Social Media Strategy for Team Empowerment


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For managers in matrix organizations and virtual environments, acumen in social media will go from being a trendy “nice to have” to being a “must have.” Those who cannot harness these tools will be less competitive than their peers. This shift in paradigm and its democratizing power is revolutionizing how teams can influence their stakeholders and add value to their organization. This white paper will help you empower your team, influence your organization and serve your stakeholders within a virtual and global environment.

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Social Media Strategy for Team Empowerment

  1. 1. March 2012November 2012 NEXT GENERATION MANAGEMENT- SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR TEAM EMPOWERMENT How Dell’s EMEA Business Intelligence team used Social Media to “Do More” A paper by Elizabeth Press, Vanessa Galvany and Margo Smale
  2. 2. Social Media as a New Dimension of Modern ManagementHow managers can embrace the democratization of informationManagers in matrix organizations and virtual environments face unique challenges to empower teams andengage employees. This paper is for business leaders who want their teams to thrive in today’s complexorganizations by leveraging the latest social media technologies and collaborative platforms to achieveteamwork, visibility and impact.Global presence and multi-site locations add to modern organizational complexity, often resulting inmatrix organizations spanning continents. Virtual teams where employees never meet face-to-face andrely on communication technologies are becoming ever more common. At the same time, organizationsare expecting the same level of collaboration and synergies that they would from traditional-or non-virtualteams. Meeting these expectations present a substantial challenge for today’s managers.New technologies are evolving the information sharing paradigm, shifting from a send-receive (traditionalemail) to a publish-subscribe model (blogs/social media). This shift in paradigm is substantially changinghow teams can influence their stakeholders and add value to their organization. Social media will becomean essential dimension of all management disciplines. These tools lead to a democratization ofinformation; team members no longer depend on the formal team hierarchy structure to reach out to newgroups or for all information needs. Team members can use these tools to improve their influence andempower themselves across an organization.This paper presents how the application of new collaboration tools helped one team in the Dell EMEAorganization, Business Intelligence (BI). The BI team was able to gain increased visibility and recognitionthroughout key internal stakeholders in EMEA and worldwide, as well as improve the level of influence ofthis team across the company.The Last Milestone in Business Intelligence’s TransformationSocial media’s role in taking BI from reporting to thought leadershipIn the span of a couple of years, Dell’s EMEA Business Intelligence team developed from a reportingfunction into a team of thought leaders who create their own metrics, conduct statistical modeling andimpart strategic insight to executives.At the same time as this transformation was taking place, the number of stakeholders was increasingmanifold due to reorganization. Meanwhile, team headcount remained the same. Business Intelligence hadto find a more effective and efficient way to operate and communicate, in order to reach out andinfluence this wide audience formed by the regional sales and marketing teams.Social Media and collaboration provided the team with the ability to communicate widely to allstakeholders and to influence the organization by sharing the key insights and recommendations from thevarious strategic analyses in a common platform. The team was becoming empowered as they were nolonger simply providing data, but adding value to the data as thought leaders.The last milestone was to become a true thought leader to the organization and here is where socialmedia and collaboration play an important part. 1
  3. 3. High and Broad Expectations on Business IntelligenceSocial Media tools were used to empower the teamThe team had to overcome obstacles to meet the high expectations:  Enabling team work despite never having met: Despite lack of personal acquaintance and geographical distance, the team needed to work well together.  Providing thought leadership to a diverse group of stakeholders: Business Intelligence’s stakeholders were located not only across functions, but also across time zones.  Merging of teams from two business areas: The new team needed quick knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices.  Promoting cross-functional cooperation: The analysis Business Intelligence was providing would benefit a broader audience within the organization than was being reached. A means to crowd- source insights from sales, product and other teams was needed.  Reducing email clutter: Email traffic proliferated as the team grew. Documents were buried and answer times were slower.  Getting feedback from the organization: Business Intelligence needed to be able to understand how to best help stakeholders and thereby the company.Social Media Tools Enable Business IntelligenceOnline tools help Business Intelligence proactively add value to stakeholdersThe content management portal and share drive were used to support knowledge management andenable self-service of presentations and large documents. At first, the social media platform was a meansof driving traffic to deliverables on the content management portal. As its function as a front office toolevolved, the social media platform became a medium of engagement with the wider organization.The online ecosystem served the following purposes:  Knowledge management  Team Collaboration  Enabling self-service  Cross-functional collaboration  Visibility 2
