Business communication is the latest segment to experience a paradigm shift. Companies are mobilizing clients and colleagues to participate in a conversation via social networking to gather insights, collaborate, solve problems, and make better decisions. The corporate world may view the idea as incredulous, but for companies like IBM, it’s a reality.
McKinsey & Company found that 9 out of 10 businesses that utilize Web 2.0 technology experience a measurable return on investment from its use. A recent IBM feature on the emergence of social business reiterates that people do business with people, not with companies. Every person in the business ecosystem wants to contribute and be valued for those contributions. Customers want to listen and need to be heard. Social networking allows for deeper engagement and more meaningful relationships and interactions.
Social networking tools have emerged as functional, intuitive platforms such as internal blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, and internal social networks that can be seamlessly integrated into existing business process. IBM’s narrative is spot on; a business that refuses to acknowledge the value of social networking will be left in the dust.
If anything can be learned from Facebook, it’s that the power of a network is invaluable. Imagine the impact for a company such as IBM, with nearly 175,000 employees worldwide. Collaboration at any level, across discipline, can fuel innovation that affects the business and its customers.
If B2B is defined as the transaction between one company and another then P2P is the conversation that ultimately drives the transaction. It’s time to start talking.