Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Enterprise Architects and Social Media

Most of us who started our digital lives with Web 1.0 or before are well past the novelty of yet another social media tool. You perhaps remember the buzz in the mid-nineties over the novelty of signing up for new and newer free-email services before yahoo, hotmail and gmail became the gold standard, with unlimited .. or near unlimited mail achieves? We seem to be going through a web 2.0 version of the same with trying to rearrange our circle of friends on GooglePlus (re: WSJ article on “How to Circle Your Friends Without Alienating People”).

While this buzz is enough to get the stock and IPO valuations of dot.com’s going through the roof, the Enterprise Architect in me has been trying to reflect on what this means to those of us in the corporate world. Among the few dimensions that requires deliberation and analysis

  • Guiding your organization on proliferation of social media tools. This includes guiding business leaders, corporate marketing folks and other stakeholders with a viewpoint emerging tools platform and whether they are aligned with corporate business and IT strategy

  • Guiding corporate policies and governance around tools. We see extremes on social media policies in the corporate world. A few organizations block any employee access to social media tools and websites while others allow complete unfiltered access. Many, however take a middle ground (eg. Allowing access to linkedin but not facebook or adverts from streaming in). In most cases, organizations also reserve the right to monitor and log activities of employees.

  • Participating and enhancing knowledge network. Many EA’s from Service organizations and end client organizations actively participate in online discussion forums, blogs and try and leverage the tools. Few organizations also encourage internal communities of practice to go outside (e.g corporate blog on Microsoft or Oracle technologies by Infosys’ bloggers)

  • Organizational branding: while organizational branding has been a traditional area of focus when it comes to digital marketing strategies, online reputation management is an emerging area of interest to business leaders. Views on products and services can be made and weighed in on by digirati in a matter of hours if not days or weeks, and it requires an equally fast and deliberate response to defend one’s reputation.

Enterprise Architects who operate at the intersection of business and technology have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap when it comes to evaluating emerging technologies and their applicability in their business contexts. Working with their business stakeholders to visualize newer application of technologies is just one of the tasks at hand.


A few interesting blogs and viewpoints on the topic: