The Anatomy of a Social Enterprise

This edition of my blog is inspired by Mark Benioff, Salesforce CEO who talks on Growth, Strategy, Social Media ( ).  Three key points made in this interview with Bloomberg TV have resonated with me in the context of the topic he was addressing and are paraphrased by  me here:

  1. Enterprises are not outside the context of the society that we live in which is witnessing this massive revolution with respect to connecting socially and collaborating on creating a way of life we all commonly aspire. So he wonders in the  corporate context “which CEO is likely to be the next Mubarak?”
  2. Technology has been traditionally used poorly by enterprises and it is time to use them wisely as resources get even more scarce than ever before. If this isn’t the time for enterprises to be “Socially Mobile on the Cloud”, what else is relevant?
  3. In the context of Salesforce.Com having a great financial year in the midst of industry ruins, he says business was always about focusing on customers and keeping the vigil on the topline for him; rather than worry on manipulating the look and feel of numbers for the investor community.

Social Enterprise is definitely enabled by technology. However, for it to be a reality, it needs to transcend / transition from a mindset of Broadcasting to Interacting and Collaborating. As the illustration demonstrates, this technology is relevant and impactful when extending enterprise applications across a Customer Universe (Employees, Customers, Vendors, Shareholders, Stakeholders, Business Partners and / or Society). A few illustrative examples in different industry segments to create New Products, Processes, Services and / Or Platform that orchestrate Growth and Profitability in such a social enterprise would be:

  • A software services firm that builds an innovation process that connects its entire customers universe; where ideas and concepts that emerge from the experience of this universe creates new Products, Processes, Services and / or Platforms.
  • A Consumer Products Goods (CPG) company that associates its Research and Development closely with the Consumer Experience to extend the ‘Moment of Truth” beyond the Retail Cash Register to the entire Life Cycle of a Product intersecting with that of the Customer Life Cycle.
  • A government forming powerful alliances to engage citizens and becoming involved in their lives from “cradle to grave” across generations; thereby lending credence to governance, safety and security.
  • A network of global educational institutions becoming a partner in progress and growth of an individual and society from the three dimensions of Personal, Professional and Emotional.
  • A Financial Institution becoming an advisor and guide for wealth management depending upon the segment of society; involved in both the Insurance and Risk Assurance of an individual or a family /organization.

This may also be the time when enterprises reinvent and renew themselves across the five layers of the enterprise architecture to be winning in this new world order.

  • Strategy: Looking at the business model that addresses the Socially Mobile Cloud from a Customer Focus Perspective.
  • Process: Business Enterprise that is Service Oriented where Products are just not vended but serviced across the customer life cycle and experiences captured for innovation.
  • People:  Capabilities to transform for the above continuously and concurrent to business contributing innovatively to both; Mind 2 Market (M2M) and Time 2 Market (T2M) connecting the aspirations and expectations of individuals and enterprise.
  • Technology & Applications: Device, Channel and Medium independent Content delivered at the rate of use uniformly inclusive of Data, Graphics, Audio and Video for real-time computing.
  • Infrastructure: Data (Unstructured) to render Empirical & Analytical as well as Intelligence serving cognitive and Business requirements, Security connectivity, Real Time Networking, Seamless Communications within a global framework of Physical and Virtual Real  Estate.

Every industry segment across the globe has reached its nadir. We have the fundamental definitions of economics and commerce being redefined. The business opportunities, spending power and markets are in developing nations. Business Enterprises have to make a cultural transformation in involving and innovating in these societies and this requires a new focus and renewed vigor. The pursuit of propelling growth must be looked at from a fresh perspective that involves understanding, assimilating and being part of new cultures and contexts.

To summarize and once again paraphrasing Benioff, it is not just a digital but a social divide that needs to be bridged to become successfully contributing value in this new world order.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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