  4. 4. Knowledge Management & Enabling Self-ServiceThe content management portal and the share drive made access to information easier and moreavailableBecause all key deliverables and dashboards were stored on the content management portal, itserved as a library for the management teams that Business Intelligence served. Large referencepresentations and data cubes were stored on the share drive with links to the content managementportal. The share drive served as a tool to better manage ad-hoc requests by sending the requestora link to the appropriate document on the share drive. Ad-hoc requests were greatly reduced,because eventually stakeholders went directly to the share drive for their data needs.Team CollaborationThe content management portal and the share drive allowed the team to work on commondocumentsThe team often had to prepare deliverables collectively and was able to store drafts on privatefolders in the content management portal, where only team members could access the contents.The social media platform enables real-time collaboration, cross-functional collaboration andvisibilityIn a virtual organization, the type of real-time collaboration made possible by in-office presence ishard to replicate. Social media was used as a means of enabling a more casual and spontaneousinteraction.Cross-functional Collaboration & VisibilityThe social media platform enables proactive and transparent collaboration with other teamsSocial media served to build rapports, synthesize the information and educate the organizationabout important issues. Public conversations on social media had a positive impact on improvingthe employee knowledge base, as the insights could be addressed in the long term and on a largerscale.From analyst to CEO, employees at all levels of the organization were able to receive the team’sdeliverables, interact with the team members or follow a specific person’s activities on social media.The team’s influence increased manifold with more people using its output. 3
  5. 5. A Focused Social Media Strategy Amplifies Business IntelligenceBusiness Intelligence implements a targeted social media management strategyBusiness Intelligence created a framework to capture the type of social media groups (collaborative, thinktank, deliverable, news) and mapped them against the type of engagement by the users (observe,conversation, share, collaborate) that they saw necessary to achieve specified goals.Collaboration groups addressed geographic spread and the merging of multiple teams. Think Tank groupsprovided a platform for thought leadership. The Deliverable and News groups helped to reduce emailclutter, as well as to promote cross-functional cooperation with crowd-sourcing.Five major user profiles emerged based on the type of posts and the frequency of posting. Communitiesneeded a healthy balance ofall poster types.Three phases of groupgrowth were identified,along with the critical typesof posters needed at eachstage. Business Intelligenceteam members whomanaged groups were encouraged to identifyand collaborate with different types of postersin order to fulfill their goals. 4
  6. 6. Challenges Encountered by the TeamChanging collaboration methods created challenges that needed to be addressedWith each of the collaboration methods, three core challenges emerged that the team had to address:  Organizing the data  Onboarding stakeholders  Building and maintaining momentumThe table below outlines the challenges, solutions and the result.The internal social media platform was only beginning to be promoted within Dell. The adoption of thenew tool was in the early stages. Not all team members were sure of the purpose and benefits of socialmedia, as such this lead to some unique challenges encountered by the team. Making Social Media Searchable The chronological nature of a feed-oriented social media platform makes searching for documents very difficult once a group has been active for more than a couple of weeks. In order to make content more searchable for both team members and stakeholders, Business Intelligence used hashtags (#). Specific Deliverable hashtags: These were used for specific types of deliverables. Usually, a deliverable was placed on the content management portal and posted as a link on the social media platform. In the post, the hashtag would be placed, along with the date for easy access in the future.  #BI_Ops_Review  #ContinueTheConversation (used for follow up to meetings) 5
  7. 7. Team Marking hashtags: The team would often post insights and updates on work streams relating to specific topics or exact teams. These hashtags were used to make team activities more trackable to the organization.  #GermanyBI  #CountryConsulting Making Deliverables on Social Media Visible In order to build the reputation as thought leaders, Business Intelligence team members sought to be visible on hashtag searches regarding specific hot topics. Because employees across the organization used hashtags as a means of getting information, product specific and hot topic hashtags were very helpful for not only gaining visibility, but becoming influential as well.  #BigData  #Server  #ApplicationsMeasuring for Success in Social MediaTools to encourage participation and optimize time and effortAs usage of the social media platform increased, the team wanted to make sure to set appropriate andmeaningful goals, as well as to create a system to manage the activity and measure success. A set ofprocess and output KPIs was defined for each type of social media group, from a quantitative and aqualitative perspective. Quantitative key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboard Process KPIs  Member count: This is the number of members in a particular group. For most Collaboration groups and News groups, this was fixed respectively to the team and management group that was targeted as stakeholders. However, Deliverable groups and Think Tank groups were more impactful as their member count increased.  Number of posts, comments and likes: These were mechanical counts of the activity. These activities are tracked in groups and allow for mangers to monitor team activity. The more posts, comments for a group the higher the engagement and empowerment. Likes are important for News and Think Tank, so the poster knows the information was well received. Output KPIs  Comment/post ratio: This is the primary measurement on the effectiveness of comments to initiate conversation. 6
