5 Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Process Improvement

Adi Gaskell

Forrester believe that mobile computing and social media are two technologies that will fundamentally change how we operate. They will change how employees do their jobs, and they will change how customers interact with us. As such they are technologies that can’t be ignored if we’re going to ensure that our processes are as good as they need to be.

Suffice to say however the list of companies successfully using these technologies is much smaller than the list that aren’t, and nowhere is this more so than in the field of process improvement. Here are 5 tips for how you can ensure your process improvement makes full use of the technologies available.

  1. Make it cultural. Most products aren’t contained within a silo; they reach out across departments and heavily involve customers and other outside stakeholders. Therefore for process improvements to work you need it to be something that involves not just all employees but other stakeholders as well.
  2. This isn’t an IT project. Of course IT will need to be involved as they’re a key part of securing the information you need, when you need it. Good process improvement goes deeper than that though. By involving everyone inside and outside of the company you get a rounded idea of how processes really work and how they can be improved.
  3. Carpe diem. As Voltaire said "perfect is the enemy of the good". If you hold off on making changes until they’re perfect it’s quite likely you won’t get anything done. If you can create a flexible system however that lets employees and customers improve things all the time then your prospects will be much rosier.
  4. Understand informal data. Social media allows a level of interaction with customers not previously seen before, but the stream of unstructured data offers a challenge to IT. Finding a way of understanding this data however offers you tremendous insight into how to better improve your processes.
  5. Work on the ROI. These are tough times and many projects will be fighting for funding. If you want process improvement to be something that’s taken seriously it needs ROI that can be clearly measured to show how it’s improving the business. Don’t forget to include the soft benefits you’ll see, including increased customer satisfaction and more efficient employees who need less training.