Simplifying the Enterprise Social Media Landscape

There are a lot of platforms your business could use. How do you pick which one fits you best?

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Social Business

Social business research and more recent thought leadership explore the challenges and opportunities presented by social media.
More in this series

Part 1 of a 5-part series examining how social media has and will affect how organizations functions. The series is derived from a full-length article found in MIS Quarterly Executive.

When executives talk about social media in business, they typically talk about it in terms of specific platforms. They ask: does our company need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Snapchat? Should we adopt Yammer, Jive, Sharepoint, IBM Connects, or the upcoming Facebook at Work as an enterprise collaboration tool?

The problem with thinking about social media in terms of specific platforms is that it often leaves companies chasing the latest and greatest features, which are often changing faster than any of us can keep up with. This approach leaves executives constantly playing catch-up to whatever features social media platforms choose to add or remove, rather than getting ahead of these to think strategically about how to implement them in their business context.

Marketers may care more about who is using a particular platform, rather than about the platform’s specific features, so they may be left with no choice but to follow the trends. For other enterprise applications of social media, however — such as innovation, leadership, or operations — the specific features of the technology may matter a great deal.

In a forthcoming article in MIS Quarterly Executive1, I propose a simplified way of thinking about both the current state and the future possibilities of social media in the enterprise.

Key Social Media Capabilities

I argue that social media platforms provide two key capabilities in the enterprise context — managing networks and sharing digital content.

In terms of managing networks, social media platforms provide new capabilities for relating to others that have previously been unavailable to employees. For instance, although management research has long recognized that someone’s network is quite influential for employees, it has also found that people are generally pretty bad at understanding what their interpersonal networks actually look like. Social media, however, allows people to visualize and analyze their social networks. Facebook automatically identifies mutual friends. LinkedIn lets you know the shortest and best path to desired contacts.


Social Business

Social business research and more recent thought leadership explore the challenges and opportunities presented by social media.
More in this series


1. Kane, G. C. “Enterprise Social Media: Current Capabilities and Future Possibilities.” MIS Quarterly Executive 15, no. 1 (March 2015).

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Comments (2)
noreen poli
The conundrum for most companies is that those enterprise players you mention--are fulfilling the promise. While the vision and need for social within organizations makes more sense now than ever--not one of the players is capable.

The landscape is well positioned for a challenger that is open enough, scrappy enough, smart enough, innovative enough to take it and fulfill the promise. It must be cloud based and SAAS--with a strong on-prem if need be. Tie into every key CRM, Chat, and built so that every piece can be measured. Customizable enough so that personalization is easy and yet not so encumbered to make any major release a nightmare. The problem with your list of players is that each one in encumbered in their own way. The challenge is that technology and capability is changing so fast that what was great a year and half ago is a bottleneck today. My company helps companies through this amazing opportunity.
Nik Zafri Abdul Majid
Well, it goes back to the target readers. 

The challenge is to customize the media content according to what the readers really want. 

The providers need to really understand; besides than conducting random surveys; perhaps exposure to field work -  and incorporate them into the business strategy.