Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Power to the People!

I eventually got a response from G. Oliver Young of Forrester in response to my question about the adoption of social networking solutions in the enterprise (see previous post – Oliver? Can you hear me now?).

According to Young, adoption of social media solutions and the change they are driving should not be viewed as a potential threat to business, but an opportunity for companies to harness these innovative technologies to grow.

Young suggests that, while the social media technology and tools flooding the market are innovative, the real change is a shift in the way businesses and their customers are interacting. This behavioral shift, according to Young, is making companies “…think more holistically about the role of customers in the value creation process, treating them more like partners and co-creators of value than simple consumers of value.”

This according to Young is where the true market opportunity is. So much so that he doesn’t believe we have seen such a rethinking of the relationship between businesses and consumers in the last half century – fundamentally changing the way businesses organize themselves.

While this may seem like business as usual to those of us who work in high-tech (I’ve seen first hand the way enterprise Wi-Fi, VoIP, RFID, Location Based Services (LBS), and video conferencing have had a positive impact on business productivity) there is a different angle to this market that makes it so game changing - just about anyone with a computer and Internet connection can participate.

Quoted on Socialutations - a blog dedicated to the emergence of new management methods - Lucas Wyrsch says:

“Today, billions of connected people around the world can cooperate to make just about anything that requires human creativity, a computer, and an Internet connection. Unlike before, where the costs of production were high, people can collaborate and share their creations at very little cost. This means that individuals needn’t rely on markets or capital-intensive firms to make or trade all of the goods and services they desire. A growing proportion to the things we value, newspapers included, can now be produced by us or in cooperation with the people we interact with socially, simply because we want to.”

Now that’s change.

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