Social Software Emphasis Shifts To Getting Work Done
Gartner's Larry Cannell previews the social workplace trends he will be speaking about at this year's Enterprise 2.0 Boston.
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Enterprise social networks have the potential to become one of the primary computing environments for getting work done.
That's the conclusion of Gartner research director Larry Cannell, one of the speakers at Enterprise 2.0 Boston 2012. The conference runs June 18-21 at the Hynes Convention Center. Enterprise 2.0 is produced by UBM, the parent company of InformationWeek and The BrainYard.
"Particularly with the integration of business applications, there's an opportunity to provide an individualized IT experience," Cannell said in an interview. "For many workers, the enterprise social environment can become the primary environment with which operate in the enterprise. For many others, it could become another primary environment in which they work. But for that to happen is going to take an investment in time from the enterprise IT organization. It's going to take different priorities on IT's part."
Cannell was an early member of the advisory board for what became the Enterprise 2.0 conference series--originally known as the Collaborative Technologies Conference. That was back when he was employed by Ford Motor Co.'s advanced IT group, working on collaboration and social software research and serving as a program manager for collaboration solutions. He subsequently became an analyst for the Burton Group, which was then acquired by Gartner. He currently covers social and collaborative technologies, particularly their impact on enterprise systems architecture.
Now, Cannell is watching the emergence of what he calls the "Post-2.0" environment, which goes beyond the blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds that dominated the original Enterprise 2.0 vision. Consumer social networks, particularly Facebook, have trained employees in a mode of online social interaction that vendors such as Jive Software and cloud service providers such as Yammer have capitalized on to create corporate collaboration environments users adopt with minimal training, he said. Meanwhile, the notion of an activity feed of updates--which can come from applications as well as user status posts--is becoming pervasive in new software and Web services.
Compared with the organization-centered collaboration technologies of the past, "it's more about serving the needs of the individual worker by providing them with ambient awareness of what's going on in their sphere of responsibilities," Cannell said.
The idea of an individualized or personalized experience making work more efficient echoes some of the promises of another generation of Web portals, Cannell conceded, "but hopefully we've learned our lessons from portals, that what's needed is not just a one-size-fits-all solution. We want to be able to collaborate within the context of where we're working already." Enterprise architects need to recognize this as being "as much a data integration challenge as in integrating pieces of user interface," he said.