What perimeter for and enterprise social network

Maybe you remember of my posts about external networks and the relevance of enterprise 2.0 logics for SMBs. In both case the underlying issue whas about the perimeter of those networks.

As a matter if fact, in small of medium businesses, assuming that contacts are more simple (or are supposed to be…), the benefits of interconnecting people in order to build stronger synergies seems to be less obvious than in large ones.

This takes us to the point I raised for all kind of businesses : why do tools that favor collaboration and synergies must share companies’ borders while value is created, specifically in B2B, not inside the company but on the contact zone where internal and client’s teams work together.

Experience taught me two things : the size of a company of team isn’t a relevant indicator to estimate how easy of difficult it is for its members to work efficiently togehter and the weak point of many processes is  interconnection between businesses.

About size, even small structures have difficulties to exchange and waste too many resources to coordinate and facilitate things. Sometimes more than large businesses because they seldom have supernumerary resources (men or time) to do so. The need for each employee to build stronger and less time consuming interactions is at last as important in SMBs than in large businesses.

But the fact that SMBs need, to develop themselves, to create more interactions with their environment to find outside the strenghts, resources and expertises they don’t have inside can also make them wonder how to operate and coordinate more efficiently with people from the outside.

This takes us to the second point : expand the programs and tools that aims at improving internal work to use them to work with the outside.

Heresy ?

First, we have to assume that it’s technologically possible. It’s only a matter of wanting it or not. Many things are possible to secure internal and dual-purposes zones. If you want to be very cautious, it may be the occasion to experiment Saas for the needs that imply external people in order not go give any access to your information system to external people.

Then comes the investment question. Who is going to pay to provide their clients or suppliers with software ? This is the biggest issue. Maybe some innovative pricing models are needed or a way has to be found to embed this kind of costs in something more global.

Then (or maybe before all) the business benefits. If you consider that the value chain is going throught two companies, each one trying to optmize its internal process, it appears quickly that the weak link, the one that limits the overvall performance, is located between both companies and that nobody takes care about it.

That’s why I think that, most of all in the current contact, one one the levers that will force the emergence of new pratices and the adoption of the accurate tools will be interenterprise cooperation. A new dynamic that will also be able to spread internally.

Why ? Because this is where the ROI is clear, because it’s where things are made and cash is collected.

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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