Big data, mobile, social -- all in the cloud. That's been the big buzz for the last year or so. Social Business is the next big thing -- the Six Sigma of our time. Everyone's on board -- from IBM to Oracle to Cisco to Salesforce.com to Igloo Software... everyone's got a horse in the race.
Here's where we are:
Social business should be thought of in two ways:
1. External facing social business would include Corporate Communications, Customer Relationship Management, Public Relations, Marketing Communications, Branding, Reputation Management.
2. Internal facing social business would include all the high performance, collaborative and knowledge management processes that are traditionally found on the corporate Intranet.
The Social Intranet is probably what's getting the most focus now because of the spectacular failure of the traditional intranet to fulfill its promise. This is where the social platforms and the ability to share and search really shine.
The social intranet accomplishes what wasn't possible before. It consolidates activity and conversation threads -- in real-time -- across multiple tools. Dan Latendre, CEO of IglooSoftware, says a good web-based collaborative social business needs to energize and open the dialogue. He keeps his company focused on what he calls the 3 C's - 1) Content; 2) Collaboration; and 3) Communication. That just about sums it up.
Clearly, social business offers a high level of engagement externally and internally. Getting everyone tuned in and better-informed should help companies break down silos and make it easier for employees and customers to connect and share insights.
Sounds great. But my concern is that there is still an uneven understanding within the enterprise about just what social media is and what it does -- especially in the boardroom. Innovation, collaboration, engagement -- all good goals. My advice is to spend the next 6 months ensuring everyone has a social education... then the real benefits can kick in in 2014.
Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit LLC and the host of Social Media Radio. She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing at UCLA Extension and speaks extensively on the subject of disruptive technology and social business. Email her at email@example.com