Sep 18, 2010

Social Business Does Not Need Hyperbole

Oliver Marks writing in his ZDNet column The Socialist Revolution is Coming! takes Jive to task for their hyperbole - and urges them to focus on basic benefits that people and organizations will get by using these tools. From his article:
It’s this type of vendor hyperbole and the proselytizing tone of some of the missionaries seeking to convert adopters to their faith that’s increasingly grating the nerves of people running previous generations of ‘old’ management and associated technologies.

There’s no question that there is immense value in the intelligent deployment of the new generation of collaborative software, which is currently festooned with all manner of confusing ’social’ buzzwords and diagrams by interested parties as it comes of age. The challenge is in filtering out all the ‘glib or foolish talk’ both about it …and also the fact that it can in some cases enable it and associated inefficiency, moving ‘water cooler’ social conversations and undercurrents into an online social milieu in businesses.

In a fast moving space there is still plenty of room for innovation and new entrants: Moxie have enhanced their credible previous collaboration product with a user experience interface by Design and Innovation Consulting Firm IDEO that incorporates sophisticated customer interaction management.

Many larger players are now incorporating the ground breaking thinking the early adopters of Web 2.0 software in business entrepreneurs offered in the early days, with Saba Software combining learning, people management and collaboration technologies ‘to deliver solutions that help mobilize and engage people to drive new strategies and initiatives, align and connect people to accelerate the flow of business, and cultivate individual and collective know-how to achieve exceptional results‘.

‘In context suites’, where users are exposed to tools in the flow of their work- such as Salesforce have attempted with their Twitter style Chatter application, and Saba’s collaboration suite or Successfactors incorporation of recent acquisition Cubetree into their workflows - are a sure coming of age sign for enabling collaborative thinking.

From the perspective of my company the Sovos Group the challenges of getting the slumbering masses of disinterested employees, some of whom are now alarmed by their prospects for survival under Socialism 2.0, the Social Media business and associated adoption missionaries in their place of work, remain the same.

Regardless of whether you as an employee are in a giant corporation with layers of SAP, Oracle, Saba and Jive, or you’re working in a small entity or department, you are typically looking for ways to get your job done more efficiently and to get recognition from your peers and superiors. Most people work to live, rather than live to work, and aren’t thrilled with the prospect of blurring their social life with their business life, as some proponents of the 24/7 social lifestyle suggest.

Tools that simplify life, enhance efficiency, make information and connections easier to find if needed are generally welcomed by all - it will be a shame if the shrill cacophony around all things ’social’ this summer prejudices or confuses those who are irritated by it before they’ve even designed and found ways to deploy and enjoy these powerful new ways to work.