By Matt Collins
It’s a well known fact that social networking has had a profound effect on society. Consumer social networks continue to creep into the workplace as many companies are encouraging and allowing the use of Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest, during business hours. What’s new is that this shift is now causing a ripple effect in the business world.
The next generation workforce expects to share, post, update, and communicate with their colleagues and customers using social networking tools to get real work done. But the tools businesses use go well beyond the consumer apps that so many embrace today.
Today, social technology can be integrated into any business process in sales, marketing or even product development. Business leaders in every industry recognize the impact social technology can have on improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations.
For example Cemex, a leader in building materials such a cement, is reaping the benefits of social networking having reduced cycle times for new products by two-thirds.
This shift of consumer to business networking, also known as social business, has become the next big opportunity for organizations who are looking to leverage the power of the social graph in their businesses to better reach clients and suppliers, while swiftly gaining insight on the data being created in these networks. The winners in this challenge will be able to react more swiftly to customer trends and out innovate competitors.
This week, IBM announced it has closed on its acquisition of Kenexa representing a major shift in the way social and analytics capabilities are applied to transform front office business processes. Kenexa, a leading provider of recruiting and talent management solutions, delivers a unique combination of cloud-based software and consulting services that integrates people and processes. This allows organizations to create a more effective workforce across their most critical business functions. By creating a smarter workforce, employees can drive innovation to bring products and services to market faster, resolve problems before they arise to improve customer service, and increase sales by building new skills – linking the right experts to the right clients.
This week, IBM published an OpAd in the Wall Street Journal on the opportunities presented by this fundamental industry shift. We discuss how social technology is about more than engaging fans and attracting “likes.” It’s about building communities within your workforce, where colleagues create and share ideas. It’s about empowering your customers and partners to help you build your brand. And it’s about erasing distinctions between “social business” and business.
There’s a lot of great work being done in the social business segment. And you’ll see a lot more of this at our annual Connect conference in January. The quicker you embrace the trend, the quicker you’ll engage your customers now, and tomorrow.