Tag Archives: Enterprise 2.0

Uber puts digital first

Why digital transformation is a must for every business

Game-changing companies Airbnb and Uber don’t own anything other than their online communities – and the data those communities generate. But Airbnb and Uber are worth billions. And they’ve blown traditional business models out of the water in the sectors in which they operate.

This was the key point made by digital expert Dion Hinchcliffe at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in London recently: “I hear people say ‘Oh, we’re not a technology company, so we’re not riding the technology wave’,” said Hinchcliffe. “But that’s no longer an excuse!”

“Whatever your sector, your business model is under threat from digital,” said David Terrar, the summit producer. “We’re seeing three massive trends happening at once: cloud, social and mobile. The unprecedented access to data, connectivity and the speed at which new products and services can be delivered mean goal posts are shifting fast.”
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Say hello to social – or wave goodbye to your top talent

Freedom by Thorsten Becker
Does your boss ban Facebook? Is YouTube access blocked from your office? Do colleagues look nervous when you mention Twitter? If so, chances are your employer is a large corporate or public sector organisation with deeply-ingrained concerns about productivity and time-wasting. Many large companies (and the more traditional smaller enterprises) have a myriad of communications restrictions in place.

IT departments nearly always cite security and legal issues as justification for this draconian behaviour. A few years back I heard a talk by the head of social media at a leading US retail bank. He referred to legal, compliance, fraud and security as the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”. It’s difficult for ordinary employees to argue, he said, when confronted with effective corporate death as an alternative.

So what about startups – are they cool with social and other new technologies? Well, yes, they generally are. They’re digital natives, aren’t they? It’s hardly surprising that a recent survey by online recruitment platform Tyba found 68 per cent of people working in big companies said they’d move to a smaller startup if they had the chance…and bad IT was cited as a key reason by 27 per cent of respondents.
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Live blog of “The Elephant In The Room: Social Media in the Enterprise” #smwldn

11:10am It’s a great panel line-up here at Hub Westminster with Will McInnes (Nixon McInnes), JP Rangaswami (Salesforce), Barney O Kelly (Fresh Networks) and Tejal Patel. Chair: Michael Chiu (McKinsey). This is a live blog so please keep refreshing the page for updates.

JP: Social media is intrinsically human – satisfies a human need.

Will: We need to think more about how we can pipe social tech and more about what business will become. When I wrote my book last year a big theme is change velocity: when you look at how Netflix destroyed Blockbuster and how Amazon destroyed Waterstones and Barnes & Nobel. The faster you can orient yourself, the faster you can observe what’s going on, decide what to do, and then act – the better: an approach taken from fighter pilots. We talk about social technologies but it’s like looking at communication purely through words when 90% of communication is through body language.

Barney: The sooner businesses start thinking about the next level of social, where social can take them in terms of recruitment etc, the better.

Tejal: At Nokia, we’re thinking a lot about e-commerce, such as how do we start converting fans into sales. There’s also a big focus on ROI. We have an internal tool called socializer, developed with Dachis, which

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Holding back the tide

David Terrar recently argued that social media consultants should drop the “social business” moniker and start using “amplified business” instead. His reasoning was that the term “social business” has become too ingrained in people’s minds with “social enterprise” and not “social media”.

While I’m sure a lot of you will be thinking “Well, what’s the difference there, anyway?!”, here’s the comment I posted on David’s blog in response:

This is an important debate. The problem is, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in technology again. You say the common perception of “social business” doesn’t involve “micro-blogging, collaboration and social media monitoring”.

But, as I’m sure you constantly tell clients: micro-blogging and social media monitoring (as with any other aspect of the social media toolkit) are not ends in themselves, they are simply the means to an end.

And if the social media consultants’ version of social business is NOT about technology, but about people (as I think you agree), then we need to focus on what exactly it is that the people (our clients) are trying to achieve.

Okay, I agree it’s possible that a client may work for Mr.Evil Inc. In which case, his/ her goals will be along those lines familiar to any James Bond fan: world domination, unrestricted access to global resources and endless pots of money for Mr.Evil.

But, to give them their due, most modern organisations are at least trying to shake off this sort of image. If today’s businesses do not actually have a social conscience, philanthropic goals and ethical conduct, they are, at least, pretending to (some more convincingly than others).

Ironically, the number one tool for putting an ethical gloss on business is social media, but any company that’s become tarred by social media appreciates that its pretty much impossible to preach humane values without practicing them.

As I wrote on this blog a few months back, the wheel has come full circle. To my mind, social business (as social media consultants define it) and social business (as social entrepreneurs see it), are two sides of the same coin. They are both about putting people first. And ethical and environmental concerns are fundamental to any people-centric approach.

By the way, as King Cnut (or Canute) himself knew, it’s never easy to reverse a wave. As O’Reilly’s Josh Ross wrote a while back: railing against the popular lexicon is always a losing bet.

Having said all that, please keep me posted on the Amplified Enterprise meetup – I’d love to have a further rant!

Big thanks to James Yu for the photo.

What do we really mean by “social business”?

For a couple of years now there’s been a social business debate, led by the likes of Stowe Boyd and Andrew McAfee, which has focused on the distinction between “social business” and “Enterprise 2.0″.

The discussion has inevitably been skewed to the technology side of things. But as Stowe (and any other social media consultant worth their salt) will tell you, social business is, first and foremost, about people.

I’ve been meaning to write on this for a while now but keep getting sidetracked. The question banging on in my mind has been: how does the “social enterprise” fit in to all of this?

Last Monday night, there I was again sitting in an audience (this time at the RSA, during the latest in their fabulous free lecture series), listening to yet another speaker bang  on about “social business” but not meaning anything at all, no, not in the slightest bit, related to software.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Because over on this side of the debate, we have a completely different definition of social business:

“A cause-driven business.” (Muhammad Yunus)

“A non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective.” (Wikipedia)

“A business that integrates two objectives: a commercial objective – to achieve and increase profits and realise growth (like any traditional business) and a social (and ethical and environmental)objective.” (ClearlySo)

On his blog, Andrew McAfee argued that the likes of Douglas McGregor and Chris Argyris have been proposing “social business” for decades. I’d say the wheel has come full circle:

Through new C21st social tools, we now have the ability to realise the C20th vision of a truly social organisation, one that puts people at the centre of everything it does. In the C21st (with all that we now know), we would be foolhardy not to appreciate that ethical and environmental concerns lie at the very heart of any people-centric approach.

This is the basis of a broadbrush, holistic definition of social business that I think we desperately need.

Photo: Matt Burns