Capgemini Assists Enterprises in Harnessing the Power of Social Media in a Changing World
Capgemini Assists Enterprises in Harnessing the Power ofSocial Media in a Changing WorldTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on social media about how business needs to respond toa changing marketplace.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: CapgeminiDana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’relistening to BrieﬁngsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on the impact that social media is having on enterprises. We’ll speciﬁcally examine what steps businesses can take to manage social media as a market opportunity, rather than react to it as a hard-to-fathom threat. Social media and the increased role that communities of users have on issues, discourse, and public opinion are changing the world in many ways, from how societies react such as in the Middle East turmoil, to how users ﬂock to oravoid certain products and services.The fact is that many people are now connected in new ways and they’re voicing opinions andinﬂuencing their peers perhaps more than ever before. Businesses cannot afford to simply ignorethese global, and what now appeared to be long-term, social media trends.Well hear today from an executive at Capgemini on how social media matters and how servicesare being developed to help businesses to better understand and exploit the potential of socialmedia far better. This is the ﬁrst in the series of podcasts with Capgemini on social media issuesand business process outsourcing. [Disclosure: Capgemini is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirectpodcasts.]Please join me now in welcoming our guest, Paul Cole, Vice President of Customer OperationsManagement and Business Process Outsourcing at Capgemini. Welcome to the show, Paul.Paul Cole: Thank you very much, Dana.Gardner: Paul, it seems a bit of a twisted logic when we say that social media can be both athreat and an opportunity. Let’s start at a fairly high level. How could social media be both toyour average business?Cole: Its all in how you decide to respond. Social media, in and of itself, is a neutral topic. Itcould be viewed as a utensil or a platform, upon which you can do things. And depending onyour intent, whether you’re an enterprise or a customer, those activities could be viewedfavorably or negatively. And thats true as much in the sociopolitical world as in business.
The important thing is that social media is the platform, not the action itself, and it’s really whatyou decide to do over that platform that makes the difference in business and in the world atlarge.Gardner: We’ve had this kicking around for a few years. Some people really expect this to be afad, a ﬂash in the pan. I think it’s now safe to say that thats not the case. Do you have anyevidence, research, or ﬁndings of any sort that bolster this notion that social media is a seachange and not just a blip?Game changerCole: Well based on a survey we commissioned last winter, somewhat surprisingly, a bit more than one in ten executives did characterize it as a fad relative to the business world. However, you can look at it in the everyday world around us and the media as it relates to impact on society and in the sociopolitical spectrum, and theres very little doubt that it’s changing the game there. I believe it will have an equally profound impact on business over time. Social media has become the bullhorn of the 21st century. It allows people to spread their message, to amplify that message, to mobilize the community, and also to monitor in real time the events as they unfold.We are having to deal with it across the political, social, and cultural spectrums. Witness,unfortunately, the emergence of something that we’re now calling ﬂash mobs, a case where theplatform is being misapplied toward organizing a community of people who have damagingintentions.So back to your question on threat or opportunity, signiﬁcant or insigniﬁcant impact, it’s allbased on the intent and actions of the individuals utilizing the utensil.Gardner: On one hand, we seem to see a lack of control or at least different aspects to howpeople behave. We don’t have the necessary tools. But on the other hand, were seeing a lot moreinformation generated, and information often is the lifeblood of how organizations react andadjust to market.So what is it about this information? Maybe it’s being used and applied wrongly in someinstances, but the fact is that people are providing more data and information about what it isthey do, what they want, who they are. That to me is I think something quite new.Cole: Information overload is one potential consequence of this. It’s all a matter of how you takethat information and translate it into actionable insights, against which you can make somesmarter business decisions, and from our perspective, ultimately deliver a better customerexperience which will help you grow.
