Social Business: What is it? And why should I care? [#e2conf]

This session is presented by Clare Flanagan, Director, Social Business and Community Strategy, CSC. She works in the office of innovation within this professional services company.  You can find the session slides at  Username: workshop; Password: boston2011.

[These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I’m publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I’ve made any editorial comments, I’ve shown those in brackets.]


  • Why does social media matter? Facebook has over 500 million active users. Twitter alone had 25 billion tweets last year.  It has changed the way we connect with family and friends.  It has changed our politics.  It’s changing the way we do business.  Experts predict that social media will replace 25% of all business communications.
  • What is social business? Environments/tools that allow communication across the company and across the firewall to drive business value.  When using these tools within the firewall, they are focused on improving productivity, efficiency and service quality. When using them outside the firewall, the tools are focused on supporting and growing your customer community.
  • What’s changed? Web 1.0 was very focused on content — creating it and making it available. Web 2.0 is very people-focused. Now we enable networks, activity streams, conversation, transparency.
  • Where do you start? Start with a business case.  The foundation of this is a clear-eyed understanding of your company’s business and culture. Recruit stakeholders to articulate requirements, and executive-level sponsors to help win management support.  The last thing you should do is evaluate tools.
  • How to mitigate risk? The biggest obstacle is FUD = Fear Uncertainty & Doubt. The best way to overcome this obstacle is to speak early with people who can articulate FUD concerns and then plan concrete ways to reduce these factors.
  • This isn’t just another IT tool. These tools can fundamentally change the way employeees work and interact with each other.  Therefore, this isn’t an “install and walk away” technology project.  Rather, you need to plan for post-launch community managers and advocates.  You need to think about engagement strategies and strategies that will help your communities/methodology go viral.
  • Strategy. Take a look at the AIIM Social Business Roadmap. It reminds you to consider how to support emergence, engagement, governance, etc.

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