Understanding Enterprise Social Network Champions

Enterprise social network implementation goes through different phases, but every phase needs enterprise social network champions. The first phase of implementation is called the launch. This is where the network is being introduced and discovered by members of the organization. Status updates, sharing links, and asking questions all enable team members to discover and interact with content and colleagues.

At this stage of the enterprise social network implementation, the initiative needs a champion or champions. These initial champions help initiate the launch by populating the activity stream, seeding some of the content, and talking passionately online and offline about the initiative. The target at this stage is to get people curious about the initiative and engaging them once they have logged into enterprise social network.

The enterprise social business champion during the launch stage needs to be an engaging and compelling individual, well liked and appreciated in their sphere of work. Hand picking champions that are  inherently motivated to improve collaboration is a good start. Search for you leaders in areas like sales, marketing, HR, and corporate communications. It’s important that the enterprise social network champions bring out the advantages of the platform like transparency, knowledge sharing, building trust with employees, and creating better and faster feedback during the pilot program.

Leaders need to be enterprise social network champions too. Before the initiative moves on to the next stage, it’s important that the champions are able to garner the support of the leadership team. According to Gartner Inc, the worlds leading  information technology research and advisory company, too many enterprise social business initiatives fail due to lack of leadership support. Gartner Inc claims:

“ Through 2015, 80% of social business efforts will not achieve the intended benefits due to inadequate leadership and an overemphasis on technology.”

The other factor leading to failed enterprise social business initiatives was leaders underestimating the organizational changes required to be successful. Leaders need to:

1. Understand and appreciate the impact an enterprise social business initiative can have across the organization.
2. Nurture and develop social media competence.
3. Make community collaboration an integral part of the every employees’ work day.

With the leadership support and the right champion for the next phase of implementation, more social initiatives will move past the trough of disillusionment.

Once the leaders are onboard, the next step is to identify business processes that can be picked up for the next stage of the implementation of the enterprise social network. Business processes facing bottlenecks are great starting points. To fix bottleneck issues, use the enterprise social network to add a social layer to the existing communities in the process. The social layer can help with escalations, resolutions, and the generation of new ideas.

Most enterprise social networks under-perform because of human factors and not because of the technology implemented. For successful adoption and implementation of the enterprise social network in phase two, champions will need to act as leaders and perform community management duties.

So basically the social champions would be the one’s deciding and  setting the social business strategy for the organization. The champions also need to demonstrate their support for a more open and transparent organization by words and actions.