What does social business mean?

Over on Luis Benitez’ blog, he’s got a post about what it means to be a social business, there’s a lot in that post, and most of it’s really good.  Be sure to check it out!

One thing that is really refreshing about IBM’s view on social business is that it is not especially technology focused.  In the past, Lotus, especially at Lotusphere was incredibly tool-centric.  (e.g. – Want to become an e-Business? Here’s the software for that!  Want to become a Knowledge Business? Here’s the software for that!)

However, in Luiz’ post social business is described as follows:

“Social Business:

  1. embraces networks of people – It’s not about B2B or B2C. It’s about P2P (person-to-person) to create business value.
  2. is engaged and has conversations online with its customers, employees, suppliers and embraces
  3. is transparent and is ready to be open to ideas and capitalize on those
  4. removes boundaries both inside and outside so that your people reflect your brand
  5. is nimble because they are engaged and transparent (see #2 and #3 above) and can make quicker business decisions”

What is missing from that definition?  That’s right…technology.  While it’s true that most of these things can [only?] be enabled by technology, the fact is that no technology in the world will make a business into a social business as described above.

So, social business is about doing business a new way.

Technology can help that along…but it can’t do it for you.


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