2013: The Year of Social Business?

Social Business EvolutionSo your organisation is 'doing' social media, but are you 'being social'? Will 2013 be the year when your organisation becomes a 'Social Business'?

Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing a number of articles on the broad theme of 'From Social Media to Social Business'.  To kick start the series, we list below a number of recent and very useful articles which capture the essence of what Social Business is and the reasons why it has become mission critical.  The list should be read in conjunction with our previous articles introducing the topic of Social Business:

From Social Media to Social Business (with apologies*): Post 1
Social Business (Post 2): What Is It?
My Top 10 Social Business Books of 2012 (Part 1)
My Top Ten Social Business Books of 2012 (Part 2)
Becoming Social
Building a Social Destination

Social Business To recap and summarise previous articles:

  • Current leading-edge thinking is that we are on the verge of another tectonic shift: from Social Media to Social Business. Companies who ‘get this’ will survive and prosper; those who don’t will become 21st century dinosaurs
  • A Social Business is one that develops innovative new work methods and processes by applying social thinking, social strategy, social culture, social organisation and social technologies to everything it does – to all value chain activities (sales, customer service, finance, logistics, HRM, quality, marketing, operations, internal processes, administration etc)
  • Potential business benefits include improved efficiency; agility and speed of response to rapidly changing market conditions; lower costs; increased sales; enhanced customer loyalty; employee engagement; enhanced partner and stakeholder relationships.
  • Social Business involves work methods, organisational structures and ‘mindsets’ which are radically different from the ‘Industrial Age’ command and control structures still used by the majority of organisations. The use of social media and the adoption of a social ‘mindset’ moves from the periphery to the core of your organisation.  It is no longer just about Twitter and Facebook.  The key challenge is the way in which your organisation embraces and cultivates a spirit of collaboration based on open communications, internally and externally.  Being lean, nimble and responsive to dynamic change based on engagement and transparency. What Don Tapscott called becoming a ‘Wikibusiness’.
  • As a consequence, social is too important to be left to the Marketing Department.
  • A ‘4Cs Model’ can be used to explain the business benefits of ‘being social’. The key question to address is how can your organisation best use social technologies to build relationships and derive tangible business benefits from four main customer groups: Existing Customers, Potential Customers, Internal Customers (Staff) and External Customers (Business Partners)

Instapaper: Save Web Pages for Later Reading

Reading List: From Social Media to Social Business

In addition to the references provided in our previous posts, we have found the following more recent articles very useful: (Please right click to open in a new tab).


The Social Business Model
A good starting point for those unfamiliar with the term Social Business. The author (John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing), argues that our current use of social media to support existing business strategies, processes and models falls far short of the true potential of social. The real opportunity is to build a full Social Business – where social becomes the business. To embrace this idea, we need to think of social as something far beyond marketing.  If we treat social as a business model then we start to think about applying social tenets across every element of the business – Social Purpose, Social Products, Social Hiring, Social Sourcing, Social Research and Social Finance, as well as Social Marketing.

How Social Media Can Spur Organizational Transformation – Forbes
An excellent guest article from Brian Solis (author of The End of Business as Usual) which provides a useful link to The Little Blue Book of Social Transformation (with Salesforce.com). According to Solis, senior executives have no choice but to take account of the Golden Triangle of disruptive technologies formed by the intersection of social, mobile and real-time trends, enveloped by the Cloud. 'Being Social' needs to become part of the corporate DNA.  The article includes a very interesting embedded video covering Social Business developments at GE Aviation.

Alistair Rennie: What's the Difference between Social Media and Social Business?
Rennie, General Manager of IBM Social Business, argues that a major change is taking place in social media. Leading-edge companies are moving from liking to leading. Leaders in Social Business are organisations who integrate social technologies with critical business processes to improve the productivity of their workforce and create exceptional customer service. The article contains two brief case examples together with a useful Infographic on the State of Social Technologies.

The most interesting studies on Social Business from 2012
Good list of 2012 Social Business surveys and reports from organisations such as CapGemini, MIT, McKinsey, IBM, Dachis Group/Social Business Council and others.

Infographic: The social business shift
Excellent Infographic examining how social has changed business within HR, sales, marketing and R&D.

Ingenious Britain | Social Business Predictions for 2013
Argues that 2013 will be the year when social crosses into existing business functions, with dedicated apps and platforms to improve business processes.  This trend will be driven by 'Digital Natives' who are now entering into top management positions.

Home | Social Business Summit
Useful link to the Dachis Group Social Business Summits, 2013. Also, see Dachis Group Announces Launch of Social Business Summit, 2013

How social business is changing the way we work | Media Network | guardian.co.uk
Good article in the Guardian which argues that businesses who utilise social tools are embracing a new age of problem solving and interaction. The article provides a very clear explanation of what Social Business is and its likely impact on the workplace of the future.

Social Business in 2013: A Challenge, An Opportunity, A Commitment
Argues that the biggest challenge and opportunity for social business is employee engagement.  According to a recent survey, 70% of employees feel disengaged or totally disengaged at work. Social technologies have been used in communications, sales, marketing and customer service but not for engaging employees.

Vala Afshar: You're Not a Social Business Leader If __________? (10 Hints)
An excellent article. Instead of trying to define what a Social Business Leader is, a list of 10 Hints that you are not one is provided. Try it 🙂

Social Business: 5 Trends To Watch For 2013 And Beyond – Forbes
Focuses on the business benefits to be derived from erecting workplace communities where employees can share and engage in real time.

Finally two books very much worth reading (click the images to see Amazon profiles of the two books).

Social Business ExcellenceSocialized Mark Fidelman

Will your organisation become a Social Business in 2013? What obstacles stand in your way?

As usual, comments and feedback are very welcome.

All the best for 2013.

Jim, Alan and Vincent


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