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Google mean Social Business

If you think that Google+ is going away soon, you have to get rid of that thought. If you think that Google+ is a Facebook copycat, you have to get rid of that thought, too. Yesterday, after Google has spent a year to redefine itself and our online personal identities with Google+ in the center, the time had come to the enterprise market, also here with Google+ as a main driver and common denominator.

With yesterday’s launch of three new Google+ features in the Google Apps and Enterprise offerings, the fog in the cloud eases: Google mean Social Business, as a vision and as a practice. Let’s see how.

What is Social Business?

To me social business is 1; a strategic intent and competence where the business is aiming to design it’s business in a social, transparent and collaborative way and 2; an overall agenda connecting several social business initiatives. Internally it could be internal communities, collaboration and knowledge. Externally it could be social commerce and social CRM as well as social marketing.

What about Google in this context, then?

Internally:

• Collaboration: Through the Google apps, you can collaborate on docs, spreadsheets and presentations in the cloud (drive) via your browser, and communicate via mail, chat and now hangouts, even through your calendar. 
• Internal communities: With Google+ identities and circles, you can build, share and grow both small and large internal communities, and several of them at the same time, based on your location, responsibility, core competence, customer focus etc.
• Knowledge: The worlds largest search company should have a competitive edge in organizing sharing and find content. Already we can see the development of Google+ into a content hub based on the interest graph. With the launch of the knowledge graph and the development of social search, even within gmail, you could expect knowledge management to be a core area for Google in the enterprise world.

Integration of hangouts in the calendar is part of this development, as well as the takeover of Quickoffice with its mobile and tablet office tools. What is not that visible so far, is an integration of professional project management features with the circle world of Google+.

Externally:

• Social marketing: Google+ is of course a marketing platform on its own, and at the same time with great tools for connecting to your website, with higher visibility in search as a result. Advertising through adwords, mobile and YouTube will increasingly have a social dimension. And through the takeover of Wildfire Google+ can give its business clients a social marketing tool that even reach into Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. 
• Social commerce: Google Offers, Google Wallets, Google Now and Google+ Local are only some of the Google initiatives into the social commerce sphere. Think social, mobile AND local, and you get the picture!
• Social CRM: Customer Relation Management is probably the field where the Google strategy is least visible right now. Maybe one reason is that circle management does not seem to be an effective tool, when you have to manage thousand of customers with different data and different needs. Probably we could see some new product launches, or a takeover of a company like the Social CRM startup Nimble, where Google Venture already has a share.

A playing field for all the major IT companies

Google is certainly not alone in the social business sphere. Microsoft four weeks ago launched a new social version of its intranet solution Sharepoint and already has bought the video chat client Skype as well as the internal Twitter-alike Yammer. Salesforce has a unique position in Social CRM and cloud computing, but does so far not have a broad offering to the total needs of enterprises. IBM has more or less rebranded itself as a social business consultancy, with IBM Connections and the Lotus Family as its main social business software. In the race we also have Amazon, Cisco, Oracle, Apple and the business consultancies.

Did I forget to say anything about Facebook? No.

Should I reiterate that Google+ is redefining Google itself, social media, social collaboration and social business? Probably.

Some background from yesterday:
The “Let’s bring Google+ to work”-post from +Google Enterprise:
https://plus.google.com/117578386194324385666/posts/bzaD2EVyjoB
The “It’s business time”-post from +Vic Gundotra: https://plus.google.com/107117483540235115863/posts/UPUXkGAvVpt
The “It’s pretty huge”-post from +Matt Cutts:
https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/posts/7LPNysnkGfT
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