People Innovation Excellence

Social Business and Its Strategy

by : Darjat Sudrajat

The explosion of consumer-based technologies, coupled with applications such as Facebook, Renren, Sina Weibo, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare, Skype, Pinterest, and more have brought into focus the concept of a social business. Some call this trend the consumerization of technology, namely a term used to mean that technologies targeted at individual, personal users such as social tools, mobile phones, and web applications are entering the corporation and pressuring the enterprise in new and unexpected ways. At the same time, technologies intended for the corporation, like cloud computing, are being retooled and “consumerized” to appeal to individuals outside the corporation.

This phenomenon is permeating every facet of business. There are new business models based on a social IT platform, new ways of connecting with stakeholders, governing, collaborating, doing work and measuring results. Social IT as the technologies used for collaboration, networking, and the general interaction between people over the web. These include social networks and other applications that provide for interaction between people. Enterprise use of social IT for business applications, activities and processes is called social business. Many use the term social media as an overarching term for this space, but increasingly, social media refers to the marketing and sales applications of social IT. Social media is a category of media focusing on participation and peer-to-peer communication between individuals, with sites providing the capability to develop user-generated content (UGC) and to exchange messages and comments between different users. Social networks are a specific type of tool, like Facebook, Ning, and similar tools. Social networking is the use of these types of social IT tools in a community. The social space is still like the wild west; there are no widely accepted conventions about the terms and their meanings or the uses and their impact.

Creating a social business is impractical for most organizations since the types of changes needed are likely to be opposed by managers of different functional areas of the organization. Some companies use social IT as point solutions for business opportunities, but others build a social business strategy that looks at the application of social IT tools and capabilities to solve business opportunities holistically. A social business strategy is a plan of how the firm will use social IT, aligned with organization strategy and IS strategy. It includes a vision of how the business would operate if it seamlessly and thoroughly incorporated social and collaborative capabilities throughout the business model. It answers the same type of questions of what, how, and who, as any other business strategy.

Most of the social business opportunities fall into one of three categories:

  • Collaboration: using social IT to extend the reach of stakeholders, both employees and those outside the enterprise walls. Social IT such as social networks enable individuals to find and connect with each other to share ideas, information, and expertise.
  • Engagement: using social IT to involve stakeholders in the traditional business of the enterprise. Social IT such as communities and blogs provide a platform for individuals to join in conversations, create new conversations , offer support to each other, and other activities that create a deeper feeling of connection to the company, brand, or enterprise.
  • Innovation: using social IT to identify, describe, prioritize, and create new ideas for the enterprise. Social IT offer the community members a “super idea box” where individuals suggest new ideas, comment on other ideas , and vote for their favorite idea, giving managers a new way to generate and decide on products and services.

References:

Chaffey, D., 2015, Digital Business and E-Commerce Management: Strategy, Implementation and Practice, Sixth Edition, Pearson Education Limited, United Kingdom.

Pearlson, K. E., Saunders, C. S., 2013, Strategic Management of Information Systems, Fifth Edition, International Student Version, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.,


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