IBM recently published one of their ‘redbooks’ in which they describe social business as “a game-changer for small, medium and large businesses” (not afraid of hedging their bets are they?)
Anyway, they’re right.
Social technologies are transforming the way that people communicate with each other. And they’re also now starting to transform the way that organisations communicate with customers, and colleagues.
In amongst all the various definitions of social business, IBM have a pretty good idea of what they’re talking about…
IBM® defines Social Business as a business that embraces networks of people to create business value. Social businesses embrace technology to enhance relationships between employees, customers, and partners. They augment business processes and applications with social interactions and insight. They provide integrated activities that use business data and social data. Social businesses more fully integrate the collective knowledge of people-centric networks to accelerate decision making, strengthen business processes, and increase innovation that matters.
Every business needs to build and nurture relationships in order to retain and grow its customer base. These relationships are built by providing quality products and services and by giving customers a way to offer feedback and share ideas about improving products and services. By enhancing these relationships, social businesses achieve the following benefits:
- Ideas that improve products and services
- Increased loyalty throughout the ecosystem
- Excitement that spills over into a broader network of people
Enhancing relationships with customers is only half of the story. To make a profit, a business needs an efficient work environment and an effective work force. Business processes drive the work environment. Special situations, custom requests, and exceptions can slow processes. Businesses need a way to get the right individuals (knowledgeable workers and experts) working together where ever they are as quickly as possible to keep their operation running smoothly.
A number of other definitions abound – but this is the one we’re happy to go with for now…