• 07:00:15 am on August 28, 2008 | 0
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    Visualizing and Acting On Social Network Connections

    We’ve all seen hierarchical organizational charts – and sometimes wondered why a leader in an org chart is where he is when the troops know that he’s ineffective and everything is done to work around him.

    An alternate view of power in a company is to identify the individuals that have implicit power – these are folks that everyone goes to for information, direction, opinions. This can be done by drawing the direct communication lines between an individual, and all the other individuals that directly interact with him or her. And there are commercial social networking tools that allow you to do this with ease.

    Once you have mapped and correlated an individual’s network with everyone else’s networks in an organization, another hierarchy emerges very quickly – a hierarchy of “connectedness” or “influence”. This lets you trace, for example, the best and least effective communication paths to your senior leadership. You can also identify, who the true subject matter experts are in a customer service organization, and reorganize your knowledge strategy to ensure that all contributions are reviewed by these SME’s.

    What is more interesting to do is to apply this social mapping to your customer base. Once you identify your top accounts, you can map the connections from these accounts to every employee who touches them. Social networking programs contain algorithms that are remarkably accurate in determining the true strength of relationship through the use of parameters such as contact frequency, level of interaction (ex. from a VP or an account manager), type of interaction (ex. marketing, customer service) and level of responsiveness.

    What quickly emerges is another view of your customer landscape. Perhaps you will see that your top customers are not getting the level of attention that they deserve, or that your organization as a whole is spending too much time on a lower value customer.

    This is valuable, actionable information. You can quickly reorganize your account management strategy to focus on the right accounts, and ensure the right level of touch for these accounts. You can also identify the accounts that influence product roadmaps via their connections to product marketing, and evaluate these customers to ensure that their input is in-line with general customer demand. And you can quickly identify problem accounts that take up the most time with your organization, and root cause why they do so.

    So, do you know who the connectors in your organization are? What are your plans to do so?


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