Connect To The New Social Nervous System Or Become Roadkill

“What is transpiring is momentous, nothing less than the planet wiring itself a new nervous system. 

If your organization is not linked into this nervous system, you will be hard pressed to participate in the planet’s future. To be more specific, amidst the texting and Twittering and Facebooking of a generation of digital natives, the fundamentals of next-generation communication and collaboration are being worked out.

For them, it is clear, there is no going back. So at minimum, if you expect these folks to be your customers, your employees, and your citizens (and, frankly, where else could you look?), then you need to apply THEIR expectations to the next generation of enterprise IT systems. But of far more immediate importance is how much productivity gains businesses and governments are leaving on the table by not following the next generation’s lead.”

Geoffrey Moore, TCG Advisors and author of Systems of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT, a new Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) white paper. 

Do Your Organization Leaders Think Like This?

Some organization leaders:

  • Dismiss the current social technologies as irrelevant to business.
  • Think that if social technology produced productivity gains, they would already be investing in them.
  • Consider the proliferation of social sites, consumer ratings and services, and interactive games as digital entertainment.
  • Believe that social technologies should be banned from organizational computing.
  • Feel all social technologies are an incredible waste of time and resources.

To these leaders Moore says: “In a word, no. In two words, emphatically no.”

Moore asks why our organization applications aren’t as easy to implement as an Android or iPhone app. He rightfully questions why we know more about what our high school crush had for dinner than what is happening in our organization.

We need to remember:

  • Web 1.0 was about web delivery of information.
  • Web 2.0 is bidirectional, dynamic and about engagement. 

How Organizations Historically Adopted IT Changes

In the past, most organizations were accustomed to the trickle-down effect of IT changes. Fortune 500 companies and large public agencies adopted new IT changes first. It then moved to mid- to smaller-size businesses, home office applications and eventually consumers, students and children.

IT systems were systems of record. They were about data processing. We transitioned from rows of punch cards to customer management, global information systems, financial transactions, human resources, inventory, processing orders, supply chain management, etc.

How We Adopt IT Today

Today, children, consumers, digital natives and students are leading the IT revolution. Early adult adopters and nimble small- to mid-size business follow next. It is the large institutions and businesses that are the IT laggards.

Today’s IT systems are systems of engagement which rely on collaboration, cooperation, multi-way conversations and co-creation. Groups extrapolate data from systems of record and then interoperate both synchronously and asynchronously. They use chat, collaboration tools, crowd-sourcing, video conferencing, video streams, web conferencing, wikis, etc.

Your Challenge: Adopt Or Become Roadkill

The systems of record are no longer a source of competitive differentiation for organizations. The competitive differentiation rests with those that are adopting systems of engagement. 

“If you are dependent upon suppliers or distributors or partners to deliver your fundamental value proposition to your customer — if, that is, you are in the technology sector, or health care, or financial services, or consumer packaged goods, or retail, or education, or government, or energy, or aerospace and defense, or travel and hospitality, or media and entertainment, or marketing and advertising, or anything else of such ilk—then who are we kidding? You have to grab onto the new communication and collaboration systems or you will simply end up as roadkill.” Geoffrey Moore.

What is keeping organization leaders from adopting IT systems of engagement? How can employees help organizations transition to new IT systems?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KiKi L'Italien and, sgnewsfeed. sgnewsfeed said: Connect To The New Social Nervous System Or Become Roadkill: “What is transpiring is… […]

  2. ‘@Jeff,

    I’d rephrase the 2nd part of your question. It’s not employees that will be able to bust through the bureaucracy within organizations, it’s customers. The best that employees can do is lead their organizations to the corner bars of the social graph where their customers are hanging out and engage them as a peer. The way forward is to become a CCO (Chief Conversation Officer) or better yet a CLO (Chief Listening Officer).

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      Great point that it’s the customers that will bust through the bureaucracy. Actually, customers don’t care what department people are in. They just want their problems solved and will use social media to get that point across to those who are listening.

      It’s also interesting that the white paper mentioned talks about giving lower level and mid-management employees more autonomy when trying and using social technologies.

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

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