Welcome to a new month and a new theme here at CMSWire. We're getting extra social this September by focusing on Social Business. Think you know what it means? Our experts are betting you don't.
Deb Lavoy (@deb_lavoy): "Social Business" is not about technology, or about "corporate culture." It is a sociopolitical historical shift that is bigger, broader and much more fascinating.
A new perspective is changing how we think about society, politics, interpersonal relationships, science, government and business. New approaches are emerging. Learning and self-expression are exploding. Values are changing. Leadership is changing. The economy is changing. Change itself is changing — it is accelerating and becoming the norm.
Jacob Morgan (@jacobm): When you hear “social business,” what comes to mind? Perhaps you think of a company that uses social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to engage with customers? Maybe you imagine a company that uses internal collaboration platforms to connect employees together? Still, maybe you picture a company that uses both, social media platforms to engage with customers and internal collaboration platforms to connect employees? What’s the difference between social business and Enterprise 2.0? What about social media? Social CRM? Social collaboration?
Tim Zonca: We’ve been down this road before. A disruptive technology comes along, upending the status quo and delivering significant improvements in enterprise productivity. Eager to catch the wave, legacy providers give their products a makeover, adding some new features and re-positioning them as next-generation solutions.
The motivations are understandable. Vendors want to rejuvenate aging products, and customers want to squeeze more utility from existing investments. Sometimes the bolt-on strategy buys a little time. But in the long run, it usually comes up short, as retrofits yield to purpose-built solutions, designed from the ground up to tackle a new set of challenges.
IT is in the midst of a transition, from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0, or as Geoffrey Moore puts it, from “systems of record” to “systems of engagement." (See also Moving Beyond Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement, Dachis Group report, June 8, 2011). And that requires more than incremental improvements.
Joe Shepley (@joeshepley): I’m excited about this month’s theme, because, to me, it gets at the heart of the matter for all organizations that want to take social media seriously: if using social media doesn’t lead directly to tangible financial gains for the organization (making more money or saving more money), then scrap it and do something else. Likes, followers, shares, positive mentions, blah blah blah — none of these are valuable in and of themselves; they only have value if they lead to selling more stuff or making more money off the stuff you already sell.
This isn’t rocket science, of course; it’s called managing a P&L, and successful businesses have been doing it for a while now. And in the brave new world ushered in by the advent of social media, nothing’s really changed in how organizations should manage their P&Ls — although you wouldn’t know it by the almost mystical tones in which most folks talk about social media and its effect on organizations.
What I want to do here, in contrast, is to bring us back down to earth a bit and treat social media like any other tool organizations use to improve their business by walking through some ways to describe social media’s affect in hard, rather than soft, terms.
Oscar Berg (@oscarberg): Many organizations, enterprise software vendors not the least, have treated employees and consumers as discrete categories of people, almost as if they were different species. The truth is, of course, that we are both employees and consumers depending on the context.
During recent years, we have seen how our changed attitudes and behaviors as individuals when it comes to information seeking, sharing, communication and socializing with people are also affecting our attitudes and behaviors at work. Although we often find ourselves being held back by legacy IT and existing power structures, as well as by old habits and the dominating communication culture, we expect to be treated in the same way and have access to the same IT superpowers at work as we have as consumers.