What is the difference between Social Business and Enterprise 2.0?


There is an interesting Quora discussion going on What are the distinctions between Social Business and Enterprise 2.0? As in most Quora discussions some of the top people in the field have weighed in.

I had to chip in myself – here is my comment.

Business terms have a life of their own, just as the meaning of words evolve depending on social usage. Each of these terms has a different meaning to what they did just a year ago.

I find it interesting that many people seems to think that Enterprise 2.0 is more about technology than business. My standard definition of Enterprise 2.0 has two parts:

1. The application of Web 2.0 and other collaboration technologies to enhance organizational performance.

2. Establishing the organizational structures and processes that will drive success in the intensely competitive connected economy of today and the future.

To my mind, Enterprise 2.0 is literally about creating the next version of the enterprise, the organization equipped to succeed 2-5 years into the future as well as in the present.

However, somewhat similarly to how the term ‘knowledge management” was commandeered by vendors, ‘Enterprise 2.0’ has somewhat devalued as a term over the last 18 months, because of its perception as being a primarly technical field.

I like ‘Social Business’ as a term and think it is still on an upswing. Given the rise of social media, and that most executives are trying to find the relevance and application to their business, it is a neat way to describe the key concepts.

I may start to use Social Business or a related term in preference to Enterprise 2.0 in the near future.

I should add that I do feel it is useful to have a label for the concepts that underlie these terms. Whatever words gain any currency get taken over, abused, distorted, and are ultimately debased, but we do need terms that can encapsulate a rich set of ideas and practices. Used well, they facilitate change.