Social Business and Digital Strategy

November 13, 2014
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Social business, collaboration, community and content: is there real business value tucked away in those words? Digital transformation, digital strategy and digital disruption: are businesses really feeling the pressure to do some things differently, and by changing can they be more competitive, grow faster and be more successful?

Social business, collaboration, community and content: is there real business value tucked away in those words? Digital transformation, digital strategy and digital disruption: are businesses really feeling the pressure to do some things differently, and by changing can they be more competitive, grow faster and be more successful? What’s different today that would help businesses unlock a transformation that many have struggled with for one or even two decades? 

I started researching themes around the social web, the shifts in customer and employee behavior and other related digital disruptions caused by the Internet almost eight years ago. I started using the term social business to represent these forces of change and over time have shifted and expanded the definition quite a bit. Like any good bit of tech research it needs to evolve over time. The basic building blocks of social business, content and community, are still creating opportunity for change and disruption but the picture of how and in what business areas are much clearer today. The other thing that is clear, although certainly a point of contention for many, is the business value of these new solutions and the general shift to digital. Nothing happens in a vacuum though, and the other tech disruptors, mobile, cloud, data, Internet of Things are intertwined with social to create many of these disruptions. With that in mind we are moving to a new framework for the social research, that, for the my group anyway, has 5 components:

1. Social Business for transforming customer experience

  • Community
  • Social marketing 
  • Collaboration
  • Social listening / social media monitoring and response (SMM/R)
  • Social sales enablement and intelligence
2. Social Business for transforming commerce

  • Marketplace and supplier networks
  • Social media monitoring and reponse
  • Business Networks

3. Social Business for transforming the workforce

  • Enterprise Social Networks (ESN)
  • Social learning
  • Social recruiting
  • Performance and talent management
  • Other collaboration
4. Social Business for transforming innovation (products and services)

  • Innovation management
  • Community
  • ESN
5. Social Business for transforming partner relationships

  • Business networks
  • Community
  • SMM/R
  • Collaboration / ESN
There’s a 6th component, workplace transformation, but that’s outside my enterprise software focus, so I’ll leave that for others to work on. You can see that these social technologies and concepts are embedding themselves across the business and are an important part of the overall digital transformation that is gaining momentum in many businesses. I’ll drill into each of these components more in future posts.