The benefits of an Enterprise Social Networking platform are, by now, fairly well-known to most technologically savvy businesses. But simple awareness of this burgeoning technology by from top management doesn’t always translate into a “Buy one now!” decree. Most times, management and boards need to be sold on the idea. And that means presenting a compelling case.
Like it or not, justifying the financial investment required to become a social organization takes a bit of forethought. In fact, the research firm, Gartner, says that insufficient planning and financial specifics are some of the top reasons why social pitches fail to convince business leaders.
As collaboration and social software initiatives are becoming more costly, complex and risky, IT leaders can’t … simply assume they will benefit the business. They must make a clear business case, setting out the expected costs and business benefits in an appropriate level of detail.— Nikos Drakos, Research Vice President at Gartner.
Using their Business Value Model as a starting point, Gartner identified eight steps to build a compelling business case for social initiatives.
Gartner’s 8-step strategy for selling-in social:
Step 1: Identify Stakeholders, Define Responsibilities and Agree On Processes
Collaboration with stakeholders from business and finance units will continue throughout the initiative, and each stakeholder will perform different tasks. As social software initiatives don’t always start in the IT organization, the initial driver for the initiative may come from another area of the business. At this stage, the IT leader and other stakeholders should formulate the initiative’s overall strategic vision and objectives, and link these to other strategic business objectives, such as those in the organization’s annual report or in vision statements created by the CEO or other board members.
Step 2: Select Metrics That Link the Initiative to Relevant Business Areas
The challenge in this part of the process is to align the objectives typically associated with a collaboration and social software initiative — such as improving internal communications, enhancing teamwork and improving knowledge capture and reuse — with relevant business areas and business performance metrics from the GBVM. Existing metrics can be used if an organisation already measures similar business metrics to those in the GBVM, or new ones can be introduced if none of the metrics in the value model are appropriate.
Step 3: Measure Current Performance to Establish a Baseline
Once the business metrics have been selected, the business stakeholders must measure current performance levels, before the initiative starts. Gartner recommends that they use the average performance for each metric over the past 12 months as a baseline from which to measure expected improvements. If no relevant data exists to establish a baseline for each metric, the business stakeholders could monitor and measure existing activities to establish one.
Read the rest of Gartner’s eight steps to build a compelling business case for social initiatives here. Or, make your presentation even better with first-hand, specific experience using a leading social network — get a free trial of the tibbr platform now.