation we turn into a 5 year old kid discovery their world around them…..we all know a 5 year old right?
2. Diggs for information to get solutions
Business Analysts are tenacious to find, illicit, document, and fix information for a solid solution for a problem or innovation. We are good at asking questions for clarification, we will admit when we don’t understand or don’t know, but with that admission we will educate, find, and ask again if need be. This is all done from a place of curiosity, wanting the people, project, and organization to succeed. We explore the possibilities of where it could be or what it could be. All along the way we keep documenting with content to ensure we have words, pictures, and prototypes to make better fact based decisions. Well on occasion a little leap of faith based on experience is needed to be worked in also. The question why comes up a lot, but in a curious manner. That is the best way to spot a good business analyst! How do they ask the question Why?
3. Documents for review, clarity, and decision making
Documentation, Documentation, Documentation……yes I know what you are thinking. Good Business Analysts make this documentation flexible, dynamic, and not set in stone. Every hour on a project or a team the information you need to make good decisions changes. Now with social we see this information changing every minute. You need a role that can absorb information and categorize and reproduce in a rapid fashion. Now think about all the disciplines operating on a social media team: interactive designers, creatives, lawyers, HR, marketing, advertising, technical architect, infrastructure architect, testers, project managers, customers, call center reps, PR, Communications, etc etc. Yes I take the approach the social media\social business team internal and external are one team (future post on social business, enterprise2.0, and social media is much larger and more dynamic than what I have seen at any company today). Think about all the information that is being created that needs to be curated and reproduced for decision making and impact analysis.
4. Presents information for diverse audiences
Business Analysts are smack dab right in the middle of the ecosystem. Being that we have functioned within the Business culture and Technology cultures we have to take all the information above and synthesize this information for non-business people understand businesses and non-techie people understand the worlds of technology. With this skill set comes the ability to fashion a presentation around 1 screen or one process model or one requirements traceability diagram. Oh there is that word Requirements. Those silly little information snippets that cause most projects headaches and heartburn, if not gathered, managed, and traced to other forms of requirements to ensure connectability and workability of the solution or innovation. All your business, test, project, and technical information should plug into the requirements traceability hierarchy…..another blog post hey? Oh and the presentation does not mean powerpoint, most good Business Analysts want to present diagrams or working prototypes based on the requirement statements.
Information Integration with a Social Business Analyst
5. Talk business and tech languages and dialects
Yes we speak that foreign language called “techie”, but we do speak a special dialect of “techie” called “biz techie”. Yes that is right we understand how technology makes businesses work and how businesses make technology work. I do believe this is probably most crucial part of being apart of the social media team. Majority of the execution of the social media\business plan and strategy will be done through technologies or technologies will be apart of most of the activities. Business Analysts can quickly and effectively put together the tools and processes necessary for social media execution and operationalization for long term success.
The Social Business Analyst
So there you have it the blasphemic reasons why you need to really start looking at this role, skill, and people with the Business Analyst title to be apart of your social media\business team. Now a word of warning some folks are walking around with just the t-shirt that says they are a Business Analyst. It is a little like me wearing a professional baseball teams uniform and calling myself a professional baseball player.
So what do you think sound advice or blasphemy? Need to hire or heresy? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!