Time to make “social” the lifeblood of your organisation

I would like to draw your attention to two recent posts from Brian Solis, referencing a study by Jeremiah Owyang and the Altimeter group and identifying the Future of Business in a Social World.

In Part 1, Solis argues that although many of the sampled businesses from the Altimeter Study appear to have been using Social Media for several years it is in a peripheral sense. Implementation is detached from the core business (and core vision and objectives) and this “experimentation” is isolated to one or two departments. In fact, it is mainly within Marketing and Communications that most Social Media and Web2.0 initiatives have taken place.

In Part 2, Solis underlines the limited effect this transitory approach to Social Media is having on the core business – SM should be changing the way business organises and operates but it is not (at least not for now). Solis goes on to identify a model for the Future Business.

The model Solis illustrates captures well our own views in this area. It was a simplified hub and spoke model that we chose for both the logos of Energise2-0 and Tourism2-0 following some very interesting discussions on the impact of Social Media on the Organisation.

Our choice of logo reflects our belief that the power has shifted firmly to the customer and the network and the speed and accuracy of response now needed in this new age make hierachical structures redundant and force an aligned, decentralised model – a hub and spoke or dandelion structure so to speak.

The gap between “traditional” models and the new “social” model becomes clear part way through a customer support experience with most any business running social and non-social media support channels. The “social” aspect of the service is often more responsive but the overall experience can feel disjointed – the whole business struggles to deliver.

It is this vision of the Future Business that resonates so deeply with the work we are doing. The Future Business integrates Social Media at the very heart of the organisation not on the periphery – “social” becomes the lifeblood. The core business not only understands the value of Social Media but provides the platform for very many decentralized but aligned initiatives. Initiatives that will touch every aspect of the organisation, including: HR, New Product Development, Customer Support, Finance, Fulfillment, Production –  not solely Marketing and Communications. In other words, much wider and deeper than current Social Media implementations. It will not be easy for organisations to pull this off, there can be no “wizard behind the curtain” here, the organisation of the Future has to have “social” pumping through its veins.

Getting there involves a fundamental change in mindset (and collectively a change in culture) but also a framework which helps align and support a more mature approach to Social Media and Web2.0. We have been arguing and demonstrating for several years now that a Simplified Balanced Scorecard is just such a framework. There may be others.

I’m heartened that the work of Solis and Owyang and others is making us now question the current siloed approach to Social Media and question how much progress has been made and what work still needs to be done.

What is clear from these recent posts is that every business needs to grow up in their use of Social Media and Web2-0. This is not time for self congratulation, this is time to make “social” the lifeblood of your organization.

As always comments are most welcome.

Alan and Jim

Rethinking the Future of Business Part 1 and Part 2, Solis, B

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