While great in concept, so far enterprise social technology hasn't really mastered the human part of the equation just yet.
Fundamentally, the problem centers on an IT legacy infrastructure bound up in systems optimized for capturing and storing data. These systems have been terrific assets to businesses and the people who use them, but they don't really work the way people do.
That's a harder problem to solve and simply adding in some social features to these capture-and-store data systems falls short of letting people engage with their work in a naturally collaborative, highly-productive — or even fun — way.
Take one of the most popular and pervasive enterprise application platforms out there today — Microsoft SharePoint.
First launched in 2001, SharePoint has demonstrated incredible versatility and value over the years; tackling everything from document management to intranet content portal duties. Now, with the launch of SharePoint 2013, it's being pressed into service as a social enterprise solution.
And there's the challenge.
SharePoint 2013 hints at the promise of social, but as a broad spectrum platform it has difficulty delivering.
With the launch of SharePoint 2013, the platform gets some of its social features closer to current, but can't yet put forth a naturally engaging environment that lets people seamlessly connect with the day-to-day processes of their job in a highly social, collaborative way. In that type of engagement lives the true productive power and promise of the social workplace.
To get that experience and the benefits it confers, organizations need to look beyond SharePoint, even if they are using it as their social starting point. And to be sure, SharePoint and other content handling and process management systems are a natural starting point for efforts to create a social workplace, but their roots and focus are on data and other systems, not people.
The devil, as they say, is in the details. And getting the little things right matters a lot when it comes to driving user adoption and employee engagement.
Business value such as social learning and rapid onboarding; innovation acceleration; increased employee productivity and satisfaction; mobile collaboration; and expertise discovery can't simply be added into or layered onto existing systems.
Rather, these use cases should be designed from the outset to perform like the people that will be using them. The social workplace will, in this way, shift from a systems-centric, static environment to a dynamic, human-centric experience.
This article was sponsored by NewsGator Technologies, Inc.