How collaborative technology can drive small business success

With the first quarter over and the second under way, CIOs and IT leaders looking to foster small business success should consider collaborative technology options to propel their social networking efforts forward in the years to come, a Gartner analyst says. Site Editor Wendy Schuchart interviewed Raymond Laracuenta, a managing vice president at Stamford, Conn. consultancy Gartner Inc., at a recent Gartner conference. She asked him to share his thoughts on one future technology that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should be strategizing around. He indicated that collaborative technology will be a game changer, and proposed that building relationships, both online and offline, will be increasingly important as the business world becomes more accustomed to social network platforms and crowdsourcing.

Read an excerpt from the interview, and watch the video to hear how SMBs can harness collaborative technology offerings.

Can you tell me one major technology that SMBs should be thinking about or will be concerned about in, say, 2016?

Raymond Laracuenta: 2016 -- and probably even sooner than that -- it's really going to be collaborative technologies. When you look at, again, back to the example I talked about with skills, developing new products and services and leveraging social media, social networking -- they're doing it now, loosely coupled as an extension of their advertising, but developing new products, developing new services, finding holes in the marketplace.

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One of the things that big data and social networking allow all organizations to do is to identify opportunity. For SMBs, they've used Facebook pages and the like, just as an extension of their website. You know, 'Follow us, be aware of what we're doing,' but they're not mining information. So, really mining information from social networks, building purposeful social networks to collect data for other customers and for their prospects is probably one of the greatest opportunities for them.

The other dimension to that is, even though they may be a small company focusing on an end customer, they are also typically part of the supply chain, so the B2B -- so the more intelligent B2Bs become about market needs as a partner, it will elevate their attractiveness to much larger business partners and suppliers.

To me, social networking -- purposely built social networks, not Facebook ad pages but something that will allow them to develop the next product, develop services, anything that is like crowdsourcing that we see being leveraged by very large organizations -- small organizations can pull [that] together and actually focus in on opportunities and cast a bigger net on that data if they work together.

Let us know what you think about the video; email Wendy Schuchart, site editor. For midmarket IT news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ciomidmarket.

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