The chief digital officer part 3 – how to organize the digital shift

Joachim Heinz


Hi and welcome to part number three of the blog series on the chief digital officer.

The first part lays groundwork and explains the urgent need for this role inside business in today’s digital world.

The second part digs deep into the tasks and the responsibility of the CDO. Part two also covers the necessary soft-skills which a CDO needs to bring with.

strategy plan on drawboardNow let´s work on the third part which deals with the correct setup of the CDO and the connected organization. Why is that so important? Just place this guy somewhere near top-management and see, things will move. No, they will not. As we have seen in part one, the digital shift happens to the business model. As this the very core of the company, we need to carefully setup the CDO to reflect this responsibility.

Beginning at the top

First question we want to find an answer: Which alternatives exist to place the CDO as a part of the top-management? There are mainly four alternatives:

Not in top-management, but directly connected to CEO in first line below him

  1. Into an existing line-function such as corporate strategy. This only works, in case the CEO is running the role of the CDO too but needs lot´s of support. Again, this huge shift cannot be delegated!
  2. As a newly created CEO-office beside existing line-functions. Same issue than first alternative. In this case it is absolutely necessary to check if this solution is a good one related to the existing company culture. If there is the tendency of “not invented here”, it is very important to grow a co-creation atmosphere.

Both solutions are not the best idea looking on the additional work-load of the CEO.

Not in top-management, not directly to CEO but connected to another C-role (well not the CDO ;-))

  1. This is for short-term a solution, but not for mid- or longterm. The organization will doubt the necessity of change, as the most important role is missing – the CEO.

Settled inside the top-management

  1. CDO is a member of the board, same level than all other members and fully responsible with a clear line between the CDO and CEO. It seems that this version is a powerful design. But it also only works in case there is a clear understanding of collaboration with especially CIO and CMO.

According to Dion Hinchcliffe, one of the thought leaders in the CDO area, showed on Twitter the tremendous growth rate. of CDOs. Run a simple test: search for “chief digital officer” in one of those big networks such as Glassdoor or Linkedin, more and more CDO vacancies are available. They all own a very core: Developing business and digital strategy along market and customer needs.

Now as we have the CDO on board, what’s next? Lonely firefighter or fully connected strategist? Standard change-programme or fresh ideas, which recognize the more and more connected workforce? The question is about the setup of the transformation organization. Here comes the challenge: A digital transformation program runs in many levels, in most functions, with effects on culture – and everything in the same time. It cannot be “planned” in a traditional manner.

How to Run an Agile Digital Transformation Programme” by Lee Bryant outlines a new approach beyond standard change programs. And by doing so, a possible door towards the “modus operandi” of the CDO is in sight. I think this is enough material for a continuation of this series towards a fourth blog post: “The chief digital officer – driving the connected transformation”. See you soon!

The chief digital officer part 2 – the tasks, the personality, the skills

Joachim Heinz


Hi and welcome to chapter 2 of the CDO blog post series.

In the first blog post of a series, I outlined the necessity of the chief digital officer. Digital technology is both – it can be a huge chance if you have the understanding of its power and possibilities. And it will be a threat to your company if you fail to run the transformation.  This huge responsibility needs to be taken by a chief digital officer. In this blog post, I dig into the main tasks of his work and the key aspects of his personality. I also outline the necessary leadership capabilities of such a personality. Let´s go discovering the #CDO 😉

First, I´d like to start with the foundation. As the headline is “digization” of the business model, we build the CDO around this.

  1. Development of the digital vision and strategy aligned to current and future business models as well as the existing business vision and strategy.
  2. Definition of underlying principles of the digital transformation (such as “user experience” for example)
  3. Setup of a consistent approach of the digital transformation (e.g. learning-cycles, prototyping etc.)
  4. Creation and further development of the digital roadmap (may also contain “products”)
  5. Creation of internal organization of the transformation as well as an internal core-team dedicated to this whole stuff.

There are the following premises:

  • Your CEO fully understood the need for change and is able/willing to go new ways.
  • The entire C-suite is supporting the upcoming transformation and understands, that this will be a wild ride for 5-10 years.

Now let´s dive a little bit deeper into every point and understand the core tasks and challenges in there.


