Making Social and Mobile Practical

Dec 20, 2012 in QSR, Retail

“The vision is really about empowering workers, giving them all the information about what’s going on so they can do a lot more than they’ve done in the past.”

– Bill Gates

 

To read this post, you must overcome the following fears about your business:

1) Open collaboration results in a loss of power

2) Social media and engagement create a loss of control

3) Allowing employees to manage their own medium for communication will create internal chaos

4) Mobile accessibility, BYOD, and/or COPE are not worth the security and productivity risks

Traditional CIO’s, CTO’s and CEO’s have been comfortable for too long with being uncomfortable, labeling trends for the modern worker as security risks, productivity killers, and budgetary hemorrhages. It’s been preached that one “bad tweet” can spoil an entire career, and the same can go for a single image on Facebook or Instagram. There has been a serious level of paranoia surrounding social media. The only companies getting ahead are the ones who realize they should embrace change, not plan for infrequent anomalies.

Many executives now know these fears are not rational.  Certainly, all managers are (in the least) trying to better understand, use, and grow with the technology adoption. By getting past these aforementioned fears, companies can begin to take social and make it practical in a business setting. The fact is, social media is a sales force and workforce management solution as much as it is a personal social network. 

In a recent piece by author John Seely Brown on the Harvard Business Review Blog entitled How Social Media Will Play a Crucial Role in the Reinvention of Business, he wrote, “Social media itself is a threat to the corporate comfort zone. How many executives have you heard say that even though their companies are on Facebook and Twitter, they don’t use social media themselves? The transparency and unpredictability of social media can be deeply unsettling to people who have grown up in the comfort of corporate environments…But the more executives experiment with social media, the more they’ll see how it can play a crucial part in forming the infrastructure of the new ecology of edges that will ultimately transform corporations for the future.”

What Brown is touching upon is the ability for these tools to be re-applied to aging business practices for any process or platform, but in it’s simplest form: for communication. Easier access to data, collaboration, partnerships, streamlined workflows, compliance and the ways in which people share information are now driving innovation.

The ideas are very similar for employee mobility and mobile workforce management. Key insights are gathered from field teams. Mobile technology represents a new and powerful medium in workforce management. Mobile workforces in areas like field sales, retail execution, retail merchandising, trade promotion management, and countless others are significantly impacted by advancements in mobile technology.  Mobile has the potential to  fundamentally change and streamline the ways in which companies manage, communicate, and execute internally.

As CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, discussed on Forbes.com, “The basic idea of email has remained essentially unchanged since the first networked message was sent in 1971. And while email is great for one-on-one, formal correspondence, there are far better tools for collaboration.” The use of mobile and social engagement in the workplace can enhance current corporate communication tools.  In addition, mobile and social engagement can be more adaptive in capturing data and working through issues in real time.

In 2013, companies will take one of two paths; either they’ll try to manage their various communication workflows with the same restrictive policies, hindering their chances at evolution OR they will embrace new applications, effectively opening a gateway of profound insights and increased levels of employee engagement, strengthening their future growth. Companies should heed the advice and words of Seely, Holmes, and the many businesses that have moved past these fears and on to embracing the tech revolution.