Social Business Basics Series – Part 2: What Are Use Cases?

December 18, 2014

After giving you a brief overview of social business in the introductory installment of our Social Business Basics Series, we will now begin where we left off in the previous article – breaking internal and external business processes down into use cases. But what are use cases exactly and why are they so crucial to any discussion of social business?

Use cases involve a group of people that carry out actions within a system such as a social software solution in order to create added value for their company. The success of use cases depends on various factors. They must have a clear purpose and solve a problem within the company. But before you can implement use cases it’s necessary to identify a sponsor that will oversee the process and give it authority. Once these conditions are met, it is up to the community manager to guide use-case-related interactions and get community members – who should have clearly defined roles – involved in these interactions in order to generate the desired business value.

There are two types of uses cases. Wide use cases provide a basis for collaboration throughout the entire organization and create added value for the company in that all employees participate in the use cases. Such “open” use cases reach the vast majority of employees and make a completely new level of cross-departmental communication possible. Deep use cases, on the other hand, are related to a single business process. They target specific working groups and teams and provide these employees with support so that they can complete their work. Such “closed” use cases enable companies to significantly boost collaboration and productivity.

But how can I ensure that use cases deliver the promised added value? One way is to use gamification tactics, which we will discuss in detail in our next article.


About the author

Patrick Fähling graduated with a master’s degree in business informatics at the beginning of 2013 and then spent a half-year-long stint working as a social business consultant at a large digital solutions agency in the UK. He has returned to Berlin to strengthen the Pokeshot///SMZ team as a Junior Consultant for Social Business Strategy.