Businesses should ask themselves these questions over and over again. By doing so, they minimize the risk that they will miss out on opportunities and threats originating from the social web.
I personally believe that the potential values of introducing principles, practices and technologies from the social web in a business context comes down to three things:
- Increasing the efficiency of business processes by reducing human latency, which is achieved by making it easier to find people and information and by reducing cycle-times in communication
- Boosting the productivity of knowledge workers by making it easier to access information and people for problem solving, knowledge exchange and coordinating actions across time and space
- Enabling innovation by allowing ideas to flow more freely and making it easier to collaborate across time and space to bring these ideas to the market
"Easy" is the key word here.
I also believe it is fairly easy to connect different principles, practices and technologies of the social web to one or several of these things. So why do many businesses remain so sceptical and passive?
I think the answer can be found in the fact that the transaction costs for communicating and organizing are minimal on the social web. Traditional organizations, on the other hand, are designed based on the fact that transaction costs for communicating and organizing are high. This inevitably creates a tension between the development on the social web and organizations, and it is quite clear that the social web is the more powerful force of the two. Organizations will have to adapt to social web, not the other way around.