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8 Things CIOs Need to Know About Social Software

        posted by , September 13, 2009

If your not thinking about social software strategies — you're pretty much alone. Social software is a top 10 concern for CIOs for 2012.

Here's what you need to know:

1. Enterprise 2.0

The first 50 years of IT innovation was focused on automation. The next 50 will be focused on social sciences.

2. It's not optional.

Remember the debate about the impact of the Internet on industry in 1992-1996? Social software is like that. It will completely transform every industry.

Businesses will use social software to build customer relationships, engage employees and drive efficiency. It also represents a business opportunity in itself (social software was a $245 billion dollar business in 2010).

3. Social patterns govern business outcomes.

It doesn't matter what industry your in, there's no fundamental business driver more potent than social dynamics.

Social dynamics play a critical role in:

global financial markets


consumer loyalty

process efficiency



partner relationships

employee engagement and productivity

4. The value of social software goes up exponentially with the number of users.

There's no sense creating your own social microblog (twitter) or social networking (facebook) site behind your corporate firewall. It will have little value.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what many organizations have tried to do. When it doesn't work out (it never works out) — they give up on social software. This is a mistake.

5. Social Media will replace email

Your youngest employees probably don't use email for personal communication. Social media is a more powerful medium that's slowly displacing corporate email.

6. Games are important to social software.

Game design principles drive social software.

Games are addictive. Gamification of enterprise software increases engagement and encourages desired behaviors in customers, employees and partners.

7. Enterprise social software is in its infancy.

Social software is close to its peak of inflated expectations. Everyone's excited about it but the real business value is lagging expectations.

At the present time, social software is primarily useful for marketing and sales. Many organizations have achieved significant value from social media marketing programs. The enterprise software to support these programs (social media monitoring, social analytics and SCRM) is half way to maturity.

Social software will likely become a major driver of other software markets such as ERP. However, these markets are in their social software infancy.

8. The social media transformation will be turbulent.

If we go back to the Internet analogy — the Internet transformed industries and made new empires. However, many industries saw margins and sales plummet (e.g. music, newspaper industries). It also led to an explosion of cyber crime that now costs business and government in excess of $100 billion annually. Cyber warfare is now a significant risk to the global economy.

The social software transformation will be the same — there will be new risks and new opportunities.

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