11 Kasım 2010

Business gets social...

Social technologies enable people to connect and interact with unprecedented speed and ease. Yet, there is still confusion about the value that social technologies deliver. Savvy business and IT leaders are getting smart about exploring — and possibly exploiting — the opportunities these new relationship dynamics promise. 

The special report of Gartner offers a growing body of research to help understand this fast-evolving arena. You may download the full report with essential reading lists from this link. Here is the summary and my comments; 

Exploring the Opportunities of Social Media Foundations 

Although vast numbers of business and IT leaders use social networks and social media for personal use, many enterprises are grappling to determine the right approach and timing for enterprise solutions. The market for social technologies is rapidly expanding and evolving as vendors seek to capitalize on enterprise investments, and this activity fuels the hype. In most organizations, there is little coordination of social initiatives. While it is appropriate to avoid the urge to centralize and control all things social, there are risks associated with unmanaged approaches. To optimize investments, competencies, and outcomes, it is essential that enterprises establish a shared understanding of social technologies and trends, coordinate strategies and initiatives, and leverage investments. 
I believe companies should also use social networks and social media for their brands and products. Of course, they have to set their policies, define the area they are going to be, and leverage investment. The question is, what should be the tone of your communication, and will you avoid exploiting it? 

Seeking Social Intelligence

People, on their own, are moving in huge numbers (over 600 million thus far) to take advantage of new (Internet-supported) social tools. Witness the billions of "tweets" and social-site memberships as well as the millions of blogs and the explosion of YouTube visits, posts and discussions. There are millions of terabytes of data on the Web (5 petabytes added each day) that reflect the attitudes, intentions and venues within which both business and consumer buyers are expressing their opinions and influencing the actions of their peers. The accumulation of their conversations, comments, ratings and rankings is already being mined by some for "social intelligence." The mixed nature of the data artifacts, unstructured and rich media, makes mining difficult, but not impossible. The IT organization has a challenge on its hands. How does it provide leadership in intelligence gathering and other efforts to integrate these collective activities in enterprise processes?

I have a totally different understanding of the “social intelligence” notion, a more spiritual and human-human thing. 

Socially-Enabling The Business

Just as the Internet had a disruptive impact on organizations' processes and business models at the beginning of the decade, today social media is changing the way business is conducted. Organizations need a strategy that will enable them to capitalize on the new socially-powered relationship dynamics. It is the ability of social media to enable rapid mass collaboration that differentiates it from previous generations of technology. Social media is ushering in a new era of transparency and allowing formerly hidden social structures to emerge. Social networks have the potential to deliver a new category of information based on social interactions. This information can be used to inform operational processes, facilitate engagement with employees, customers, business partners and the social Web, as well as create innovative business opportunities.

This is the dangerous part! Social networks and you should be careful about personal information, what you share, and handling those crucial data. For example, I didn’t like the word “capitalize” in the following sentence; “capitalize on the new socially-powered relationship dynamics”. No, no, no! 

Enabling Technologies

Social technologies are rapidly evolving, and are delivered in various configurations. Some solutions are offered as independent solutions, others offered as elements of socially-enabled collaboration suites, and many are available free or near-free in the cloud. Traditional software vendors are integrating social capabilities into business applications, such as customer relationship management and human resources. Over time, the boundaries between social and collaborative applications (such as, e-mail, instant messaging and "texting") and business applications (such as, finance or sales) will blur, and transactional activities will be augmented by socially-enabled capabilities...... Underlying technology is being hidden beneath social tools. Users of publicly available solutions like Facebook or Twitter, as well as users of enterprise solutions built with tools like IBM Lotus Connections and NewsGator, care as much about the technology beneath their social tools as they do about the types of gaskets used in assembling the transmission in their car. The technical details are being rapidly subsumed. The goal with automobiles is transportation. The goals with social tools are connecting, relating and better understanding. (Ask a 16 year old high-school student whether she will go "social computing" this evening.) For users, the important point is understanding what is possible and how to optimally navigate a broad range of social services, and most importantly, ensure that it can all be done on a smartphone.

My pick line is from the last part and probably for the whole text is; “The goal with automobiles is transportation. The goals with social tools are connecting, relating and better understanding”. Happy networking!

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