This post is not about what’s right and what’s wrong or whether we should or shouldn’t fight for using one or all of these concepts. That said, each of these monikers need to be dealt with as they will become increasingly important as organizations begin to consider more efficient ways of interacting and transacting both on the social web as well as in the enterprise.
Transparent just got elevated to the top of the list. Most executives love the idea, just not the potential fall out that can come from transparency. As we saw with President Obama’s I’ll-broadcast-the-healthcare-debate-on-CSPAN unfulfilled promise, when you get into the politics at many large organizations, its as much about the lateral competition (in the case of the government, how the right and right wing media would interpret the open discussion) in the executive suite that worries more people about bringing transparency to their enterprises, as it is about top down / bottom up / emergent transparency.
Consider the recent fall out from Google Buzz. Personally I think its an excellent start to something very useful and promising. As I commented in a post by Alex Williams on ReadWriteWeb:
The best thing about all of this for me is that Google has recognized and capitalized on the fact that email is the ultimate social network and they are aggregating- which is what they do best,” said Sameer Patel, a founding partner with the Sovos Group that consults about integrating social Web applications and collaborative technologies into the enterprise.
However, Google stepped on a banana peel when they misjuded the level of transparency that the general public would be ok with then it comes to sharing our email contacts.
Its clear that we as social networkers seem to be perfectly fine with transparency when its looking at someone else’s data and gestures. Just not when it comes to exposing our own.
Social <insert enterprise context here>
Clearly the most hotly debated moniker in the enterprise context. A President (not CIO) of one of the largest healthcare organizations that I met with threw me a new curveball a few weeks ago. As prepared as I was to address the ‘Facebook is too social for us” argument with solid business context, the new one thrown my way was “my kids are leaving Facebook because of the new privacy concerns. If social networks are not good enough for them when all they do there is socialize, how can I bring this interaction metaphor to the office?”
Socialized <insert process context here> with the emphasis on business outcomes or activities seems to be far more palatable but to each his own.
Less contested depending on who you speak with. The problem is that the discussion around community and marketing is often short sold due to lack of depth and process knowledge around core marketing performance. As I wrote a few months ago in a guest post:
Finally, with respect to marketing, most of the community focus today (especially B2B) is on brand awareness and engagement. Certainly, there’s value to be gained there, however, lead generation is the elephant in the room most don’t want to tackle or acknowledge. Regardless of the economic times, the closer your marketing activity is to generating revenue, the more strategic your program remains to your organization. That’s where customer communities need to go – fast.
Of course there are a few seasoned marketers that can take this on. Not to mention, community as an approach to effective awareness and engagement has benefit. But when it comes to community based marketing, few in the “social media consulting space” want to or even have the credentials to tackle the moolah question.
Second, very few are prepared to objectively say when Community is flat out the wrong approach to accelerating performance for your specific business objective. Here are 2 excellent posts by Gil Yehuda and Rachel Happe about not lazily intermingling different concepts that seem similar when in reality, are very different.
Though I wrote a report on this topic, the idea of ‘real time’ is a meaningless discussion in and of itself without core performance context. Worse, it scares the living bejesus out of the seasoned CIO who still sport scars from the millions and millions sunk into integration to come anywhere close to near real time, a decade ago. It’s far cheaper and simpler now but real time for the sake of real time invokes instant eye rolling.
However, customers are intermingling in real time and they increasingly expect feedback in near real time. The reality is that the organization (not just support and marketing) need to have that infrastructure to be able to respond as fast as possible. That’s a very different approach than trying to rudderlessly tune the enterprise for real time and then chase/manufacture use cases to back fill value from the investment.
And finally, yes, Enterprise 2.0. I could leave you with a link to a Google Search Result to Dennis Hewlett’s Posts (its here by the way), but frankly, too often Enterprise 2.0 gets casted as a solution to a problem that doesn’t give the customer adequate heart burn to become a top priority. Until we see a Chief Sharing / Social / Email-sucks, Productivity Officer emerge (NOT!), lets focus on discrete objectives around leads, sales, innovation, product development and the like. It’s awesome to see a few vendors starting to come around to this in their marketing not just in the context of selling the benefit but also adoption and participation. See this excellent post by the very sharp Michael Idinopulos.
In closing, as I said above, I’m not hoping to start a war on whether we should or shouldn’t use this terms. Transparency, social, open, relationships, collaborative IS the future of work.
If you have opinions on these or other monikers, chime away, below. But they need to know their place and the context.