The advent of social media is shifting the center of gravity away from the center of the enterprise and out to the edge. The traditional management hierarchy has literally been turned upside-down on its head. The status quo has turned into the status ouch!
The socialization of the enterprise is underway. Today, people with front line contact with the customer are in charge of the conversation. While management has never had much visibility or transparency into front office process, particularly sales, the need to know more is now hyper-critical but the solution is as elusive as ever. Most tools at an org’s disposal are woefully inadequate.
Meant in a positive way, social empowers the inmates to now literally run the asylum — which can be an extraordinary turn of events. But while what could be gained by more intimate contact between company and customer is incredibly powerful, the risk to the organization is equally daunting. This is more than just simply “disruptive”.
Large, bureaucratic organizations exist on process, control and order – otherwise – you get dysfunction, perhaps anarchy or worse – bankruptcy. Most shareholders don’t like anarchy. It’s not good for business.
Management needs to empower the front line and exercise constraint or risk rebellion from workers and customers alike. At the same time, management needs the means to gain visibility and transparency into real-time behavior so to avoid potentially damaging events with lasting affects.
Thus any solution to the opportunity needs to both empower the workers on the front line and provide visibility to management, but how? Traditionally, most applications are built for management and mandated on the worker. The worker sees little benefit in the application as the requirements are all one-sided — think CRM. No carrots here, all stick. Thus the data in many of these applications is garbage with unenforceable policies. And, if employees do comply, data currency tends to be miserably low — think manual data entry.
Organizations are getting flatter. Like it or not, management and the worker now have an equal seat at the proverbial table as the enterprise becomes more social. Frankly, it would seem that neither carrot, nor stick are apt to provide the right structure for compliance and context.
This conundrum sets the stage for potentially disastrous outcomes. The only real answer is to avoid manual intervention and automate the ability to view the information in the proper context while providing real value to the person actually doing the work. Given the right support (be it coaching or coaxing), the front office worker is apt to do the right thing by the customer and for the benefit of their own career.
At the end of the day, Enterprises now need to empower the front office with applications that enable the work and the worker (as opposed to enabling the process first), and in return, get the benefit of understanding how the process actually unfolds with best practice tied to best results. The added benefit here is a comprehensive understanding of the practice tied to risk — to ensure the organization stays in conformance with applicable corporate and regulatory requirements — in real time.