Sunday Musings: New Social Business Research, Plus Disruptors of Tomorrow’s Enterprise

All in all, it was a good week for the exploration of big ideas in social business. PWC’s Technology Forecast quarterly published an epic 68 page examination of the future of collaboration in the enterprise. For those without the time to read through it all, Sameer Patel wrote a great overview of the contents today.

Standout areas of focus in this report include 1) an emphasis on dealing with exception handling as the norm in collaborative environments, 2) an underscoring of the central role of the CIO, which is something I’ve seen as key for success in social business, and 3) last — but certainly not least — positioning social media to directly support ongoing business processes. Says Sameer:

One thing enterprises have learned is that siloed, standalone consumer Web-style microblogging or social networking tools rarely work well inside an enterprise. Social technology that’s embedded in the enterprise application environment to offer collaborative support to specific business processes, or explicitly targeted at unifying all communications and collaboration, can be much more useful.

If you’re not sure about this, the importance of connecting social business to workflow was clearly driven home this week in the discussion that Laurie Buczek sparked in the Enterprise 2.0/Social Business community. See the comments and pingbacks in the link for details but it’s clear the social media for its own sake just isn’t enough to drive significant business impact.

For me, it’s become abundantly clear that smart social business initiatives — and the ones that will ultimately have the most success — will focus on connecting their efforts directly with 1) meaningful line-of-business activities and/or 2) transforming and integrating the most important horizontal functions like the intranet, content management, and document management.

But PWC’s report and Laure’s noteworthy post were not the only significant happenings this week. Earlier today Ray Wang published an engrossing and significant overview of 43 Use Cases For Social Business. Maps like this are important to help those trying to understand how to apply social media to various parts of their business. Ray’s use cases cover the gamut of the following areas:

  • Public relations/ marketing (PR/MA). Key impacted business process: Campaign to lead
  • Sales (SFA). Key impacted business process: Lead to deal
  • Service and support (CSS). Key impacted business process: Incident to resolution
  • Projects (PBS). Key impacted business process: Kickoff to delivery
  • Innovation/ product life cycle management (PLM). Key impacted business process: Concept to production
  • Supply chain (SCM). Key impacted business process: Sourcing to acceptance
  • Human capital management (HCM). Key impacted business process: Hire to retire
  • Finance. Key impacted business process: Invoice to payment

I DM’d Ray and indicated I felt that this was just a start on where social business will have an impact and he agreed. The list is light on general purpose workflow/collaboration, but then again Ray’s view here is actually connected to specific business activities, as per the previous discussion. We should also keep in mind that Ray’s perspective is based on actual data gathered from those engaging in social business, which makes it particularly invaluable as a look at ground truth. I especially liked his chart on the top 20 use cases based on the responses of over 100 early adopters:

Top 20 Social Business Use Cases By Early Adopters

Ray and his team has been doing some great research lately and I look forward to watching what they put out next.

The Disruptive Business Landscape Adds Big Data, Algorithms

As enterprises get backed farther into a corner by the constant changes swirling around them, there’s been a lot of speculation about the root causes of disruption at present. Everyone knows that cloud, social, mobile, and now increasingly big data, are to blame, but are they really the whole story? Not by a long shot in my book and Michael Fauscette agrees.

Citing the usual suspects, Michael took a fairly deep dive this week into the additional forces that are remaking the way we work and operate our businesses and came up with some gems that paint a fairly complete picture. I’ve taken a shot at describing the macro changes several times in the last year or so, but Michael’s list has a great perspective. Be sure to read it yourself, but Organic Business Networks was the one that resonated most with me.

Disruptive Changes To The Enterprise Cloud Social Mobile and Big Data

For my part, I think the BBC’s When Algorithms Rule the World adds the final item of serious competitive disruption to both our lists. Will we truly be smart enough to rule over them while only reaping the benefits? I worry that we won’t and that few of us are putting enough thought into the implications of big data and the analytics that will pervade just about everything we do. Next-generation enterprises will be ones that own their classes of data while being able to maintain the highest leverage over what they know that others don’t. See my discussion on closing the “clue gap” between what most enterprises can do today, and what tomorrow’s leaders will be able to do.

Finally, as Web technology continues to provide an ever-growing force multiplier that’s placed into the hands that master it, I’ve been exploring one of the new leading edges of social business: The process of extracting strategic intelligence from the knowledge, connections, patterns that become much more visible when organizations become social. It’s a topic that’s growing central to the discussion of ROI as well as attaining long-term competitive advantage. You can see all the details at Harnessing Social Business Intelligence: Nine Strategic Uses and Social Business Intelligence: Positioning a Strategic Lens on Opportunity.

At Dreamforce in San Francisco this week

I’ll be in downtown San Francisco for Salesforce’s massive and increasingly influential Dreamforce 2011 conference from Tuesday onward. Expect pictures, videos, and blog posts in my Twitter feed as we see what they have in store for the social enterprise. I’ve been having discussions with a number of Salesforce partners this week that are announcing innovative and intriguing add-ons and support capabilities for Chatter and other elements of company’s growing and increasingly impressive ecosystem. I’ll cover as much as I can here and elsewhere. It’ll be a great week of conversations and moving the thinking forward in this fast moving space, even as social business tries to keep pace with social media.

One Response to Sunday Musings: New Social Business Research, Plus Disruptors of Tomorrow’s Enterprise

  1. Pingback: links for 2011-09-01 :: Blog :: Headshift

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