The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

Summary: 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.


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.

Separately, I read BroadVision Clearvale CEO Pehong Chen's blog post 'CEO's Survival Guide to Socialism 2.0' today

..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

Topics: CXO, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Software, IT Employment


Oliver Marks leads the Global Digital Enterprise Team at HP, having previously provided seasoned independent consulting guidance to companies on effective planning of business strategy, tactics, technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models that make best use of modern collaborative and social networking tools to achieve their business goals.

These are Oliver's views and not those of his employer HP.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    Oliver, you're spot on in this post.
    It's not really about "social", or idle chatter (sorry :). As large organizations and customers we talk to get ready to deploy a collaboration platform enterprise-wide, the conversations are all about making existing business processes more efficient, and getting work done. How can teams work together better ? How can HR processes improve ? How do training processes improve ?
    I think we have all experienced the old wiki graveyard syndrome, where a passionate few create a silo that seems exciting at first, but never takes hold across the entire enterprise. With new Enterprise Business Networking platforms we have an opportunity to create a new, agile, extended workplace rather than yet another silo of collaboration. How well we enable our customers and clients to do that is what will separate the early entrants of social software from the trusted vendors of collaborative enterprise software. At Saba we describe this new workplace as a new class of software called "People Systems"
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    I had to skim through after trying to read the first couple of paragraphs... written entirely boring style without being descriptive enough, I still don't have a clue what the article is even about. I'm guessing its written to people who already know the whole story so its assumed it doesn't have to be explained.
    • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

      I agree.
      joan lim
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    Social-ism is central planning and a one-way information path: from top to bottom. The social media technologies discussed here are the exact opposite of social-ist and socialism. Which is why the world's real "Socialist" countries are doing everything in their power to shut down these technologies.

    To confuse Socialism with technologies that enable the opposite (the empowerment of individuals to collaborate on their own initiative on projects of their own creation) does a real disservice to your readers.
    • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

      I agree.
      "social" and "socialist" mean very very different things.

      If you combine the two, you get Burma, where our CEO came from, or maybe ran from ;-)

      In Burma, people are social but they lived under socialism for so long.

      joan lim
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    @d2pt0 I think you're confusing Socialism with Communism.
    From Wikipedia
    Modern socialism originated in the late 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticised the effects of industrialisation and private property on society. Utopian socialists such as Robert Owen (1771?1858), tried to found self-sustaining communes by secession from a capitalist society. Henri de Saint Simon (1760?1825), who coined the term socialisme, advocated technocracy and industrial planning.[8] Saint-Simon, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx advocated the creation of a society that allows for the widespread application of modern technology to rationalise economic activity by eliminating the anarchy of capitalist production.[9][10] They argued that this would allow for economic output (or surplus value) and power to be distributed based on the amount of work expended in production.
    • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

      Are they different in any way? I don't want academic explanations, please.

      joan lim
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    You have a point, there is a distinction between communism and socialism. However, "to found a commune", to "create" a society, to eliminate the "anarchy of capitalist production", for "power to be distributed based on...", all these imply a central managing authority that does the creating, eliminating or distributing. Such an agency necessarily has the power to grant or deny individuals permission to participate in various types of economic activity.

    By contrast, social networking technology gives individuals the power to collaborate on their own initiative -outside- the blessings of any such authority. Using these tools, groups can plan projects, obtain their own financing independent of anyone else's permission or approval, implement their projects and sell their output as they see fit, with complete freedom and independence from a controlling authority trying to implement some flavor of socialism.

    This technology is anathema to the goals of any socialist system I found on Wiki or elsewhere, and a particular thorn in the side of the real-world Socialist countries like China, Cuba, and Venezuela where such technology is controlled as much as possible.

    On the other hand, such technology is an excellent tool for anarcho-capitalism, or any system that empowers individuals to create, finance, produce, and distribute their own work as they see fit. That's what I was trying to get at. Social networking media empowers individuals and individual economic freedom. It's only influence on any Socialist system will be to provide ways for individuals to bypass it.
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    Ethical revolution, maybe it's coming.
    Compassion revolution, maybe it's coming.
    Collaboration, Understanding, Equality, Sympathy, Respect, Humanity, all fine.
    But haven forbid ... socialist revolution ... may any God helps us
    joan lim
  • RE: The Socialist Revolution is Coming!

    The article itself is badly written, poorly researched, and hard to understand. In trying to sound intellectual, the author just makes no sense at all and different people therefore will take different aspects of what the author wrote and interpret it completely differently. Bad writing...I believe this article is trying to make broad jumps between social networking and interaction, a means of communicating and doing business; open-source, a licensing methodology...with socialism, a political structure in which the government redistributes goods and services for the benefit of everyone. Social applications and social networking can be VERY capitalistic, so can Open-Source which Apple and Google have both learned... the two have nothing to do with the socialist political systems at all.