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Esteban Kolsky is the founder and principal of thinkJar, a Customer Strategy consulting and think tank organization helping vendors and user successfully become better, more open, and more collaborative organizations. More information about thinkJar

One response to “The Confusing World of Social Business”

  1. Craig Willis

    Hi Esteban,

    Great post, I agree, and have often said, business is inherently social, we haven’t ‘just’ started being social, we’ve always collaborated. Some orgs are better at this than others. I think there are two points I would like to make about what ‘social’ means to me today; firstly it describes an interface paradigm. We have always collaborated and technology has played an increasingly important role in that but what we have seen over recent years is a convergence in the user interfaces that are used for collaboration. This has often started in the personal space with forums, wikis, blogs and micro-blogs etc. and moved into business. It’s made technology based collaboration easier because everyone is becoming used to the same interface concepts and less training is required.

    Secondly, I believe we are becoming more accustomed to the fact that information, or collaboration, doesn’t reside in a single place. It never has, but again as technology has grown in importance there has been an expectation that the IT department will one day provide a single platform where all information is stored and all transactions will take place. That is yet to happen, and frankly doubtful it ever will. The fact that interfaces are converging means people are more comfortable using multiple systems to access information. And this takes me to the point you make about inside-out and outside-in conversations, should there be a single platform that provides this capability? I know organizations that are experimenting with this but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Interfaces are getting better but if you’re using the same platform to have internal conversations as you are to have external conversations there is a risk that competitive intelligence, or worse, will leak out. No matter how good your processes and controls are it only takes human error. So I believe these should always be separate platforms.

    I think these new conversations are transformational as both a business user and a consumer. Thanks again.