The Future of Social Business

Posted on November 8, 2012

Social Business IBM Midsized Futurecast

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Recap of MidMarket IBM Social Business’s Futurecast


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* Most midsized businesses are still early in the process, and trying to figure out the tools and options. Still getting a handle on the basic social media tools. If this is where your company is, then you are still ahead of the game compared to those not actively looking at how to integrate social collaboration tools internally.

* Twelve months from now companies taking social business seriously will still be learning to share their knowledge and best practices publicly, compared with most current corporate cultures of silos and secrecy. Resistance to this shift of culture continues to be the greatest inhibitor to becoming a social company.

* Companies will need to start rewarding teams, and not individuals as they have in the past. Also, social companies must start rewarding the sharing of expertise with colleagues and customers to achieve meaningful results. This transformation to a culture of will happen, and successful companies will need to focus on communicating that vision clearly and often to employees in their words and actions.

*  There is a lot of confusion as to what social business is versus social media. Many companies starting out mistakenly think that the tools are the issue and then become overwhelmed by the plethora of options. The change of internal culture is what is key. Learning to collaborate as teams to solve problems and foster innovation first, and picking the tools that best support the need and situation second. When you focus on that, the changing tools will not overwhelm senior executives and IT.

Read more: The Difference Between Social Media And Social Business Explained

* It is easy to get lost in all the options. Where to start? Focus on a few goals at first. List out your choices, and ask your team what outcomes and results might you reasonably expect based on your collective experiences. Then, order them by which ones will have the greatest positive impact on the company. It is an iterative process. Keep evaluating and evolving.

* Capture internal success stories to help educate and promote the shift to a social business. Also, it highlights those internal experts that other managers can tap for guidance and help. Again, collaboration among teams helps achieve a more social business.

* Prediction: In the next 5 years collaboration tools will be deeply integrated into the processes of all industry leaders. Studies already show that companies with a collaborative culture earn higher profits. Also, we will see tools that allow organizations significant flexibility to fine tune this tools to each business unit’s unique needs. Which in turn will require all managers who wish to stay relevant, and employed, to have a true, hands on understanding of social business processes and metrics.

* What is holding companies back now? Currently a priority issue, and misunderstanding what is involved to start moving to a social business. It is not like the ERP systems of the past which take 5 years. It can easily start with a few basic changes, Starting small and having a plan to keep evoking. However, executives are just starting to understand that. This presents a tremendous leadership opportunity for managers who education by example and share their knowledge.  

Watch The Broadcast Here


  • Jeanne Meister – Consultant, co-author The 2020 Workplace, Forbes blogger
  • Stowe Boyd – Work Tools expert @stoweboyd
  • Handly Carmon – IBM Business Partner, Prolifics
  • Ed Brill – IBM Executive, Director IBM Collaboration Solutions


This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

About Steve Farnsworth @Steveology

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