This post is part of the “Future of Business” series, which examines how cutting-edge technologies are rapidly reshaping our world, from how businesses run to how we live. “The Future of Business” is sponsored by SAP.
Photo: Adam Nash
Social media tools for work coupled with mobile devices and easy access to the Internet have changed the working world.Some researchers have come up with a new term for this phenomenon: “the social operating system.”
In other words, your life, particularly your work life, is no longer about the physical world, it’s half physical and half virtual.
“We’ve moved from working with atoms to work with bits and as soon as we work with bits, we can move around,” he says Professor Barry Wellman, director of the NetLab institute at the University of Toronto and coauthor of the book “Networked: The New Social Operating System.
This new way of being connected is drastically altering our work lives and changing how companies work with customers.
Some companies “get” the “social operating system” and have tapped into it in all kinds of ways: from finding young talent to creating new sales models.
Here are some examples:
Whirlpool is a hundred-year-old appliance company with 68,000 employees. Like many older organisations, its baby boomer generation of leaders are retiring. It needed to identify younger up-and-comers to replace them, according to a case study on Whirlpool by the Future of Work Research Consortium.
The traditional ways of finding people to promote was to ask the managers at the top. But those managers were often not big players in the company’s various social networks. Whirlpool decided to adopt something called “a sociogram” or social network graph, to examine these social networks and find people who were influential on them.
Wells-Fargo has a goal of turning its workforce into a “social everywhere” organisation. That’s its internal term for a hyper-connected workforce where social collaboration tools are embedded in every work process of every employee. Ideally, these collaboration tools reach from employees to customers as well. The bank did a pilot test where it set up a group chat between loan officers and salespeople. Instead of one-on-one instant messages, it set up a group chat and the loan processing team was able to shave a days off the six-week approval process.
ADP: Like many companies, ADP is encouraging salespeople to use social media channels to connect with customers and prospects. Internally, the company has built a library of videos and other how-to materials in which salespeople share how they used social media (and other resources) to close deals. This not only trains people in how to improve their sales through social media, it helps salespeople connect with each other across the company.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.