Social Business is a recent term and a new-quite-promising-trend improving the way companies function and generate value for all the components (stakeholders, employees, customers, partners, and suppliers). Social software, as the name implies, is the interaction of people in friendlier environment that has ease of use, rich functionality that facilitates navigation, quick information that is simply digested and most importantly a place where people want to come back. While the social media evolved, technologies that accessed that media evolved as well. Now we have entirely new way people access information, but also a new way people want to digest that information.
Many companies have begun exploring and quickly absorbing this new perspective of doing software that is more suitable for common user and also much more attractive for any user in general. A common philosophy that is leading most successful organizations today is “…technology that businesses need and people love”( Steve Ballmer . 2012).
Social Business are those organizations that have setup the strategies, technologies and procedures to involve regularly and in a systematic order everyone in its ecosystem of employees, customers, partners, suppliers and all other constituents to maximize the co-created value.
Historically organizations have had a separation between the inside and outside environments of a company, which is losing importance. In addition, traditionally the ideas came from inside of the organization pushed out to the markets. This new trend is shifting things around where people (customers and employees) are interacting more-and-more with social enhanced and social integrated technologies such as:
– Social software communication
- Rich Internet Applications
- Social posts and comments
- Blog articles and reactions
- Chatting systems
- E-mails communication
- Social Contacts
– Easy access on portable Cross-platform devices
- Mobile Phones
- And other Portable PCs
Tools and technologies that started as means of entertainment for teenagers are now seen as great ways to reach customers and keep them close. This friendly way of communication and interaction has bound the customers with organization where they now not only follow up closely the companies updates but also they feel like they have a voice, a voice which is taken in consideration. Therefore the flow of ideas and indications is now reversed from the market reach into the company (outside-in) where decisions are no more the privilege of businesses alone but of customers as well.
“The flow is now effectively two-way and becoming real-time. The decision making and change management responsibilities are no longer restricted to managers (traditional organization) or to customers (as prescribed by Social CRM). Other than managers, organizational change can be driven equally by customers, employees, partners and suppliers. All these categories are moving from supporting actors to partners and protagonists.”
From the interaction through social platforms it is being established not only communication but an engagement of all parties to collaborate and making possible the in-out flow. In order to get individuals engaged organizations have to accept a variety of needs and using those needs to inform the organizational growth and evolution. Benefits from this collaboration are:
– Reduced customer care costs
– Improved client satisfaction and loyalty
– Shorter sell cycles
– Lower marketing costs
– Amplify qualified brand reputation and visibility through advocates
– Increased customer lifetime value
– Improved customer cross-channels
Businesses are engaged more than ever before in social platforms, eager not only to reach to new customers but also to establish “friendship” with individuals that could be existing customers or potential buyers. To take a concrete example: most companies today have social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linked, or even YouTube. Additionally, most company websites have a social tool box on their pages, positioned in key locations and seem like they are almost begging people to “Like” their page on Facebook or “Follow” them on Twitter. Initially this new trend has engaged all organizations in getting more and more “Fans” and “Followers” as a new approach to enhance their public profile and increase their credibility. Now those individuals that are following business updates through social platforms are giving feedback. That feedback combined with the subscriber`s activities, interests, likes, dislikes and life in general is turning into great added value for businesses in many study-statistical-fronts.
Innovative socially-oriented applications are focused increasingly on getting people engaged in speaking their voice through comments, tags, rating, “Likes” and much more. Consequently, today, the Social Business is a structured organization build aiming to the organization more effective efficient under mutated market dynamics and consumer behaviors.
Such philosophy brings closer not only businesses to customers, but also helps businesses in having a better environment and collaboration with their employees. Traditionally the decisions not only came from inside-out but also followed a vertical path, from upper level (managers) to lower level (employees). Employees rarely where engaged in the decision making or even improvement of horizontal collaboration across departments. Organizations of any size are facing many problems related to:
– overloaded information
– delay of information processing
– operational overload
– unreadable analitical data
– rigid software enviroments
– lock of cross-departmental communication
– travel expenses in absence of easy communication tools
– duplication of effort across teams
– lock of employee engagement and motivation
Large organizations are confronted with those issues more than other smaller companies, but most of those problems are persistent more or less on all businesses. Traditional software environments are typically very technical and use analytical data which is hard to read and unpleasant for the human eye to work with. On the other hand the large amounts of data can overload the work of employees in particular the job of managers who need quick and summarized information.
Organizations that have embraced social platforms and methodologies of their clients are now looking into implementing the same approach those technologies and practices inside the organization. Many organizations are implementing software that is graphically and functionality rich that facilitates navigation, access, feedback, collaboration, and much more. Lately, many collaboration-software are being offered as SAAS (software as a service) which means they are online and cross-platform and often cross-device. This makes it easy to access for anyone and anywhere. Additionally, business collaboration software is providing friendlier collaboration techniques which are inspired by social platforms that make the working process much more engaging and motivation.
Project management software is an inevitable tool for organizations at any size to manage their everyday work. In a project management application are the functionalities to plan and distribute work, furthermore there is the possibility to leave notes and report a great deal of information, but, as we mentioned above, the large amounts of data flowing can get out of hand and overwhelm the managers work into seeing a clear picture of the situation. From a common employee’s perspective nice graphically with easy to read updates and less technical environment makes the user feel comfortable using the application and most importantly engages the user to leave qualitative updates and report issues instantly. In an open environment where individuals at any level in the organization communicate they generate value to the company exchanging ideas, giving updates for quick information across departments and across management levels.
Pursuing social business techniques, as many organizations are benefiting from today, results in a more collaborative ecosystem where all actors are engaged in a mutual benefit. Costumers get a voice to request their needs by exchanging ideas and values in a closer communication with businesses. For businesses being socially open to customers and third party actors’ results in improving their image and enforcing their vision in public. Being social is helping organizations in the inside in better collaboration in all levels horizontally and vertically. To conclude, being a social business is profitable to all.
 What is Social Business? (http://www.socialbusinessforum.com/what-is-social-business/)
Techcrunch. With $1.2 Billion Yammer Buy, Microsoft’s Social Enterprise Strategy Takes Shape. http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/25/its-official-microsoft-confirms-it-has-acquired-yammer-for-1-2-billion-in-cash/. Published June 25, 2012. Accessed August 21, 2012.