The Forrester report, Social Enterprise Apps Redefine Collaboration, predicts that enterprise social software twill become a $6.4 Billion market in 2016. Juan Carlos Perez provides a nice summary of the Forrester report. He notes that according to Forrester, will grow strongly in the coming years, surpassing the demand for more traditional communications and collaboration products,
The latter point is an interesting one. To quote Forrester directly, “By creating a social layer between information workers and the applications and communications infrastructure, social enterprise apps will overcome the adoption malaise that has affected UC&C. We forecast that standalone UC&C sales will begin declining in 2014 while the market for social enterprise apps and related services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 61% to become a $6.4 billion market in 2016.”
There are several key issues and assumptions here. I will get to the demise of the traditional communication tool sets at the end of this post. First, there is a major assumption in the Forrester statement. To repeat, “by creating a social layer between information workers and the applications and communications infrastructure.” This is exactly what needs to be done. If social software is outside the workflow and not integrated with traditional apps then it is facilitating coffee room conversations. I have written about this before (Putting Social Media to Work).
It also means that there is an important technology component to enterprise 2.0 or social business, however you call it. It is not plug and play, despite what a few of the vendors might say. You have to integrate the new social tools with the traditional apps. You have to link the new school systems of engagement with the old school systems of record (see - Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Maybe Enterprise 2.0 Is About the Technology).
Of course, while there remains an important technology component it is much more than technology. The integration also has to occur within the work processes and the culture that supports this new way of doing work. For this reason and others, I am starting to like the term social business rather than enterprise 2.0. The other reason I like social business is that, as my friend, Catherine Shinners has suggested, it can be applied both within the enterprise and in market facing activities.
IBM made a big push on this term at last year’s Lotusphere that I was pleased to attend (see Complete Listing of My Lotusphere 2011 Notes). I will be back there and reporting on Lotusphere 2012 next week. There are other enlightened vendors who take this approach but IBM has probably made the biggest play in this area in terms of positioning a unified set of products and services around the social business theme.
Let’s go back to the title of this post. I added the word “perhaps” since success is not a given and it depends the integration of the new school tools into both work processes and the traditional apps connected to these processes. Finally, the demise of the traditional communication tools will occur because they are cannot be fully integrated into these processes in the same way as the new social tools. I think 2012 will be very telling to see how much this required integration occurs on both technical and work issues.