are in a good position to choose and develop a small number of use cases that will add high value and demonstrate the possibilities of social business to your whole organisation.
Selecting Use Cases
In the course of your investigations, you are likely to have identified dozens of work process that might benefit from social tools and ways of working. To assist the process of selection, it may help to categorise use case possibilities to see where patterns emerge. The following categories are provided as examples, there may well be others that better suit your business:
- Knowledge Sharing
- Process Improvement
- Product Enhancement
- Expertise Location
- Project Management & Support
- Employee Engagement & Networking
- Customer Engagement
- Sales Support
- Issue Resolution
- Idea Management
As you continue to categorise potential use cases in this way, you may begin to see how several work streams can come together under a single use case. The next step will be to select just 2 or 3 use cases to be developed into value-focussed, engaging, measurable propositions that will serve to underpin your wider efforts and inspire other workstream owners. When working with clients, I recommend several criteria for selecting use cases for development:
- Value - Will the use case help the business attain its goals? Does the use case align with existing KPIs?
- Key Users - Does the use case address the needs and motivations of user groups who are key to your company’s success?
- Leadership - To what extent are leaders and other key influencers interested in the success of this use case? How willing are they to participate?
- Visibility - How visible will the activities and results of the use case be to the wider community?
- Reach - Does the use case span several divisions or is it confined to a single group?
- Boldness - Will the use case have a high impact? To what extent will people sit up and listen?
- Pain Relief - To what extent will the use case diminish existing pain and frustrations within your company?
- Technical Viability - Can the current technical infrastructure cope with the demands of the use case?
- Manageability - Does the current social business team have enough capacity to do justice to the use case?
- Scope - Is the scope of the use case clearly defined? How specific are its goals?
These are just some of the criteria that will help you select outstanding use cases. What other considerations apply specifically to your circumstances?
Designing Use Cases
Use cases for social business need to be clearly defined before they can be properly implemented within your organisation. One of the major shortfalls of use cases I have encountered is lack of specificity. For instance, ‘knowledge sharing’ is not a use case by itself, but a broad activity - the questions to ask are ‘what do I want to achieve through better knowledge sharing?’ and ‘how will I achieve it?’ The following framework to help you bring out the required level of detail in your use cases:
- Business Purpose - What is the purpose of the use case? Define compelling objectives that bring direct benefits to both users and the business as a whole.
- Identify Users - Firstly, identify which user groups will take part; secondly, name names - who needs to engage?
- Identify Activities - What exactly will identified users do to achieve your stated objectives?
- Identify Tools & Practices - Describe how users will carry out the required activities using social tools and ways of working. This is a critical stage in the design of any use case, as you will be mapping real needs and workflows to your toolset.
- Identify Motivations - How will the use case play to the motivations of target users? What are the incentives?
- Governance - What roles and responsibilities are required to support the use case activities? Clearly define what is and what is not desirable activity in the context of the use case.
- User Experience - Plot the journey each user type will take through the use case. Ensure that the experience leaves users in no doubt as to: the purpose of the use case; what they need to do; how they will do it; and their motivation for doing it.
- Measurement - Define the use case’s criteria for success, both quantitative outcomes and qualitative indications of user satisfaction and perceived benefits.
This is the level of focus and detail required in social business use cases before they can be properly run and monitored. This is not to say you will get it perfect first time - there may be unknown factors and user reactions that compel you adapt your approach, this is ok - but answering these questions upfront and thinking carefully before you jump, will bring out the essence of what you want to achieve and greatly increase your chances of success.
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