MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Adopting Disruptive Technology? Manage Expectations!

Peggy Dau - Monday, March 17, 2014

In a world where new technologies are emerging every day, there is now an expectation for immediate success. However, that is simply not realistic. Innovators of the past benefited from the lack of social networks sharing speculation, much less leaking technical specifications, as to the purpose, benefit or proposed business model for new products or services. Today, the stock market turns on a dime if Twitter usage is not as hoped. One of the biggest challenges for management, sales and customer service, is managing expectations.'

The same is true when adopting new technologies or using new solutions. As I've attended conferences addressing the benefits, adoption and use of social media, cloud services and big data there is one common theme - manage expectations. This is a two way street. Both providers and adopters of these services must manage expectations as there are many examples of solution deployments that disappoint. In some cases it is the inability to translate numbers of followers into tangible leads, and subsequently revenue. In other situation its the failure to clearly understand new processes required to optimize a SaaS (software-as-a-service) offering.

As with the creation of any strategy or adoption of tactics, well defined desired outcomes are a critical part of success. When adoption social media, organizations often forget that this can be a multi-stage process. The Altimeter Group has been at the forefront in providing insight on business use of social media, providing a common sense framework for adopting, incorporating and formalizing social media into existing processes. Their reports, such as The State of Social Business 2013, helps businesses set realistic goals, identify required training or process improvements, and yes, manage expectations.

I listened to broadcasters, at the recent Broadcast & Video Exposition in London,  talk about their adoption of social media. In every case they talked about trial and error in their use social media. They spoke about how social networks such as Twitter had changed the nature of broadcast by becoming the "channel" for breaking news. As a result, networks now use Twitter to break news in real time. Their tweets direct followers to their online or scheduled broadcasts for more detailed information. At the same time their online destinations and live broadcasts invite viewers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. They also utilize the social networks to raise awareness of special programs or ongoing series. 

Every content or social media strategist emphasizes the "trial and error" nature of social media, not in terms of actually using the networks, but in determining the content that will drive engagement. While data can be collected to identify key topics of interest to an audience, the manner in which those topics are discussed often influences the level of engagement. Understanding that the use of social media is an evolution not a miracle cure is critical to managing expectations. Understanding that social media is part of a greater content strategy is critical to managing expectations.  Understanding that policy and training will help employees understand how and when to use social media is critical to managing expectations. Get it? 

Whether you are in the broadcast & media, financial services, manufacturing, high tech, pharmaceutical or other industry, you must consider the impact of ANY new solute. Whether it is social media, cloud, big data analytics or other disrupting solutions consider how the technology will impact people and process. Share proposed goals, benefits, concerns, training and anticipated changes.  In short - manage expectations! Success will come more easily!

What's your perspective?