The Future of Social Enterprise

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At the end of June, CMSWire organized a new Tweet Jam (read about the one dealing with Employee Engagement here), this time with the purpose of bringing out the role of social enterprise tools and elements.

We participated along with the group of experts they assembled and this is the summary of what we discussed.

When you have to limit yourself to just three key elements that define the social enterprise, there are core concepts that you cannot bypass: collaboration (participation, network, transparency), knowledge (content, experience, capacity) and engagement (trust, authenticity, culture). But as someone pointed out, it’s all about how you integrated into the existing work flow.

Even though most agree that internal social practices and external marketing or customer related social are different, the mindset should be similar. The applied strategy has to be different, as it addresses different audiences. But I believe they influence each other, so if you’re not social internally, the message you send out won’t be unified.

So what’s stopping the Enterprise sector from adopting social business solutions? It’s definitely a purpose and education matter. Not getting on board the top influencers and not training people will lead to lack of interest. No social investment = no engagement.

I’ve noticed an allergy of the people participating in the tweet jam about the role of IT’s in the social enterprise. Most of them don’t believe they to have the necessary skills to define the requirements for business cases. But they do grant them control role since they mostly budget the acquisition. In my opinion they can be the best enablers, because they are technology savvy and they are good middlemen between the users and the tool.

Opinions about the deployment of social tools (if the focus should be wide or narrow) were quite divided. Some want to go big and support the wide version, while others prefer to take a safe position. The truth is you can’t standardize the deployment focus for all businesses. Risk analyses should offer the best solution, if the organization’s culture doesn’t dictate otherwise.

When 20th century business elements came into talk and if there are any that apply to the social enterprise, what stood out was the distinction between the mechanistic-machine like business character and the humanistic perspective.

The jam I liked the most was about the three words that we would want banned from the social enterprise conversation. And I liked it was because the most common words are exactly the ones this domain is bombarded with: social, adoption, ROI, culture. But even though professionals activating in this field are tired of these buzzwords (I realized I am also abusing the use of it), we couldn’t reach out and explain the business of Enterprise 2.0 to people not familiar to the social enterprise. So for now I’m sure we’ll keep bumping into them.

The vision about the future of social enterprise closed the session. Most of the tweets were optimistic. We said that it will be accepted as a standard management request, but this probably is the best way to put it: “The future of the social enterprise is no longer calling it the social enterprise. “Social” will just become the norm.”

Talking about subjects we are directly involved with is really always an encouragement that we are doing the right thing. And talking to other people with same interests and expertise proves exactly what we are advocating for: knowledge sharing works!

Happy Knowledge Sharing!


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