Home Late Night Blog Fight: Enterprise 2.0 vs. Social Business

Late Night Blog Fight: Enterprise 2.0 vs. Social Business

What are the distinctions between Social Business and Enterprise 2.0?” is a question on Quora that is getting pretty hot. But the debate exploded in November during Enteprise 2.0 Santa Clara. And the roots of the debate are a bit older than that, going back to the Dachis Group’s definition of “Social Business Design,” which stands in contrast to Anderw McAfee’s definiton of Enterprise 2.0.

Some have framed the debate as essentially people (social business) vs. technology (enterprise 2.0). I don’t think that’s really what the debate is about. I think it’s mostly about differing factions of analysts and consultants wanting to control the debate.

Sameer Patel of the Sovos Group wrote on Quora:

To say that social business is process and engagement and E2.0 is technology cannot really be backed up beyond personal preference for nomenclature.

If you look back at some of the best and deepest thinking around how to drive business performance and how to improve process, (as opposed to technology) its in fact written under the enterprise 2.0 moniker by the likes of Mike Gotta, Bertrand Dupperin, Gil Yehuda, Emanuele Quintarelli, Oscar Berg and until recently, Susan Scrupski and Dion Hinchcliffe (do a google blog search). All well respected people in the space.

But on the subject of people vs. technology, here’s Mark Fidelman, executive vice president of sales at MindTouch:

The fact is that technology and people have a symbiotic relationship. Meaning, as Peter Drucker espoused, “Neither technology or people determines the other, but each shapes the other.” Exactly.

Fidelman, for the record, prefers “social business design.”

So which term do I prefer? I don’t care for the term “social business” for two reasons:

1. It excludes public and non-profit organizations. Government agencies, charities etc. should be social too.

2. I believe the next-generation enterprise should be about more than just social. In his post “Beyond Social: Read/Write in The Era of Internet of Things,” ReadWriteWeb founder and co-editor Richard MacManus points to the explosion of non-human data on the web. I believe this is important. Mobility, cloud computing, analytics and big data are important technologies that aren’t inherently social. Then there’s unified communications, which of course has a social aspect but is hard to lump in with the rest of the typical enterprise social media tools.

I’ve experimented a bit with using the term “social enterprise.” That avoids excluding public and non-profit organizations, but it’s still social-only. And, as we were reminded today, has another meaning: businesses with a social mission.

Enterprise 2.0 smacks of silly buzzwordism, and as defined by McAfee it excludes non-social technologies. However, it feels like a less narrow and more flexible term.

Of course, I’d like it if we all just called it “read/write enterprise.”

Which term do you prefer?

Photo by Bruce Turner

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