nGenera relaunched their company and software packages this week, renaming themselves 'Moxie Software' (with 'nGenera Insights', their research and consulting arm, continuing as a sub brand) . We're in the thick of the fall conference season now, and this announcement was probably timed to coincide with Jive Software's 'Jive World' social business customer conference.
..Just when we all thought that socialism has been swept away by capitalism in every respect — even its shadows long buried alongside the bodies of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Chairman Mao — recently reincarnated as Socialism 2.0, it has been mounting an impressive comeback with a vengeance, in cyberspace...
..What does Socialism 2.0 mean for the enterprise? What can a company expect when committed to enterprise social networks (ESN)?
For some reason a thirties theme broadly bridges these three topics - Jive, (To jazz musicians who were the players of swing music in the 1930s and 1940s "Jive" was an expression denoting glib or foolish talk according to Wikipedia), Socialism and now Moxie, formerly a soft drink brand made popular in that era by heavy advertising, the neologism "moxie" entered popular American usage with the meaning "courage, daring, and energy," as in "This guy's got moxie!"
There are giant slumbering swathes of the planet unaware of this tidal wave of social change about to crash down on their heads, but if you are on Twitter and tuned to the right frequencies you can almost hear the tambourines and evangelical singing coming from Jive World.
'Opportunities like Social Business don’t come along often', say Jive in their latest manifesto.' It is now possible to make a quantum leap in business outcomes. Fast. The jump in results happens across three areas of engagement: the way you engage your employees, customers, and the Social Web'.
There are eighteen imperatives ('First Ever!') that need your urgent attention, say Jive, primarily around engaging employees, customers and 'the social web'. To anyone inside the software industry, there are undoubtedly 'New Ways to Work' as Steve Wylie, the US Enterprise 2.0 conference track chair, articulates well in this Information Week post.
For those unimpressed, bemused or unaware of the potential broadband internet enabled business networking software can have in accelerating business performance towards both discrete and workplace wide goals, the sheer noise coming out of some of the tool vendors is somewhat counterproductive.
Jive Software's core proposition, from their website front page: 'The biggest change in how work gets done in a generation is happening right now... Jive delivers a user experience that's so powerful, our users virally adopt it. Our functionally rich platform is becoming the primary way people communicate and collaborate to drive business results"
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.
Image: Election poster for Eugene V. Debs, Socialist Party of America candidate for President, 1904