New social business roadmap available

By Jesse Wilkins posted 03-18-2011 17:58


I am pleased to announce that today AIIM released the social business roadmap. The roadmap was developed to help organizations understand how to implement social processes and technologies quickly, responsibly, and in support of a business purpose. 

As many of the posts here and in the broader blogosphere have described, many organizations have started to use social technologies in some fashion. But most of these...implementations? deployments? uses?...are very ad hoc in nature and consist of a Twitter account here, a Facebook account there, maybe setting up a blog or wiki. And these are all valid ways to learn about the tools, get comfortable with them, etc. 

But some organizations are moving beyond this to incorporate social technologies into key business processes. McKinsey calls these networked enterprises and suggests that "fully networked enterprises are not only more likely to be market leaders or to be gaining market share but also use management practices that lead to margins higher than those of companies using the Web in more limited ways."

So how does an organization become a fully networked enterprise, or, as we describe it, a social business? It requires planning, strategy, execution, training - in short, all the things that are required to do anything in a strategic and effective way. 

The roadmap is a framework that describes how to move from ad hoc and emergent practices to more holistic, more formal ways of working. Over the next few posts I will go through the roadmap on this blog, as I suspect will several of our other E2.0 Expert bloggers. But in a nutshell the roadmap looks like this: 

0. Empowerment. This is not a formal step in the roadmap; rather, it describes the necessary preconditions for an organization to effectively implement social practices and technologies. 

1. Emergence. In this step the organization is not using social technologies in any formal or organized way. Instead, individuals or small groups within the organization are experimenting with social technologies to determine whether there is business value to them.

2. Strategy. Once the organization begins to develop experience with social technologies and has identified potential business value from their use, it is important to create a framework that identifies how it expects to use these technologies, and the goals and objectives for their use.

3. Development. With the strategy in place, the organization can make informed decisions about what tools to implement, how to implement them, where to implement them, and how they will potentially scale more broadly within the organization.
4. Monitoring. Initially the organization should spend time monitoring and listening to the conversations taking place in and around a particular tool to get a sense of the nature of the tool, the content of the conversations, the target audiences, and who the leading participants are. This is perhaps more visible in externally focused processes but is important for internal ones as well.
5. Participation. Once the organization has done some listening it will be able to participate more meaningfully and should begin doing so according to what it has learned about the target market and the nature of the conversations on the various tools.
6. Engagement. The goal is for participation to move to engagement – from speaking at or to customers to engaging with them. This means creating processes to respond to issues, both internally and externally, and ensuring that communications are clear, accurate, and authentic.
7. Governance. This step describes the process for developing an effective governance framework for social business processes. Some of the steps are specific to certain tools or capabilities, while others are more broadly applicable, such as an acceptable usage policy.
8. Optimization. Once social business processes are in place, they should be actively managed and reviewed to ensure that the organization is realizing the expected benefits. This includes but is not limited to monitoring the tools in real time, identifying and measuring specific metrics, and training users on new or evolving tools and processes.
We have also developed a graphic version of the Roadmap which is available for download at the bottom of the Roadmap landing page. 
What's next? Two more immediate notes. First, each of the 8 steps on the landing page links to a section of our wiki. We hope that members of the community will add to the wiki, describing their use cases and lessons learned, and that the wiki becomes increasingly useful over time. 
Next, we have developed a series of strategy workshops based on the roadmap. The details will be the focus of a separate post, but in the meantime more details are available at
As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and criticisms. You can reach me by commenting here, by email at, or on Twitter at 

#SocialBusiness #web2.0 #enterprise2.0 #AIIM