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Meeting Business Needs

We constantly need to return to business needs – the WHYs. In fact it should be the basis for all our discussions and developments. And it usually is. But it need to be mentioned in every post: Which concrete business needs does this initiative meet, which business functions does it improve? Or else we risk the common pitfalls of any new popular technology/trend: “This (eg. Web2.0/Enterprise2.0) is the answer, what was the question?”

Key verbs or functional factors here are: Communication, Interactivity, Connectivity and a more comprehensive information management.

There are also two obvious angles: External focus and Internal focus. Most of my posts have had the internal focus – how Web2.0 can increase/improve internal business functions. While most social media discussions have had the external focus – how businesses can utilize typical Web2.0 tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the dynamics of the social web.

What does all this enables the businesses to do? How can they increase their capabilities, aso? Much have been written/said about this. My early post: Why should we Enterprise 2.0 ourselves? was the start of some internal benefits. We will broaden this and include both the internal and external perspective with the basis in Communication and information management as the functional elements.  Interactivity and connectivity are included in the communication scope.

1.0 Communication

How does 2.0 give us increased communication capabilities? What does increased communication capabilities enable us to do? Which concrete business needs does it meet? How will it help us externally? How will it help us internally?

1.1 External Communication

This means utilizing public social media tools to improve/increase capabilities and meet customers or other externals in their environment and familiar communities.  Communication with partners will be treated in a separate section as it entails more integrated communication.

This includes communication with the following to meet/increase the following business needs:

  • Market – potential customers/clients
    • to get more customers
  • Customers   (B2C)
    • to inform
    • to support
    • to improve relationship
    • all of this to get continuous or increased sale
1.2  Internal Communication

Applying the tools and mindset now available on the Internet’s Social Network arena in the Enterprise in a dynamic collaborative way has been the focus of most of my  posts on Enterprise 2.0 and the collaborative workspace. More recently the posts: Great Communications and To make the knowledge worker productive focuses on how Web2.0 can increase the internal communication spectrum and simplify information handling (tool independent) to increase the productivity and effectiveness of the knowledge worker – “the most valuable asset of a 21st century institution” according to Peter Drücker. And as mentioned earlier the post Why should we Enterprise 2.0 ourselves? lists some internal benefits. To summarize business benefits:

  • more effective knowledge workers means the organization will produce more in less time
  • a more connected, functional, responsive mechanism to early detect and respond to problems, threats and opportunities
  • a perfect environment and tool set for the Lean organization.
  • comprehensive communication – can utilize a broader communication spectrum (asynchronous, synchronous, physical, digital) how these ways of communication can complement each other to work more effectively (see:  Great Communications  post and animated illustration
  • integrated information handling across organizational borders (the case or information is the issue, not the line of command)
1.3  Combined Communication  (B2B, B2C)

Communication with partners and to some degree customers may mean to absorb some of these tools and technologies in the companies infrastructure spectrum. So we talk about integrated communication, but also integrated information. Meaning for example from a business stand point, there’s no reason why a communication/conversation with a customer or partner and the internal conversations this spurs should be two different entities/streams. It is concerning the same issue or case and should be kept together. It is the 2.0 system’s responsibility to present different views or parts of this conversation according to user communities and access rights.  2.0 systems and tool sets allow us to have these integrated conversations and information handling while preserving integrity (meaning no non-concerning or comapny internal information will be disclosed externally).  This increased communication capabilities with partners will enable businesses to:

    • enable Lean capabilities – just in time deliveries
    • detect deficiencies and potential problems at an early stage
    • increase capabilities of partner teams – combined B2B teams
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