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CIO's will rise to the forefront of corporate influence and data ownership will be ever important, says Rob Howard of Telligent, revealing his predictions for a year of social business.

In 2012, social business resounded throughout the business land as companies were beginning to realise the potential of going social. However, 2013 is the year when companies will invest more heavily in social business, and will have to take into consideration the implications of coping with big data. Various factors will impact the workplace and bring the role of the CIO to the forefront of corporate influence.

Rob Howard, founder and CTO of social enterprise and community software company Telligent, shares his predictions for 2013 in social business: 

1. Businesses will continue to shift investments from Facebook and back to on-domain communities

In 2013, businesses that previously shifted marketing funds away from their traditional dot-com domain towards Facebook, will reverse that trend. Research from Forrester Research Inc. and other analyst firms continue to validate the need for organisations to invest in their own websites and community experiences. Why? Consumers have different expectations and behaviours in consumer social media and branded communities.

2. Social will become deeply embedded in how we work vs. a destination that we visit

I believe that social isn't a destination, but rather a set of experiences. Social experiences need to be present within existing work streams, from traditional document management systems (SharePoint), to existing applications like e-mail. Social will become the glue that enables employees to collaborate through a variety of different technologies (e-mail, web based forums, blogs, etc.).

3. WCM and Social will converge more quickly

"Big Data" comes from a number of sources, two types of which are structured and unstructured content systems. Enterprise 2.0 was all about wrapping unstructured activity (blogging, forum discussions,etc.) around structured content (files stored in document management systems). The same is going to take place with web content management platforms for public-facing websites. 

Social won't be a separate set of activities within the site, but will be merged with structured content. As organisations seek to better understand consumer behavior through the Big Data analytic engines, the convergence of social and WCM will create the broader perspective that helps businesses better understand their customers.

4. Data ownership will become a concern

For the past six or seven years, consumers have let information flow freely. Google, Twitter and Facebook have been three of the biggest beneficiaries of this consumer-driven content bonanza. Businesses are recognising that the real value in social and Big Data is who owns the data. I expect to start seeing businesses take a more active role in controlling who owns the data created in their communities and social media channels.

5. CIOs will regain influence

The importance of the CIO role has waned over the past several years. I anticipate that the CIO’s influence in the organisation will regain importance. Trends related to data ownership; the convergence between public (customer-facing or external-facing) and private (employee-facing or internal-facing) communities, and bring your own device (BYOD) to work, will force businesses to rethink critical security, content ownership, and other aspects of their digital businesses.

Rob Howard is the founder and CTO of Telligent.

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