For the last 6 months I’ve been having regular discussions with Bruce Elgort on the subject of Social Software in business. Bruce is in the business of helping companies collect and build ideas. The firm he co-founded, Elguji, is, as the web site masthead says, “Helping Companies Innovate” by offering tools (such as its best-selling IdeaJam) that facilitate collaboration to effectively bring new ideas to market. Together we’ve been looking at the ins-an-outs of deploying social media in a business environment and the earmarks of success. Long story short, we decided to put some of our thoughts down in prose and broadcast it to our readers in a series of blog posts on Social in Business.
Just to be clear, you may have read my recent posts about IBM’s Social Business Gambit and my thoughts about IBM’s new social approach to the collaboration and communications market. These posts are not about that, instead, they are focused on approaches and strategies that businesses can develop as they explore social media in the business environment.
Social in Business Today
Enterprise IT is beginning to move into a formulation phase in the evolution of social tools in business. Recent presentations by research analysts (e.g., Gartner, Forester) and vendors (e.g., IBM) are moving from the question of “What is Social?” to the discussion of “Strategies for Social.” This new conversation indicates that customers are looking beyond the fad and considering how social within the organization might impact them. The perspective is also shifting from external to internal social. If we were to poll most executives on what social is we'd likely get more of an external facing response, such as “brand building” or “customer interfacing”. But as Gartner points out in a recent webinar, “Taking a Strategic Approach Social Media”, there are at least 6 opportunities for what Gartner calls Mass Collaboration by using social inside the business. That list includes:
Gartner also notes that oftentimes when a firm engages in social initiatives, the projects typically take advantage of more than one of these opportunities. Rightfully so, once tools are in place for doing one thing they invariably support other activities. The trick is to identify the most valuable opportunities for the firm and foster their success.
The Mission: Build a Strategy
Agility and versatility in IT environment is the new mission of the IT Operations Manager who is becoming more a solutions architect than an implementer. IBM’s last three annual CIO studies note that along with cost savings innovation is a priority for most organizations. So cost saving and innovation are not mutually exclusive. CIOs see IT delivery as having it all. As Bruce asked me how does the director of it operations do it? How do they keep up?
Overall managers, business and IT, need to consider all the options for social in the business and design a strategy to be successful within the parameters of their business. A strategy will help the organization to understand what needs to be done, how to choose the technologies it will deploy, and guide decision-making. In agile companies strategies are organic and evolve informing modifications while the firm’s needs change. Strategies also serve as an anchor for making sound decisions. If certain assumptions and rational were used to make one decision they can likely be used or modified for future decisions.
More to Come…
We’ll be posting more of these types of topics in the upcoming weeks. We hope these blogs will get you thinking more about the things that we are concerned about. We think the tactical and strategic market knowledge of Elguji and Top Dog is a great combination to help you to kick-start your social in business strategies.
Wed, Apr 4th 2012 6:24p Karen Hobert Consumers really do care about their privacy, according to a Consumer Reports survey: According to a Consumer Reports press release, the national survey found that 71% of respondents said they were very concerned about companies selling or sharing their information about them without their permission. Another 65% of smartphone owners don't like that apps can access their contacts, photos, locations and other data without permission from them. Who knew? ;-) [read] Keywords: blogger
Social in Business: Rubber meet Road
Fri, Mar 16th 2012 11:44a Karen Hobert In this next installment of Social in Business we focus on Strategy. Hopefully the thesis of this post shouldn’t knock your socks off; in a nutshell, businesses need a social software strategy in order for the social in business to be successful at the firm. Want to reach the holy grail of an e-mail free working environment? In reality what you’ll likely find, especially if you do the strategy legwork, is that the goal is not getting rid of e-mail. Rather, the goal is to improve e-mail usa [read] Keywords: blogger
Enterprise Social Networking is More Than Facebook Behind a Firewall
Thu, Mar 8th 2012 1:04p Karen Hobert More input from Brian Solis at Altimeter Group on the "you" in social in business: Everything you see in social networks is unique to you because you are at the center of the entire experience. This is why I lovingly refer to social media as the Egosystem. By design, everything revolves around you. Your friends, co-workers, the businesses and organizations you support, are linked to by you. You have become the ringmaster of your personal connectivity and in many ways, serve as the IT departmen [read] Keywords: blogger
Social in Business: What are we doing here anyway?
Thu, Mar 8th 2012 11:04a Karen Hobert This is the third post in the Top Dog/Elguji Social in Business blog series. The first post was entitled "Social in Business: What we are talking about" and the second was entitled "Social in Business: Build it and they will come (?)". Today we focus on Objectives. So if you’ve followed my blog (or other similar minded bloggers) you’ve likely come across one of my occasional rants about the pitfalls of buying technology for technology’s sake. This is sort of one of those posts in thi [read] Keywords: blogger
Oliver Marks, ZDNet: It's the People, Stupid
Fri, Mar 2nd 2012 1:24p Karen Hobert Another point of view on the people factor of social (or collaboration) in enterprise: There’s plenty of great online and mobile technology available across a wide range of price points for small & medium businesses right up to global enterprises, but none of them will be of much use without successfully motivating your prospective participants to start interacting through these channels Read full article here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/collaboration/its-the-people-stupid/2361 [read] Keywords: collaboration