  8. 8.  Like/post ratio: This measures the passive audience. Liking something is a form of passive consumption.  Post participation: This measures the percentage of the membership who are posting. Posting is the highest form of participation; thus, this metric measures the highest form of engagement. Posting shows that members proactively input.  Response Participation: This measures the percentage of the members who are responding to posts in the form of comments. Comments are an active form of communication that show members read and react to content.Qualitative key performance indicators showing different levels of engagementWhile quantitative KPIs show level of engagement on the community itself, qualitative–or offline-measurements are necessary to show the amount of buzz and offline engagement the groups arecreating. Qualitative KPIs tend to be subjective and more difficult to measure than quantitative KPIs. 1. Awareness happens when there is general knowledge that the group exists. People in the office start to mention the group and its contents in conversations. 2. Engagement is when actions result from posts. Most of the time these actions are meetings to follow up on an idea somebody read in a group. 3. Influence occurs when activity in a group affects how people view the business and shapes their opinions about activites and occurrences. Three primary types of individuals are integral in achieving influence: Authority figures, multipliers, implementers. They each have their role to play, and subsequent analysis of how they are contributing to the influence of a group differs.  Authority figures are key to gaining influence. Once they start mentioning the group, others tend to take notice.  Multipliers are needed to spread the word. They are not necessarily high in hierarchy, but they are visible and/or heard through different layers and sections of the organization.  Implementers might not necessarily be high up in the organization or well networked. They are the individuals who can take an idea and make it reality. These individuals take an idea from the drawing room to the sales floor, and are necessary for any initiative to be taken seriously. Engagement Level KPI Awareness People talking about the group Engagement Meetings resulting from posts Influence – Authority figures Links to and from authority Important followers Important people posting and liking Influence – Multipliers Sharing, reposting Appearing in #hashtag searches Influence – Implementers Work streams resulting from posts 7
  9. 9. The power to Do MoreSocial Media will evolve from a trendy “nice to have” to a competitive “must”Social media and evolving collaborative platforms will add a new dimension to all management disciplines.Acumen in social media will go from being a trendy “nice to have” to being a “must have” to survive inmulti-national matrix organizations. Those who cannot harness these tools will be less competitive thantheir peers.While management vision allowed Business Intelligence to evolve into thought leaders, social media andcollaborative technology enabled the function to amplify its impact. Internal social media enabled visibility,collaboration and the breaking down of silos to empower the Business Intelligence team.Working behavior and processes will adapt to a more fluid and entrepreneurial way of working rather thandiscrete working patterns. The shift of sharing information from send-receive to publish-subscribe willcontribute to the fluid and dynamic working patterns. These tools will continue to be used for moreproactive endeavors, such as change management and innovation. As globalization causes industries tobecome more competitive and dynamic, the added efficiency and effectiveness won through usage ofthese tools will become a necessity.The power to do more will be determined by how individuals and organizations use new technologiesrather than by the technologies themselves. 8
  10. 10. About the Authors:Elizabeth Press ( is the Global Business Intelligence Lead for the Telecom, Media,Entertainment & Web industries and is based out of Frankfurt, Germany. She has a BA in International Relationsfrom Tufts University and an MSc in International Economics and Business from the Stockholm School ofEconomics. Before coming to Dell, she worked in strategy consulting focusing on the finance & technologyindustries.Vanessa Galvany ( is working on marketing transformational initiatives and basedout of Barcelona, Spain. She has a BA in Business Economics from the Open University of Catalonia and anExecutive Master of Business Administration of the IESE Business School. She has worked in BusinessIntelligence at Dell and CRM marketing analytics and in strategic consulting in the airline & technologyindustries.Margo Smale ( is a Senior Advisor in the EMEA Public and Large Enterprise Marketingteam, based in Dublin, Ireland. She has a BS in Advertising and Marketing from Syracuse University, Post-Graduate Certificate in Digital Marketing from Dublin City University and an MBA from Trinity College Dublin.She has worked in media planning and strategy in the fast-moving consumer goods, fashion and retail industries. 9