What’s neat about what’s happening in the world of technology, on top of the socialenvironment, is that there are a whole new generation of tools emerging that allow you todevelop that insight.There are four steps that a company can go through to generate social intelligence. First, islistening to what is going on out there. There has not been an earpiece for us to really take thepulse of the market, and whats happening in the virtual world or the internet world until therecent development of some of these social listening tools. So the ability just to know whatsgoing on, who is saying what, who are the inﬂuencers, what are their sentiments is an importantﬁrst step.Monitoring changeThe second step is the ability to monitor that over time and see how attitudes, perceptions, and most importantly, behaviors are changing and what are the impact and implication of that for your business, either from a marketing or a selling or customer service standpoint. In addition to monitoring that, you’re also now able, with text analytics tools to not simply trackand describe what happening, but also isolate cause and effect.So if Im launching a Twitter campaign, putting a new product out there, running a contest, orengaging in some kind of social care activity, what is the impact its having in terms of thecustomer’s behavior and what adjustments can I make to be more successful?Its being able to get attribution and get to a root cause by applying these analytic tools. Soyouve listened, monitored, and analyzed. The killer app, if you will, is the last step of closingloop in terms of your ability to respond. So many companies today are putting their toe in thewater in the social world by listening with these tools and trying to understand whats being said.Its new enough where not that many have actually industrialized their process for responding.Ultimately, your ability to now go back into that community and inﬂuence the customer orattempt to inﬂuence the customer and their behavior is where there is a tremendous upside forcompanies in terms of generating higher growth and proﬁt.Gardner: We’ll discuss a bit more of how to do that, whether this is something that’s integratedinto existing processes and functions in the business or its something new. But, before we getinto that, I’d like to hear about how Capgemini got involved? How is Capgemini workingtowards some solutions on this. Maybe you could give us a little bit of background on thecompany as a whole, and we’d like to hear about how you got involved with the social mediadrive as well?
Cole: At one level, you could look at social media as a wave or a phenomenon. I’ve been in theprofessional services, technology services business for 30 years, and we’ve seen the waves comeand go, whether that would be CRM or ERP through SAP or eCommerce, which I think thismirrors quite a bit, and Y2K. So theres always an emerging area that people will try tounderstand, chase, and then capitalize on.As a global provider of consulting technology and outsourcing services, Capgemini attempts tokeep its ﬁnger on the pulse of market. You have to be blind and deaf to not recognize that socialmedia has quickly emerged on the scene. The question then becomes, as a provider of services,how to translate that into sets of offerings that add value for our clients.My particular area of expertise is around customer management. So I look through the lens ofhow a company acquires, develops, and retains its customers and how can we manage some ofthat process for them in a faster, better, or cheaper manner. We do that today in traditional formswith managing their call centers or their customer service operations, helping them presentstronger web content, providing them with insights through analytical services, and so forth.What social media started to suggest to us was that there was a new opportunity to bring anotherservice to the market that allowed clients to focus on the business problem they’re trying to solveand provided us the opportunity to provide them with everything they needed to mobilize aroundthat objective in the social world.Gardner: Paul, we’ve recognized that having good conversations and communication fromcustomers and markets into the company is important. Its how companies decide what newproducts and services theyre going to undertake, and how to better market the services andproducts that they already have in production and delivery, and then also they need tocommunicate back out to the market in the form of helpdesk, service, support, marketing, andsalesExisting channelsSocial media seems to me to be just an ampliﬁcation on existing channels. What we seem to beseeing is that organizations dont know quite how to execute on that. I think they recognize inmany cases the opportunity, but they dont know who in the organization should be responsible,who runs herd on social media, how does it get integrated into these functions, or whether itsingoing or outgoing communications outreach and support.Do you have any sense of whats going on in those businesses, as they react to social media?Whats the pattern if any in terms of who gets to run with this and what theyre doing?Cole: In and of itself, social media is not going to drive your business forward. As wevediscussed, its really a platform or a utility upon which you can engage customers for one ormore activities based on a business objective. It does, at the end of the day, relate back to whatyoure trying to accomplish.
