Saturday, February 18, 2012

Exploring Social Business Patterns

Over the past several years I have been part of a shift in marketing, design, development and enterprise software that has undergone fundamental shifts due to changes in the patterns of management and the patterns of product development and marketing.  This shift, in its current iteration at the edges of my bubble, is the emergence of the social business or social enterprise as it is sometimes referred to.  For now, I will use these interchangeably.

In the early days at Microsoft, community and social ecosystems and the evangelist role itself emerged as answers to the need for broad, engaged conversations around complex shifts in application architecture, development and design.  We leveraged forums, community advocates, content rankings and feedback and constant customer input as both an innovation and a market driver.  At Adobe I was one of the first bloggers (IMHO was my first Adobe blog), built the first evangelism team and worked with developer relations and marketing to leverage social ecosystem development across enterprise, agency and academia as a core GTM approach.

Now at HootSuite, as my focus shifts to expanding market readiness, and hopefully market share, for our enterpriseagency and professional offerings, I have the unique perspective of flipping the mirror around and determining which of the social business patterns are going to emerge as core market drivers and to help our customers and partners understand how this has a specific and positive impact on their bottom line, market share, HR, customer satisfaction and cost of doing business.

We now stand at the brink of another fundamental shift in the way we work - shifting more and more of our activity (not enough yet IMHO) to social platforms, better exploiting our need to communicate effectively and ultimately changing the way in which we model, design, strategize, plan, implement, deliver and measure business activity.

And, while many companies claim turf in this space and large and small agencies and consultancies alike move towards the space I feel like we are lacking some of the fundamentals for comprehension of a common shift in thinking and executing. I fall back on to my days in developer tools and developer relations, our work on architectural standards at both Adobe and Microsoft, and am turning up my quest for patterns.

Following are a potential grouping of how we might categorize some of the social business patterns (based on several examples already available):
  • - Business patterns of repeatable behaviour and consistent use of methodology or tools
  • - Technical patterns of business enablement through provision of platforms
  • - Integration patterns that exploit rampant connectivity, API and SDK model
  • - Agile patterns that embrace iteration and enable constant innovation
  • - Customer experience and UX patterns that redefine business models purely from the perspective of the customer/user
  • - Ecosystem patterns that both map and enable the complex systems of business without borders

This will be an exercise of research, accumulation, assimilation, creation and curation.

Well understood micro patterns such as update status, share ‘object’ with connections, notifications, and direct response, in turn see increasing value through understanding and documenting the macro-patterns that form when used in conjunction with each other and specifically change an aspect of how we do business, such as how we develop, market, sell, measure or report.
Seeking patterns of a revolution in communication that signal the growth of the social business.