Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bad Mix: Traditional businesses and Social media

I recently did a road map of social media initiatives within the department and agency I work for. I tracked all of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policies from the 1970 (Hello President Carter!) to the present time and them mapped them to specific Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policies and initiatives. I also captured when various Social media businesses like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Blogger were formed or purchased by Google. It was a fascinating exercise.

The evolution of businesses, which are based on the concepts of social networking, and organic growth, has truly been disruptive in the business world. The tools provided by these companies are making the Jasmine flower proud (my poor attempt in weaving the political revolutions in the middle east into this blog entry). Unfortunately I don't think social media tools are going to successful in the big business world because businesses are based on the principles of organized management. There is a reason why fortune 500 companies hire executives with a Masters of Business ADMINISTRATION and not Masters of Science in Business. Structure and management go together.

If you think about it. Labor unions and other user related groups with a common goal (that are not dependent on a process) will adopt social media successfully within their organization. Meanwhile investment banks and large supply chain companies will have limited success because they are based on processes. IT is critical in a business they automate business process and automation of business processes can be managed. Social media shouldn't be managed but it should be organic. A successful CIO may be able to successful implement social media in niche pockets but he or she cannot make it an enterprise level shared services. Folks in the Department of Defense claim that social media is successful in their organization. When you do intelligence analysis which is based on information sharing from different perspectives then there has be collaboration. Social media in the intelligence domain is successful because it is based on information collaboration. This is uniquely different from a typical fortune 500 company.

Anyway I had this thought this morning and now I need to go to work and the agency's social media initiatives.