What’s the elevator pitch for enterprise social tools?


At the Intranet Leadership Forum 2-day intensive in Sydney this week, we had several excellent sessions looking at enterprise social tools. This included case studies from a large bank and an energy company, as well as some vigorous group discussions.

The discussions focused on: what’s the 30-sec elevator pitch for enterprise social tools? Despite the expertise and experience in the room, this turned out to be a hard question to answer!

Bad elevator pitches

At the tables, the first thoughts were to focus on pitches such as:

  • “It’s the new email”
  • it will replace email
  • “It is like … internal Facebook / internal Twitter / etc”
  • it’s a driver for cultural change
  • it’s the next generation of productivity tools
  • it will break down silos
  • it will create cross-functional groups

As a group, we weren’t happy with these pitches. They’re long on jargon, and short on detail. They also only speak to abstract corporate objectives, not real-world motivations.

Better elevator pitches

So we tried harder, and came up with better pitches, including:

  • ask questions, and get answers from across the organisation
  • meet other people with common interests
  • discover valuable information
  • improve productivity, allowing more to be done in difficult times

These are better, but they still don’t speak to the unique strengths of collaboration and social tools. Can’t many enterprise systems claim these benefits? How is this new?

Maybe it’s all about stories

Where we finally came to is the power of stories. Such as:

Let me tell you about something that came up earlier this year. We were chasing a big new customer, and they wanted detailed figures on environmental impact. The standard templates had numbers, but they were all 5 years old. So the team put out a call for help, and within 2 hours, not only did they have the right figures, but a whole new angle for the pitch was identified. On the back of this, we won the job, which was worth $100k. Without the social tools, we’d still be waiting for email responses after the deadline had passed.

These can be used at many points:

  • stories from other organisations, to build a business case
  • stories to explain how to best use social tools
  • stories collected to demonstrate the value of the tools

We had great conversations about this important question, and it shows the value of bringing together different intranet teams to share ideas and approaches.

Want to join in the conversation? Learn more about the Intranet Leadership Forum.

James Robertson
James Robertson is the Managing Director of Step Two, the global thought leaders on intranets, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. James is the author of the best-selling books Essential intranets, Designing intranets and What every intranet team should know. He has keynoted conferences around the globe. (Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+)