Aerial view of Manhattan from a BinocularDevelopment of the digital vision and strategy

A vision is a kind of target-picture that is far away in the future. It is challenging, motivating and the source of all activity of the company. If the vision is developed together with the staff, an awesome commitment is the price. The CDO must be able understand the business context of both todays and tomorrows business in order to work-out a vision for the digital era.

After formulating the vision, the next step is to think of the next 2 to 4 years in the perspective of strategic maneuvers. What do the stakeholders say? What are future trends? What is the perspective of markets and customers? Strategy does not mean a long-term plan. Today in the fast changing world a strategy is giving a true north for the next 2 to 4 years.

Definition of underlying principles

Principles only work when they are applied without exception – if done so, they are a core asset in the digital transformation. If selected well and applied correctly, they can even support the evolution of the company culture.

Setup of a consistent approach

This is indeed a difficult task, because there is no blueprint. How to run a digital transformation of a company depends from size, maturity, culture, business and so on. The transformation is highly complex because there is no “single screw” to turn. Every screw you turn affects other screws. You work in a system and that is why a transformation cannot be piloted or tested. Do it or leave it.

Creation of the digital roadmap

So now you have a vision, a strategy, key principles and an idea of an approach. Next big task: Define your roadmap. What will be your first activity? Which one next? Are they interlinked? Where is the customer? The roadmap is basis for the financial planning as well as all further communication activities.

Creation of internal organization

The digital era does not work with stand-alone heroes. As every business is a network, a CDO needs to be able to build up networks inside and outside the company. For this (and all the other work that needs to be done) he runs his own team of experts. This team should contain 50% of externally hired people.

Looking on all those tasks, they are not small ones. Well there is a reason for the “C” in the CDO. How to setup the CDO I will outline in my third blog post of this series.

Now let´s have a look on the personality. These are the must-haves of any CDO:

Visionary thinking

Digital technology develops very fast. The CDO needs to be able to envision the possible developments and abstract those towards business impact. The CDO also needs to be aware of the development of societies and influence on workforce. He needs to be able to detect weak signals.

Portrait of young businessman with toy paper wings. Success, creative and startup concept. Copy space for your text

Leading in change

Leading in change

A CDO is also a kind of digital “evangelist” able to drive the change by motivating and encouraging for new structures, practises, processes and technologies. A quite short sentence for a huge task. There are not many things more challenging in business than driving a change.


Managing skills

A CDO also has to run very practical managing work. Checking budgets, planning the workforce, giving structure and enforcing key rules are some important tasks of the CDO.

Systemic thinking

A business is a complex system. It is not necessary to understand every detail. But it is a prerequisite that the CDO is able for systemic thinking and understands the interlinking of technology, core processes, culture, strategy and assets as well as stakeholders and customers.

Broad knowledge and understanding

A business transformation driven by digital technology and surrounding impacts. This is the core. That means that the CDO needs to have a deep understanding of digital technology, business structures, future developments and trends, both leading and managing skills. On top of this, the CDO also experienced new working models such as iterative working (e.g. scrum). He is able to lead in change and make large networks follow his vision and strategy. In other words, the CDO needs a very broad groundwork in knowledge and understanding.

Summary: The CDO is a personality being able for multi-focal work and strong abilities to work with networks. The CDO needs a broad knowledge base as well as strategic skills. The perfect candidate knows both worlds: The traditional management setup as well as “start-up-like”-work and is able to build bridges (and to be honest, this might be a rare species today!).

Looking on all those requirements it is clear that there is a strong interplay with the CEO and the other C-roles in the board of management. There are several ideas how to setup the #CDO. In my next blog post in the CDO-series, I will compare the most important scenarios and do a strength and weakness analysis. So, hopefully see you soon again in chapter 3, the “how” to setup a CDO in a company.


The chief digital officer part 1 – the why, the what, the how

Joachim Heinz


As the world becomes a digitally connected place, the impact on business is huge. As businesses are not partly affected but as a whole, there needs to be a clear responsibility for the necessary transformatinonal efforts. This blog post outlines, why businesses are in need for a chief digital officer. In a following series of blog posts, I will explain his tasks and responsibilities and finally give and idea how to organize this role inside companies.

In the first blog post, I will focus on the need for such a role in the C-suite.

