The entrance of social media into the workplace fascinates me. The idea that people – their personality, opinions, and casual conversations – provide tremendous value to business seems foreign to the traditional, command and control corporate world. Social media puts a spotlight on how antisocial businesses have become. Over the past few years many businesses have neglected to nurture relationships with constituents – employees, customers, business partners, investors. The current Social CRM rage humors me because business has always been about relationships. It took a deep recession to remind us that we need to be listening and communicating with customers regularly in order to retain them. I predict once the job market improves, this realization to take care of your people will shift to employees.
Today, the market remains focused on specific social destinations (e.g., Twitter, Facebook). However, the opportunity for social software in the workplace runs deeper than destination sites where marketers run campaigns. Social media introduces new behaviors, and with that expectations, for communication both inside and outside the firewall. Social business transformation is applying the principles of social media – transparency, trust, empowerment – to the workplace. Social business doesn’t stop with a Facebook page and Twitter handle (read my former colleague Mike Fauscette’s blog about Comcast for an illustration of my point). I believe a tremendous amount of work lies ahead for companies to undergo social business transformation. My experience as a research analyst covering social software at IDC peaked my fascination with how social business transformation would play out. Are companies able and willing to undergo the structural and cultural change required to engage and respond in realtime with customers on the Web? Forecasting market trends at IDC, I developed a strong desire to work more closely with practitioners and play a more direct role in helping businesses conquer these new challenges. Hence, I have decided to pursue an opportunity as a consultant with Dachis Group which will provide me with intense experience helping companies redesign to be social businesses. I’ll be blogging about my observations from these experiences on the Dachis Group Collaboratory.