The Social Business Train Is Leaving The Station: Are You On It?

Social Business I expect the Social Business topic to be among the most talked about trends in 2011…and all that buzz is justified.    In fact, the buzz will kickoff next week as IBM conducts it’s Social Business Jam February 8-11, 2011.  I’ll post more about the Jam next week, but for now, head on over to http://www-01.ibm.com/software/info/social_business_jam/ and register for the Jam. 

Social collaboration is changing the way business is being conducted. Enterprise processes are being transformed by social technologies. Over the next 10-15 years, social computing capability will becomes part of every business function within the company.  I fully expect that social capabilities will become embedded in every single website, computing device for every participant in every single business transaction. 

In the future, all participants involved in a company’s business processes and transactions will have the ability to share content, comment on content, rate/vote on content, and collaborate in an open and sharing environment.  In addition, all this social activity will generate data that will be mined and analyzed in both batch and in real-time.  The insights generated will be a critical input into all business processes, including research, product development, marketing, sales, technical support, and even business processes like accounting, procurement, and legal. 

Since social will eventually be embedded in every business process and transaction workflow, social computing capability will need to be a critical part of every business application.  As a result, I expect entire business application suites will be rewritten to make use of social collaboration features.

Analyst Perspectives

“The social business model is changing the way companies generate and conduct business online, and IDC believes that this model will have a long-lasting impact“ – IDC (link)

“Social Technologies Will Drive The Next Wave Of BPM Suites” – Forrester (link)

“Just as the Internet had a disruptive impact on organizations' processes and business models at the beginning of the decade, today social media is changing the way business is conducted”. – Gartner (Link)

“Business application vendors are integrating social features into their applications and the dividing lines between transactional tools and social environments are fading.” – Gartner (Link)

“To optimize investments, competencies, and outcome, it is essential that enterprises establish a shared understanding of social technologies and trends, coordinate strategies and initiatives, and leverage investments.“ – Gartner (Link)

Implications

  • This will require a cultural transformation within most older, established companies.
  • Business leaders must realize that 80% of success of social business efforts will come from strategy, planning, roles, and processes — only 20% will come from the technology platform.
  • The path to a Social Business requires definition, education, and career paths.
  • Centralized implementation may be required for company-wide social tools, standards, policies and practices
  • Social capabilities will become embedded in every single website, computing device for every participant in every single business transaction. 

An important thing to realize is that the success of implementing social technologies into mature businesses will be how well business leaders can lead a cultural transformation in order to leverage these new social technologies.  Business leaders must realize that 80% of success of social business efforts will come from strategy, planning, roles, and processes — only 20% will come from the technology platform. All these new capabilities will require new Career Paths and Education tailored to the new social technologies. 

The Social Business Train Is Leaving The Station….are you on it yet?

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