As cloud computing and social business gain ground, the concept of "social enterprise" remains vague and elusive for many. For these folks, cloud translates into cost reduction and social collaboration means informal chats on Twitter. These perspectives miss a larger, far more important, point: the promise of social enterprise offers genuine opportunity for innovation and business transformation.
To explore issues around how social enterprise can benefit an organization's core strategy, I pulled together a stellar panel at the recent CRM Evolution 2012 conference held in New York City. The panel examined business transformation and the cloud from a perspective born of concrete experience; this panel was not an intellectual exercise.
The panel, which I organized and moderated, included the following participants:
Vala Afshar, Chief Customer Officer for Enterasys Networks (disclosure: Enterasys is a client) and co-author of an upcoming book called The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence. Vala has engaged his company in the process of becoming a social enterprise, using collaboration as the means to bring openness and transparency to interactions with customers. Enterasys enjoys double-digit growth despite the bad economy.
Peter Coffee, Vice President and Head of Platform Research for salesforce.com. Salesforce has made social enterprise the strategic engine underlying its growth, so Peter's comments reflect the thinking of a vendor that is deeply committed to this space.
Phil Komarny, CIO of Seton Hill University. Phil is an enterprise buyer who has made substantial investment in social enterprise. Phil knows the opportunities, challenges, and practicalities of business transformation based on the cloud and he lives it every day.
Joe Weinman, Senior Vice President of Telx, a provider of data center interconnection and colocation facilities. Joe is an expert on cloud economics and author of the book Cloudonomics. He brings a rigorous and detailed understanding of economics to bear on the subject of cloud.
A video recording of the session is below. I beg your indulgence because the audio has a few spots where there is a loud crackling noise. Please overlook these minor technical flaws because the content quality is superb and insightful.