Social Business Isn't Dead—It's Just Connected

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Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

~Mark Twain

This isn’t a post about social business—it’s about doing business in a connected age, and this is an important distinction. Let me take a step back for a moment. In April 2009, exactly five years ago I took a chance and joined a start up that didn’t have a name at the time and only a handful of employees. That start-up ended up being called Dachis Group, which was recently acquired by SaaS platform Sprinklr. There was a single reason I joined the emerging organization in pre-infancy. Jeff Dachis, who co-founded Razorfish—one of the original digital agencies said the following sequence of words which I had never heard before, and deeply resonated with me. Social Business Design

While my time with the start-up was brief, I never wavered from the belief that was core to what social business stood for. Everything had changed, and while we were a handful of true believers at the time, we all instinctively knew that the way business functioned was going to be impacted for the years to come. Now fast-forward five years later…

I touch a lot of clients and initiatives and our engagements can range from producing a regular and relevant stream of content for our client’s brands to working side by side with them to figure out the infrastructure needed to support different forms of engagement with a variety of stakeholders. I had been spending some time recently on our beta version of “Dairy Hub“—one of the latest manifestations of evolution we’ve undertaken with our willing parters of the US dairy industry and it dawned upon me this is just scratching the surface of what we used to call social business. And looking forward, it’s simply how all business will operate in one way or another (many are well on their way). 

However, the “Dairy Hub” alone isn’t social business—it’s one of many initiatives which were driven by a strategy and vision to bring the industry together and create value for a variety of stakeholders. The real story behind the the evolution had more to do with how we collaborated with the CEO of DMI and his team and aligning their efforts as well as ours over the years. It’s the heavy lifting stuff you don’t always hear about but is always necessary for real change to occur. It takes years. 

More on Dairy another time—back to doing business in a connected age. Below are a few areas which are highly relevant to how business needs to continue to change moving forward. They are how…

The Cloud Connects Us
Cloud technologies are eliminating the need for consumers and enterprises to store massive amounts of data by themselves through offering up an infrastructure which allows businesses to set up shop virtually overnight and empowers data sharing like we’ve never seen before. It’s also potentially a security nightmare. 

Content Connects Us
As advertising becomes gradually easier to ignore or skip—brands are under pressure to leverage all forms of content which either educate, inform or entertain us. Never have brands had to work so hard to get their target audience to pay attention to them. 

Mobility Connects Us
Pay close attention to Facebook’s strategy of unbundling the Facebook experience into an ecosystem of mobile first experiences. Mobility is on it’s way to becoming the dominant way people interact with technology. Facebook understands this, having learned the hard way originally putting the desktop experience before mobile.

Sharing Connects Us
It’s been described as the sharing or collaborative economy, but it’s yet another way that connecting is changing the face of how we want to exchange goods and services. E-commerce allowed us to buy new or used—now we can connect to those who can help us get our needs met perhaps without actually buying anything. 
The thing that’s driving massive change in organizations today is the fact that we’ve become connected in a number of ways that haven’t existed in the past. It’s bigger than social. It’s bigger than mobile. It’s bigger than wearables. And it will take years to work through as connections empower individuals across the board.

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