Salesforce's Marc Benioff continued his now-epic stream of social business thought leadership at this week's Dreamforce 2011 in San Francisco. The messaging was certainly world class and the slew of announcements this week will address many of the shortcomings or feature gaps in its social software product line. But is a company whose roots are in sales automation and cloud-based SaaS the right firm to take organizations fully into the social world of the 21st century?
Enterprise Web 2.0
Dion Hinchcliffe on leveraging the convergence of IT and the next generation of the Web.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an expert in information technology, business strategy, and next-generation enterprises.
The global growth of social media as a mainstream trend is the subject of regular news headlines these days. Yet the assumption is that most enterprises are either taking a wait-and-see attitude or are hopelessly behind consumer trends. The surprise is that enterprises have actually been holding steady behind the consumer world as they look towards the future of their workplace.
Understanding who knows what inside today's modern organizations can be an exercise in frustration, especially when you're trying to get things accomplished in tight timelines. Social software that delivers insight into the community can help by making it easier to find the right person. SAP's Scott Lawley explores how, by leveraging community connections and interactions, a series of expertise dimensions can be measured, computed, and put to good use to improve collaboration.
As accumulated information has become a top-line asset in large companies, the ability to tap into it and release value from it is not growing to match in most traditional firms. Yet this information is currently growing exponentially and becoming a challenge in its own right. Enter Big Data, one of the year's most interesting technology stories. Big Data offers the promise of reaching the value that's increasingly moving outside the scope of traditional IT approaches to deal with in using innovative new technologies. Smart organizations can apply Big Data methods to solve existing business problems, implement new business models, and drive growth in innovative new ways. That is, if they can find a way to move beyond their parochial ways.
Social software has been making its way into the enterprise for a while, but usually from vendors that are experts at enterprise needs. Now it appears that professional social networks on the Internet will make an attempt at the space. What will this mean given that they already have a large percentage of your workers using their services externally today, yet little practical enterprise experience?
While app stores have become enormously popular with users, particularly on mobile devices, they are now moving to the enterprise. The new Jive Apps Market provides an interesting approach that combines apps with direct integration into the flow of a worker's primary social experience. Not to be outdone, Apps Market is also designed to appeal to IT as well. It will be one of the enterprise app stores to watch closely.
The means to connect social networks and software applications together have existed for years but haven't been very open or useful enough to reach critical mass. That's been changing as OpenSocial has continued to doggedly improve and mature. The latest version has a chance to go mainstream, the question is if users will find the features compelling enough to use.
It's long been easy to connect applications together on the Web, particularly in social media. But we're only now finally starting to see real progress on moving these lessons into the enterprise. With the advent of a new customer service API that uses the lessons from the open API world, this may at long last happen, to the real benefit of end users and customers.
With social media features popping up inside existing enterprise applications combined with the crush of enterprise-ready social business platforms, figuring out how to situate social media on an intranet, in content/document management, and within functional verticals inside the has become a significant challenge. Here are some of the key issues for sorting out social media and IT strategy in today's fast moving marketplace.
While app stores have become very popular in the consumer world -- especially on mobile devices -- they haven't been as popular in the enterprise. However, newer offerings and a growing expectation by workers that app stores offer selection, convenience, and better prices is changing the landscape. IT departments now have their work cut out for them to ensure their own needs are met.