Again a piece on Social Media in the business since there are increasing signs that mainstream business is steadily starting to pick up on this. More and more I get the question, what should we do and where should we begin? Well, I believe three is still the magic number, even in the realms of new technology. So ponder this…

  1. Select a small area in your business where you can start with social media; how does it fit in your strategy and what new insights can the advances in (business) technology bring you in this phase of strategic decision making. 
  2. Make sure you
    architect and integrate your endeavor according to SOA principles with existing landscapes to ensure you get the maximum effect out of your old and new investments. Use your current systems, but be sure they are in order and able to do so. I.e. make sure you have a stable zen-garden
    to plant your new seeds in.
  3. Take your experimentation to the cloud, it’s safe, it’s scalable and it’s cheap… and it allows you to start experimenting  with cloud in your organization.

In my work at Capgemini as a Business Technologist, I apply new business concepts enabled through new technologies for (new) clients through an approach which has recently been labeled innoversion by Frank Wammes (contact him for more info). The pivotal idea here is that technology should be involved in Business strategy from the onset due to the inherent beneficial nature of new technologies to the business in creating new markets, new channels or new services or products. After all, where would a concept such as co-creation be without the recent advances in online technologies. There is nothing really new in this approach except the notion that technology should be involved in the earliest beginnings of strategic decision making. The advances of technology are too fast, too widespread and have too much revenue generating potential to be ignored or, as is still far too often the case, ignored until a later stage in the process. Technology, expecially under the notion of Business
has strategic value-adding potential and should be considered as such.

 The second vital notion we are operating under is that new technologies should and in reality will be combined with existing ERP landscapes. Currently we’re investigating the value of SAP Business Suite 7 to this respect. Social media, especially in its combination with Multi-channel retail, co-creation concepts and progression of CRM should allow for companies to renew their focus on generating more transactions on their current platform by enabling new forms of interaction. This should be the focus of platform vendors which in essence have been focusing on the efficient “management” of these transactions.  Here lies, in my opinion, the key to the success of any Social Media endeavor: integration! Integrating your CRM systems to allow for maximum utilization of customer intelligence. Integration of purchase to pay systems to allow for the efficient management of the (micro) payments you are aiming to incur. Integration of Social Enterprise software such as Salesforce is currently pushing to the market under its Service Cloud 2.

Experimentation with Social Business can be facilitated by cloud computing. Cloud would be the perfect opportunity for experimentation in this area due to its inherent
nature, lack of vendor locking, and minimal impact in capital expenditure and thus budgets. A no-brainer really…

So there you have it; three easy notions to help you incorporate Social Media in your organization.

Niels van der Zeyst is a Business Technologist at Capgemini. You can follow Niels on Twitter or contact him directly via