Taking Social to a Business Level

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Social Business

Social business is evolving into mainstream business, as organizations—including the Minnesota Timberwolves—build IT frameworks that support social interaction.

Moreover, various groups and interests within the Timberwolves organization can assemble and discuss professional and personal interests and issues. This includes a Women in Sports Leadership Council.

"There is a huge benefit in terms of connecting people and building a strong internal culture," Stanke adds. "People who previously couldn't interact can now do so on a regular basis, including different business groups that typically don't see each other."

The team is now looking to expand the use of social business tools to incorporate CRM, instant messaging and other tasks. It plans to add Jive Chime and Jive Circle in the coming months.

"We now have a very efficient and elegant social business framework in place," Stanke reports.

Building in the Right Social Controls

One of the keys to navigating today's social business environment is building in the right controls and oversights. KPMG's Krishna believes that all social business initiatives must start with understanding that data and information can be at risk. Clear policies and procedures are paramount, particularly because many of those working in the social space are younger and less experienced.

"You have to think about the controls you have in place, and the education and training you have provided," he advises. "You need to be dynamic and fast, but you also need to be intelligent. Someone may be digitally savvy, but this doesn't mean he or she is equipped to make the right decisions."  

It's also essential to approach and monitor the social environment in a comprehensive way. This means using presence monitoring to identify problematic posts and Websites (including those that mock or criticize the brand or products) and understanding where the enterprise has official accounts and where staff are posting externally.

In addition, organizations require effective endpoint security, including data loss prevention tools that monitor traffic across the network.

"As social business tools move into commerce and customer support functions, it's important to have systems in place that flag social security or credit card strings, as well as other sensitive information that may be placed in emails and other documents, or headed to a Facebook wall," Krishna points out.

Despite these challenges, social capabilities continue to march forward. Capgemini's Fross says that business and IT executives should keep their fingers on the pulse of a rapidly changing landscape.

"It's important to keep an eye on new services and tools—even if it seems as though they're dead on arrival," Fross advises. "Nobody could have predicted the success of Instagram, and many people don't understand Snapchat.

"Even if a social media service fails, it may plant a seed for something that you may want to execute on a different platform or in a different way. Today, every digital touch point intersects with social."

This article was originally published on 2015-10-22
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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