Understanding digital impact on business

world netAbout 200 years ago, people and busineses laughed about the first steam machines. But step by step it became clear that steam machines can do some work cheaper and more efficient. It was the dawn of a new era that transformed business as well as society – it was the begin of the industrial revolution. Today nobody will neglect this very clear observation.

Today, we can see many new steam machines. A global internet connecting people, information and hardware. Smartphones with insane technology. Mobile networks with data speed beyond land line connections. CPUs double their speed every two years. These are not one steam machine. Today, a dozen of transform-class technologies are on the way to shape our landscape of life and business. And all those technologies come simultaneously.

Those technologies already transform societies and markets and well – customers. 10 years ago customers had no chance to make enough pressure on business regarding product wishes – today customers can bypass businesses by crowdfunding their own idea and select for a business partner. Markets are being reshaped in no time – airbnb did not invent to rent a bed, but they reinvented the way how to rent a bed. Uber did not invent the taxi-service. They reshape how this business is done powered by digital technology.

Those technologies will grow into every part of our business life because there is a simple but true paradigm: “everything that can be digitized will be digitized“. And that is even true for the core of every company. Digitalization even affects your business model.  Beyond that, with digital technologies it is even possible to create new business models. Not convinced yet? Then investigate on Amazon kindle, Apple itunes, Paypal and so on. Even the producing industry is not in a save place. Todays megatrend in the industry is called industry 4.0 which deals with connectivity between machines, workpieces and humans.

Beyond all business-model views, your workforce is currently being transformed, too. Just in that second. Or do you think that their usage of Whatsapp, Weibo, Wechat, Facebook and many other digital tools does not affect them? Sure, it does affect them very much. To make the picture complete, younger generations who now enter business seeking for a new sense in their work. Just giving them a target and say “go!” make them only leave your company.

So here is the summary of why your company needs a chief digital officer: Digitalization will come to your business model. And if not you do that, another company will do. So here is the big task: You have to transform your company to meet the needs of digitally enhanced or even purely digital business models. Therefore you need a strategy first. But don´t forget a very valid sentence from Mr. Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

Image converted using ifftoany

Building strategy, enhance the business model, develop the company culture – seems to be a CEO-job, doesn´t it? OK but there is a big challenge. As the transformation ahead is based on digital technology, you need to have a deep understanding of technology and the intersection with humans, culture and strategy. And this is not a part-time job. This is why I call the Chief Digital Officer into the C-suite.

In my next blog-post in this series, I will dive into the “what” of the Chief Digital Officer and give a frame to his responsibilities and tasks.


Review HR tech 2015: HR and the digital transformation

Joachim Heinz


I was visiting the HR Tech 2015 in London as speaker and, well, visitor. So I had the chance to listen to some keynotes and panels as well as running a presentation and getting valuable feedback on the activities we do. Key question for me was: How is HR coping with digital transformation in UK?

The first thing I noted after two keynotes on Tuesday refers to the storyline that is being told. “As the world becomes a network, the only way to survive as a company is to become a network, too”. The keynoters took parallels of different perspectives. One was the military: The “big” forces of US had to learn, that their hierarchical command-structure was not effective against network-oriented war-groups. So the US forces had to learn first to behave the same way. The key message of the morning has been: “The network always wins”. Now the question came up: What do companies need to do in order to develop into a “networked company?”. The given answers directed all in a similar direction: Companies need to understand this journey as an organizational development. I agree 100% to this!

With those impressions I can do a comparison to a similar event I visited a few weeks before in Germany. To be honest, the discussion in the german HR conference was really confusing. Somehow all digital topics such as big data, social technology, transformational leadership and “that twitter thing” were completely mixed up. In comparison to the HR event in London I could not see a red line in the story of the digital transformation.

So does that mean that HR in UK is on track regarding digital transformation? Well it would be overbearing if I give an answer here so I just give an estimation: I have seen a storyline thoughout the entire day of “transformation towards a networked company” and how digital elements play a role in there. That was good to see, even if many questions remain open.

Business view: From weak social networks to real social system power

Joachim Heinz


A system is a great thing. I love to think in systems. Systems can be small – for example a coffee-machine. You put water and coffee-powder in. Some seconds later fresh coffee comes out. Systems can be huge – the weather is a system too. Well there are many more inputs than a coffee machine needs, but there is also an output – rain, sunshine, fog, storm.