When I went to school, we were trained on the four Ps in marketing. You develop a product thatthe marketplace is interested in. You price that product at a level that the consumer or customerperceives value so they want to transact with you. You need to promote that in terms ofdistinguishing you against your competitors and bring that product to market with some form ofdistribution. We call that the four Ps.Obviously you still need to do all those things, but in the social world now, there is a new twist.If you think about the product, we used to take a very linear approach to doing market research,testing concepts, via surveys and focus groups. In today’s social world, you can do that muchmore dynamically. Theres a whole phenomenon around crowd sourcing with which you cansolicit peoples input and feedback and iterate on that massively, and closer to real time.Your ability to get really close to the marketplace is enhanced tremendously by social media. Interms of promoting, it used to be broadcast media, but now youre able to do micro campaigns.You can do tweet campaigns. You can do campaigns through Facebook. Your ability to target theindividual that you are trying to inﬂuence has gone up exponentially.Weve always talked about the segment of one, but it was very difﬁcult to do. Now, you can getin there and really understand who is driving popular opinion, who are the big inﬂuencers, whodo you need to convert to be an enthusiast or an advocate of your product, and launch veryspeciﬁc campaigns against them. Its a different form of promotion.Its the same thing with pricing and distribution. While you still need to do many of the sameactivities, the way in which you will execute on those activities has evolved and become muchmore dynamic.Gardner: How is this showing up in terms of ownership inside the organization?Cole: Every function within the organization has a potential application in the social world. Idont think its the kind of thing that any one executive or any one function is going to own perse.Its a matter of looking at it through the lens of the process that youre responsible for, and tryingto understand how to apply new thinking and activities to improve your efﬁciency or youreffectiveness of that area. That could be public relations and the brand, marketing anddeveloping effective positioning, product development and management, selling through moretargeted campaigns or, at the end of the value chain, a better servicing of the customer togenerate greater loyalty.Different waysGardner: One of the things that concerns me about how organizations adapt and adopt tosolving their social media problems and capitalizing on it is that different organizations withinthe company will go at this in different ways.
This can probably lead to redundancy, probably lead to mixtures of data with different formatsand we probably well ﬁnd ourselves back in that same problem we have had with manyapplications. That is manual processes, different approaches to how to solve problems, anddifferent data approaches. So you have this big integration problem in a couple of years.Does it make sense for these organizations to look at social media as a platform, as youve beendescribing, with a common standardized governance and/or data approach, and therefore makethose available as services to marketing, to the analytics and business intelligence folks, to thehelpdesk and service management. Are we going to repeat history and have a fragmentedapproach to this or is there a better way?Cole: You’ve really put your ﬁnger on a core issue. It all depends. What is social media? Thatdepends on who you are and what youre trying to accomplish. That’s going to be variable basedon your area of responsibility within the enterprise.There is something to be said for standardization and taking a platform-based approach to avoidthe recurring tendency of investing in your own individual solutions and then lackinginteroperability or having to face integration issues and so forth.While the application of what you do on top of the social platforms may vary, there is potentialfor the organization to operate as an enterprise on top of a single instance of a platform. That’spart of why we got into offering a managed service.We allow the client to focus on what they are trying to do in the marketing, selling or customerservice world. We provide them with the infrastructure, the technology, the process discipline,the data, and importantly, the social media advocates, the human intelligence layer that isultimately conducting the monitoring and the analytics and the interpretation of what’shappening there.By buying into a managed service the company can avoid having to make capital investments inthe technology, avoid the potential risk of different groups going off and doing their own thing.They can remain current, because they don’t have to pay attention to this fast paced dynamictechnology market and what is the state of the art. That would be our responsibility.Hopefully, its the best of both worlds. They can each, as user communities, decide what theywant to get out of social media, but be able to leverage the fact that theyre all investing in acommon platform.Gardner: Social media isn’t the only trend buffeting up against businesses nowadays. Therescloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), mobility, and increased devices, and these areglobal trends, not by any stretch relegated to one or two markets or regions.
