Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Social Business in Review – The Power of Community
In 2011, we saw the impact social media had in toppling authoritarian regimes - removing dictators in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. My friend Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, and CEO of Hearsay Labs writes: “ Transparency, connectedness and decentralized power resulting from social media played a critical role in every revolution. What can corporations learn from the Arab Spring?”
Last week, the question was answered. Verizon Wireless bowed to the torrent of criticism over its plan to impose a $2 bill paying fee. Immediately following news of the proposed plans Verizon customers went into action and used their social voice and community power to share their strong dissatisfaction of the new policy all across the web. Within 24 hours, Verizon listened and responded. They conceded to their customers.

John Hagle, Chairman of Deloitte's Center of the Edge has been researching U.S. corporate performance and emerging business trends. In The Big Shift, Hagel/Deloitte reported that U.S. companies’ return-on-assets have dropped steadily every quarter returning to their 1965 levels.  On The Big Shift's web site they tout: “Consumers are gaining more power than firms because they are quicker to adapt to disruptive technologies. The digital infrastructure will likely increase the scope and frequency of social volatility."  Hagel has been an early thought leader on social business and sees social technology innovation as the means to reversing this downward spiral. He too agrees that transparency, collaboration and decentralization are critical. In his book, Power of Pull he describes the shift in information Pulls vs Pushes. Hagel shares that with more focus on "Pull" (and leveraging Pull platforms like Facebook, Twitter, internal social networks, and other digital infrastructure), a company can improve its performance.

And one more thought. A recent study by inSites Consulting claims that only 16% of businesses using Social platforms have fully integrated them into their business operations (ie. Social Business). Even despite many business leaders believing that better social integration of their business operations will not only improve and streamline their operations but also increase the productivity of their business.

We're making progress on Social Business but still much work to be done for us all.