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Enterprise 2.0 News & Analysis

Forget Community - 'Social' is Now a Commodity

Social Business, 2014-18-August-For-Sale.jpgRemember the glory days of Enterprise Social software? When startups were acquired and innovations were exciting? When we all believed that social technology could help us change the way we worked for good? Death to email!

The ESN crickets have been chirping for some time, because corporate social networking software is now a commodity, not a community. Disappearing are the days of hoping for ideation, serendipitous discovery, executive dialogue with worker-bees, and earning millions of dollars from new product ideas gleaned from conversations. The enterprise is tired of the hype; companies who have not seen success are ready to give up. With myriad ESN vendors, the proliferation of social features across productivity, storage and project management products, and an inability to prove that standalone enterprise social software has ROI, the commoditization will continue and eventually bury the industry as we know it. Think it’s not possible? I beg to differ for two reasons.

Fast, Flexible, Innovative: Why Networks Thrive

Social Business, 2014-15-August-Networks.jpgVienna, September 1901. A man you’ve probably never heard of, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, was born. A man whose theories are helping to shape the future of how you do work. Ludwig von Bertalanffy, let’s just call him LvB, is the forefather of evolutionary systems thinking -- something you’d usually find described in dry university textbooks -- but he has had a radical effect on how we depict and predict interactions in systems in biology, physics, anthropology and social sciences.

Why does this man born more than a hundred years ago make a difference to you now, sitting in your cubicle or reading on your tablet? Because LvB originated general systems theory that demonstrates why thinking holistically is critical to surviving and thriving and why reductionist perspectives lead to extinction.

The 3 Most Damaging Enterprise Social Network Myths

2014-13-August-Myth.jpg

It’s the summer of 2014 and enterprise social networks are as hot in the market as they were a year ago. But there remain a handful of persistent myths and half-truths that organizations still encounter on the path to “working like a network.” Like the Greek gods and loony theories about Jon Snow’s real parents on Game of Thrones, these myths never really die. Unlike those other myths, though, the ones around enterprise social can really hold you back from a successful deployment.

If you’re interested in truly achieving success with an enterprise social rollout, you'll need to tackle these roadblocks head on and have a strategy in place to accept, address and sometimes even outmaneuver them.  

As Technology Needs Rise, So Does Security

The workplace is no longer limited to a seat behind a desk, and technology trends continue to evolve to meet the demands of roving offices. Companies want easy efficient business technology, but they also want security.

This is evidenced by a significant second quarter rise in mobile customer relationship management (CRM), Business Intelligence (BI) and document editing apps and secure instant messaging apps in the Good Technology Mobility Index report for Q2 2014.

The second-quarter analysis by the mobile security solutions provider analyzes enterprise apps and data usage for more than 5,000 companies in over 180 countries and is published every quarter.

“Enterprises are realizing the need for secure mobile apps and mobile business process workflows,” Lynn Lucas, chief marketing officer at Good Technology, told CMSWire. “Two years ago, the lion share of the industry discussion was around device choice and email. Today that focus is shifting to technology that allows employees to work efficiently whether they’re onsite or off.”

When 'Work Like a Network' Won't Work

Social Business, 2014-12-August-Godzilla-Swim.jpgHierarchy has become the bogeyman of the "future of work" movement. Listen to some commentators, and it sounds as if the honest worker in the corporation is being oppressed by power-crazed managers, hoarding information like Gollum with a hangover. Presumably some of these managers were promoted from honest worker level, so does hierarchy bestow power, which immediately corrupts?

Not so fast. There are definitely bad hierarchies, but like all organizational forms, they can be done well or done poorly. Hierarchy still has a role, especially in larger, more established businesses, and some scenarios exist where a networked approach would be detrimental.

Business Relies on the Strength of Networks

Social Business, 2014-11-August-Helping-Hand.jpgNot too long ago it was possible for a company to make long-term detailed plans and then execute those plans over a period of several years. They could -- with fairly good accuracy -- predict the demand of their products or services over years, and match supply accordingly. Consumers remained fairly stable in their attitudes and behaviors towards products and services. Everybody needed to buy a new fridge, car or television set every 10 years or so. Since the needs didn’t change that much over the years, neither did the products -- all that was required were some new features and an updated design.

A hierarchy of managers made sure that plans were followed and executed. The role of management was to execute the business model as efficiently as possible, focusing on cutting cost in order to increase market share through competitive pricing and increase profits and returns to shareholders. Management created and refined policies and procedures to make sure that operations ran like a well-oiled machine, and all measures of success and incentive systems were geared towards efficient execution.

Needless to say, today's business environment is very different.

Where User Experience Should Fit in SharePoint's Roadmap

SharePoint, 2014-08-August-Jigsaw-Puzzle.jpgMany people have singled out SharePoint's user experience (UX) as one of the main culprits in lagging adoption and engagement numbers since the launch of the platform. Arguably it wasn't until the 2010 version that Microsoft took targeted steps to remedy this, adding important usability improvements and social capabilities. It was also during the SharePoint 2010 release timeframe that the partner ecosystem grew to support design and UX. This expansion introduced new options for customers, as well as provided feedback and direction for Microsoft, leading to further enhancements in the SharePoint 2013 release, including mobile enhancements and the support of device channels.

