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  • Writer's pictureMinnie Faith

The Social Business Toolkit

Updated: Aug 14, 2020

The rise of social business is being driven by several emerging technologies that improve the effectiveness of interactions among individuals and businesses. These tools excel at enabling discovery of new information and making it easier for every employee to share.

A case in point: One leading high-tech firm recently shifted to an open collaboration platform across its software development project teams. Using discussion boards and micro-blogs instead of emailed review templates, team members began to openly share all documents related to work in progress. Initially, the new ways of working were met with cultural resistance, driven by fears that interim deliverables would be reviewed using the same criteria as finished products. But team members quickly came to understand the value of the new approach and social business flourished. As a result, the company was able to increase the quality of finished products, and reduce product development cycle times, delivering new products to market faster. In this competitive sector, shorter product development cycles can have heart-of-the-business impact on the bottom line.

Sentiment Analysis: Sentiment analysis, a form of market research, uses natural language processing, text analytics, and computational linguistics to help companies understand the mindset of the market and individuals on a given topic. In short, sentiment analysis helps companies better understand how customers feel about their products and services, and those of their competitors.

Sentiment analysis is often performed in the context of a broader business analytics agenda, though occasionally it is still siloed inside the PR group. While configuring the tools is not particularly difficult, it does take deep  knowledge and hands-on experience to fine-tune the search queries and analytical models so that they deliver reliable, insightful results. Even then, some intelligent (read: human) oversight and curation will be needed because automated systems still have trouble interpreting nuance, subtlety, or sarcasm, though it is getting better. Advances in contextual mining and artificial intelligence will lead to increasingly intuitive, easier-to-use offerings. Meanwhile, setting up, monitoring, and maintaining these tools still requires some specialized knowledge.

Digital Content Management: Product information, brand collateral, store/employee data, and other content should be consistent across all channels—brick-and-mortar locations, Web, call centers, mobile, social, kiosks and whatever tomorrow’s innovation may be. In this omni-channel world, companies will need to excel at traditional digital asset management (DAM), content governance, and stewardship as part of their social business strategies in order to manage content and communities simultaneously across channels.

Digital Identities. Social business amplifies the potential value of individual personas and relationships, whether they belong to employees, customers, prospects, or partners. Yet these personas often exist only as fragmented bits across multiple networks (private and public). To achieve social business objectives, not to mention ensure security, privacy, and regulatory control, digital identities must be unique, verifiable and non-repudiable. “Unique” means that the identity refers to a single entity and cannot be duplicated or re-used.

“Verifiable” requires the ability to authenticate that users are who they say they are. And “non-repudiable” provides confirmation of the integrity of the identity and any subsequent communications. Identities must also be unified or federated, appropriately separable or portable with the credential holder, and layered to expose profile detail only at the level required for a particular use.

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