Commonality with cloud and SaaSIs there an opportunity here for recognizing that the social media and the cloud and the SaaSapproaches have some commonality. Where Im going with this is that a social media metadataabout what users are thinking and doing, could be a cloud resource and better positioned there sothat that same data can be delivered and updated and managed.If you come from a data-management background, you might recognize that having a system ofrecord in a good, clean copy that’s updated and then sharing it is a great thing. Do you have anythoughts about how cloud and social come together to help organizations capture the best dataand provide the best services when it comes to social media and its offspring?Cole: Again, it’s just part of the evaluation of technology. It is a different way of storing,distributing, and accessing the data. What it translates into for us is the ability to provide processas a service. That’s a fundamental shift in the marketplace that’s occurring as a result of thedevelopment of cloud capabilities.Organizations can just tap into a service, and that makes it easier for them to get into a new area.It’s faster, it’s less expensive. Were trying to apply that same concept to social media. We canprovide a faster, better, and/or cheaper approach. The client buys the process as a service on asubscription model.We assure the integrity and security of the data. We provide the data management, the repository,the infrastructure, and the toolset. Youre buying a service around a process, whether that belistening to your customers, wanting to launch marketing campaigns, providing social care orwhatever.The whole SaaS cloud phenomenon is just changing the distribution model and also facilitatingan easier approach for companies to get up and running in this area.Gardner: Paul, do we have any examples, use cases that you’re aware of on a named basis oranonymous, or perhaps even how Capgemini itself is using social media to its own effect. Do wehave any actual examples of how this works and what it actually can accomplish?Cole: While were early in the evolution of social business and its potential impact on proﬁtablegrowth, there are plenty of examples out there of early successes. We’ve probably done 20programs. Where it’s proving to be most successful so far is in products and service areas wherethere is a high degree of passion or involvement.If we look at hospitality, automobiles, or electronic games, we’re ﬁnding a high degree ofengagement, involvement of customers, and a high degree of interest in sharing their perspective.We’ve done support for marketing campaigns for a new launch for an adult beverage, where wewere able to help our clients tweak their campaign geographically and in terms of the marketsegment it’s gone after.
Reduce call volumeFor another client that supplies gift cards to the big brands, we help them understand customerservice in an attempt to reduce the call volume into their call center because we were able toisolate the problem quickly, ﬁx it and broadcast the message.For a global retailer of furnishings, we were able to isolate on a particular segment that they felthave been underserved and understanding their motivations for using the store, and helping themcreate a new positioning against that segment.Gardner: It’s impressive to me that social media can have so many different impacts, that it canbe used and/or perhaps come in with a disadvantage, but it’s impactful at so many levels.It seems to me that this notion of social media management then is really important. It’s not justexecuting on any one of them, but really having that holistic approach. Maybe you could explaina bit more what you mean by social media management in addition to these ways in which it canbe so useful.Cole: First of all, in terms of its all-encompassing kind of inﬂuence, there are strong parallels tothe early Internet days, in the 90s, where everyone knew that there was a sea change occurring inthe nature of how we could interact and exchange values in business.But it wasn’t quite clear yet how that was going to reveal itself. So it was a bit of a fad or a shinynew object, but ultimately it became another channel. It found its equilibrium, and companieslearned how to conduct business over the Internet, as opposed to the traditional face to face, overthe phone, or whatever, or through the retail channel.Similarly with social media, at the moment it’s a little bit of a "du-jour" phenomenon. We’ve gotto do it, but over time it will settle down and companies will interpret it as a platform that theycould do all kinds of things on and actually add another channel.They need to manage the channel. It may sound somewhat antithetical to say social needs to bemanaged, because really what we’re talking about in the social world is inﬂuencingcommunities. Im not sure that it is manageable, but we want to provide them with a service thathelps them manage customers perceptions and actions.Gardner: Lastly, Paul, Im interested in how organizations can get started. This seems to be oneof those issues where it has so many implications Its rather complex. Getting started, knowingwhere to actually put a stake in the ground and get moving can be daunting.Where do you suggest that folks get started on how they pursue social media management andperhaps then look to outsource it and ﬁnd that platform beneﬁt approach.
