The Social Divide

As Marc Benioff or Salesforce.com highlighted today, we are in a social divide and it is very different from the Digital Divide. Although senior management in Fortune 1000 companies realize that their customer and employees are using social applications, they have not integrated social into their current business practices or processes. It’s as if there is a big disconnect. If they are listening to voice-of-the-customer or voice-of-the-employee, they are not adjusting accordingly. In the more open minded companies, management is listening to Gen Yers and taking their ideas on how to create a more collaborative (social) environment. One example is Intuit’s use of Brainstorm.

So, why are companies reticent about embracing this new world. Some reasons that come to mind:

  1. Concern about potential legal issues
  2. Concern abut security issues
  3. Difficult to tie to direct revenue
  4. Uncomfortable with change
  5. IT TAKES TIME

There are other reasons too. But some suggestions for senior management include:

  1. Do a test — pick one group within the organization and ‘go-social’ with them
  2. Research what other companies are doing in this area and understand how they are defining success (Even a change in an internal process needs to be measured, benchmarked and evaluated)
  3. Leverage the young(er) minds in the company who live and breath social
  4. Get your IT and Marketing folks to talk to each other (it’s amazing how many organizations need to do a better job in matchmaking the different areas of the company)

What obvious ones am I missing?

One more thing. If your company is gun-shy about implementing external social practices, go ‘internal’ first and implement social enterprise applications and processes inside the company. It’s a great way to learn.

Lets ‘take down that wall’ and eliminate the social divide!

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