Anyone who's familiar with's Marc Benioff knows that he consistenly speaks about technology with notable enthusiasm, but somehow his keynote at this year's Dreamforce conference was even more so excited. In this edition of our weekly social business discussion, I'd like to focus on one statement that was particularly resonant: Collaboration is not an island

There's no 'I' in Team

If nothing else, our social business trials and tribulations have proven one thing: signing up for an internal social platform and treating it like a separate entity does not equal a better business. It takes building an open network that can touch multiple points of an organization's ecosystem to see true value and effectiveness. 

Last week, Yammer showed its willingness to cooperate with this trend by leveraging's API in order to grab data exported by the CRM platform and plug it into Yammer news feeds. 

“The nice thing about the open API world that we live in is that you don’t necessarily have to seek permission to use these APIs," said David Sacks, CEO of Yammer. “We’re seeing a trend with all these various line-of-business applications to build their own social networks into what they do, and we’re already seeing customers and potential customers complaining about this because they wind up with a dozen different social networks in their company and that defeats the whole purpose.”

Life by way of Consumerization

Not to be outdone, Benioff  used some of his stage time to reveal an equally open vision that has since excited enterprise users and experts alike. 

I might get verbally maimed by some of you for saying this, but it seems like yet another example of how by mimicking Facebook, a consumer platform known for its openness and transparency, social business offerings are slowly improving their effectiveness.. 

Dion Hinchcliffe wrote a really great piece on the matter (Putting Social Business To Work) a little over a week ago:

Social media in the enterprise is about connecting deeply to those around us to improve the way we work. It’s certainly not about isolation, yet that sometimes becomes the state of affairs. How we organize for social business determines much of our success, as emergent as the process is.

Unfortunately, the idea that social business processes should be ubiquitous within an enterprise context is taking some getting used to. At present, we're more likely to see a social business environment run parallel to workflow in its own silo. 

A New Approach to an Old Problem

Though big names like Yammer and are just starting to make heavy announcements about the importance of the newest level of integration, enterprise marketing manager Laurie Buczek recently pointed out that a lack of assimilation is an aging problem. 

Social collaboration applications have been immature in this area for years (even after fierce calls for faster integration- i.e. CMS). Enterprises faced fork lift integration efforts to knit applications together. Fork lift efforts get the budget axe when push comes to shove.  

This year it looks like companies are finally starting to view collaboration as an inherent part of the work experience. In addition to Sacks and Benioff's increasingly open platforms, we're seeing more intuitive, natural approaches to the user experience as a whole.  

But of course, your tips are welcome. If you've got any information to drop on connecting collaboration islands, please, do so in the comments below. 

In Related News

  • For the third year in a row, Microsoft, IBM, and Jive Lead Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace
  • SharePoint for Customer Experience Management is not far away
  • Moxie's integration framework is further socializing SharePoint, Outlook, Salesforce and more. 
  • Our own Marisa Peacock wrote a great review of Michael Brito’s new book Smart Business, Social Business: A Playbook for Social Media in Your Organization.