Results Favor the Social Enterprise
by Colleen Burns
According to ZDNet's Great Debat -Social enterprise: Real or fiction, 66% of voters believe the social enterprise is real.
Launched earlier this week, ZDNet's Great Debate series focused on whether or not the social enterprise was real or fiction. Industry analyst and blogger Dion Hinchcliffe successfully argued the social enterprise is real, while blogger and industry veteran Dennis Howlett did a fair job inciting some powerful reactions to his viewpoint that it's at best laughable and at worst ridiculous. "If the social enterprise is to be a reality then it has to have sustainably strategic intent. I see a series of ad hoc vague initiatives aimed at benefiting the status of people looking for something to prove rather than a well thought through way of transforming their business." Howlett says, "That won't work in the long term."
Hinchcliffe argues that he has numerous examples of success stories he has blogged about on ZDNet.com. "Social enterprises also typically have significantly higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to more repeat business. For this reason and numerous others, virtually all statistical studies have shown that social enterprises have higher top line revenue." He continues to say that, "since most large companies are dominated by knowledge workers and their communication overhead, anything that reduces the friction of information flow and decision making is likely to shorten process cycles. This includes lower travel and communication costs, increased access to expertise, decreases in operational costs, faster customer care processes, and so on."
Moderator, Jason Hiner says he has never judged a Great Debate that was harder to call. "In the end," says Hiner, "I'm going to give the nod to Dion because the risk of inaction in this case is that your competitors could become faster than you and better connected to customers. But, I'd encourage everyone to heed the warnings from Dennis and be wise and disciplined about social.
Here are a few quotes from the 54 comments readers posted in the forum:
"Yes, in some cases the benefits are anecdotal -- but measurement is happening and will continue to happen over time. As big data gets bigger, the analytics will actually become a competitive advantage. If you don't engage in social, you have no analytics to measure!"
"Businesses are about inventing, designing, building, marketing, selling, delivering, and supporting products and services -- nothing more...Show me any one business that cannot do any of those functions without the new social channels and I will concede that they are mandatory"
"By offering social tools and building an environment in which people are able to use their individual strengths to expand and improve upon their role within the process you not only gain from having access to a much broader and better connected knowledge base but also from having a more motivated workforce and a more satisfied customer base."
Tell us what you think. Is social enterprise transforming business?