Constellation Research sees social software for getting work done as an important emerging capability, within broader platforms like IBM Connections and more focused tools like Do.com and Asana.
"The way they've explained it is it's not so much SMB versus enterprise as that they're going after small usage, by which I mean a typical project will have 10 to 25 people," Lepofsky said. In other words, a company may have thousands or tens of thousands of employees, but the scale of collaboration around a task or project will still tend to be a relatively small, tight group.
On the other hand, another way these tools differ from traditional project management tools is that membership in the collaboration group need not be limited to those who are assigned tasks related to a project. Lepofsky explained, "You might have a dozen people assigned tasks, but then other people put into that workspace just to monitor." For example, a sales people might use the tool to monitor the progress of an engineering team's work on a new product. "That's a really neat thing and very different from traditional task management."
Lepofsky recommends that firms interested in social task management start by looking at their existing portfolio of collaboration products, which may have STM features already embedded or on their near-term product roadmap. Alternately, look at STM products that will integrate with your existing social collaboration platform. Good candidates for pilot project use of STM include engineering, product development, and marketing groups, according to Lepofsky. Plan to measure project success on metrics including time saved, improved knowledge sharing, and better employee job satisfaction.
Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)