Companies are a system too. There is a lot of input (customer demands, markets, raw material etc). Then the company is adding value (hopefully…). The output of the company is a great product or service that customers can buy. If the customer does not buy the stuff, the system dies and will be replaced by another system. Simple but true this theory is.

Let´s stay with the business perspective. There is a big challenge upcoming for every business: The world changes faster than ever, driven by global networks and global communication. The result is a business environment that is something like a brain. So companies now need to connect with that brain. That is very difficult if your company is set up as hierarchical machine. Or even worse: If your company is set up as a command-and-control like “stone”. This structure cannot be connected with a brain – neither on input- nor on output-side.

Männer im ZahnradSo the question is – how can you transform your machine-like setup of your company into a vibrating brain-like network, which is able to react very fast to “input” from the fast-changing markets and build output, that makes your connected customers cheer out loud?

So your company is a machine, and this is as said a system. Your company is made of your associates, managers, processes, guidelines, organization and technology. Maybe there are some more parts of the machine, but these are the main building blocks. And the oil for this machine is communication – restrictive top-down, with the function of oil where needed on the machine and hidden in millions of emails and documents on restricted and thus useless (internal!) shares.

In order to change and improve things, for the last 10 years more and more companies invested a lot of money in social networks to improve their internal collaboration. Companies tried to achieve more transparency and very often failed. They asked for internal crowd sourcing, but internal structures blocked good ideas. Today it seems that technology won´t help alone.


Business TechnologyLet´s have a again a look at the system. IT technology is only one out of six building blocks of your company. You need to transform the other five building blocks too; otherwise the power of the social network just has no chance to raise. As we talk of the six building blocks associates, managers, guidelines, organization, processes and IT – you now understand, why it is so hard and challenging to become a real social, connected company. Because you need to address all the other parts, too. We talk of an operation on the open heart.

So what are the advantages in case you achieve to transform your company into a modern, networked and social organization? The biggest advantage: Your company will survive. Don´t laugh at me – heavyweights like Kodak and Nokia did not transform and now they are gone – in no time!

But there are much more advantages of becoming a connected company: Associates with responsibilities will show a greater engagement. Transparent communication enables transparent knowledge access. Self-organizing teams speed up collaboration. And guidelines which foster trust shorten decision times. Isn´t that a terrific place to work at? Yes! So start today to build your social system and release the power of networks in your company.

The death of the classic org chart: How the connected world transforms your current company setup

Joachim Heinz


children on playgroundWithout any doubt, the world gets a hyperconnected place – a global network, exchanging more information and data every day. Step by step, “everything” gets connected by the global network, empowering new business models and transforming customers and markets.

Observed from a very high perspective this means that customers and markets become something like a brain – a huge network with small and big hubs. A network that is able to adapt to trends very fast and absorb new ideas and behaviors quickly. A network which generates more innovation faster and faster. A network which creates more disruptive power than ever a change before was able to.

The newspapers are full of those “disruptive news”. Think of Nokia: In 2007, Apple presented the iPhone. In 2014, Nokia was sold to Microsoft. Think of the book-stores: The e-book ecosystem was launched only a few years before – now a whole business area is in trouble. And the current big thing is 3D-printing: Think of service trucks, equipped with a 3D-printer to deliver spare parts on demand. This is why logistic companies get nervous. Powered by the network scaling effects of the Internet, young and small start-ups suddenly are able to crush existing business-models in no time.

Same change appears by having a look on the customers and markets. The modern customer is equipped with a smart-phone and socially connected, using networks for spreading news and information with his peers world-wide. The connected customer lives in that brain.

And with this existing connected customer and the new business models, which are part of a global brain, the problem for your company gets visible as one big question: Are you ready for being a part of the brain?

Trying to answer this question, let´s have a look on the very core of every company: The org chart (hopefully the result of the running business model). And in 99,999% of all companies I bet the org chart looks like this:

OrgChart_ClassicThis kind of structure is a great thing, isn´t it? It looks like things are clear: clear tasks, clear setup. Built for yesterdays business models. And the org chart is run by a huge set of rules, people running functions, seen as resources and led by managers, not leaders.

