VIEWS: 22 PAGES: 7 CATEGORY: Computers POSTED ON: 6/13/2010
Social networking for the enterprise is booming. The sector is unquestionably adding revenues for new providers, adding jobs at old companies, and adding profits throughout the industry. Susan Etlinger, VP at The Horn Group, a firm specializing in digital communications for technology companies, says the top areas for enterprise activity on the social web are lead generation, customer service, brand value expansion, competitive intelligence, and innovation management. Some of the pitfalls of engaging in social media come from how the medium is distinct from any other type of business engagement in the past. Certain fears seem justified. To achieve results that meet the rigorous requirements of enterprise privacy policies, companies are flocking to build in-house solutions that do not reside on the public Web. The benefits of using new social media technologies often relate to the management of new content by getting it to the right people at the right time.
Carolina K. Reid SHOULD BUSINESS ocial networking for the enterprise is booming. The sector is S privacy policies of these sites. Facebook’s terms of service unquestionably adding revenues for new providers, adding explicitly state that the content posted there is the property of jobs at old companies, and adding profits throughout the Facebook. Thus, even if a profile is deleted, the content that was industry. In a wave that seemed to begin in earnest just 18 months posted remains on the site. Hence the phrase “What happens in ago, enterprises now embrace these tools to achieve better (and the Facebook, stays in the Facebook,” made popular in a less expensive) results across most major business functions despite YouTube video and recently discussed on ABC’s The View. fears over losing control of company secrets. Despite cautionary tales, Tim Walker, analyst and host of For most companies today, the advantages seem to outweigh the Hoover’s Business Insight Zone, points out that the risks of risks. Ed Keating, VP of the content division of the Software & staying on the sidelines may be a lost opportunity, “Folks are Information Industry Association (SIIA), sees a strong trend toward probably talking about you anyway on Twitter, so it’s just an the medium, saying, “Social media is where a lot of companies are opportunity to be part of the conversation.” trying to go.” Truly, today’s recession feels somehow remote from Soumitra Dutta, co-author of the book Throwing Sheep in the the industry surrounding social media. With a mood that is robust, Boardroom, credits the rise in social networking technology with there is a feeling of a “new frontier opening up, with the early three trends: a growth in e-skills with increased access to adopters, the purists complaining of the businesses, and profiteers technology, a generational shift in demographics toward a now at the gate,” surmises Keating. Meanwhile, new companies growing population that favors openness, and “an innate human and new services continue to appear with surprising speed. Indeed, desire” to establish an identity and a standing in a community. His it is beginning to feel like 1999 all over again. view as to why the social medium is on fire is that it is a technology Susan Etlinger, VP at The Horn Group, a firm specializing in that “catches up and unleashes human behavior on a global scale.” digital communications for technology companies, says the top Working as a consultant to IBM, Dutta saw a major shift in one areas for enterprise activity on the social web are lead generation, corporation’s culture aided by social media. When IBM’s chairman customer service, brand value expansion, competitive intelligence, and CEO, Sam Palmisano, took over, he created a community and innovation management. website to gather ideas on company strategy despite heavy Some of the pitfalls of engaging in social media come from how pushback from the Old Guard. “He succeeded in getting a large- the medium is distinct from any other type of business engagement scale engagement on the values of the company and what they in the past. Etlinger, echoing a view generally held throughout the should be,” enthuses Dutta. medium, cautions, “The rules for social media are social. For To achieve results that also meet the rigorous requirements of instance, you would not walk up to someone in the street, ask her enterprise privacy policies, companies are flocking to build in-house for an opinion, and then walk away. You have to complete the solutions that do not reside on the public web. Rob Koplowitz, dialogue.” In a traditional form of data gathering, the focus group, principal analyst at
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