Social media isn’t just for personal use any more. Businesses of all kinds, particularly manufacturers, are looking to leverage social media types of connections for easier access to needed expertise, business intelligence insights and new product ideas.
For manufacturers, the principal driver behind the move toward greater incorporation of social media for collaborative business processes is access to expertise.
Who knows what?
When we think of social media or social networking, the usual suspects spring to mind: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. But, a larger social opportunity may be growing within businesses or a particular industry beyond those tools.
Many companies are developing internal social network sites which allow employees to blog, share knowledge and collaborate internally.
Cisco uses an enterprise collaboration platform call Cisco Quad. Built on top of Quad, we have expanded to a social community called IWE, which is built around three main components: People, Communities, and Information. This community streamlines communication and data sharing, making easily available what was once very difficult to find.
These examples of proprietary, internal “social communities” add a new depth to the expansion of social media in businesses.
Though it’s rare to find a company unaware of the importance social media plays in its existence (in both positive and negative terms), it’s equally rare to find a company that’s doing much about it.
In the Automation World article, Peter discusses more in-depth where the manufacturing industry stands in both external and internal social media:
Manufacturers in particular are lagging behind when it comes to tapping in to the many different voices available via social media, especially customer voices, says Peter Granger, Cisco’s senior global market manager for the manufacturing industry. “They’re not using social media enough as a listening post or as a means to provide communications with plant operations.”
Aside from the internal benefits, it’s the customer-facing side where social media can have the biggest impact for manufacturers. As an example of this, Granger references Procter & Gamble: “In 2000, Procter & Gamble said that about 15 percent of its product development ideas came from outside the company. That number has since risen to about 50 percent due to their outreach and monitoring of social media through their Connect and Develop innovation model,” says Granger. “But most manufacturers still don’t do anything like this,” he adds.
The Procter & Gamble example exemplifies the “two-way conversation” that lies at the heart of social media, and the manufacturing industry would be wise to accelerate its adoption.
Congratulations, Peter! Keep up the great work.