Well this setup was right for yesterday – in the pre-Internet time, as market and customer behavior was clear and “slower”. But today, we have connected customers who ask for innovation faster and faster, and markets changing with the speed of light.

So, is an org chart with all the constraints as we all know still the best idea? How long does it need to restructure parts of the classic org chart trying to adapt to the upspeeding markets? One year? Two years? And where are your customers and your markets then? So here we are: The death of the classic org chart because it represents yesterdays world.

Let´s come back to the connected world. Well if the world behaves more and more like a giant brain, your company should do that, too. Act like a network. Flexible. Fast. Adaptive. Responsive. So let´s forget the “chart” thing, because a chart only shows the current state. But we already learned that we do not need another “fixed chart” that cannot be changed fast enough to match the customers` requirements.

We need something like a “dynamic org map” that does not show a current state of the business organization, but gives an overview of how to deal with a customer and where to get support and services to fulfill the customer needs.

What enables the dynamic org map to gain speed and stay flexible like a brain?

  • The teams in the dynamic map are able to decide.
  • There is an underlying strategy for the teams and a set of few guidelines.
  • Customer orientation is the prerequisite for the entire company.

For sure, this dynamic map puts most companies on the head. But if they do not do this on their own, the markets will do. And in the second case, it might not have a good end.

As the world becomes something like a brain, the only logic step for companies is to transform into a brain node, constantly fed by external information and built-in ability of adaption of their business models.

There are a few best practices I have discovered so far. One of them is the Haier company. In 2005 the CEO decided to go an entirely new way of setting up the company: Putting customer satisfaction and interaction in the core of his strategy. In my words: The CEO was looking for the closest connection to the global brain. So he threw away his classic pyramidal org chart and build a company based on dynamic teams. Here is more of this stuff.

Staying in the current company setup has of course a target, too: Your company will end up as a dinosaur – being a part of tomorrow: In the museum of organizational structures for slow-moving industrial markets of the past.

Photo © Mog DDL –

The simple rule for balance of work and life

Joachim Heinz


harmonySince the rise of the digital age and the various possibilities of access to the work place, many people say that the work-time melts together with life-time. Many people say that the borders between work and home begin to blur.

If the border blurs, does this mean that you get lost in work? Do you really need to jump to your smartphone whenever it sends a signal? Is it really necessary to check mails every 5 minutes and get the work done?

I have three small kids. If I go with them to the playground I can observe many daddies who do two things in parallel: On the one side they “enjoy the time with their kids” as they say and on the other side, I see that they look more in their smartphone than they interact with their kids. If this is their understanding of “blurring borders” between work and life, I feel sad.

Of course, work needs to be done in time. And I am open to work on saturdays or sundays if there is need to do so. But my interpretation of the “blurring border between work and home” is a very different one:

I choose where I work – at home or at the office or elsewhere.
I have clear rules to keep the things separated: No smartphone on the playground except to make a nice photo. Vice versa, no kids in my homeoffice if I want to work.
I have a clear balance between work and non-work time. I say “balance” – sometimes I work way more, sometimes family-time has higher priority.

I observe that many working people become enslaved by smartphones and VPN powered notebooks. To work “anywhere and anytime” is greatly misunderstood as “I have to work anywhere and anytime”. But there is one single and simple rule not to get lost in work: Define your schedule of “anywhere and anytime” once and stick to it. This rule is very simple but also very hard to keep. You will see that there are many possibilities to take out your smartphone and check for information. The real challenge is to concentrate on what are you doing in the moment. This challenge will go on your entire life.

A Zen-master was asked by his student about his source of magic wisdom and so the Zen-master said:”If I go, I go. If I eat, I eat. If I sleep, I sleep. But you, Zen-student, if you go, you think of the next meal, and if you want to sleep, you think on anything else but sleep”.
If you are with your kids on the playground, fully concentrate on your kids and play with them. And if you are at work, fully concentrate on work. In both cases you will earn a much better result and your kids say “thanks” in their heart and their smile is a real one.

Learning from Guide Michelin awarded chefs about leadership

Joachim Heinz


Cooking trainingYesterday I found an interesting article in the german economy newspaper “Handelsblatt”. Handelsblatt did an interview with the head-chef Christian Jürgens about his job, his 3rd Guide Michelin star and his understanding of leadership. It is astonishing how this guy changed from boss to leader in order to achieve better results with his team. Learn how he did that.

