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Social Business

After some soul searching I've just started updating my various personal profiles around the web to say I'm a social business evangelist rather than saying enterprise 2.0I've got close to this before.  I wanted to explain why now.  For me that terminology change is a big deal because I'm not 100% comfortable with "social business", but it's not me rather the market that decides.  If we move the clock forwards 5 years I'm sure we'll be using different language again, and I believe the way the smart companies use social media and social tools in their businesses today will be as natural and essential to any organisation as a website, email, phones or mobiles (cell phones for my US friends, handys for the Germans - language is so crucial!).  I actually prefer the term "amplified enterprise" because the terms "social business" (as used by the likes of Dachis, Altimeter Group and IBM) or "social enterprise" (as used by Salesforce) are already occupied by a very different idea.  Go ask the average, non-technology oriented bushiness person in the street and see what they say.  Actually my perspective on this topic has 4 dimensions:
  • The social ...
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Social Business - use cases and best practice are pants!

At the IBM Collaboration Diner at the Social Business Expo we had a long conversation with my old friend Luis Saurez about use cases and best practice - he doesn't believe in them!  Luis was there to do Wednesday's keynote address on the topic he is famous for - Thinking Outside the Inbox - There is no We in email.  I was there as one of the invited thought leaders contributing to the cafe style debates IBM and Collaobration Matters had organised inside a 1940s American Diner styled after Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks.  One of my customers, Janet Parkinson of The Smart Work Company, was there joining in the discussion with Luis, triggered by our belief that there aren't enough good case studies of businesses using social tools inside their organisations to show how Social Business can work.  I commented that part of the reason for that is the difficulty of getting enterprises to share something that can be a competitive advantage, but Luis immediately declared that use cases are useless!

His view is that every business is different, every business is unique.  Having a use case for some other firm doesn't really help much.  He wants to go in . ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
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Back Blogging (again) and Fresh Business Thinking

I just want warn the Internet and social media addicts everywhere that I will be back blogging again on a more regular basis from today.  I've left a big gap since my last post although I've carried on tweeting and RTing snippets and the good stuff - the Twitter community that I follow still gives me the best, filtered access to quality content and ideas from out there.  I've been addicted to Twitter since 14 February 2007 - It seems appropriate that our 5 year love affair started on Valentine's Day!

I haven't been completely absent from publishing blogs as Cloud Advocates started a regular email newsletter called Cloud means Business over on Fresh Business Thinking.  The newsletter goes out to over 70,000 subscribers, and each post goes up on the FBT site too.  I write 2 of the 4 posts each month, and we are just about to publish the 8th edition.  I'll repost some or all of those 16 articles here in the coming weeks, and I'll add links in a side column soon.  As well as that I have half a dozen draft posts languishing in Evernote ready to be completed.  Thank heavens it isn't a blank page....

The thing that finally spurred me back to action was contributing to the ...
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Good for HP (with a but!)

Last week the IT industry had a major bombshell.  HP announced it's intention to get out of the PC business, drop it's WebOS smartphone and TouchPad products and buy enterprise software company Autonomy.  If you don't recognize Autonomy they are a major success story born out of research at Cambridge University.  Founded in 1996 they now have a $7Bn market capitalization.  They are all about the software infrastructure that manages structured and unstructured data.  The headlines on their website tell the story - powering the World's largest Cloud at 31 Petabytes, 25,000 customers, deployed by 77% of Global 100, used by all of the top 10 global banks, 400+ of the world's largest software companies.  They've made lots of acquisitions, but they produce solid recurring revenue.  In buying them and dropping PCs, tablets and smartphones HP is dropping their consumer lines of business, reducing their dependence on hardware sales, and shifting focus back to the enterprise and software in particular.  

Leo Apotheker - photo courtesy ZDNetOn one level it's a great shame that they are discontinuing investment in WebOS and the TouchPad.  We're in a post PC World and just this ...
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Social Business needs a Cnut

Careful with that spelling (for some reason I preferred it to Canute or Kanute).  Here is my premise.  I think, like Clay Shirky, that we are living in a period of transformation rivalling the changes in society triggered by the printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, photography, film, television, or the start of the Internet (web 1.0).  The application of social media inside and outside of business is changing everything.  However, since around 2009 some of us on the leading edge of this curve, who up to this point have talked about enterprise 2.0 or web 2.0 applied to business, have been drifting towards using the term Social Business to describe it.  Language is important.  For me that language is wrong.  If I ask the average woman or man in the street what a social business is they would tell me about organisations with a social conscience, philanthropic goals and ethical conduct - micro-blogging, collaboration and social media monitoring wouldn't enter their heads.


Back on August 26 2009 Dennis Howlett wrote a post on ZDnet that triggered a fair amount of controversy  - "Enterprise 2.0: what a crock".  His premise was .. ...
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Dachis Business Summit - you know, the Social one!

P1000629Now look.  I have a real problem with the term "Social Business" as it's being used by Dachis and IBM and others.  However, let me put that to one side for another post later this week, but it's a thread that starts here and runs through my thoughts on the London edition of the Dachis Social Business Summit that Lee Bryant kindly invited me to this week.  The venue (awesome architecture), agenda, speakers, food and organisation were all set at a very high standard, with the sole negative of conference wifi that didn't work.  It's a social media conference.  It's obvious that the majority of attendees are going to turn up with Macs, PCs, iPads and smart phones and want to live blog and tweet.  When are venues and conference organizers going to realize that their normal bandwidth just won't cut it for us enterprise 2.0, social media types?  (Rant over, on with normal programming.)

For me the conference highlights were the opening two sessions from JP Rangaswami (Salesforce.com's Chief Scientist) and John Hagel (Director of Deloitte and authour of The Power of pull).  JP's  "Nature Doesn't Do SLA's" used Zen style slides - small white . ...
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Cloud is at an inflection point, but let's get things clear

BusinessCloud9On behalf of EuroCloud, I've just posted over at BusinessCloud9's revamped site.  They've gone for a new, clean and simple style and simple logo, which looks good.  

My first post there explains that at the start of 2011 a number of things are happening in the market, and particularly the UK, that mean Cloud Computing is at an important inflection point.  The Cloud is about to become a mainstream approach to be considered not just by CIOs, IT departments of larger companies and the tech savvy early adopters, but for the average business woman and man in the street too.  They are on the receiving end of some significant new marketing of the Cloud topic: As usual we IT solution providers are too steeped in our own jargon and hype, and that makes us lousy at getting the message across in business terms.  Please go over and read the full post, ...
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Enterprise 2.0 - Part 2 - Cisco and IBM taking their own medicine

In part 1 of this enterprise 2.0 explanation I gave an overview of the topic and talked through some of the very few concrete examples and case studies that are out there. Tomorrow I'll post part 3 to expand the definition of the topic and pick up on some of the predictions for 2009. This post looks at how enterprise 2.0 tools can help and facilitate a change in management approach inside organizations, and some more real examples. Take a look a...