Trying to understandCole: As evidence of the fact that it is a new phenomenon, you can just notice the volume ofconferences that are out there with social media in the title. It just reinforces that companies aretrying to understand still what "good" looks like. They’re out there looking for best practices.They are still paying for "PowerPoint," for consultants to come in and help them understand thestrategy, the power of social, what that translates into in terms of metrics and governance, and soforth.The market is very much in its exploratory stage. Im not sure you can over-architect what socialmedia means to you at the moment. This is something that you have to get in and dip your toe inthe water. Instead of "ready, aim, ﬁre," its probably "ﬁre, ﬁre, aim, ready, ﬁre." This means thatyou need to iterate.You don’t know what you don’t know….. until you get in to the market and you start to listen towhat is happening out there, identify who the key inﬂuencers are, where theyre talking about,who are the advocates for the brand, and who are the potential saboteurs who can represent athreat? What are some of the kinds of programs and activities that one can run?Rather than the grand strategies, the big-bang approach, this particular area is deserving of moreexperimentation, and iteration. Then, over time, we need the development of a broader strategy.But, you need to get in there, and listen, and learn, and act, and from that youll ﬁgure out whatworks and what doesn’t work.Gardner: I suppose its the targeted pilot program approach and then iterating from that.Cole: Exactly. Part of what we’re trying to offer our clients is the ability to do that faster thandoing it themselves, where they have to go out, acquire the tools, hire the people, and put inplace the processes.In this case, they can say we want to launch a campaign and we’d like to understand how we canuse the social world to solve customer service problems or whatever. We provide all the tools andcapabilities to do that. They focus on learning and evolving their strategy of what to do in thesocial world.Gardner: It seems pretty clear that these tools and platforms aren’t necessarily themselvesdifferentiators. Its what you do with the information that they provide that is the real businessvalue.Cole: That is true, but on the other hand, part of what we offer is the ability to bring to them thebest of the tools that are out there, and its an evolving world. Weve worked with a myriad ofsoftware products in trying to understand what capabilities can be best applied to understandingthe customer and engaging with them.
As part of that, in our Social Media Management Solution, we’ve built a joint solution with acompany called Attensity, which really comes at the market initially from the text analyticsworld, but offers a nice suite of applications that enable your ability to listen, monitor, analyzewhats being done, and then respond to the customer in terms of workﬂow and direct customerengagement. So its what you decide to do, but its also having the right toolset with which to doit.Gardner: Are there any places to which we could direct our listeners and readers for additionalinformation, perhaps whitepapers, other research, and/or more information on your services?Cole: Certainly capgemini.com. We do have a featured Social Media section on the website.Weve recently published a whitepaper called "Harvesting the Fruit from the Social MediaGrapevine". We hope that clients will ﬁnd that insightful. Its a bit of a point-of-view on wherethe market is today and where its headed. That can be downloaded off of our website.Gardner: Youve been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion on how social media mattersand how services are being developed to help businesses better manage and understand socialmedia for their advantage, and move beyond the threat.I want to thank our guest. We’ve been here with Paul Cole, Vice President of CustomerOperations Management and Business Process Outsourcing at Capgemini. Thanks so much,Paul.Cole: Thank you very much, Dana. I appreciate it.Gardner: This is the ﬁrst in a series of podcasts with Capgemini on social media and businessprocess outsourcing. Look for additional podcasts on these topics across the BrieﬁngsDirectnetwork.This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, andcome back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod. Sponsor: CapgeminiTranscript of a BrieﬁngsDirect podcast on social media and how business need to respond to achanging marketplace. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Proliferated, Outmoded Applications and Data Explosion Hamper Enterprises in Innovation, Any Quick Move to Cloud Computing • Capgeminim CSC Line Up for AppLabs • Enterprise IT Plus Social Media Plus Cloud Computing Equals The Future • What Can Businesses Learn About Predictive Behavior from American Idol? • I Collaborate, Therefore I Think, Therefore I Am ... An Enterprise