I am a huge believer in the potential of Enterprise 2.0, the set of Web 2.0 tools targeted for use inside the organization. Others have delivered excellent examples and descriptions of Enterprise 2.0 and how it can bring value to an organization (Andrew McAfee, Chris Brogan, & Scott Gavin, among others) . Unfortunately the vendors that are developing and delivering these tools have not yet discovered the secret sauce that has customers beating down their doors. The typical IT shop has not yet “seen” the ROI. The typical business user doesn’t even know these tools are available.
The problem is that no one gets passionate over platforms (i.e.tools). If I want to build a new house, I don’t really care that Senco has just released the world’s coolest nail-gun. I want to see the blueprint, something that shows me what I am going to get. It is very hard for a business client to see how end-user publishing, tagging and social bookmarking leads to an improved bottom line. Enterprise 2.0 currently represents potential, not fulfillment.
Enterprise 2.0, let me introduce you to Social Media Monitoring.
Social Media Monitoring is another business service that has yet to break through; a lot of potential, but you don’t hear about it too often on the Nightly Business Report. It is a little known secret that there are over 125 pure-play companies globally in this market segment, just ask Nathan Gilliatt, he specializes in tracking it. They all have amazing potential to generate detailed content about your company and your brand. The problem is that even though they deal with social media daily, most of them haven’t embraced the underlying theme of social media, that being, information wants to be shared. A typical Social Media Monitoring report is a PDF file. How 1.0 is that?!? Yes, many of them do provide nice dashboards with nice graphics, but it is still delivered to the client on a limited per seat license. This information enters the organization through a very small pinhole, gets used once for a specific tactical project, and then is buried in a file somewhere.
If we can get the Enterprise 2.0 platform builders together with the Social Media Monitoring content providers, we can deliver something that customers will finally sit up and take notice of. Just imagine a daily dose of customer insight embedded directly into your collaboration tools. An organization’s ability to innovate will accelerate, their ability to respond to market changes will be unprecedented, their understanding of their customer will move to another level. These are the things that grab attention, these are the things that businesses need to address.
One easy example is Customer Service 2.0. Consider a world where a customer with an issue merely has to post their problem on their own blog or any discussion forum and the company will find it and resolve it. You will have removed the burden from the customer of figuring out HOW to complain. Sounds a lot like Doc Searls VRM project to me. And this is just one example. What other opportunities can you think of?
I have discussed this idea with vendors on both sides of the equation, and they both agree, this type of partnership between content and platform could be the thing that moves the 2.0 evolution beyond Silicon Valley and into mainstream business practice.