What makes a social business leader? While more and more organizations are recognizing the value of integrating social products and practices, many are still only dipping their toes into social waters -- if they are in the water at all. But there are organizations that have not only dived in but are swimming like Michael Phelps.
We set out to identify businesses and business leaders who are making the most productive use of social strategies and could articulate return seen on the integration of all things social.
In September, we put out a call for nominations. Were we inundated with credible success stories? Not quite. Many organizations put forth as leaders are just scratching the surface of what social networking and social software can do. We filtered out a few likely suspects: IBM, for example, is widely recognized as a leader in setting social media policies for employee use of social media and creating systems to support social networking within the corporation. But because IBM is also a major social software vendor, we thought it more useful to see how well its customers (and those of its competitors) are mastering social business. We also inserted a few nominations of our own.
After originally looking for a top 10, we settled on seven social business leaders:
-- TD Bank
In addition, we chose Red Robin CIO Chris Laping as our social business technology leader and Cemex Innovation Director Gilberto Garcia as a business executive driving social business initiatives.
Laping is actually as much a business leader as a CIO, holding the additional title of Senior Vice President of Business Transformation, and he attracted our notice for the way he is using social collaboration to drive business transformation.
Cemex impressed us with the global reach of its enterprise social network.
These are social businesses of all types and sizes, and they impressed us in different ways. For example, Red Robin seemed to be out ahead in terms of integrating social technology with its day-to-day operations. On the other hand, Ford is still honing its social business strategy and evaluating technology choices (like whether to stick with Yammer for enterprise social networking) -- but even so its social initiatives operate on a very large scale.
On the following pages, we will introduce you to these stories and the people behind them. You also can read our related story on 7 Lessons In Social Business as it appeared in InformationWeek.