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Time is ripe for Social Business

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Time is ripe for Social Business

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It perhaps comes as no surprise, but I'm joining the growing choir that says it's high time for organisations to get serious about social business. The time has passed for simply playing around with corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts or doing technology-centric introduction of new tools such as blogs and wikis for ad hoc internal uses. While the laggards are playing document ping-pong in their inboxes, "working like it's 1995, in a pre-Google, pre-Facebook era" (John Stepper), leading organisations are developing their business and operational performance through powerful online conversations. We are seeing more and more, and stronger, evidence of the potential value that will come from doing social business, and from doing it the right way.

In a recent HBR article James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Hugo Sarrazin present the latest research about the impact of social technologies from McKinsey Global Institute, called "The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies":

"The potential for value creation when social technologies are used to improve collaboration and communication within and across enterprises is twice as big as the value that can be created through all other uses across the value chain. Based on numerous case studies and in-depth research in four sectors (consumer packaged goods, consumer finance, professional services, and advanced manufacturing), McKinsey Global Institute analyzed the potential value that could be obtained through the use of social technologies. The total potential value at stake in these sectors is $900 billion to $1.3 trillion annually. A third of that potential comes from business function-specific applications of social technologies in product development, marketing & sales, operations, and customer support, but two-thirds would arise from using social technologies to improve the collaboration and communications of knowledge workers within these functions and across the enterprise." 
  New research from PulsePoint Group, in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit, called " The Economics of A Fully Engaged Enterprise” found the following:
" Companies that fully embrace social engagement are experiencing four times greater business impact than less engaged companies….Socially engaged enterprise leaders are getting a 7.7% return, vs. 1.9% for laggards, in terms of total business value." 
" The most successful companies extend social engagement beyond marketing and communications to sales, product development and other functional areas to generate greater business impact...At least two thirds (65%- 84%) of people surveyed saw social engagement as valuable in marketing effectiveness; market share; improved production and service quality; brand value or stock value; partner collaboration; and speed to market."
The 2012 CEO study from IBM found the following:
" More than half of CEOs (53 percent) are planning to use technology to facilitate greater partnering and collaboration with outside organizations, while 52 percent are shifting their attention to promoting great internal collaboration." 
"CEOs regard interpersonal skills of collaboration (75 percent), communication (67 percent), creativity (61 percent) and flexibility (61 percent) as key drivers of employee success to operate in a more complex, interconnected environment."
Another, related, study which I have previously referred to is the 4th annual IT Adoption Insight Report by Oracle UPK and Neochange:
"The effective usage rates of enterprise software are down compared to two years ago, with users experiencing productivity losses of around 17%. It’s like giving everyone Friday off. User-focused organizations outperformed the tech-focused companies, achieving 23% higher revenue-per-employee against their industry peers."
If not before, then certainly now is the time to get serious about social business. Now is the time to get onboard, before everybody is.

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