IBM Sandy Carter’s ‘New’ Social Paradigm – WITI

sandycarter_witiWomen In Technology International Keynote speaker Sandy Carter, Vice President, Social Business Evangelism & Sales at IBM, says social adoption outpaces radio, TV and even Internet adoption. Facebook added 100 million users in 9 months and iPhone apps hit 1 billion downloads in 9 months.

To Carter, social networks are the new production line. She defines Social media as marketing, PR, branding and exposure.

In 2005, The Harvard Grad invented a way to move social beyond communications into talent management, sales, and customer service. “It’s not an option,” she says, “it’s really a mandate to fuse the two.”

She was one of the first execs in the tech sector to converge Social and Big Data Analytics into her internal employee structure. Her team created a proprietary crowd-sourcing app to offer solutions to complex business issues at the tech giant. IBM integrated this tool into its robust and successful social media strategy.

Carter elaborates further in her book, Get Bold Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business. At its core, a social business is a company that is “engaged, transparent, and nimble,” she explains.  A social Business is one that understands how to embrace social technology, use it, get value from it and to manage risk. Carter boils it down to one acronym: AGENDA.

A – Align organization goals & culture
G – Gain social trust
E – Engage through experiences
N – Network your business processes
D – Design for reputation and risk management
A – Analyze your data

Continuous alignment of business and technology yields financial results. According to a study by the London School of Economics, synergy accounts for a boost in overall productivity by around 20%. This certainly trumps working in silos and individual contributions.

“Culture eats strategy for lunch,” Carter proclaims. She’s right. [I’ve worked for Fortune 500 brands and smaller businesses who claim they are nimble. Then they’ll allow things like legal approval processes to thwart progress. Often, there’s a lack of process around legal approval for content. The reason: no one can agree on the best process or what it could be.]

When culture norms become a stumbling block, Carter’s advice is simple: take an approach to change the culture into a collaborative place. C-level execs often say, “We need an Instagram presence” or “we need more followers” or the shiniest new toy/tool. Goals are simple or bold. Simple goals are getting new customers and more brazen goals include creating a new product in a new category or industry.

Carter’s 3 goals for a social business:

  1. Enable a good work force – operations, HR, etc increase job satisfaction and productivity when exposed to new knowledge, teleconferences, travel and collaboration.
  2. Accelerate innovation – Product research and dev teams hasten idea sharing, brainstorming and discovery. They can help generate ideas, gather feedback and share strategies from internal and external resources.
  3. Improve customer relationships – When customer service reps and agents have access to social content, they will work more efficiently. Marketing teams will also have more time to spend with customers and provide their own consumer-focused initiatives.

What are your experiences with social business?


Suzanne is an industry leading digital strategist. Currently, she’s a partner at a new interactive, post-production and full service agency: STICKS AND STONES.


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