From e2.0 to Social Business

November 10, 2009
164 Views

200911091256.jpgWe’re in the early stages of a significant business transformation brought about by and through the social web. The change is being driven from several different converging factions: customers are demanding that companies interact with them in new and different ways, and employees are frustrated by enterprise software and processes that are less than comparable to their personal online experiences.

Web 2.0 started this change with new concepts like user generated content, wisdom of crowds, transparency, shared control, real time online conversations, etc. The recent economic downturn accelerated and added to the need for change. Companies are concerned with customer retention, increasing productivity or doing more with less, global competition, and in general challenges to their outdated industrial age processes and systems in an information driven reality.

Throughout the Internet age the concept of collaboration has haunted businesses. Tools to enable more or more effective communication has slowly gained adoption. Email, the grand online replacement of snail mail and once the golden way for people to share ideas and information has grown into an almost (and some would not add ..



200911091256.jpgWe’re in the early stages of a significant business transformation brought about by and through the social web. The change is being driven from several different converging factions: customers are demanding that companies interact with them in new and different ways, and employees are frustrated by enterprise software and processes that are less than comparable to their personal online experiences.

Web 2.0 started this change with new concepts like user generated content, wisdom of crowds, transparency, shared control, real time online conversations, etc. The recent economic downturn accelerated and added to the need for change. Companies are concerned with customer retention, increasing productivity or doing more with less, global competition, and in general challenges to their outdated industrial age processes and systems in an information driven reality.

Throughout the Internet age the concept of collaboration has haunted businesses. Tools to enable more or more effective communication has slowly gained adoption. Email, the grand online replacement of snail mail and once the golden way for people to share ideas and information has grown into an almost (and some would not add the almost) unmanageable tool. Spam chokes our inboxes with some studies placing spam at more than 80% of all email. Email marketing, once a great new way to reach prospects and customers is now mostly ineffective and is a big part of the noise that makes email so difficult to manage.

IM, frankly isn’t much better. Other team collaboration tools have made attempts at breaking down silos inside most businesses but to little effect. All of these areas, web 2.0, collaboration, the social web, social networking, social media, social CRM and even areas like enterprise search and content management are converging into one significant business movement that is starting to drive real cultural change inside and outside of organization.

This movement to social business is not about social media, social networking, collaboration, Web 2.0 or even Enterprise 2.0, although all of those have added to the knowledge base that can be leveraged to build out the social software that will be required to make the new social business function and scale. This whole movement is based on the fundamental cultural shift that leads to engaging customers, employees and partners in new and different ways. By leveraging the collective wisdom and power of shared control businesses engage stakeholders in their business processes, decisions, issues and outcomes.

In this new era of information old restrictive hierarchies left over from the industrial age are flattened and silos of information are set free. This is people-centric business, or to say it another way, people become the business platform. This change impacts every area of the business, sales, marketing, product marketing / development, product design, customer service, operations, finance, human resources, management, etc. We’re still defining and redefining “social business” but the basic concepts are finally in play and businesses are starting to make real attempts toward transformation. I’ve said it before this post, but it needs repeating, I think. As we come out of the current economic downturn, it’s not about recovery —  we’re not going back to where we were; it’s about reinvention.