Social Technology In The Boardroom: 5 (More) Key Takeaways

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I recently spent an hour with Marcel Bucsescu and Barry Libert on a live webinar on the issue of Social Technology In The Boardroom and wanted to add five more points to the ones that we covered.  You can see the five key points from the session and replay the video here at The Conference Board site.  

Here are five additional points for any CEO or Director to consider, counting down from Number 5.

#5 - Social Technology Is Not New

Social technologies have been around for a long time.  They are technologies that we invent and use for purposes that are social in nature.  The social behaviors of connecting, communicating, collaborating and creating and maintaining community (the 4C's) have been around since the social technologies of the book, or the landline telephone.  This latest version of social technology that includes social tools and software like Facebook or Twitter also includes mobile devices.  These latest tools are what is new, and so is what we can do with them.    

#4 - Social Technologies Are Always Wildly Disruptive

Because social technologies impact human behavior, they change things in a very unpredictable fashion.  We've already seen today's version of social technology help overthrow and disrupt political regimes.  We are seeing an increasing level of social advocacy from consumer groups.  What's next?  Who knows, that's a key lesson of social technology but we do know disruption is part of the package. And the lesson in here for Boards is just that, it's experiential.  We figure out what we can do with these tools as we work with them, so start working with them is the point.  

#3 - Social Media Is A Subset Of Social Technology

People think of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or the iPhone when you talk about social.  Social technology in business is focused on bringing the tools and techniques of social engagement into the workplace, and is a bigger universe than just these popular and well known tools/services.  While these initial social tools have been used by business for marketing or customer service purposes, products like Chatter from salesforce.com or ServicePulse from ServiceMax and many others are bringing different social engagement techniques into many different domains across companies to change the way that business gets its work done.      

#2 - Every Company Is A Social Technology Company, Many Have Just Not Realized It Yet

When your markets, i.e., your customers, employees and investors start using new technology and doing things differently, it has implications for your business.  You have no choice but to meet your markets where they are at and where they are heading.  And they've moved on, creating a crisis of relevancy for businesses that do not understand this technology.   Markets for the first time have adopted technology that business is struggling to understand.  This makes every company dependent upon social technology whether they've done anything with it or not.   When markets change, business changes.   You are a social technology company whether you admit it or not.  

#1 - Social Technology Has ENORMOUS Economic Benefits

Social technology in the workplace is a productivity tool.   The economic advantages of these tools make it a strategic weapon that demands boardroom engagement. Some companies get this, and they will succeed at the expense of their socially challenged competitors.   Prior iterations of social technology have changed the competitive balance of industries and disrupted the business status quo.  This next incarnation is doing the same.  

The New Battlefield For Business

Not a toy, or distraction for your 12 year old, social technology is a disruptive technology that changes how customers, employees and investors experience your company.  If there's only one thing you need to know about social technology, it is this point.

You can no longer bask in the steady growth of markets and increasing demand to float your corporate boat.  Your ability to compete is being redefined based upon an information explosion that is driven by these tools and changing how your markets experience your company, products and services.  Just as major weapons advancements have altered the battlefield, the corporate weapon of social technology is changing the way that companies create competitive advantage and compete to win in their markets.  

Your choice is to disrupt or be disrupted.   The social technology arms race has begun for business--all hands on deck!

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