As we approach the end of 2012, it's that time of the year where predictions kick in for the new year ahead of us, especially in the field of Social Business, hoping to set the stage of what's to come in the following months. But when reflecting on what we may have achieved in 2012, I decided to take a different approach: I am focusing on a challenge, an opportunity and a commitment for social networking in 2013 so we can finally realize the business transformation we've been waiting for and anticipating all along.

Social Business in 2013 -- A Challenge

For a good number of years we have witnessed plenty of businesses insisting on blocking the use of social networking tools within the firewall, hoping to stop the use of these social technologies in order to prevent wasted time while at work. This has now essentially backfired, as we have all seen the use of social media tools increasing more and more over time. Erik Qualman recently showed this in the next take of Social Media 2013 video clips.

On its own, this presents a good challenge for Social Business, because as fewer and fewer businesses block social networking tools, knowledge workers have increased their exposure and extended use of social tools in their personal lives, but not in relation to their work. And they would like to keep it this way.

If you take a look into rather revealing elements like Twitter's Trending Topics, Facebook and LinkedIn's timelines, or Trending in Google Plus, you will see how we do have a rather interesting challenge for 2013 where businesses will need to focus not on driving the internal and external adoption of social software, but on strongly convincing their own knowledge workers that social technologies can be used as well as business tools. Right now, we are starting to see how workers remain unconvinced, while being incredibly active on social media from a personal, private perspective.

Social Business in 2013 - An Opportunity

The opportunity for Social Business in 2013 and beyond is going to start with a challenge. A business problem. Actually, the biggest problem the corporate world has faced in decades, which despite the rampant use of social networking tools, we still haven't been able to solve accordingly: employee engagement.

Recent research studies from Deloitte have confirmed how over 70 percent of our employee workforce is disengaged or totally disengaged at work. This is while we have witnessed and experienced the rampant adoption of social networking tools behind the firewall.

How can that be that the surge of social technologies has taken the business world by storm, yet seven out of 10 employees are totally disengaged with their day to day work? The answer is rather simple. We have been missing a huge opportunity in the wider adoption of Social Business within the enterprise.

We have seen where social technologies have been rather successful in communications, marketing, sales, learning, retail, consultancy, research, knowledge sharing, collaboration, customer service and so forth. Yet there is one group that has not been affected by this rampant adoption of social networking tools for business, and which could very well be the main reason why knowledge workers are not engaged at work.