In the recent past I have been blogging over here a couple of times already on some of the amazing piece of work that BASF (disclaimer: An IBM customer) has been doing over the course of the last year or so on becoming a Social Business and behave and act as such. Living Social is no easy task, for sure, but with a bit of perseverance, commitment, resilience, and a couple of other key important traits BASF has been demonstrating it’s now possible to achieve it. And big time! Even if you are not in the IT industry. Even if IT is not your area of expertise, “get social, do business” is very much no longer a dream for the corporate world in general, but quite the opposite, probably; pretty much an imperative no business can no longer ignore nor neglect.
The story behind connect.BASF though (BASF’s social business platform, based on IBM Connections) is a special one. Through plenty of dedication, communications, executive sponsorship, education, unprecedented leadership, etc. etc. they are now at the stage where becoming a social business is no longer a long term goal, but today’s reality. Take, for instance, this short video clip of a little bit of 3 minutes, where my good friend CheeChin Liew shares the story of what it’s meant for BASF to live social:
The really exciting part of this tremendous success story is not the full commitment to make a difference in this Social Business space, but to eventually have done it in such a way that presents the perfect business case, and business opportunity, for all of those companies to embrace Enterprise 2.0 techniques and technologies, even if you are not in the IT industry. I surely would want to stress this one out a bit more, since time and time again I keep hearing from various different people how lucky we are (at IBM) for being an IT company with the right social technologies. It looks like for us it’s just a given, a no-brainer, and while I certainly disagree with that sentiment (Since we do have a bunch of other challenges to fight against), it’s great stories like this one from BASF that confirm that even non IT related companies can be amazingly successful with their 2.0 deployments to help improve their effectiveness and efficienfy from their own knowledge workforce as they get to collaborate and share their knowledge amongst themselves, their customers and business partners.
And so much more! Because in that video clip that I mentioned above CheeChin gets to share how becoming a social business has meant for them to empower people to connect with one another, reaching out to share their knowledge and learn from others in the context of nurturing, cultivating and fully embracing communities to solve business problems and achieve certain business goals. He also mentions how Mergers & Acquisitions have got the perfect use case for social business in helping teams, organisations and whatever other groupings get to know each other much easier by having information and knowledge flow naturally from knowledge worker to knowledge worker.
The use case for microblogging that he gets to share as part of that story is fantastic! One of my favourites, actually. One that I can surely relate to and corroborate as perhaps one of the most impressive cases to prove the business value of social tools: helping facilitate the sharing of ideas across openly to pursue further ad-hoc, on the spot, collaboration sparked by those same ideas in the first place. Eventually, with the end result of promoting such rampant innovation inspired by a engaged, transparent and nimble set of interactions and conversations for which most knowledge workers would probably wonder why they didn’t start much sooner! And the best part? All of that inspired by my all favourite 2.0 concept: facilitated serendipity (Or informal and accidental knowledge discoveries, whatever term you would want to use). Informal / Social Learning anyone?
Finally, one last key message from CheeChin’s interview recorded and put together on that video clip is that sense of utilising social software tools for something more than just related to pure work. In their case, for something so important, inspiring and mind-blowing as social good. What makes us unique and humane, and differentiates us from the rest of species. Now, I am not going to spoil it for you much further, you will have to watch the clip to see what kind of social good connect.BASF promoted with such a huge success. Needless to say that the first word that comes to my mind is a strong sense of pride. Ok, that’s 5 words, but you know what I mean, right?
Either way, if you are still wondering whether social business can be good for your company, whether in the IT industry, or not!!, brilliant success stories like BASF’s connect.BASF can probably confirm that there is a way to become a successful social business. It’s just a matter of having the commitment to make it work across the organisation, following that hybrid approach of top-down, bottom-up that I have talked about in the past, wanting to help define and shape up the next generation of businesses for the 21st century. BASF is already there!