The blogger at Library Clips recently wrote an interesting post on the ubiquity of social tools in context of workflows. Library Clips begins with a quote from a prior post, “I really think blogs and the like need to be features of existing products. (You would think our document management system would have an item comment stream (like Google Docs)…” Then goes on to reference some things I have written about on this blog, “about old KM being both workflow and repository types…the problem being that the workflow types were too rigid so we went elsewhere for these exceptions, and the repository types were out of our flow, not in tune with human behaviour, and as Bill says, …it became managing knowledge rather than supporting work.”
Library Clips then builds on this to add, “At this stage of KM 2.0 or enterprise 2.0 we have seen people familiarising themselves with these new social tools, and how they are the new exception handler. Instead of using email to get work done because my workflow tools are too rigid, I can now use wiki or a blog for these workarounds, etc…the benefit is openness, transparency, visibility, feedback and evolving…basically pooling our talent… the next phase of KM 2.0…is going to be where answers to these exceptions will be shared into the flow… (also) we are going to see features of blogs and wikis in existing workflow tools.”
I could not agree more and appreciate the reference. His last statement is already happening as I see many of the enterprise 2.0 vendors I interview for the AppGap blog adding social software to workflow tools. This includes, but is not limited to, Quickbase, Central Desktop, QTask, and Traction, and if you add project management as workflow, Wrike, Planview, Clarizen. Then if you add mashup tools that can build all this into workflows applications you can add Serena, Nexaweb, JackBe, and SynerG. I am sure I left many out as I see this as the sweet spot of enterprise 2.0. It also allows us to realize the promise of workflow knowledge management that I first saw in the early 90s. It is what got me excited about web 2.0 in 2004 when I saw what Al Essa at MIT was accomplishing by extending what blogs could do then.
Library Clips goes on to provide more useful details on how this might work and I suggest you read the complete post.