Why the Enterprise 2.0 Vs Social Business Debate is Really Going On


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(Chess puzzle, white to move and mate in 2, can you figure it out?)

There’s been some interesting blog fodder as of late around whether or not the terms Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business are more applicable in describing this shift towards emergent collaborative tools being used within the enterprise. Let’s start things off with a few links to re-cap what’s going on. This was started by a post by Andrew McAfee who is of course biased since created the whole Enterprise 2.0 “thing.”

Social Business is Past Retirement Age– Andrew McAfee

Enterprise 2.0: The Prodigal Parent– Martijn Linssen

Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business: Who Cares?!– Larry Hawes

Enterprise 2.0 is beyond a crock. It’s dead– Dennis Howlett

Does any of this debate really matter? No not really because at the end of the day very few people and companies in the world know what social business or enterprise 2.0 is and even fewer of them are actually calling it such. But hey, it’s fun to talk about. So why is this whole debate even going on? Personally, I think it’s because of limitations. Let me try to explain what I mean and hopefully it will make sense. When most people hear or talk about Enterprise 2.0 they think of the use of new and emergent collaboration tools INTERNALLY within the organization. When people hear the term Social CRM they think of customer collaboration and engagement.

Social business on the other hand refers to the organization as a whole and can encompass pretty much anything, whether it be collaboration with employees, partners, and/or customers. In fact, social business also encompasses Social CRM. Why does this matter? Well think about it. If you’re in the “enterprise 2.0? or “social CRM” space do you want to be seen as being limited to one or the other or do you want people to think that you can offer a full range of products and services? Chances are, the latter.

This is why vendors (and pretty much everyone else) are no longer calling themselves Enterprise 2.0 vendors because they have expanded their product offering to move from BEYOND just an internal or external platform to offering BOTH. Does that make sense? Basically what’s happening is vendors are seeing that there is more money to be made (as are consultants/vendors/and anyone else) by serving both areas, internal and external and they don’t want to be limited by a term which puts them into one or the other. Calling yourself a “social business” provider means you can do anything you want as it pertains to social. Why limit yourself to something when you don’t need to? It’s akin to having a skeleton key that can open any door.

Simple right?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).


  1. Unfortunately buzz words get created and justified by some media so start ups feel they need to put themselves into a box or category of company. Currently Social, enterprise 2.0 is a hot “topic” so companies take advantage of that and get attention with it. When the term changes so will the companies name,focus, strategy etc.

    Intranet Software Consultant

  2. I think what we need is a complete life cycle solution, which helps capture customers, nourishes them through the sale process, and then helps offer them services once they are customers.


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