I have deep respect of star chefs in large and high quality restaurants. They produce awesome dinings for dozens or hundred people in the same time. They act like orchestra conductors, they need fantasy and expert knowledge about any kind of food. And they need a high-performance team in order to run the kitchen. A real high performance-team with high-skilled experts for meat, dessert, vegetables and so on. So how do you get highest performance out of the team?

Like a boss
Let´s come back to Christian. In the beginning of his job he said in the interview “he was something like “friendly-aggressive””. He thought he knows everything best and told the team members in harsh words about the “what” and the “how” of their work. Like a boss. Well this produces fire under the team members and for a while they run because they become afraid of the fire under them. The problem is that this behavior directly leads into nowhere: What if the team members need more push? As a boss you need to make more fire. It ends up in either the crash of the team or burn-outs.

A better way in leading
It seems that our star chef recognized that his way of “friendly-aggressive knowing everything best” is not the best way. So he began to work on his leadership style. He learned to behave more like a trainer. A trainer is not the best expert in meat or vegetable – the team member has this task. But a trainer knows the cooking strategy best. The trainer has the best overview. And the most important task of a trainer is to coach and support his players on the field to become the best experts in meat, dessert and vegetables. He produces fire “in” the team members by showing that they are important to the entire strategy and for the success. And this kind of fire is a long-lasting and motivating kind of fire – it activates passion and trust.
But there was one big challenge for our Michelin star chef Christian.

To transform from “expert-behaving boss” to a “motivational leader” you need to accept that you are not the best expert in everything any more. Your team members will be. You have to be clear that by supporting your best team members they may leave your team because they became successful and visible to others.
A boss primarily cares for his own success and glory. A leader primarily cares for the success of the team members. Between this step is your ego – Christian worked on his self-understanding and achieved to make the hard way towards leadership.

But isn´t that the highest achievement in leadership life to make other people successful and support their lives? My congratulations to his courage to go this way.


More similar stuff:

Source: “Das ist hier kein Heile-Gänschen-Kurs” Handelsblatt 28.02.2014 Interview with Christian Jürgens.

About technology, socbiz trends and a dream – my summary of the IBM Connect 2014

Joachim Heinz


Again I am travelling to Orlando. Again IBM runs the big conference on social business and related stuff. And again I learned a lot about new technologies, built new contacts and worked on new ideas. But something made me think. It is about the dream that I work for. So let´s jump into the plane and lift off to Florida.


Before we dive into the learning of this year’s conference, let´s have a look on the general opening session. With this session in the early morning, IBM kicks off the conference. The American Authors – a young but already famous group in US – rocked the stage at eight o´clock in the morning. I wonder whether those guys were booked with an early bird discount.


One of the first eye catchers was the conference slogan itself. It was interesting to see how IBM begins to move away from the term “social business”. Maybe they have seen too that this term is also used in a completely different way? Or they see that “social” is connected with “Facebook” in too many top manager brains due to the early days where “social” was the idea of using Web2.0 technology which was misunderstood as “Facebook to run the company”? So IBM called the conference vision “Energizing life´s work” and I like this sentence. It is more focused on people and about the power and business value of “social” and does not touch the “Facebook” button inside top managers’ heads.

So for 2014 I had three big to-dos on my conference activity list:

  • Learn about social technology news and strategies
  • Connect to other companies which go social
  • Run my presentation

News about technology

What have I learned about IBMs strategy for social technologies in the next years? Two activities are interesting.

The core idea of IBM for future social tools from users point of view seems to melt down the information overload by bringing together main communication paths like mail and social together on one dashboard. And to achieve this, IBM announced whith this core capability of the dashboard. The blog entries from digitalnaiv and CMSwire dive deeper into that topic.

Second one is the long-term view of analytics and the new Watson foundations. There was a slide (also can seen in the blog post of digitalnaiv) where big-data services may be run by Watson foundation. So I am not an expert here but Watson is the “computer” who is able to win Jeopardy and chess games because he works “cognitive”. That´s quite interesting and looking on the entire stack in that blog post, it seems as IBM builds something like an operating system for networked companies.

What do the others do?

