Beyond Collaboration: Becoming a Social Business
Megan Moyer 110000GJAE firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social_business collaboration
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It's no secret that the way people communicate, find and share information, and even work has dramatically changed over the past few years. Social networks and social media have forged new connections and while providing new tools for collaboration and access to information. And these tools are finding their way into the workplace as well, with businesses adopting social technology at a rapid pace.
But there's a big difference between social networking and social business. It's one thing to create networks of customers, employees, or partners -- it's quite another to change the processes that run your business, to make them truly social. Let's take the process of development, for example. Organizations that have tapped into the power of social tools are able to link their developers or researchers, no matter where they're located, to enable collaborative development that spans the boundaries of geographic borders or time zones. Developers then have the ability to easily exchange ideas and share input, sparking new innovation and allowing development to happen at a faster pace -- speeding time to market. In this way, it's not just about linking the social network, it's about unlocking the intellectual capital within the network, to connect experts and expertise and capture the interactions, and to enable unprecedented innovation.
Social Business is about more than just collaboration, it's about applying “social” technologies to business processes in order to radically improve the way organizations operate. A Social Business could put social tools in the hands of human resources teams, enabling them to identify and catalog talent and expertise, linking people with the right skills with the right opportunities, when and where they're needed. Plus, HR teams could tap into these social networks to proactively respond to issues before they escalate. This fundamentally changes the way the function works within an organization, for the better.
It also reveals the untapped power of the “data” generated by these connections. Organizations are no strangers to data; it's exploding at an incredible pace. And 80% of this data is unstructured -- like the data from social networks, which could take the form of a conversation among customers on a message board. This represents a daunting challenge for any organization trying to learn from it or use it to make decisions. Fortunately, new types of analytics engines are helping companies to make sense of this data, unlocking an invaluable asset. By “instrumenting” the social networks inside and outside of your organization, interconnecting the key data they create, and applying analytics, you're able to gain insight into things like the general attitude towards your brand, customer preferences, even gain headlights into their buying behaviors. And using this insight, you can make more intelligent business decisions.
Next week at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, MA, I'll be delivering a keynote about the importance of analytics in a Social Business and how companies can avoid missing out on an enormous opportunity by not leveraging their social data. Creating connections and enabling collaboration through social networking is a great first step -- but the real business value comes when you tap into the data generated by these connections and use it to drive new insights. This is the mark of a true Social Business.