As “digital transformation” starts taking concrete form across various industries, a recent article published by Adweek discussing the state of digital transformation in the manufacturing industry sheds light on an interesting point, one that is highly critical to the success of technology investments made in this industry; the need to manage the flow of information produced by these technologies, throughout the organization in real-time, and on an ongoing basis. This need for information crosses business functions. From engineers needing feedback from customers in real-time to having various company offices, including subsidiaries, all in sync with relevant information across the organization on a daily basis. The key to reaping the benefits of these technology investments is to ensure that the wealth of data and information provided by them actually ends up in the hands of those that will benefit from that information. Hence the need for a transformation in employee communications. It is necessary for information to be gathered from all sources, centralized and made available throughout the organization and its extended entities, in a personalized and relevant fashion. What better way to do this than launching an employee advocacy program, with the use of an employee advocacy platform, to do just that?
Adweek addresses “5 market forces” that highlight the need for information gathering, organization, and distribution in order to be more productive (and competitive) in today’s connected world. Each force implies the need for an employee advocacy platform to benefit from the information flow. These 5 forces are as follows:
1. Mobile and social
2. Evolving customer expectations
3. Big Data, IoT, and era of context
4. Value of extended enterprise
5. Hybrid cloud infrastructure
Each of these points (elaborated in more detail here), all reveal a need for managing and distributing (to multiple stakeholders) real-time data. Looking at mobile and social and evolving customer experiences, both concern connecting external actions (demands, inquiries problems) quickly to those that can address them directly within the organization. This ultimately speeds up response time and lives up to customer expectations, which are continually rising. Today, a customer expects that a direct message on Twitter or Facebook about a problem with a product or service, regardless of the type of company (manufacturing included), will be responded to by the appropriate person to help with the problem. On the company side, this information needs to be transferred to the correct person in real-time, so that the problem can be addressed. At times it is also beneficial to involve an engineer who can understand customer problems directly in any context as well as a customer service or client success manager.
An Informed Workforce
While the customer’s expectations to have immediate responses and the ability to respond in real time are important, problems in which more than one employee needs to be involved in order to find a solution can take time. It’s here where having an employee advocacy platform plays an important role. Although the tweet/message may be managed by a customer service representative for the end response to the consumer, the tweet/message can also be directly remounted onto a specific customer service channel on your employee advocacy platform that will be visible to the product engineers concerned with the product in question, allowing a quicker response time, greater collaboration, and a fully informed team. The need for this information across devices is inherent, especially for concerned employees that are often traveling or offsite. An employee advocacy platform allows all employees, no matter where they are, access to time-sensitive and important information.
Points 4 and 5 are interesting in that they point to more internal communications management and /or partner communications management challenges. A prominent communications challenges in manufacturing is the extended enterprise; a web of entities that may or not be directly tied to a central governing entity. The issue is that these separated entities miss out on information going on at other entities, which may impact their productivity. If there is a manufacturing problem, a crisis, a stock issue, etc… it is important that all entities in the company have access to this information in real-time, even if only in a superficial (non-detailed) format. Having an employee advocacy platform synchronized across the organization can provide dedicated channels to manufacturing or production teams, committed to transferring and sending posts or updates centering around internal news and issues. The same scenario can apply to supply chain partners, and so on. Moreover, syncing this platform to a cloud enables easy access and login features across offices, regions, and countries.
The Practicality of an Employee Advocacy Program and Platform
The bottom line is employee advocacy as a program and a robust employee advocacy platform are designed not only to engage employees in sharing content about their job and expertise, as well as promoting the company to their connections; they are also designed to optimize information flow so that employees receive the particulars they need to be more productive. The information itself can come in a variety of formats and sources. From educational content to practical customer feedback, the right employee advocacy platform will place the user at the center of the information experience. Information to educate, information to promote and be proud to share on social media, information interesting for potential customers, information that is relevant to current tasks at hand, information that promotes unity and brand identity in a web of subsidiaries, information that allows employees to bond with the employee community and/or its partners, and so on.
As the industry and consumers continue to evolve the need for a solution to manage an increasing information flow in an efficient, relevant and organized manner will continue to grow. It is important for companies in all industries that plan on investing in technology or that have already, think about managing the information flow these new technologies produce.
Read the Adweek article here.