Social first-quarter 2013: analysis and outlook

1Executive Summary

Social business technologies remain in the foreground of discussions about business transformation, but the events of the first quarter of 2013 raised as many questions as they answered, or more.

Key highlights in social media in the first quarter include:

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo, and the remote-work divide. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer opened the world’s largest can of worms when she announced that Yahoo was reneging on the company’s support for remote work. The furor unleashed made clear that working at home is a highly polarizing concept and perhaps the front line in a cultural war about work-life balance and the social contract between workers and businesses.

All work is personal. The consumerization of enterprise software is really a shift to software organized around the individual, and the announcements from Microsoft and Salesforce.com indicate that the UX of the future will be social and personal.

Cultural change and the changing nature of work. Slow adoption continues to be an issue in social business penetration. The reason is that business culture is slow to change, because people perceive adoption of novel technologies as risky, and “complex contagion” requires the group to move as a whole.

Is social really part of something else? CEO Mark Benioff turned his back on the Salesforce.com positioning around social business and is now pushing the consumer company. Is this just because of a bad taste left from the Buddy Media and Radion6 acquisitions? Or is there something larger going on, where social business is becoming part of digital transformation?

This quarterly wrap-up analyzes these events, and it provides a near-term outlook for trends, technologies, and companies to watch in the next 18 to 24 months.

Relevant Analyst
Stowe Boyd

Stowe Boyd

Lead analyst, future of work Gigaom Research and stoweboyd.com

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