From an architectural Point of View, the world looks rather classy, and simple. "Errrr yeah dude, it's round, looks like a world even, at least a world like we know it, Jim"
All kidding aside, this post is a serious attempt to turn debate into dialogue. If you ask me: "what is Social all about"? my answer will be: there are many shades of Social, neatly cubicleisable (inventing that word as we speak)
As an IT architect, I like to chop up ye olde elephant into a few square areas. Here's what that looks like:
If you tilt that picture 90 degrees, we get to the much-lamented separation and divorced situation we witness everyday:
The business is a separate department in the company, so is the application development, and the "iron" department. It seems that McKinsey invented and advised this long ago, but I'm convinced it was a bad idea to start with, let alone to implement. Do you handle the relationship with your partner this way? I hope not. It's a sound idea logically, but I wouldn't implement it physically. It's why I lease a station wagon although there never is someone else in my car: I need the space for my private use
Still, there are three levels in the picture whether you tilt it or not: floor, ceiling, and in between. And three ways of looking at that: from a business PoV, an application development PoV, and a "hosting" PoV
What is interesting to see, is the invisible pyramid across: if the infrastructure is a simple road consisting of asphalt, it can carry vehicles. 2 Wheeled (Bicycles or motor bikes), 4 wheeled (regular cars), 3 wheeled (trikes) or 1 wheeled (circus bikes)even, let alone the many wheeled (trucks)
Each of those can carry cargo or load. People, goods, services even, ranging from 1 to almost infinite
Do you see the exponential diversity across the layers? Each one is a generic platform supporting a multitude of diverse possible uses. You're probably reading this from your personal computer right now, and it follows the same model: hardware, software, use. There are a few different types of hardware for a PC (Windows, Mac, Linux), an enormous amount of applications to be put on top of that, and an infinite use for the end user - You
Now, back to Social
- Horizontally, in reversed order:
- There is social data - all the content out there
- There is social logic - the how and why of it all. The absolute absence of complexity here indicates its immaturity. If you have kids that went through adolescence, you'll know exactly what I mean
- There is social presentation - the way social is presented to you
- There are social networks - that is in the infrastructural layer
- There are social media - that is in the application layer
- There is Something Social - that is in the business layer
Amazingly so, it is the nut to crack. All those pesky business people like to know where their money's going, just like you and me are wondering where our tax money is ending up at.
Not surprisingly, the Something Social has kept the social scene busy for the last year or so
Now, onto Social CRM
There is CRM, and there is Social. To be brief and blunt, CRM is about the company isolating and taking hostage the customer, and Social is about the customer isolating and taking hostage the company. Two forces directly opposite of each other - oh my where will the twain meet?
That is the question, and there is no answer. Remember the Beauty and the Beast? Well, the reason why that theme made it is the very fact that it is highly unlikely to happen
I want to get there though. I don't see the Social Beauty and the Enterprise 1.0 Beast mate or even mingle, but I want their offspring: Pragmatic Social
So, in discussions about Social, or Social CRM: leave the networks alone, they're infrastructure, and aren't important. Leave social media alone, they're the applications, and not important either. What is important, is the possible explosion of multiple possibilities the Business can benefit from
Talk about the Social Subject: you, and me. Social Customer, Social Employee, Social Supplier, or Social Prostitute even - all those are meaningful to the Business. And if those aren't quantified, the Business has no interest - and there'll be no money. Why is this Social Customer more interesting than the usual customer?
Can you make a sentence without a subject?
Do you now understand why, in particular SCRM, hasn't advanced over the last 18 months?