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Latest Social Business News & Articles

Microsoft Tightens the Reins on Office 365

Companies are still signing up for Yammer — despite the fact that user adoption remains a problem. 

In fact, according to Yammer co-founder David Sacks, the British grocery retailing giant Tesco has just inked a 250, 000 seat deal with Yammer. The information was contained in a memo from Sacks to Microsoft employees.

Sacks announced on Twitter late last week that he is leaving Microsoft, but did not specify why.

Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments

2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges — more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

Startup Offers Free Collaboration Option for Any Web Page

Just as Microsoft blends Yammer into Office365, a startup is offering a free service to add a Facebook-like collaboration tool to any web page.

Lifestreams Technologies, a 2-year-old company based in New Haven, Conn., said the widget can be used on any intranet or public-facing website by adding a snippet of code to the html.

"Most websites today are relatively static," said Peter Prosol, business development director for the 10-person SaaS firm. "You'll find pictures and images and text, but it's more or less as it is. It doesn't change much. But adding a timeline to your site … it lets you be more dynamic, add new content, refresh and be a little more interactive and engaging to the user."

SAP Jam's Approach to Social: It's All in the Work Patterns

2014-25-July-Loom.jpgThe social adoption and ROI discussions are getting louder as more and more enterprises implement social collaboration solutions and struggle to find success. Adoption and ROI are difficult areas to define, measure and implement. The Altimeter Group released a report on The Evolution of Social Business detailing how organizations that have implemented social have created technology silos and lack clear focus or strategy in how it should be deployed across the enterprise.

As social has become mainstream over the past few years, we have seen major software vendors across vertical markets and solution types integrate social into the fabric of their core products. Dion Hinchcliffe highlighted this trend in 2011 in his blog post “Putting Social to Work,” where he described the integration of social with ERP suites like Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, Microsoft and SAP.

I recently spoke with SAP's Social Software Solutions Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sameer Patel about social adoption and ROI. We discussed how SAP views these issues and how it developed the SAP Jam platform to address them. Its an interesting approach that's worth exploring in more depth.

Actiance Wants to Help Companies Curb Social Media Mistakes

New York politician Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. Actor Ashton Kutcher's defense of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Former corporate communication director Justine Sacco's racist comment.

If mistakes like these have taught us nothing else, it's that social media can create viral reactions that linger on and on. It also proves that, contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity.

What are the consequences?  In an office environment, not only is a job on the line for the offending employee, but companies can easily find themselves at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by the offended worker.

What's worse, many companies have yet to establish social media polices — and even some that do adopt policies find they may violate federal labor laws.

Want Engaged Employees? Show Them the Big Picture

2014-23-July-Big-Picture.jpgWhether they're building rockets, smartphones, microprocessors or cars, large organizations are under extreme pressure in today’s competitive environment. They are struggling to get the most from their people, generate more innovative ideas than their competitors, become more efficient and effective and — of course — bring their products to market faster than anyone else.

Within this landscape, the recent social business technologies have been recognized for their ability to drive productivity. McKinsey estimates employee productivity can be increased 25 percent through adoption of social technologies and establishing a "networked enterprise."

But little has been said about the unintended, long-term benefit of adopting an innovative social platform — the ability to connect employee's work to the bigger business strategy. 

The Problem With Yammer? People Don't Use It

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Yammer is being promoted as the new social layer of SharePoint. But Microsoft is also tying it tightly into Office 365. In the past two weeks, this has resulted in the packaging of Yammer with Office 365 small business plans, while the price of Office 365 is also about to be slashed.

There are problems with Yammer. But the problem lies not the product itself.

According to David Lavenda, vice president of product strategy at Harmon.ie, the real problem is that many people who have access to it just won’t use it — or any other social network for that matter.

AvePoint Bridges Box and SharePoint

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You have SharePoint. You have Box. Theoretically, you have all your enterprise information management, governance and collaboration bases covered. Right?

Well, yes … if all your content silos are connected and operating seamlessly. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.

While there is a lot of patching and connecting to be done to pull all your silos together, it’s a job that’s rarely finished. To help enterprises with two of the most important silos, AvePoint has just announced the release of DocAve Cloud Connect, which bridges Box and SharePoint.

Dusting Off Intranet Metadata and Search

2014-22-July-Antiques.jpgSome people assume that if a concept is old, it's no longer relevant. Since we looked at the continued relevancy of the quaint old fashioned concept of information publishing on intranets in last month's post, I thought we'd take on a few more of those dusty relics of days gone by today: metadata and intranet search. The concepts are interrelated in that the success of communicating content on a one to many basis — or an n to m basis, as you may have a small body of publishers or content creators putting out information to the company — relies on findability.

Discussion Point: Where Does HR Go From Here?

Thumbnail image for discussion-pointAnother day, another disruption. 

Or at least that's how it must feel for most every department in organizations today. The repercussions of the combined digital, social, mobile trifecta radiate throughout the organization. But if you mix in economic factors, shifting skill requirements, distributed workforces and new expectations of those entering the workplace, then I think you know which department specifically we're talking about: Human Resources.

Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2014 (pdf) report identified the most urgent trends that HR professionals face today. Number one? Leadership development. Number two? Seventy-nine percent answered retention and engagement. Yet only 16 percent felt ready to tackle these and the challenges they face. 

A fundamental rethinking of the HR department is required to meet these demands.

