Mind the gap: Social on the inside, to support social on the outside
One of the things I often remind clients is that if you want to be social on the outside, you need to be social on the inside too (that's sort of a short definition of "social business" too). I'm lucky to work not just within the isolated internal collaboration domain, but across the spectrum of internal to external and back again. So, interesting to see Hootsuite release a new internal "conversations" feature:
They aren't the only vendor that supports features like this of course. For example Jive provides a way to bring external social media mentions into the internal conversation space, using either Jive Fathom or Jive Anywhere. I mention this because, from a platform perspective, you can come at collaboration around social media monitoring for marketing and customer service from a number of starting points.
There is an interesting ecosystem of tools emerging. For example, Hootsuite also integrates into Zendesk, so you can turn a customer question into a support ticket. Salesforce is trying to bundle up tools from its suite into sophisticated offerings, like Service Cloud. Lithium and VMWare's Socialcast have partnered too, to help bring employees into customer conversations.
But where I'm seeing gaps is not in the technology, but around organisational architecture - are organisations ready and able to collaborate internally and then externally in a way that is scalable and sustainable. Some companies still don't even have a social media policy place, but are busy implementing social media marketing initiatives. This is harder to fix with a solution, but the right technologies are definitely a key enabler alongside people and process.