Social Networking for Business

What happens when you mix a fantastic opportunity with a big dilemma in the business world? For big fortune 500 companies, it’s social networking. With an entire generation being raised on web 2.0 facebook apps and immediate communication social-networkcapabilities, it’s time for CIO’s to start recognizing how to leverage social networking rather then cutting ties to everything at the corporate firewalls. And here’s the new buzz phrase – it’s called social business software, or simply SBS. Simply put, it’s social software for the workplace.

Customers and Employees Communicate

Business models are changing. Communication models are changing. Businesses who’ve chosen to embrace social networking are now looking to leverage the same business model for internal communication. Networking and collaborating that historically  left to telephones and emails have now shifted towards SMS texting and collaborative online networking. What used to take days and hours to communicate has reduced itself to mere seconds. The communication gap is reaching hyperactive speeds fastly approaching instantaneous. So how do you leverage that kind of efficiency? Building and sharing business intelligence based on new communication models will be key if business wants to take advantage as people shift their communication habits. Community platforms are here to stay.

Productivity vs. Privacy

Cloud computing is another issue. Companies selling software as a service (called SaaS) deliver solutions without installing software and onsite hardware. Known as the cloud, a virtual delivery model is another advantage that social business software can deliver. Salesforce.com has been one of these industry leaders for years and has trumped the competition by allowing businesses to focus on leveraging technology and not managing it. But the once pretty puffy cloud has darkened. Social networking has become a challenge to harness business privacy and reduced employee productivity.

Who’s Offering a Solution

There are plenty of players in the social business software solution space. While both Microsoft and IBM have driving large enterprise solutions, one we are impressed with is Jive Software – (www.jivesoftware.com) based in Portland, Oregon is showing itself as a market leader in the new social business software space. They’re ahead of the curve for sure, working on ways to embrace collaboration and community capabilities for all kinds of targeted business areas.

Gartner_Social_Business

(Garnter MQ quadrant is availabe in their complete Social Business Report, which is available online)

Jive software calls them “Smart Companies”, those companies who are integrating social business software for marketing and sales, corporate communications, and customer support areas. When you have the backing of vc firms like Sequoia Capital and clients like Nike, SAP, and Intel, it’s time to stand up and take notice. “The bad economy is driving executives to invest in new ways get business done,” said Dave Hersh, CEO of Jive. “Social Business Software is the first new application category to appear in over a decade that delivers a real breakthrough in cost, productivity, and competitive advantage.

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Manage the Discussion Before Someone Else Does

Who’s protecting your brand online? Bloggers, Facebookers, Yelpers, you name it. Customers are out there saying things, reviewing things, and voicing their opinion on an unfiltered unregulated Internet. Companies like Jive Software are helping companies look after their brands online. It’s like combining Lotus Notes, Sharepoint and Wiki’s and putting them on steroids.

Jive Software no longer believes in the separation of internal and external communities. Instead, SBS  takes a holistic view and bridges employee collaboration with partner and customer communities in a single application suite. Jive recently released version 4.0 of their new suite package.

Not Just Content Management, it’s about the Business

CMS Wire added that “Jive also don’t really see competition with Web Content Management vendors, even though many of these vendors are including social media capabilities. But again this is because they aren’t about communities, but about social capital marketplaces — about the business.”

Take a look at what IT trend insiders like Gartner and Forrester are saying – Click Here

Hey CIO’s – Keep your eye on this one….

Wonder what the workers think?

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