Social Business Failure #11: Being Social is About the Tool

Social technologies have become wide and varied making the landscape confusing.  “What product should we use?”  This is a question I am asked all the time.

A number of the organizations I have worked with have come to me and said, “We want to be more social so we thought we should use SharePoint / Jive / IBM Connections / Yammer / Drupal / etc…”  But there is a fundamental flaw in that sentence.

“We want to be more social” is not solved by buying a tool. It can be aided, but it does not solve the issue.  Although slight in semantics, the different is huge in application.

When I talk to these organizations they want to see how they can be more social online.  It is for this reason that I rarely bring my laptop to these type of meetings – I don’t want to talk about technology. Social Technology will happen when you have all the other pieces in place.

What is business problem you are trying to solve?  What are your purposes / goals?  Who is asking? What is happening now and where is it you want to go?  Why are you not there now? (And don’t answer “we don’t have the technology.”)  What is your culture like?  And there are SO MANY more questions.

Once you have the answer to these in place, the social technology piece will be so much more clear.  It will also be a side note as you work on the real issues of your business.