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Crossing the Chasm of using social in the enterprise: Inmagic Year in Review 2009

Something we've learned this past year through our conversations with industry analysts, customers, and partners, is that social in the enterprise is not on the radar of many companies. It's also been a recurrent theme in many of our recent podcasts.

As consultant Gil Yehuda touched upon in a blog post, companies that use "10-year-old technologies and 20-year-old management styles" to address today's problems are not only going to miss the social bus, but will see the same fate as DEC, Compaq, and Xerox.

At this stage of the game, social can be what we want it to be. There are no rules, and there's no one to tell us we're doing it wrong because no one has really done it before. Enterprise organizations have a rare opportunity to experiment with social technologies with relatively small repercussions -- and not to mention potentially significant payoffs.

But this is if they take those first steps towards trying it out -- and this is the if that separates the chasm-crossers. Unfortunately, old management styles often do not lend themselves to this. Just as putting on your sneakers and getting out the door is the hardest part of going for a run, just starting, trying, and tweaking social technologies and concepts for your own organization is the hardest part of implementing social in the enterprise. Eventually though, and probably quicker than you think, momentum can take hold.

As the social bus picks up speed in 2010, I think we'll start to see best practices emerge, which is a good and a bad thing for E2.0. It's good because it's proof of concept, which will get more people on board, but also bad because we won't have the same no-holds-barred approach to testing, trying, and reworking our E2.0 approaches. Those that do capitalize on this opportunity will be ahead in their ability to fine-tune their social skills for profit.

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