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Digital Transformation

You're either in the boat or missing it on social

TJ Keitt penned a great piece on ZDnet yesterday around becoming a social business.  Its pretty simple.  You better be working on it or starting now.  This isn’t just building a social network or social business but truly changing how a company does business.  It has to be operationalized.  Below is a great snippet from the article that talks about how companies innovate and collaborate but when still done is silos has downward facing affects:

These haphazard and disjointed efforts, while potentially successful in their individual silos, don’t fully realize the power of social business and expose the business to other risks such as:

  • Lost opportunities through untapped data. The information collected in these social business tools can provide a business important information about employees, partners, and customers. However, if they’re housed in separated, non-integrated systems, it is difficult for business leaders to compile and understand the data in their possession.
  • Poor scalability. A solution implemented among a small group of employees may work well for that group, but fall flat when it is presented to the broader workforce. This could be because the tool is not technically capable of serving the business’s broader needs or its design and usage model are only applicable to a subset of the workforce.
  • Misunderstanding of business potential. A small pilot may fail because it’s not big enough to have the network effect necessary to make it truly valuable. So, business leaders can draw the wrong lesson — the tool isn’t worthwhile — from this experiment. Conversely, a successful small pilot may lead business leaders to believe the tool is ideal for only a small number of use cases and miss the broader potential.
  • Failure to remain in compliance. Social business technology experiments conducted within the lines of business may not adhere to the government or industry regulations that govern how they store, transfer, and publicize information. This opens the business up to potential action from regulators.
  • Increased risk of security breach. Employees interacting with partners and customers in the social arena expose the business to attacks from cyber criminals. These potential breaches could lead to data leaks that affect product development and customer relationships, as well as risking potential litigation from parties harmed from said leaks.
  • Higher costs for the organization. Complexity, too much heterogeneity, and duplication of systems make technology more expensive.Integrations necessary to tie the tools to business processes and workflows create expensive to maintain applications. Furthermore, the lack of centralized contract negotiation opens the door for suboptimal pricing and contractual terms.

I find it intriguing that he is calling for the transformation of the CIO to the social-CIO.  I think that it kind of misses a point or opportunity to harness the nature of the topic.  Social is not A PERSON driving or corralling but a team connecting under a unified vision.  This may be the CMO, CIO, CTO and General Counsel or a myriad of other stakeholders.  It needs to be open, collaborative and forcing a control structure is what and why people started to work in silos in the first place which gets back to the original point – it need to be operationalized and be part of a single vision.  What do you think about how the social effect should be managed?

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Jonathan Distad

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