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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.

[ See our special report: Enterprise 2.0 Boston 2012.]

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.

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 7:18:44 PM
re: Social Software Emphasis Shifts To Getting Work Done
Finally, we are seeing thought leadership concentrate on platforms plus the specific processes necessary to bring the myriad means of communication together. Merging the silos and integrating specific information by client, indeed by individuals, offers the chance to then match a firm's client-facing acts and client responses to strategy and overall profitability.

Linda Sharp is correct. In the near future, firms may well manage their business strategies using a stakeholder community, and manage individual client relationships using real-time relationship intelligence that directly ties to individual client profitability.

The technology is either at hand or nearby. We now require some major changes in IT supplier's and executive management's thinking. People must act and find ways to harness the technology to client relationship development and retention, client value measurement, and most importantly to profitability.
User Rank: Apprentice
6/15/2012 | 2:00:46 AM
re: Social Software Emphasis Shifts To Getting Work Done
Thank you, David and Larry, for putting Social Business in perspective and pushing for the needed breakthroughs. Social Business does matter.

My prediction is that major Enterprises will run their companies from a Stakeholder Community in the next three to five years. I realized this three years ago when John Summers of NetApp showed me the external Community they were running on Jive. (My, how long everything takes!!!)

What was missing was a way to measure the Community and tie the Activity Streams to business resultsGÇöto profit and other positive outcomes. I realized Communities needed something to DO! A purpose. A business purpose. (As Justin pointed out below as well.)

Then the Interactions it would take to accomplish an outcome could be measured, I thought, with the same business process approach my team and I had been working on to measure and manage Customer Acquisition and Customer Retention. CRI (Customer Relationship Intelligence). The Community would be just as reliant on relationship development tied to outcomes as Sales and Marketing and Customer Service are. We put some effort into it and invented Social CRIGÇöa Community Relationship Intelligence component of CRI. Social CRI rolls up into CRI and the Enterprise. Both use the same framework, process, and metrics. That is how Enterprises will be able to run their business through their Stakeholder Communities and leverage these relationships

WeGÇÖre getting the word out about CRI. Last July we posted a HACK on the McKinsey-HBR Management Innovation Challenge. It has consistently been ranked in the top 2-3% of innovative ideas from around the world ever since. Just over a month ago we posted two more HACKs to complete the trilogy. The last two have been #2 and #3 out of 850+ pretty much since they were posted. WeGÇÖre on to something here, IGÇÖd say. HereGÇÖs a link to one of them: http://www.managementexchange..... If you click on my name when you get there, it will take you to a page that has links to the other two. See what you think. Social CRI -- > CRI may be the innovation needed to deliver on the promise of Social Business.

Thanks again, David and Larry, for stimulating the conversation, Linda

P.S. Good response, Justin.
Justin Yuen
Justin Yuen,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2012 | 10:23:40 PM
re: Social Software Emphasis Shifts To Getting Work Done
Great article, David - Larry is right on. From our experience over the last eight years working in social enterprise collaboration, time and time again we've seen user adoption being driven by setting up sites that help teams get work done. Ultimately, focusing on specific teams with deliverables who are the most ready for online collaboration tools will drive incredible user adoption results because the use case and business case are very clear to them. For us, a combination of project management, contact tracking/CRM, and knowledge base building with a social layer wrapped around everything is what has resulted in our success and growth at FMYI [for my innovation] (
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