Here’s a question for you: Is social media good for business or bad for business? From the surveys I see, companies are fairly split on the issue. Some companies ban the use of social sites, while others allow it.
Regardless of your stance, don’t be so quick to dismiss the social revolution altogether. Whether or not your company chooses to ban social sites, the concepts behind social media hold some valuable benefits to your business applications.
1. It can add new dimensions to your data
Data can tell you that product sales are up or down. It can tell you which geographic areas were most profitable in the last month. It can tell you which of your locations are struggling.
All of that data is incredibly important, but…it only tells part of the story. Data tells you what’s happening. It doesn’t tell you why.
That being said, the data found in social media, forums, blogs, and other areas around the web can help fill in those gaps. If used effectively, it can help you understand your data in ways that were previously impossible.
For example, this Business Dashboard displays real-time sales data and trends. If sales suddenly increase or decrease, it will alert you to the problem, but it can’t tell you the cause of the problem.
Now, suppose we also added a widget that pulled product/company mentions from a social site like Twitter (which could be done easily, for all of you m-Power users). This data might provide valuable insight as to why your sales rose or fell. For instance, maybe an influential user on Twitter mentioned your product, or maybe a disgruntled customer posted a nasty review. Wouldn’t that data be incredibly valuable to your business?
2. It can improve collaboration
Social media brought online interaction to a new level. We can now share, comment on, or like nearly anything on the web.
What if you could bring a similar level of interaction to your business apps? What if your employees could share comments or insights directly within an internal application? For instance, suppose users could point out interesting trends in a reporting app, or just add important notes to a customer listing app. Wouldn’t that be useful?
Thankfully, adding commenting capabilities to your business apps is actually pretty easy (for you m-Power users). To add commenting to your business apps, just follow the steps in this tutorial. The best part: Once commenting is set up, you can use it in any application!
If you’d like to see some working examples of commenting applied to business apps, here are a couple of nice ones: This demo uses a comment dialog box within an app, and this demo uses commenting at the record level. Both are similar, but offer unique benefits.
Whether your business sees social media as a good thing or as a bad thing, it can still be incredibly useful to your business apps. If used correctly, social features can help you better understand your data and improve internal collaboration.