Tuesday, 3 January 2012

What are the risks of misreading the new Social Processes that develop social enterprise ecosystems ?

The emerging new social media and social networks is a constant reminder of the new internet socialization that invades many aspects of personal and business life. The numbers speak for themselves in connected communities, smart phone “switch-on” rates and app store growth.
However these new social systems are also changing many traditional business processes that otherwise have remained largely the same for many years but are now breaking down into new inside and outside the enterprise communities of services, devices and interconnections.
Received wisdom speaks of, Social Network Optimization SNO in search engines and new portal-like enabled services that are becoming defacto methods to “like” and collect feedback and behavior analysis.
These trends are changing key business processes into a more general event-driven response to the use and communication channeled through online sites, mobile devices and services.
What is clear is that identifying strategies to build these into main stream business and operating models is a matter of urgency to address very real, near and present competitive changes and size of the addressable market opportunities. These trends are disrupting traditional markets that focus on content ownership rather than extending the service to leveraging and targeting how the content, be it photos, news alerts, or other services are be discovered and used.
The risk of miss-reading these trends is significant to the economic wellbeing of the enterprise
• The cultural impact of products and services that have “moved” outside the enterprise into new business models of discovery and delivery
• The changing perception of value from consumers and partners who have a different “view of the customer” which includes other on-line service providers that can
• Moving “goal posts” of addressable markets as online boundaries, communities and behaviors shift and combine in new ways
• Brand miss-alignment and changing expectations and service requirements to underpin security and quality of service
• Missed opportunities to leverage Joint Ventures, service bundles and other monetization strategies that can better address customer and provider needs
The connected spaces of online communities enable content to be augmented and bundled to build “loops” that drive behaviors to use more content or different services and content.
These strategic priorities include
• Establishing core content propositions such as “knowledge”, “photos”, “messaging”, ”lifestyle”, “Entertainment”, “Time saver aggregation and alerts”, “games” that build value-worth in individuals and group community associations. The product or service feature set has to recognize “group” value and behaviors , not just its intrinsic value to individuals.
• Defining platform strategies that include 3rd party and your own platforms and knowledge. This extends to Joint Ventures and partners as it’s no longer just ownership but also connected relationships that matter. This enables a wider context and recognition of a sense of community place and breadth beyond a traditional enterprise own portfolio viewpoint.
• Identifying new business operating metrics that recognize time based usages and community behaviors that measure and drive the assessment and augmentation of “loops” of discover, inquiry, brand reinforcement, community recognition and economies of scale leverage.
• Building service bundles that leverage, cross-sell and respond to time-based trends and events as they occur. This means that the metrics and feedback mechanism need to be much more strategically sensitive to how the community and usage patterns are evolving and being captured effectively.
• Creating referential integrity and security in the content and service is more a prerequisite in making the products and service more understandable, consumer friendly and recognizable. While platform integration will be both open and closed as different alternative ways to build secure and viable market share, the underpinning quality of service and sustainability in the longer term will be a key factor is maintaining community engagement and service value. Focus on the value of the experiential processes will be increasingly necessary as much as the dynamic nature of the hard costs and quality of operations to deliver the desired consumer experience.

What’s important is that while monetization can be from direct content or service sales, there is also further addressable revenue from augmenting and understanding how platforms and services are engaging and added value to consumers and community behavior feedback.
Gaming is just one of the “loops” of driving behavior patterns that consume and reinforce information and content usage. The more critical point is that the domains and boundaries of content, platforms and services is much less ridge in the sense of new markets of communities. But it is also much more the emergence of new competitive forces that are driving a new era of ecosystem oriented products and services. These are challenging and driving away for the old Porter five forces model of competition, suppliers, customers and substitutes to a combination of new drivers and lever.
The new five forces model for the next ten years might be:
• Community evolution drivers
• Platform discovery and usage drivers
• Market Boundary interoperability and portability semantic drivers
• Device capabilities drivers
• Informatics and ecosystem science visualization, sustainability and delivery drivers

The risk is to think that “it’s just new services in the same business strategy and portfolio” may dismiss some significant behavioral awareness change that may be necessary to understand these drivers. The issue may infact be the game itself has changed in the way products, services and industries actually work.

Mark Skilton
Jan 2012

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