What were some of the key takeaways from Social Business in 2010 and what are some things that we can hope to see in 2011?

What We've Learned From Social

The year is almost over but before we conclude out tumultuous 2010, we should look back at everything we learned in the "social business" space. I'm sure we all have our own individual lessons we can bring with us into the new year. I'm also hoping to see a few things in 2011, which I will discuss below, but first the learnings!

Social Business Trumps All

From attending the barrage of conferences this year and speaking with various vendors and industry folks it became apparent to me that "social business" is the new business. Not Enterprise 2.0, not Social CRM, and not anything else. Sure all of these terms and their respective areas still exist but it seems as though "social business" is the overall direction that we are moving in. In my opinion it's the most widely adopted term that is being used to describe the shift in business that we are seeing today. Jive (and other vendors) made this quite clear at the Enterprise 2.0 conference earlier this year in Santa Clara.

Collaboration Means Success

We've looked at several reports on collaboration (using Web 2.0 tools) within the enterprise over the past few weeks and the unanimous conclusion thus far is that collaboration provides significant measurable business benefits to organizations that deploy the necessary tools (we still need more work done on strategy, change management and culture). These reports along with the over 50+ "enterprise 2.0 case studies and stories that I have compiled over the past few months should provide plenty of ammunition to skeptics. 

Social CRM Means...

Let's be real, everyone wants a piece of the "Social CRM" pie, everyone wants to be known in the industry and to be associated with coining a new term or concept. It's a relatively new space to be in so it makes complete sense that we're seeing so much action around it. The problem is that Social CRM means different things to different people. There are plenty of definitions floating around out there, some of them might make sense to you, others may not.

At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is what you and your organization call "it" and/or do with "it." Social CRM in my opinion has been a bit of an amorphous idea and concept that overlaps with everything that has to deal with running a business. When someone says "sales" or "marketing" most people generally have a good idea of what that is, when someone says "Social CRM" most people either think of "social media" or say they don't know. While I think the topic, the idea and the concept is very interesting, we still have a way to go before Social CRM" becomes more widely understood.

Learning vs Experience

I had a conversation with someone that I truly admire and respect and he told me, "Today things are changing so quickly that it doesn't matter how much knowledge and experience you have, the real value is in your ability to learn." I shared this quote with someone at SAP who agreed but also added, "not only the ability to learn, but to APPLY what you learn." I couldn't agree more. Knowledge and experience are both important but the ability to learn new things and adapt is far more valuable. 

Three Key Areas for Social in 2011

I learned a lot in 2010 but these are some of the things that stood out the most. I'd love to hear about what you learned in 2010 so please leave a comment below. Now let's move on to what I'm hoping for in 2011. There's actually quite a lot I could write here but I'm going to focus on three key areas that I think are pretty important. 

A Focus on Outcomes

I've been spending a lot of time focusing on value based fees for client engagements and the basic tenet of value based pricing is to focus on outcomes and value. I'm hoping that in 2011 we can do a better job of focusing on and continuing to expand the social discussions but as they pertain to specific outcomes. This means moving beyond social media tools, Facebook fans or Twitter followers and looking at business impacts. I think we started to see that happen in 2010 but we're going to see much more of that in 2011.

Guidance not Gurus

This is something I wrote about a few months ago (click the link above) and I'm guilty of it as well. I think as a whole we are spending too much time trying to be gurus and experts on all things "social" and not enough time on guiding and helping clients (potential and current) and people in general understand what social CRM/E2.0/social media/social business/etc is all about or how to strategically look at it. I'm hoping that in 2011 we will shift our focus (I know I'm planning to) to guiding organizations along the social business journey.

Cross Functional Initiatives

When most organizations here the word "social" they immediately think marketing or PR. I'm hoping that in 2011 social initiatives will be looked at as cross function strategic initiatives that don't live in the marketing and/or PR departments (unless that's really all the organizations wants to use them for). 

What about you? What did you learn from the social business space in 2010 and what are you hoping to see moving forward in 2011 (and beyond?)