The silo-based, hierarchical business structure shaped at the industrial age of 20th century may not be agile enough for organization to adapt to the rapidly changes at era of digital economy. Social business with the hybrid structure has been perceived as better model to focus on 3P: purpose, principle and people, since it can well integrate virtual social platform with the brick-mortar working environment, extend business’s physical boundary, also amplify business value through multi-channel communication, fully engage employees, customers, partners, community and society as well.
1. Unite Three Purposes of Business
The single biggest purpose of US public companies in 20th century is about maximizing stakeholders economic value at shot term, and ignore the other two crucial purposes: societal value and people value; contemporary business need create the social value for community and society economically, culturally, environmentally, since only the prosperous society can provide the fertile soil for business’s continuous success; The modern business may also need appreciate the people value by creating the atmosphere of innovation and freedom of choices to engage employees and delight customers.
2. Unite Business Silos
The traditional business structure has been well divided into functional silos to achieve certain level of efficiency, however, the business as a whole should be more effective and optimal than the sum of pieces, the characteristics of social business is more about its digital DNA and information fluid, to let data flow and talent grow, social platform will help orchestrate more dynamic, self-service working teams to cross-functional or geographical silos, in order to solve challenging business problem or optimize business process through holistic point of view and collective wisdom.
3. United Business Ecosystem
Not only breakdown the silos, social business will also need unite the business with its value chain ecosystem more seamlessly, the competitors may well become the partner to form as coopetitors relationship, to advocate and influence the right policy & long term investment to benefit industry as a whole; to instill innovative thinking and encourage fresh communication cross-industrial boundary, to solving technical challenges, supply chain concerns or any other social, political, economical issues via collaborative power.
4. Unite Entrepreneurial Innovation with
“Entrepreneurial innovation should be at the very core of culture and service at any business.” Peter Drucker
Statistically, large enterprise’s life span has significantly shortened from 75 years half century ago to only 15 years right now, innovation is the limelight at this dark tunnel. Social business by its “connect dots” nature inspires open & diversified leadership, facilitate collaboration via open platform, and manage innovation with discipline & flexibility, shape modern business culture such as learning, analytics, experimenting, customer-centric; and consciously grow the distinct business capability & capacity to compete for 21st century.
5. Unite Heart, Mind and Body of Talent
Talent is the most valuable asset in any organization, every executive may tell you so, however, two third of workforces are not satisfied with their work, the gap may cause by the traditional organizational structure, lack of two-way communication between top & down, the culture inertia, or the static & bureaucratic business process.
Social business built through the latest technologies such as social/mobile/cloud with the enterprise 2.0 tools and mechanism such as gamification/analytics and recent BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend will help unite the heart, the mind and the body of talent, now talent has better flexibility to work anywhere, anytime to access the right information and make better decision, work place is no longer just limited under the physical wall, talent will also have the multiple social channel to express opinion, share the thought leadership and think career beyond just a job.
6. Unite Decision Making with Big Data Wisdom
Big Data is big by-product of social business, the data and information created from multi-channel conversations through customers, employees or smart devices need be transformed into insight or foresight, then such data-based wisdoms need be well integrated with decision making process, to develop the new products/service; to optimize customer experience or improve internal working process.
7. Unite People, Process and Technology
Beyond functional silos, the business may also have been divided into the thinking and process silo base on varies professional mindset & discipline, to cause problems such as miscommunication between IT and business due to they are speaking in the different professional language. And people are always the weakest link when executing the projects or optimize the process. Now social business can be architected to develop more alternatives and people-centered processes, to expand the lens of multi-party point of view and to streamline end to end business process from outside-in, customer’s perspective.
If industrial age is about fragmentation, specialization and automation, then digital era is more about unification, customization and optimization. Yes, it’s time for business to unite 3P: purpose, principle and people; It’s time for business to achieve 3 values: economic value, societal value and people value; it’s time to unite talent’s 3 Degree: body, mind, and heart; and it’s time for business to unite 3 fundamentals: people, process and technology. These are the essential of social business.