Author: Joe Cothrel

Joe Cothrel

Widely recognized for his pioneering work in online communities in business, Joe serves as Lithium's Chief Community Officer. In this role, Joe is responsible for thought-leadership, research, and innovations that will drive the next generation of successful enterprise customer communities.

Joe's work with online communities began in 1996, when he conducted the first comprehensive research study into successful practices for managing online communities. Since that time, he has worked as a consultant and researcher with nearly 300 companies using online communities to create more productive relationships with customers, partners, and employees.

While at Lithium, Joe has played a key role in launching successful communities for large, enterprise companies such as Barnes & Noble, Comcast, Juniper Networks, Linksys, PayPal, Symantec, and many others. Joe's previous roles include Vice President of Community Management Services at Lithium and Vice President of Research at Participate Systems. Prior to that, Joe worked as a senior researcher in the Global Best Practices Group, now part of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he focused on collaborative technologies, corporate performance measurement, and business process improvement. He began his career in a utilities and telecommunications consulting practice at Ernst & Young.

Five phases of social business maturity

If you follow the topic of social business, you’ve probably seen a five-step model that depicts the different stages that a large enterprise progresses through on their way to fulfilling the vision of social business.

Interestingly, these models don’t say a lot about how to get from one phase or stage to the next. Stage three, for example, may consist of three things – but what’s the important part?  

Where do companies get stuck? What do you really need to complete in order to get to the next level?  


The three phases of web-driven business transformation

Some people say we’re just at the beginning of this vast business transformation caused by the web.  Others say we’re almost at the end.  

The truth is, we’re almost exactly in the middle.  

Let me explain.