Personal and professional use of social media is on the rise. Companies of all sizes are jumping on the social media train, utilizing it as an inexpensive way to advertise products and services, interact with customers, and help their business stand out from the competition. As this article is written, Coca-Cola has over 89 million “likes” on Facebook and over 2.9 million followers on Twitter. You would have a hard time finding any prominent business or brand without a strong social media presence.
Social media is primarily used by businesses for external purposes such as marketing, customer service & advertising. But when you ask the same businesses about their use of social media for internal business processes, the utilization rate declines rapidly. In most businesses, it even disappears.
The effective use of social media technology behind company walls can add value through introducing improved visibility and enhanced communication capabilities. Why are we including this post in a blog devoted to supply chain management topics? Businesses have the ability to leverage social media technology to specifically improve supply chain process visibility and efficiency. But before we discuss the future state “how”, we need to discuss the current state “why” – Why are businesses slow to adopt social media technology for internal supply chain processes?
Based on our research, here are the 5 most common reasons businesses stay away from bringing social media technology in-house:
1. The Term “Social Media” Is Equated To “Not Related To Work”
Many professionals look at the term “social media” and immediately equate it to “not related to work”. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn are commonly used as a place for people to discuss details related to their personal lives and opinions, so the idea of leveraging these channels for professional purposes is hard to fathom.
2. The Tools and Processes Currently Used For Internal Business Already Work Well
Most companies are comfortable using the tools and processes that have been used for the past several years for analyzing, communicating, and optimizing processes within the supply chain. If the current tools and processes “work just fine”, why add the complexity social media technology would bring?
3. Lack of Measurable Value & Proof of Success
Businesses need to see the measurable value social media would add for their supply chain prior to investment. Will using social media improve the productivity of our employees? Can using this technology ultimately save our business time & money? If so, how much? Now, prove it.
4. Concern About Employee Use & The Resulting Impact
Every time a user logs into Facebook, one of the first things that user sees is a status update box at the top of the page asking, “What’s on your mind?”. How can businesses ensure employees will respond to this question with the company’s best interest in mind? Prior to rolling out social media technology, shouldn’t our business have controls in place to protect the company against disgruntled, or maybe just overly opinionated, employees?
5. This Will Result In Additional Time & Work On Everyone’s Already Full Plate
Most of us barely have the time to check all of our emails and voicemails throughout the day. So how would we have the time to check an additional mass of communications brought on by social media? It sounds like a lot more time & work.
All of these questions, comments & concerns are valid, and must be addressed by each individual business prior to internal social media technology adoption. Bringing social media technology in-house is much more of a business culture and perspective shift than a standard implementation of new technology. Additionally, the shift must be adopted, rolled out and supported from the top down in order to be effective. Sound like a tall order? Soon, the benefits introduced through this technology will outweigh the pains and fears of implementation. Internal use of social media technology will become a must-have for businesses that intend to remain competitive.
In a future post, we will provide details around how businesses can effectively utilize social media technology, specifically to improve supply chain process visibility and efficiency.
Has your business used or evaluated the use of social media technology for internal business processes? If so, we would love to get your thoughts and feedback.