Shared Service Organizations (SSO) have undergone a sea change since they became prevalent a couple of decades ago. The evolution is as much a reflection of changing market needs as it is of the increased maturity and technological capability of SSOs. The modern-day SSO is a globally integrated service delivery center with regional hubs and centers of excellence. Today, mature SSOs offer services that involve data analytics and social media. Social media is, in fact, emerging as an enabling technology that can take shared services to their next level of excellence.
The rise of social media in the enterprise space has been a subject of significant interest of late. A Forrester report in Dec. 2011 mentions that the enterprise social media business will touch USD 6.4 Billion by 2016. IDC pegs the figure at USD 4.5 Billion by 2016. According to Forrester, new capabilities of enterprise social software will include grouping and rating of people, information and new processes to make sense of environment complexity.
SSOs are growing in complexity as global, multi-functional organizations that offer complex services. In addition, they are supported by multiple providers in hybrid sourcing environments. SSOs cater to a variety of service stakeholders, which include vendors, customers, business units, IT and other support functions. In order to be successful, SSOs must focus on effective process co-ordination and collaboration.
According to a report by the Altimeter Group, Making the Business Case for Enterprise Social Network, the top three goals of enterprise social network and of SSOs are aligned. These goals are:
What will work well in an SSO environment is the weaving of social capabilities into processes and embedding them in the workflow system. For instance, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Match.com for vendor selection or a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that tracks social performance reviews and social learning capabilities.
The Altimeter report lists the following as key drivers of social media in SSOs:
The team that puts together a social media framework must have knowledge and experience in different functions, and must be associated with various stakeholders. Team members must be well-versed in functions like sales, marketing, public relations, human resource, product management, IT and customer service. The program must cater to customers, vendors and business units across the enterprise.
A successful social media strategy is one that is sustainable and scalable, which means there has to be executive sponsorship right from the beginning. The following are some of the key considerations that should guide an SSO social media program:
There are a few basic steps to make an effective social media strategy for your SSO.
The first step would be to lay out your objectives. Identify and prioritize the gaps that social media relationships can fill. Chalk out your long-term goals and define the purpose of your social media strategy. Use the expertise of subject matter specialists.
The SSO staff has a big role to play. Facilitate conversations and encourage problem-solving among employees. Foster an environment where you aim to improve processes through sharing of ideas. Encourage collaboration between different functions within the organization, involve external stakeholders, share information on leading practices, create discussion groups and encourage many-to-many dialog. A crucial aspect here is to provide a governance framework to employees over appropriate social media usage and behavior in the organization.
A successful strategy needs the right technology support. The right technology may not be the one that offers the maximum number of features but the one that facilitates the kind of relationships that the SSO wants to build. It may be prudent to deploy the new technology in phases, so that iterations can be made, if necessary, for the next phases. User feedback is the best parameter to gauge the technology’s effectiveness; so incorporate feedback to make changes as you go.
The last step would be to develop metrics to monitor and manage its adoption. It’s not enough to measure the engagement but also measure closing of gaps initially identified as crucial to this exercise. Similarly, it is important to track relationships and not merely conversations.
One of the most prominent outcomes of operationalizing social media in the organization are active online communities, which would collaborate to solve business problems. SSOs will realize that employees can now help each other by sharing insights. Customer service representatives can access socially enhanced knowledge bases to provide better answers to resolve client queries. Inquiries can be driven to social tools, thereby reducing call and e-mail volume. There will also be better productivity with improved first call resolution. Customer service agents, who interface with customers through social channels, will have access to improved ideas and solutions.
SSOs are turning towards mature Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers to develop a workable social media strategy. SSOs can leverage the existing infrastructure of the BPO provider and avoid start-up investments, gain labor arbitrage savings and improve speed-to-market. A specialized outsourcing partner can provide analytics tools to sort the social media data within your SSO according to message relevance, customer intelligence and data enhancement to gain value. With cloud-based BPO services, they can consolidate on common platforms and optimize the use of hardware and software applications, thereby building higher efficiencies.
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11 December 2021
05 December 2021
01 December 2021