Social fascinates me, never before have we seen such rapid adoption of a communications channel. What has surprised me is the time it has taken for the enterprise world to get involved. Yes the big brands Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, as do a lot of small businesses but how many of them are embracing the social enterprise? And what does that mean?
Marc Benioff (@Benioff), SalesForce.com’s CEO stood in front of more than 6,000 people in London this week and opened our eyes to a new, smarter and more efficient way of working. His articulate presentation style coupled with seamlessly brilliant live product demonstrations showed what is possible using his platform. Benioff in my opinion is not so much a visionary as many would believe but someone that can fully understand and grasp what technology is capable of and then apply it tremendously well to fit the enterprise model.
A social enterprise is an internal social network. Imagine a business version of Facebook with all of your colleagues hooked up. being able to Instant Message, collaborate in real-time on documents and projects and ultimately work a lot smarter. It doesn’t just end there though, imagine creating groups for employees AND groups for customers. Now what you have is a truly collaborative environment to service and support your customers and prospects and make better use of employee time. No more waiting for email or hoping someone will pick up the phone. It takes away the geographic boundaries and massively increases business efficiency.
This isn’t a vision of the future though, it’s a solution that is here right now. Having seen a demo this week of Salesforce.com’s Chatter I was blown away by its capability and just how far it has come it a short space of time. When Benioff realised the power of Facebook style collaboration in the business world he immediately pulled half his entire development team off current projects to focus on Chatter, and what a smart move that was. It gives organisations, groups, customers, employees the ability to ‘follow’ any object that sits within SalesForce. This could be a proposal document, a person, a bid, in fact, any object and it will provide users with real time updates when any changes to the object are made. What makes it even better is that it’s built on HTML5 which means it renders perfectly on a PC, a laptop, any tablet or smartphone, on any operating system, providing a consistent end user experience, no matter where you are or what device you are using (SalesForce Video).
Companies in my opinion must embrace this Facebook generation or live in fear of being left behind. The world has changed dramatically and the social network has never been more important. You are social, your customers are social, but is your business?