Get in or lose out: either social business or no business
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live-F. Wittemore
The big change towards ‘customer self care’ and bottom-up self assembled teaming as the coordination principle in companies is rapidly gaining strength.. The customer is about to have the lead. We are going from schedule push to reality pull. Toffler’s prosumership is getting real. There are lots of examples in daily business life reflecting these changes, starting from assembling your own car, arranging spare parts delivery, 3 D printing service (Easy Creators by Shapeways) to self scheduling, self-management, civil journalism, tracking & tracing your package, medical care and so on. Glassdoor.com in combination with Twitter, shows what implications crowd sourcing has for the labor market. Wolfram-alpha demonstrates the huge opportunities of the semantic web and various examples of crowdfunding, the start of financials 2.0. These sites provide us with a clear indication of the direction and developments ahead for the business arena.
From control to connect
I hope that this trend towards customer engagement will increase the focus on RRR ( Review, Ranking and Rating) on the one hand and on the humanization of the collaboration on the other. These developments will rule out ‘ERP systems’ as tools to schedule collaboration as these are focused on controlling, not on connecting and basically put humans in the position of ‘nuts and bolds’ in a formal framework called company. Collaboration will obviously undergo a deep transformation. It will more and more evolve into a personal decision of the persons involved instead of a result of top-down spread sheet calculations. I have high hopes we will be more and more driven by our need to create together something nice and meaningful and hence to create value. From survival of the fittest to the survival of the most cooperative ones.
We, as employees, have been treated by companies long time like French fries in a huge top down organized cutter. Stop it. And fortunately we indeed see positive changes in many branches going on. E.g. Buurtzorg, an alternative Dutch healthcare organization is not only winning prizes as a the best of a top best employer in the Netherlands but is appreciated by all its stakeholders and reducing cost by 30%. They are just a group of medical professionals individually teaming up to serve the patient.
Social media still need to be more integrated into operational business processes within corporate life. I expect that (emotional aware) software, supporting customer engagement, “communicational excellence”, will be gaining significance. Software supporting “control excellence” will be losing relevance in many industries except material business and robotization.
Customers change more rapidly than current operational processes and IT systems can cope with. That gives me reason to believe that the concept “company” will be changed by the ‘digital world’. Companies will become more and more projects of ‘supertemps’, independent professionals creating a temporary community to reach their goal. Just like films are being produced in the P2P way. Your capability to ‘find your pals’ ( pal= pooling, allying, linking) is vital to create earning power, cooperation being the real core competence. The social company needs to create the capabilities to really engage with dynamic, interacting customers. ZARA is a good example of this development. It has organized its own quick response logistics system in such a way that the assortment is in fact determined by actual sales within a few weeks.
We live in interesting and dynamic times. Everything is undergoing a fast transformation. Watch out and be prepared!
Get in or lose out !