Monday, August 3, 2009

The Dark Matter of the Business Universe



To become or stay successful, businesses need to be able to see, understand, and nurture the conversations, transactions and relations they engage in - and how these interplay.

Businesses obviously record transactions today, and most businesses try to learn from them in order to find ways to improve how they manage and operate their business. But how much does the average business really know about the conversations taking place?

Most business conversations are transcient and passes by without a notice, only touching a those individuals who participate in the conversation. Why? Because the vast majority of business conversations either take place over phone or face-to-face. Most of the conversations that are captured are typically buried in email inboxes and almost impossible to access, analyze and learn anything from.

In a way, most business conversations are like dark matter. We know it must be there, but we can't see it and don't know what it is.

What is strange is that we seem comfortable with the fact that most business conversations are invisible and inaccessible to us (well, many people in middle management have build their positions on this fact). At least we have not reflected much over it, probably because it has always been like that. Until now.

Social software and the use of tools such as wikis, blogs and micro-blogs in a business context help to make potentially important business conversations visible and thereby possible to analyze and learn from. Social networks does the same thing with informal networks. The informal networks which are so important for most business can now be charted and analyzed. It is a can't-miss opportunity for organizations that want to know their business better and improve how it is managed and operated.

(This post was written and sent via my smartphone from the sun deck on the ferry from Swedish island Gotland to the Swedish mainland)