But even with SharePoint 2013's focus on the presentation layer and ongoing UX developments inside of Office 365 -- such as deeper integration with Yammer, PowerBI and the Delve (formerly Codename Oslo) interface -- has it been enough to improve adoption and engagement?

Adobe Boosts Web Conferencing With Connect 9.3

Adobe has released the latest version of its web conference platform including enhancements in screen sharing, its virtual whiteboard, social media integration and compatablity with Salesforce.com and Microsoft Lync 2013. 

Adobe Connect 9.3 will debut early this fall.

Rocky Mitarai, senior product marketing manager for Adobe, told CMSWire the company's offering goes beyond the standard meeting experience because it's an end-to-end solution that includes capabilities in meetings, elearning and webinars. 

It's an easy-to-use solution ("immediately jump into it without any downloads") that offers robust security options for clients such as the US Department of Defense. It also, he said, easily integrates into existing infrastructure and lets users easily build custom apps.

The Barriers to Working like a Network in Office 365

2014-07-August-Road-Block.jpgIt is frustrating to see the potential of technology and not have it realized. The solution is there but, as they say in New England, “you can’t get there from here.” Such is Office 365.

A Vision of Wearable Tech in the Workplace

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Wearable tech has been hot this year, with a lot of companies emerging as players in the wearable space. Everything from activity monitors to wearable cameras to smart watches have popped into the Internet of Things (IoT) market, some making more impact than others. And while the implications on the consumer market are clear, the enterprise market remains wide open and ripe for disruption.

There are some obvious use cases for wearables in the workplace like employee monitoring, health and safety monitoring, and access control. Hitachi, for example, has already introduced what looks like an elaborate employee ID badge embedded with sensors that track who employees talk to — as well as where and how actively. "A manager can monitor who speaks up at meetings and who spends more time at the coffee machine than their desk," Forbes reported this week.

More devices like Hitachi's will come along at their own pace and not really change the way businesses run.

The area that I expect wearables to have the largest impact and disruptive force is in helping to manage and augment our everyday interactions with both people and things.

Should You Blur Home and Work on Facebook?

social business, Don't Separate Work From Your Social Media Life?

It used to be church and state. Today, it's work and Facebook.

Separate. Separate. And separate.

Right? Maybe not.

Can you marry your job and your social media persona without hurting your company and getting fired? Maybe even advance your organization's brand?

"At a high-level, social media has the potential to influence the customer experience when employees are able to engage in dialogue with the customer and begin building trust-based relationships over time," said Alan See, principal and chief marketing officer for CMO Temps, LLC.

How Social Is Your Supply Chain (and Who Really Cares)?

2014-05-August-Life-of-the-Party.jpgForget sharing your results from all those surveys on Facebook. You know the ones: they determine where you should actually live, or which character you would be in Downton Abbey, or even how bitchy you are (New York, Matthew Crawley and none of your business). Business leaders now appreciate that social in the workplace isn't about any of this. What it comes down to is being able to collaborate to make better decisions.

While every industry can benefit from social technology, there are some distinct differences in the patterns of adoption. Many early adopter stories we share are about marketing leveraging social media, but social technologies are also becoming more of an operational tool and that makes them interesting for the supply chain.

Embrace the Shift: Become a Responsive Organization

2014-05-August-Traffic.jpgAs shown by the rise and fall of giants such as Blockbuster and AOL, even the largest organizations can face demise -- and it can happen swiftly. Why do these behemoths of the business world fall from grace? In simple terms, they were unable to keep up with the hyper-connectivity of today’s society.

IBM Focuses on 'Talent and Change'

Tools or no tools, we've been talking about people and talent being a hot commodity. IBM believes it has tools that can lead to the right people -- and keep those people happy

The Armonk, N.Y.-based software giant just released cloud-based software and a new "talent and change" consulting practice. IBM's goal is to help organizations use analytics and behavioral science to identify top talent.  

Part of the IBM Kenexa software offering, it is delivered through the IBM Smarter Workforce initiative.

"The offering bundles bring together new and existing software and services from across IBM's Smarter Workforce portfolio including our social collaboration, analytics, workforce science, digital experience, consulting and of course Kenexa's talent assessment and recruitment capabilities," said Zahir Ladhani, ‎IBM's vice president of its Smarter Workforce. "Delivered through the cloud and supported by the new Talent and Change consulting practice, they're designed to make it faster and easier for clients to implement and scale workforce solutions across the organization."

Silos Divide Us, But Could Make Us Stronger

Social Business, 2014-04-August-Separation.jpgTalent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. -- Michael Jordan

A silo is something that divides us from others. It is a set of people that is disconnected from other parts of the organization.

A functioning organization has a purpose and a mission to achieve. When people – increasingly recognized as the lifeblood of an organization, more critical than physical resources, commercial assets, intellectual property and such -- when people are divided, they lack a common focus and the intellectual, professional and personal empathy that allows them to act like a team.

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