2013 TEC Market Report: Social Business Platforms

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  • Published: June 25 2013
What do you get when social networking and business collide? According to CRM analyst Raluca Druta, you get an explosion of new ways to collaborate and innovate. Emerging social technology tools are inspiring software vendors to design social business platforms that are changing the way companies manage employees, develop products, and interact with customers. Download this report for an overview of the business need for social business platforms and a look at several software vendors who are innovating in this space.

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The traces of human interactions via social technology are not rigid or static but are more ephemeral and reveal a marketplace of commodified experiences.

Image: Still frame from Loops, a digital art installation by The OpenEnded Group that interprets Merce Cunningham’s motion-captured dance for the hands.

Social Business Platforms— An Overview

Social theorist Bruno Latour and colleagues wrote in an article published in the British Journal of Sociology in 2012: “the more you wish to pinpoint an actor, the more you have to deploy its network.”1

Social platforms, by their nature, shed light on Latour’s concept of the actor-network. Simply stated, an actor-network is a set of negotiations between human and non-human “actants” that co-opt each other in the pursuit of individual and collective objectives. At an organizational level, this occurs by the the literal “deploying” of “actor networks” into the body of the organization. Latour’s theory has much relevance in the business world today, and many companies have benefitted from becoming more efficient and profitable by taking advantage of the bond between individuals and social technology.

Social networks are environments that link people, institutions, and knowledge together across group and community boundaries. Social computing—the use of computational systems to support social behavior—has become integrated into many aspects of life, and has changed the way we interact and work. In fact, social platforms have created a social space that is more permeable, more diverse, hierarchically flatter, and less clear in its delineation between work, community, and home.

The rise of social computing has had a large impact on businesses, including how they interact with their customers, the type of data they have about customer behavior, the products they produce, and people and company management processes. The emerging social mediamoderated society has presented exciting possibilities for businesses to gain access to markets in an entirely revolutionary manner—through the utilization of individual networks of connections.

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