What does it mean to be a Social Business?

13 Nov

I have found interesting article in the attached link which i have extracted and given my own assumptions based on what i have read.  (http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/global/files/us__en_us__socialbusiness__epw14008usen.pdf)

A Social Business embraces networks of people to create business value.

Social business should have the three characteristics below:

1. Engaged – A Social Business connects people to expertise. It enable individuals – whether customers, partners or employees – to form networks to generate new sources of innovation, foster creativity, and establish greater reach and exposure to new business opportunities. It establishes a foundational level of trust across these business networks and, thus, a willingness to openly share information. It empowers these networks with the collaborative, gaming and analytical tools needed for members to engage each other and creatively solve business challenges.

2. Transparent – A Social business strives to remove unnecessary boundaries between experts inside the company and experts in the marketplace. It embraces the tools and leadership models that support capturing knowledge and insight from many sources, allowing it to quickly sense changes in customer mood, employee sentiment or process efficiencies. It utilizes analytics and social connections inside and outside the company to solve business problems and capture new business opportunities.

3. Nimble – A Social Business leverages these social networks to speed up business, gaining realtime insight to make quicker and better decisions. It gets information to customers and partners in new ways — faster. Supported by ubiquitous access on mobile devices and new ways of connecting and working together in the Cloud and on open platforms, a Social Business turns time and location from constraints into advantages. Business is free to occur when and where it delivers the greatest value, allowing the organization to adapt quickly to the changing marketplace.


I believe the most effective approach to enabling a Social Business centers around helping people discover expertise, develop social networks and capitalize on relationships. A Social Business enables its employees – and customers – to more easily find the information and expertise they seek. It helps groups of people bind together into communities of shared interest and coordinate their efforts to deliver better business results faster. It encourages, supports and takes advantage of innovation and idea creation and builds on the intelligence of the crowd.

An effective Social Business embodies a culture characterized by sharing, transparency, innovation and improved decision making. Such a culture enables deeper relationships with customers and business partners. By allowing people (both inside and outside an organization) to document and share their knowledge and ideas and others to recognize, refine and promote the value of those ideas and content, a Social Business can reap great benefits. Among them: 1) the ability to leverage more expertise and a greater diversity of skills and experience, 2) better realtime use of current knowledge (contrasted with formalized, but less current knowledge) and 3) improved situational awareness and use of social intelligence in decision making.

A Social Business shifts the focus from documents, project plans and other temporary artifacts to the source of the energy, creativity and decision making that moves the business forward: people. A people-centric approach relies on:

Networks – Globally integrated networks of employees, partners and customers are the backbone of a Social Business. Rich online profiles of trusted experts enable collaboration and agility and allow for exploration of expertise, publications and networks of colleagues to quickly initiate action or fulfill a business need.

Social and realtime collaboration – Connecting remote teams of people to improve and decision making and discover relevant expertise or related work empowers people and enables problem solving.

Mobility – A social business benefits from enabling individuals to use the device best suited to their needs and keeping them connected whenever and where ever they are. The speed and relevancy of information exchange are increasingly essential.

Integration – Bringing social collaboration capabilities into the applications people use to do their jobs, without overwhelming them, allows for information sharing within the context of business processes.

A key element to the success of a Social Business is trust. First, an organization needs a certain level of trust to empower its employees to share their ideas and expertise – and it must demonstrate this trust by rewarding the behavior. By the same token, it must trust its customers to maintain an open dialogue with them. At the same time, this trust must be balanced with an appropriate level of governance or discipline that sets the parameters of appropriate actions. This is a very delicate balance and one with which some companies struggle.



2 Responses to “What does it mean to be a Social Business?”

  1. ismisetusa November 14, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Reading eddiejquinns blog do you believe that legal and privacy jargon may become a major problem for companies dealing with social business

    • billynomates2012 November 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Hi. Thank you for your comment. I believe that as more organisations adopt a social business startegy it can leave itself open to the grey area of online legal and privacy jargon. Organsisations will have to be very careful when using social media as to not post anything that may be offensive. Although as we all know, something that can be acceptable in one country can be seen as offensive in another.

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