I am pleased to be back for my sixth Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Here is a link to a summary of last year’s notes. This is another of my notes for this year. There will be more to follow. I attended session - Social as a Layer, Not a Place: Are We There Yet? " led by The Kashyap Kompella, Analyst, Real Story Group. Here is the session description:
“As enterprise social collaboration efforts mature, enterprises increasingly seek to put these new capabilities "in the flow" of colleagues' daily work. Yet, most tools assume that social networking and collaboration will reside in a separate "place," often a siloed application that notifies you of new activity via yet another set of e-mail alerts. A growing number of vendors are seeking to address a new architecture that posits social and collaboration services as a "layer" that can be applied to diverse workstreams within the enterprise. Of course, social-as-a-service is much easier said than done. This session, led by a noted industry analyst, will offer a practical review of vision versus reality in this important area.”
Kashyap said that we are not at the social layer level yet but we are making progress. He said his group covers content technology space as independent advisors. He showed a large map of vendors based on a subway map. So far most enterprises have some social or collaborative efforts underway. However, the results have been mixed. The problem is that social software is treated as another box in the enterprise tech stack.
He asked how many in the audience have social software efforts underway. Almost everyone raised their hands. He asked how many have unqualified success and very few raised their hands. One of the reasons is the clear objectives are often not in place. He showed an IT architecture with social in the mix like other capabilities such as ERP, CRM, etc. He said this puts social in a box where it is not effective
Social is supposed to help discover expertise across the organization and should not be put in a box in an architecture. Now social is one more system to check like email. When you have social as a separate island the transformative power of social is not realized. It needs to be part of everyday work.
Social as a layer in the enterprise: It should be a service, not a place in an architecture. Social needs to be integrated into the course of everyday work and not a separate thing to check. He showed the McKinsey data on the benefits of the connected enterprise. See 2010 report and 2011 report. He said that some companies are falling back in their social implementations after the initial excitement. Social drives more value when integrated well. I would agree. (see also - Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions and Maybe Enterprise 2.0 Is About the Technology).
He said you have enterprise platforms like IBM Microsoft, Oracle; social platforms like Jive, Telligent; social layers like Newsgator, Yammer. The problem is that each new software thinks it is the center of the universe. The social platforms are often siloed. How do we make social become a service or a layer? You can use APIs and custom connectors. You can put system notifications and user conversation into the activity stream. But do not let users drown in the stream so add some structure. You need filters, rules, groups, and search.
He showed an example of Socialcast and Sharepoint. You can see activity streams within Sharepoint. There needs to be context. He showed Jira with custom connector that goes into Socialcast (see - AppFusions Speeds Software Development Through Integration of iRise® Visualization with Atlassian JIRA, Confluence). You can see conversations and act on them. He showed tibbr integrated with Oracle Expense management as a social layer. I have written about this (see - TIBCO Enhances tibbr with GEO and Other New Capabilities). He said that innovation is happening on the edges with the smaller vendors.
You want to add a “do’ button to the “like” button. For this to happen legacy systems need to be connected to social apps.