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You've gone through the vetting process. You've established clear goals and benchmarks for what you want the social tools to do. You've held training sessions, identified early adopters, everything is in place. But then comes the crucial question: what comes next?

This week our experts looked into what it takes to be a social business beyond the technology, exploring the fundamental cultural changes that need to take place before your business becomes truly social. We also heard some different methods being used to capture audiences, identified drivers in choosing cloud solutions and pondered the future of risk management.

What Comes Next?

Managing the Transition to Social Business

Harold Jarche (@hjarche): What's working in social business in 2012? Technology sales, marketing campaigns and the speakers circuits are doing well. Implementation and organizational change are lagging far behind.

Like the knowledge management and e-learning hype phases of the 90's and '00's respectively, social business is being led by software vendors. Some are even the same vendors that MIT's Peter Senge said co-opted the field of knowledge management. I watched as e-learning moved from hope for ubiquitous learning, to the overproduction of self-paced online courses, also known as "shovelware."

Want to Be a Social Business? The 9 Boxes You Need to Check

Deb Lavoy (@deb_lavoy): If you are reading this, then you have probably been thinking about and working toward incorporating social technologies and philosophies into your business (or other people’s) for a couple of years. There is endless material on the topic available for your reading and viewing pleasure.

It can be complicated. It can be overwhelming. But it can also be fairly straightforward if you think about it from the right perspective. This is a list designed to help get that straightforward perspective -- to take stock before diving deep into the details.

Enterprise 2.0 in 2012: Asking the Right Questions

Barry Schaeffer: What’s working today in Enterprise 2.0? I knew this article would be a challenge, but I was unprepared for the challenge inherent in just getting the terms right. To begin with, what is Enterprise 2.0?

MIT’s Andrew McAfee coined the term in 2006, describing it as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.”

That definition describes a process -- “use of” -- but doesn’t help much with what a successful end result might be.

Social Platforms Create Socially Enabled Applications

Tom Petrocelli (@tompetrocelli): You’ve Got a Friend in Me” — Randy Newman, Toy Story

Just a little while ago, the main way to add social features to an application was to build them by hand. That required coding the microblogging, activity streams and file sharing features. The only other option was to embed a link to an existing standalone social tool, but that method eliminated any real connection between the social tools and the application.

Mobile Means Business

Henrietta Akpata: Mobile technologies are an essential part of business today. Although at times they can be disruptive, they have become key transformation tenets in and around social businesses.

Close to 90 percent of the world population has mobile phones. Mobile devices are both consumers and producers of big data. They are responsible for a growing portion of big data information: generating GPS signals, photos, videos, Web clicks, text chats and so on.

Storytelling, Soccer Stadiums, Self-Service: The Art of Reaching the Customer

The Art of Storytelling in Our Digital Age

Erick Mott (@creatorbase): When you hear the word “storytelling” it may evoke memories of sitting around a campfire listening to tales of things that go thump in the night. Or maybe it reminds you of news shows like 60 Minutes and all the drama that comes from this sort of investigative reporting.

Whatever thoughts the word “storytelling” inspires, it often comes with a flood of emotion or experiences that reminds you of a particular time or situation in your life.

Big Data Presents New Challenges for Online Publishers

John Baker (@digirati_tweets): Big data is changing online publishing. As a result of this growing phenomenon, publishers are now facing four key challenges and exploring new ways to tackle them. 

The challenges:

  • Transitioning from content to data and analysis as the prime source of value to customers
  • Introducing analytics to drive content monetization, advertising revenues, personalization and improved overall UX
  • Delivering a consistent, tailored and immersive user experience to multiple devices
  • Connecting data silos in order to fully unlock their value to customers.

The Rise of Customer Self-service

JR Sloan: The Internet, IVRs and most recently mobile apps have made self-service a more viable option than ever before. Done right, self-service can be a fantastic option for the under 40s crowd that will often pick quicker, remote technologies than the time-consuming effort of real human interaction. Done wrong, it can be a deal-breaker.

Can Advertisers Score on Social Media?

Virginia Backaitis: General Motors caused a tremor last month when it pulled its paid banner ads from Facebook. Because the timing of the news was so close to the social networking site’s IPO, there wasn’t much talk about what the world’s largest automaker’s decision might signal about the effectiveness of ads on social media as a whole, or whether other brands are likely to reconsider their social spends.

Web Experience: In Defense of the Committee

Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern): The brilliance of the individual and the stupidity of the group or committee is one of the most poisonous ideas in modern society.

Scandinavians are very much a consensus-driven people. They discuss a lot. Managers are not supposed to impose their will but rather encourage consensus. What an awful place. Their companies must be a joke, their societies a shambles; because we all know that anything that involves — snigger, snigger — a committee must result in total stupidity.

Except that they're not of course. Scandinavian societies are the most healthy, wealthy, best educated and most equal on earth. Are they perfect? Of course not. Because there is no such thing as perfection, just an endless work in progress.

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Customers Through Case Management

Deb Miller (@debsg360): "It’s about honoring the customers’ time.” Director, Customer Care

I have been immersed in the world of process improvement, BPM and case management for years now, and over that time have heard any number of reasons WHY the discipline and its related technologies are valuable. Well, I just heard the best reasons EVER at the 2012 US Gartner BPM Summit in Baltimore.

Search, Access, Security of Information Assets

SharePoint 2010 Search: Relevance, Refinement, People

Jennifer Mason (@jennifermason): This is the fifth article in this series “What is This SharePoint Thing All About Anyway?” In previous articles we have discussed all of the great ways that you can add content to SharePoint and now we are going to highlight the powerful Search features available to help you access and locate the data once it exists within the site.

SharePoint on Mobile Devices: The Options

Richard Paterson (@richcp): Every other day I get asked "What's the best way to expose my SharePoint portal on a mobile?"

The truth is, there is no one size fits all solution.

There are however a set of technologies and techniques available to us now that allows us to tackle different scenarios. Out of the box mobile views in SharePoint, Responsive Design, Mobile Web Apps and even native apps are all options and are all equally valid solutions for specific requirements. I'll cover each in turn and attempt to bring some clarity to mobile access and SharePoint.

In the Cloud, Price is Secondary to Performance

David Politis (@davepolitis): The battle between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 rages on. Google has the upper hand today, with millions of businesses, government agencies and educational institutions as clients. But Microsoft, which has owned the desktop for decades, isn’t giving up without a fight.

Does the Future Hold a Bigger, Better Role for Risk Management?

Norman Marks (@normanmarks): A report from Accenture, "The Changing Face of Risk Management," talks about how risk management within financial services firms (with a focus on insurance) is changing — and in my opinion, in a very positive way.

Will other industries follow this lead?

Check in again next week when we hear more thoughts on what's working in Social Business and common mistakes being made in Web CMS (hint: big mistake? Not having a Web CMS). See you then!