Hello new year, you already have send your first signals out to what may happen. As 2014 knocks at the door, it is time to have a look into the possible future and make some predictions of the social business trends that I think will rise.
First prediction: First good answers on benefit of social
Looking into the scene of social business, more and more projects get in trouble because of the still not clear answered question: “Where the heck is the benefit of social”. We all know many possible arguments. They start at “if we do not…” and end in “well we work faster…”. It is an old discussion. But I am convinced: It is a clear trend – either the business benefit can be clearly pointed out, or many social business projects will die because they cannot show the benefit. I think one answer lays in the processes – they drive the company, so there´s the benefit. Improve and socialize business processes could be an answer but is a tough challenge.
Second prediction: Social collaboration with customers and partners on the rise
Come on, let´s talk about value chains. If you work internally on a social tool you can tune the value chain. But what about your partners and customers? Does it make sense to build huge internal social platforms but working together with partners and customers mail-based? Simple answer: No. So here I see another trend for 2014: I think many companies will test this kind of collaboration with customers and partners. And by doing so, the value chain gets even more tuned.
Third prediction: IT integration learns to walk
There are many blogs out there that tell about the importance of fully integrated social platforms. But as I look in those companies that I am aware of, I see only few integration efforts. Very often the business value is not clear. Why integrate a CRM? Why integrate ALM? Here we come back to the understanding, that value add can be generated if you tune your processes- therefore you need integration. So my prediction here is: We will see more and more good IT integrations. They learn to walk.
Fourth prediction: Engagement becomes a VIP
Here comes my fourth prediction and with this one, we have the first VIP – Very Important Program – it is “engagement” for your social business activities. I am fully convinced in this point: You need to have a tailored motivational concept in place for your users. You need to show them the benefit. You need to help them through the first days. Again and again. A network does not live without a strong heartbeat. My prediction: We will see much more good engagement programs this year as social business managers learn the value of those activities.
All in all there is a clear shape towards more professional social business activities. I see that more and more companies have the understanding of business process “socializing”, they understand the value of transparent information networks. But the way to “social” is still challenging and will also have some nice obstacles in 2014. But I am convinced: There is no way without “social” or “2.0” for the companies any more. Try to leave this topic on your own risk…