Coordinated social media strategies by 2016 ? Why 2016 ?

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Gartner just issued their predictions about technologies that will deserve highlights in 2010, with a large part dedicated to social software. It includes both interesting and suprinsing things?

First, their analysis distinguish between “social networking”, “social collaboration”, “social publishing” and “social feedback”. Why not, after all. I even find that it makes sense from a learning point of view. Boundaries between social networking “stricto sensu”, tools that have a wide range of use or are used in the limited scope of a community and, at last, social spaces (that can be called “communities” or “groups”) are so blurred that organizations are totally lost. What brings a lot of confusion when they have to design any project related to these points. So this vision is relevant to help them understand how each logic works.

It’s surprising at the same time since it’s hrd to imagine one without the other. In order to make a social network help its members to go beyond strong ties, information is needed to identify people across the organization. So it’s hard to imagine a comprehensive strategy that whould nor articulate social networking and social publishing / collaboration. Let’s even push this logic further : in terms of product, it’s clear that any product that only offers one without the others will suffer from limitations that are more than crippling. Today, organizations can do DIY but the more this kind of issue will become strategic the less they’lln accept incomprehensive solutions.

For instance, social network analysis that Gartner puts in the social networking field would be more relevant if relying not only on ties but also on interactions…what brings us back to social collaboration and social publishing….

Gartner also says that, in 2016, social tools will be integrated with business tools. I already shared my point of view about that many times and have some other posts being writen : according to me that’s something unavoidable. Now, let’s talk about the 2016 dead-line. In my opinion, in addition to delivering more value by making the solution being one-click away from the problem (knowing that each additional click makes 30% users give up) such an integration has another upside : by making social activities more senseful, that favors tool adoption in order to make users come closer to community behaviors because they came to use tools for process-driven reasons. But I’m affraid that, until 2016, many people and organizations lose their breath in a middleware-employee logic.

I think the same about the idea according to which organizations will have coordinated social media strategies by 2016. That sounds obvious but let’s be careful ; if having coordinated tool strategies in one thing, but it doesn’t imply coordinated management strategies. Coordinating tool strategies will not solve the incapacity to share resources across silos, to use a social media as a channel to deliver anything or execute a plan instead of as a legacy media, to turn communication into service… I’m affraid that Gartner is mistaking technology strategy with global strategy…the latter needing to come become the former if one don’t want tools to remain on the shelf. It would be very dangerous for organizations to think that “everything will be solved in 2016” just like by magic. Nothing will improve if they don’t start  working on the needed global strategy to be ready by 2016

Je me fais la même réflexion par rapport à la prédiction qui veut que les entreprises aient une stratégie “coordonnée” en 2016. Par là entendons entre le networking et le collaboratif, entre l’interne et l’externe. Là encore, c’est quelque chose qui résonne comme une évidence. Mais attention : avoir des stratégies outils coordonnées est une bonne chose, mais dans ce domaine il faudrait également coordonner les stratégies managériales. On pourra coordonner tous les outils, cela ne résoudra rien à l’incapacité des organisations à partager leurs ressources entre les services, à se servir d’un “social media” comme un canal pour exécuter un plan ou un process et non comme un media, à transformer la communication en service etc… J’ai bien peut qu’ici Gartner confonde la stratégie outil avec la stratégie tout court…la seconde ayant intérêt à précéder la première si on ne veut pas que les outils restent sur l’étagère. Il serait dangereux, qu’une fois de plus, les entreprises se disent “tout sera réglé par magie en 2016”. Rien ne se le sera si elles ne travaillent pas d’ici là sur la stratégie en question.

Conclusion : A lot of things that make sense but I still don’t understand why 2016. Close enough not to be to far while letting enough time to issue other predictions and change one’s mindcin the meanwhile…

Lats point : analytics. I recently wrote things about bringing intelligence into social software and let technology do the middleware work that is often devoted to users. : the analytics concept is all about that. Globally speaking, the only value of social software today is to allow users to adopt more efficient practices. But let’s be frank : the software does not deliver any added value in addition to what people can deliver by developing new synergies. This step will allow enterprise social software solutions to add their own added value on top of user’s. Doing so, these solutions will be more appealing for users, so will be more used, so will bring more value…what is the start of a virtous circle.