The Power of People: Social Business and Results

By Bryant Duhon posted 02-28-2013 14:24



“A Social Business is a business that embraces a people-centric network that continuously harnesses the organization’s collective knowledge stream.”

In this AIIM 2013 Q&A, Cengiz Satir, Program Director, IBM ECM, discusses what it means to be a social business and, more importantly, HOW being social drives business value. And, while organizations should be people-centric; those people need the right content (and that content needs to be properly governed) to be effective. In a nutshell, your contente needs to be in the right context.

If you want to know more about these topics and trends; you need to register for AIIM 2013 NOW!

Cengiz Satir is a program director in IBM Enterprise Content Management and is responsible for IBM's social content management products and strategy. He holds an MBA degree in emerging technologies and is a 20-year veteran of the software industry.Follow Cengiz on Twitter: @csatir.



Duhon:Why is becoming a social business important?

Satir: Accumulating content and information virally is not only irrational but it detracts from what humans crave everyday: meaningful collaboration and engagement with people. Businesses know, now more than ever, that staying “relevant” is one of the keys to their success. The social way in which we communicate with people and across business today helps contribute to that relevancy, but more importantly it is revolutionizing our reach into what I call the “collective knowledge stream.” A business’s ability to tap into that knowledge and expertise will not only drive new insights, but it will attract and empower employees to perform at the highest level. The ability to interact with both people and content via social business networks across organizational roles, teams, and communities in the context of the work you do, drives real business results.

Duhon:How can social business tools lead to and drive real business results? What’s the difference maker?

Satir: External social sites have given viral access to people and information to everyone that wants it. Re-connecting with friends, family, and colleagues matters, but outside of that aspect, much of the information shared on external social sites is just “noise.” But social is so much more than the conversations and topics that are trending today. It’s about a business’s ability to connect the right people to the right knowledge, expertise, and content; and it’s about their ability to seamlessly establish a persistent and meaningful relationship between the content and the people.

The core of what makes social business tools powerful is the "people aspect," or profiles (to put it in “techie like” terms). When that people-centric approach is combined with an embedded enterprise-ready content engine that understands social concepts such as tagging, liking, rating, commenting, and activity streams, businesses can truly leverage the best of both worlds. A “directed” social and mobile content system ensures that unstructured content is proactively and responsibly managed from day one. It also means businesses can gain new insight through both content and social analytics, as well as sentiment analysis. At the end of the day, a social business is one that empowers its entire organization with social and mobile tools that promote collaboration, along with the ability to continuously leverage their collective knowledge via a people-centric network that utilizes an embedded, socially aware content engine. The result is one where businesses are driving more human interactions through contextual and accurate content, fostering a sense of community, which improves productivity, accelerates decision making, and drives innovation – all directly contributing to measurable business performance.

Duhon: What are some of the challenges? Are businesses underestimating the issues of governance and ediscovery? And where does big data fit into the equation?

Satir: Everyday we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of information and 80% of the information created is unstructured, so it should be no surprise that businesses are challenged with how they are not only going to gain control of it, but how they are going to manage both the risk and costs associated with it. Most unstructured information being created today has social and/or mobile origins. While all this explosive growth is enabling enhanced collaboration, productivity, and innovation, it is also dramatically increasing IT costs and organizational risk. One of my personal favorites and most telling statistics that points to this trend is that 90% of the information in the world today has been created in the last two years. As such, the manageability of content is definitely a challenge for businesses today, but more importantly if organizations approach this intersection of social, mobile, and content the right way, it will create new opportunities for businesses to leverage “content based insights.” All this big content and data puts extreme pressure on IT budgets and the processes for storing, managing, and governing it. And as mentioned earlier, accumulating content virally is no longer an option. What does have merit however, is a more proactive, smarter, and responsible approach for managing all content. What is needed is a strategic imperative that leverages the intersection of social, mobile, and content, but one that deploys a strategy that factors in rising information volume and costs, as well as declining values and budgets – an information economics strategy. What if you could leverage the power of social and mobile business tools and at the same time manage the content created as a single source of the truth? What would that mean to your business? In my mind, the ability to discover, socialize, capture, act, and govern content in an intuitive business manner not only addresses the challenges outlined, but more importantly it transforms the business and surrounding culture into one that can instinctively:

·    access and manage content anywhere, leveraging the business’s collective stream of knowledge

·    surface new business knowledge and insights never before realized

·    discover, interpret, and analyze operational processes

·    act on newly gained insights, driving better business outcomes

·    govern content, proactively and responsibly: “Day 1” management of unstructured content

IBM’s combination of social business and smarter content solutions connect people, teams, and communities with trusted content, ensuring businesses that they are not only empowering an entire organization but they are doing it with information economics forethought.

Duhon:What's Next for ECM?

Satir:There is no doubt that today’s social and collaborative trends have shifted corporate culture from top-down to bottom-up. As such, content management has evolved from being document-centric to people-centric, from infrastructure and centralized to community oriented. Ad-hoc collaboration and file sharing is no longer good enough, nor is it maintainable. Content more than ever needs to be presented in the context of the work we do, it needs to be discoverable wherever you are in the world, and it needs to be an integral part of today’s social interaction methodologies for accessing, consuming, and managing content. An accurate corporate taxonomy is critical, but it’s the combination with folksonomies that makes content contextually accessible, anywhere in the world. The embedding of social attributes, such as tagging, liking, rating, and commenting into business content adds a new dimension to what was once ECM, and is now a relevant, accurate, and persistent content stream. As your company begins to focus your organization on social business and smarter content initiatives, you will witness employee engagement like never before - one where employees, managers, and executives alike feel more connected and can play a greater role in the company's climate, direction, and success. 

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