Social Business Platform Elevator Pitch… 4 IT

I received some feedback that this elevator pitch was a bit techie, which is fair feedback. I should have been clearer in specifying that the stakeholders I’ve been most actively engaged with over the last few months have been the IT department, and therefore I was targeting that audience. I’ve now changed the title to clarify. Next week I’ll take a shot at the line of business and see where that variation lands :-)

I’ve been asked the question “What is a Social Business Platform?” a lot over the last few months, so I thought I would just share my “elevator pitch” response. Its just my personal perspective on what I think a social platform should ideally do, in the abstract. And while very few platforms do all this today, I think its fair to say that a social platform should at least have a vision for getting there.

Yes/No/Maybe? Am I talking rubbish? Please say No to that one ;-)

A Social Business Platform is…

A platform that provides the business with a set of social services that facilitate the process of collaboration.

  • Sharing, commenting, versioning, tagging, rating, alerting, following, … with profiles, communities, activities, blogs, wikis, files, status updates, activity streams, …
  • Which can be easily integrated into any business process or application — bringing social to the business and not the other way around.

A platform that has the potential to capture and represent within its social semantic network, all human actions and interactions across the business (and beyond).

  • Explicitly social actions; such as following a topic, tagging a person, or commenting on a file.
  • Implicitly social actions; such as attending a meeting or working on a project.
  • Non-social actions; such as booking a flight, buying a product, or completing certification.

A platform that can harness the insights hidden within this network and allow them to be integrated back into the business.

  • To ensure that the right information, gets to the right person, in the right context, at the right time, on the right device.
  • To allow the “systems of engagement” to:
    • Influence the flow of information across the enterprise
      From recommending people, content, data, processes, visualizations … to providing dynamic, personalized and contextual filtering. => People Productivity
    • Provide insight about that flow of information
      From identifying knowledge gaps within the enterprise, finding the key people or teams … to recognizing trends or sentiment. => Organizational Analytics


6 Responses to “Social Business Platform Elevator Pitch… 4 IT”

  1. Hi Marie – very nice cogent explanation of SBS and here’s my brief thoughts

    1) current SBS players are mostly in bucket one i.e. social graph

    2) the smarter SBS players moving into bucket two i.e. social + interest graph

    3) the third bucket i.e. insights + flow + influence + knowledge graph ( and I’m not talking about Google’s version of this ) is the most challenging one to get right and so far no established SBS player has cracked this yet but stay tuned because there’s some clever startups getting close ;)



  2. Hello, Marie.

    You’re not talking rubbish. :-) And…I think your descriptions might be a bit abstract for an elevator pitch – at least in the elevators where I work!

    So I tried a different approach with this post: (sorry for linking to my own blog)

    It’s not a textbook definition of “social”. (Your blog does a much better job at defining what makes a social business platform social.) Instead, it describes 3 ways that social business platforms make work easier – basic, modern intranet features + activity feeds + convenience – and that are increasingly found in enterprise collaboration platforms like Jive, Connections, etc.


    • Great feedback John, and thanks for sharing your blog post its a great read.

      You are spot on regarding your feedback, this is a very techie summary targeted to the IT folks or development organizations looking to build the social business platform. I’ve adjusted the blog title appropriately.


  3. Nice article, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have you seen any of Kai Riemer’s work regarding Enterprise Social Networks? I like this article where he outlines the different between a tool and a piece of infrastructure. Keen for your thoughts :)


    • Steve,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing Kai’s blogpost. A good read and this distinction between tools (capabilties) vs. infrastructures (platforms) is the biggest pain for us techies. No-one wants infrastructure, its remarkably unsexy and all it does is take up space, use electricity and suck up IT resources :-)) The unfortunate thing is that most capabilities can’t be delivered without the boring infrastructure. It’s tough in the IT world… poor us! ;-)

      I’m posting something today which tries to reword the platform question for a line-of-business and touches on this infrastructure question. Unfortunately as I read back over what I’ve written I don’t think I’ve nailed it. Ah well, such is life.



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