Implementing new technologies and changing business cultures simultaneously is not an easy task, and that is what social business is trying to do. As a result, while progress has been made, this is not an overnight process. Thus, despite much hype, most organizations can not claim to be fully articulated social businesses.
Recently though, some social business predictions have begun to come true. New technology platforms have been implemented, executives are recognizing their roles in digital transformation, and cultural changes have started. Early adopters, such as digital marketers, are being joined by their colleagues from other functional areas, and investments are being made in socially enabled processes, communities and social and network analytics.
In a recent well-documented report, Social Trends to Watch in 2014, Bill Chamberlin, an IBM thought leader and the Community Leader of HorizonWatching, cited 10 trends he believes will continue to show growth this year. They are as follows:
- It is not just about marketing – There are social capabilities being developed across the entire enterprise
- It transforms business processes – Both front and back-end processes are changing
- CEO’s (& Senior Execs) step up to the plate – Senior folks are beginning to exert leadership in this area
- HR embraces social internally – No longer is HR just focused on social platforms for recruiting
- Social becomes more visual – More visual content is being embedded and embraced
- Relationship marketing – Social sites are shifting from pushing content only to relationship building
- Community marketing – There is an increased focus on creating and maintain communities
- Social analytics – There is a push to assess and understand sentiment and behavior across networks
- Employee advocacy programs – There is recognition that employees that are properly trained can be great brand ambassadors
- Developers required – New apps and skills are needed as the integration of social, mobile, cloud and bid data become a reality and creates new demands.
These trends are currently playing out and digital innovation is changing organizational structures and business models. Organizations are now faced with: figuring out how to access diverse data across devices and platforms, service customers who have high expectations for support and capitalize on the additional markets now available to them. These shifts have created new opportunities and challenges.
In a recent McKinsey Article, The Digital Tipping Point, it was pointed out that executives have made significant financial commitments in digital and, as a result, are beginning to rethink how they need to run their organizations: “It is evident that digitization has become a critical asset in many companies’ quest for growth. More than three-quarters of executives say the strategic intent behind their digital programs is either to build competitive advantage in existing business or create new business and tap new profit pools”.
One of the other major changes in how social business is impacting organizations comes from the area of product development. Not only are organizations embracing social tools to perform analytics and research emerging market and customer needs, they are increasingly forming partnerships with their customers to develop new market entries or using collaborative networks to foster innovation.
The old paradigm, of a few smart guys working in a garage to develop the next big thing, has shifted. In the new paradigm, ideas and prototypes are likely to come from a social network or community, and the innovators may or may not know one another, or work for the same company that they are developing for. Innovation is being crowdsourced and outsourced.
Social Business may not yet be fully realized, but it is definitely shifting how business gets done. Social business and advances in digital technology will continue to change not only the strategies and structure of organizations, but the type of leadership and skills needed. The future is still uncertain, but clearly how organizations deal with this change and transformation will determine who succeeds and who fails.
Modified from a blog originally posted by the author in www.Biznology.com