The business impacts of social networking: eventually ubiquitous?

le 15 avril 2009 par


INTRODUCTION

I am pleased to introduce within this blog a contribution by Cecile Demailly, a member of the  Boostzone Institute, on several documents she produced after having been working on social network implémentation with a large client of her.

Have a good read !

Dominique Turcq

Web 2.0 is often viewed as a technology revolution (open source, interoperability, SaaS and other SOAs), or possibly an economic revolution (new business models, globalization, empowered customers), but less often a social revolution (networks, shared values, diversity, intergenerational gaps and dialog, etc). We can discuss endlessly to figure out if the technology created the move, or if the change in attitudes fueled the innovation; if the business perverted the market, or vice versa – to me it is just rhetoric, kind of chicken and egg questions.

The sum of it, somehow, makes it part of a broad society change. It is a pervasive transformation eventually touching most actors, activities, tools and behaviors.

When thinking to the enterprise, it mostly takes the form of the advent of social networking, this wording encompassing not only social networks (among them rich corporate directories), but all sorts of collaborative and communities projects. I acknowledge that naming it that way makes many experts’ hackles rise, though I find it more meaningful than Enterprise 2.0, especially speaking to non-experts.

Some time ago AT&T hired my consultancy Early Strategies to research about the business impacts of social networking, and fuel the debate with some of its strategic customers. It resulted in two white papers, The Business Impacts of Social Networking (11-08) and Speeding the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 (just out), and a webcast (03-09) – that I’m happy to share with the Boostzone community today.

To give a quick summary of the findings, we proposed 10 predictions:

  1. Corporations will change the way they communicate
  2. Corporations will change their vision
  3. Corporations will change their organization
  4. Collective intelligence and customer experience will lead innovation
  5. Networking will be key to employee excellence
  6. Employee mobility will increase
  7. Corporations will adapt their motivation and career path systems
  8. IT/Telecom applications will mutate
  9. Corporate adoption will happen at different speed
  10. Social networking may allow increased revenue

These predictions are explained and developed in the first white paper, to a larger extent  for « Corporations will change the way they communicate »,  « Corporations will change their organization » (with an accent on people managers, IT  teams and knowledge managers), and « Corporate adoption will happen at different speeds » (in the second white paper).

We also identified 10 associated challenges:

  1. Adopt new ROI concept
  2. Security
  3. Intellectual property
  4. Adoption
  5. Storage
  6. Interoperability
  7. Speed: will the corporate world ever keep up?
  8. Indirect benefits of Social Networking not appreciated
  9. Risk of loss of employees, losing human and intellectual capital
  10. Capturing the value

In the second white paper, we discussed triggers and accelerators, and introduced a mapping of social corporate networking models, to bring up the numerous possibilities offered to companies who start adopting the strategy:

early-strategies-social-networking-corporate-models

click here to see full size picture

The interest level and the good reception got by the exercise confirmed that many companies have that transformation in their strategic radar. And probably some of them will adopt social networking a bit faster than planned, just because of the crisis and its « adapt or die » Damocles sword.

ceciledemaillyCécile Demailly is the founder of Early Strategies, a consultancy boutique that helps corporations with disruptive changes – revamping the strategy and adopting them successfully. She is a member of the Boostzone Institute.

Her white papers developed for AT&T can be found in AT&T Enterprise Networking Exchange portal under Trends.

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