The second big to-do was to meet many other leaders of social business (ehm?) programs of other companies and exchange with their activities and challenges. And I did my best to talk to as many as possible people. Well, many of them asked me to keep their exchange confidential, so I am not able to spread my learnings here transparently. But trying to summarize the activities I think I can see the following trends:

  • All companies who are in a “mature” stage meaning using social networks for +2-3 years are now in front of a big challenge: What is the business case of this activity? And with business case I mean business case. Which additional earnings or savings does a company have by becoming social? I see that the answer to this question will be one of the big challenges the next years.
  • Most of the companies I spoke at least understood that becoming “social” is way more than rolling out technology. There are already many companies that run activites to shift their leadership or even tune their company values.
  • On technology side more and more companies focus more on IT integration of the social platform. That is good news, because a good IT integration is a prerequisite to a good user adoption.

All-in-all I saw a growing awareness in the fact that “going social” is not a funky idea any more but becomes a serious business driver. But the question of the business case needs to be answered, otherwise this topic may get in trouble.

Being on stage

IBM_2014_speakerreadyMy third big activity was my presentation of the social business program of Bosch, the company that I work for. I was quite a little bit nervous because for this presentation I build an entire new slide deck. But all-in-all, it worked well and I had great fun with the audience (and hopefully the audience with me, too :-)).


The dream

IBM_Connect_2014_WorklifeSo times went by very fast. Many conversations done, great ideas collected. Then I had this one moment of AHA. It was short before I left the conference. I wondered the whole days what the slogan “Energizing life´s work” may mean to me. And then I stumbled upon this poster:

Ouch, this made me think – think very hard. And I thought about the dream that I work for. Since many years I dream of a company where people run processes, not the other way round. I dream of a company that sees the human as potential, not as a resource. I dream of a company that gives the associates the groundwork to develop themselves best. I am convinced that this is the meaning of “social business”. And this is my big dream.

Thanks, conference trip, to make me again aware of this.


Update: My summary on of this presentation is ready.

My prediction of social business trends in 2014

Joachim Heinz


Future lookHello new year, you already have send your first signals out to what may happen. As 2014 knocks at the door, it is time to have a look into the possible future and make some predictions of the social business trends that I think will rise.

First prediction: First good answers on benefit of social

Looking into the scene of social business, more and more projects get in trouble because of the still not clear answered question: “Where the heck is the benefit of social”. We all know many possible arguments. They start at “if we do not…” and end in “well we work faster…”. It is an old discussion. But I am convinced: It is a clear trend – either the business benefit can be clearly pointed out, or many social business projects will die because they cannot show the benefit. I think one answer lays in the processes – they drive the company, so there´s the benefit. Improve and socialize business processes could be an answer but is a tough challenge.

Second prediction: Social collaboration with customers and partners on the rise

Come on, let´s talk about value chains. If you work internally on a social tool you can tune the value chain. But what about your partners and customers? Does it make sense to build huge internal social platforms but working together with partners and customers mail-based? Simple answer: No. So here I see another trend for 2014: I think many companies will test this kind of collaboration with customers and partners. And by doing so, the value chain gets even more tuned.

Third prediction: IT integration learns to walk

There are many blogs out there that tell about the importance of fully integrated social platforms. But as I look in those companies that I am aware of, I see only few integration efforts. Very often the business value is not clear. Why integrate a CRM? Why integrate ALM? Here we come back to the understanding, that value add can be generated if you tune your processes- therefore you need integration. So my prediction here is: We will see more and more good IT integrations. They learn to walk.

Fourth prediction: Engagement becomes a VIP

Here comes my fourth prediction and with this one, we have the first VIP – Very Important Program – it is “engagement” for your social business activities. I am fully convinced in this point: You need to have a tailored motivational concept in place for your users. You need to show them the benefit. You need to help them through the first days. Again and again. A network does not live without a strong heartbeat. My prediction: We will see much more good engagement programs this year as social business managers learn the value of those activities.

All in all there is a clear shape towards more professional social business activities. I see that more and more companies have the understanding of business process “socializing”, they understand the value of transparent information networks. But the way to “social” is still challenging and will also have some nice obstacles in 2014. But I am convinced: There is no way without “social” or “2.0” for the companies any more. Try to leave this topic on your own risk…

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