The Story of GM’s Social Transformation + the Latest “Must Read” Altimeter Report

by Esteban Contreras 07 Feb 2013 Social@Scale: Business Executive

When you work for a global enterprise, even slightly transforming the organization can seem daunting, if not impossible.

But Steve Worrall did exactly that, and not just slightly.

A new report from Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang, “Scaling Social Business,” outlines this rare, fascinating example of how Worrall and his team helped General Motors harness the disruptive nature of social media to transform the organization, achieving real business impact.

As leader of the CRM, Social and Digital Marketing team for General Motors’ International Operations (GMIO), Steve Worrall realized that the way the organization dealt with the complexities, volume, and pace of real-time social engagement needed to be rethought. That meant examining how moderation and interaction workflows are mapped, how engagement is institutionalized, and the way social is governed across GMIO’s highly distributed organization. Through this examination, Worrall set in motion a grand transformation; it would ultimately change the way GM’s business gets done.

Yet Worrall (one of Sprinklr’s Enterprise Social Practitioner All Stars) recognized that people alone — no matter how smart, well organized or trained — would not be enough. He needed a social infrastructure that could scale across marketing as well as customer service, customer relationship management, and multiple business units. He chose Sprinklr because he saw that the platform has been architected specifically for those kinds of requirements.

Read the new eBookAs the Altimeter case study reports, social support response times for GMIO have been reduced from 12 hours to 90 minutes, and operational efficiency has been improved through better customer service and more coordinated interaction in real-time. By applying a coordinated, sophisticated, and real-time approach to customer engagement in social channels, Worrall’s team at GMIO was able to effectively interact with customers and prospects through 113 corporate-approved social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, RenRen, Weibo, and others.  Today, GM teams all over the world are better able to drive the company’s business goals through enhanced listening, engagement, KPIs, and measurement.

Yet keep in mind that no brand is in full control of the conversation. Some will do the minimum they can to appear to be social, while others will thrive and leapfrog competitors by consistently delivering a better customer experience across all digital touchpoints. As customer expectations increase, and as “unplanned outbound” and “unstructured inbound” messaging becomes the norm, large corporations must be disciplined and motivated to set themselves up for scaling, just like Worrall and his team.

That’s what Sprinklr is designed for — to address the complexities that enterprises encounter as they try to scale social across the organization. The platform can be tailored for large, complex organizations that need to be able to create, curate, automate, communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

In an interview with Forbes earlier this week, Sprinklr CEO Ragy Thomas poignantly remarked that “silo-ed thinking and legacy technology infrastructures are going to be disrupted because they were built for the days when the brand was in control of the conversation.”

As Steve Worrall can tell you, those days are gone.

“Scaling Social Business” is Altimeter’s latest report, spearheaded by Jeremiah Owyang, one of the world’s leading thinkers in all things social. In fact, it was Jeremiah who identified the Social Media Management System (SMMS) market over 3 years ago and has accurately assessed its evolution.  Now, Jeremiah is focusing on how brands manage complex, distributed programs. One of the companies showcased in the report — perhaps the most sophisticated example — is General Motors (disclosure: GM is a Sprinklr client).

Altimeter Group has successfully established itself as a leading research-based advisory firm. The firm’s “Open Research” combines rigorous methodologies with a transparent approach that encourages sharing under Creative Commons. Founded by “Open Leadership” author Charlene Li, Altimeter Group has crafted data-driven and insightful reports ranging from “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation” to “The Rise of Digital Influence.

Esteban Contreras
Esteban Contreras is an Account Director and Strategist at Sprinklr, and the author of the book SOCIAL STATE: Thoughts, Stats and Stories about the State of Social Media in 2013.”  He is also the founder of Social Nerdia and the former Social Media Manager for Samsung USA.

Connect with Esteban on Twitter @SocialNerdia.

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