From Intranet to Net-Work: The Rise of the Digital Bridge Builder

As an intranet professional, your career is about collaboration: Of systems and processes, not just people. The web is a network and those who thrive on the web network, connect and collaborate. It’s the same with the intra-net, where the lines are increasingly blurred between what is "internal" and what is "external." 

Aha! Social Can Transform Businesses - and Create Value, Too

2014-15-July-teamwork.jpgGo ahead. Make collaboration a priority at the next meeting with your senior leaders. New research confirms what people like Oscar Berg have long been preaching. In fact, there is clear evidence companies across industries are creating value with social business. 

That's the key finding from the just released third annual Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project. Conducted jointly by the MIT Sloan Management Review and two subsidiaries of Deloitte LLP — Deloitte Consulting and Deloitte Services — the report is based on insights from surveys, interviews, literature and what the authors describe as "robust debates."

Social business has come of age, the report finds. What's more, proponents no longer have to feel like they are talking to the wind when they argue its merits. "Increasingly, corporate leaders realize that social business is changing the way organizations operate and the experiences they provide to their customers and constituents."

Why Zimbra's Collaboration Platform Jumped on Mezeo's Cloud

social business, Why Zimbra's Collaboration Platform Added Mezeo's Cloud

It's been about a year since since Telligent acquired Zimbra in the social enterprise software space. Telligent rebranded to Zimbra's platform.

Zimbra is confident in its platform, no doubt. It's a regular in the Magic Quadrants and Waves for social software and communities, and in March it released its latest update of its community software solution: Zimbra Community 8.0, featuring customer support and private social networking for remote and mobile workers. 

Today Zimbra brings a level of security to its platform its CEO said is unmatched. It acquired Mezeo Software, which provides file sharing and cloud storage capabilities for service providers, governments and other companies.

This allows Zimbra to use Mezeo’s technology portfolio that includes patents that cover aspects of storage efficiency and file security, and it adds file sync and share for secure and private collaboration.

Social Signals, Social Noise and Knowledge Management

2014-10-July-Train-Signal-Noise.jpgSocial information is very different from traditional documentation. We've grown accustomed over the past few years to referring to documents as “unstructured data.” But even PowerPoint is neat and orderly compared with the wild frontier of enterprise social.

Hashtags, "likes" and abbreviations are all part of users conveying information. Almost all organizations with enterprise social deployments turn to it after traditional documentation, but in many cases, social knowledge management is an afterthought — if it's performed at all.  Yet information theory shows us that enterprise social is much more likely to contain meaningful enterprise knowledge than traditional documentation. 

How should we approach knowledge governance in social streams?

Oslo and Office Graph: Welcome to the Enterprise of Things

2014-09-July-Spiderwebs.jpgIf Microsoft has its way, big data is coming to your Office 365 environment very soon.

In March of this year Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, introduced Office Graph and challenged us to “work like a network.” Office Graph — which derived from Yammer’s Enterprise Graph concept — analyzes user metadata from the Office 365 environment (Yammer, SharePoint Online, Lync and Office Online) to identify signals, trends, relationships, social connections and content that relate to each other to form patterns that can be used to deliver a more relevant and rich contextual end user experience.

This rich set of metadata is meant to provide a more comprehensive picture of who you are connected to, who you interact with and how you interact within the enterprise. This is a new frontier for Microsoft and this technology will significantly change how you collaborate, work, connect and engage within the online enterprise going forward.

Test Before Making a Full Scale SharePoint Leap

2014-08-July-Swimming-Hole.jpgYou've built your solution architecture. You've got a vision in mind. You eagerly take the full scale implementation plunge. But the energy erodes after things start to fall apart during the implementation phases. Ad-hoc requirements pop up and all you get is boatload of custom code requirements or a bad rap from disgruntled users — now you're really in trouble.

Don't let this happen to your SharePoint implementation.

Microsoft Pushes Yammer into SMBs

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Microsoft is pushing Yammer … again. The focus now is on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). 

Microsoft underlined its enterprise ambitions for Yammer in November by making it available with all Office 365 enterprise plans. Now it's also added Yammer to Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans.

The Solution to Custom Code in the Cloud

If you've been living under a rock for the past five years, let me get you caught up: There’s been a shift in how technology is being embraced. Not too long ago, businesses created and purchased technology. Then that technology trickled down to the consumer level and morphed into something we’d use. Think the ENIAC  evolving after many years into the PC, etc.

That process is reversed today. The consumer experience comes first and businesses play catch up to the consumer technology. The classic example of this is mobile: we've been living on our mobile phones for several years, but only now are enterprises making their systems mobile friendly for their workforce.

IBM Social Software Update Features File Sync On Premises

IBM's latest version of its social enterprise collaboration software suite IBM Connections is now available on the IBM cloud marketplace, a move IBM officials say makes the platform faster and easier to deploy.

The announcement today of IBM Connections 5 comes roughly 18 months after IBM's last update to the Connections platform. IBM officials boasted about the new offering's capability to bring secure file sync to on premises.

Blending Social Collaboration and Intranet Publishing

2014-02-July-Bicycle-Blender.jpgThe reports are in again — intranets are not dead — which is always a relief to hear. Part of the rumors of its potential demise stem from the many shapes and forms that intranets can take, which includes the rise of the social intranet over the past five years. Even this term means many things to many people and does not necessarily mean all elements are built on the same platform. On the other hand, some organizations try to build a full intranet out of a social collaboration platform such as Jive, which does not necessarily work very well.