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Social Business Software News & Analysis

FaceBox at Work: The Newest Collaboration Solution?

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We are hardly out of the 2015 gate and the enterprise collaboration market is already experiencing a shakeup.

Facebook released Facebook at Work on Jan. 14, the same week Box resuscitated its delayed IPO event, slated to launch tomorrow. While seemingly unrelated, these two events underscore the continued significance the "consumerization of the enterprise" trend will continue to play in 2015, especially as it relates to collaboration.

Slack Extends Collaboration Offering with Plus Plan

Collaboration software provider Slack launched some new features this week that target companies with growing teams.

The San Francisco-based provider is betting on these teams needing help with single sign-on, compliance exports, a 99.99 percent uptime guarantee and 24/7 premium support. It's called a Plus plan, a new option priced at $12.50 per user per month.

"Slack puts all your team communication in one place and integrates with the tools you need to get your job done," a Slack spokesperson told CMSWire. '"They offer a better, more seamless experience than anyone else."

Who Wants To Play With Facebook At Work?

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Facebook unveiled its new social network Facebook at Work today, a sign of its interest in the lucrative office productivity and collaboration market. A smartphone app called Facebook At Work, with the look and feel of classic Facebook, is now available in app stores.

However, just because you can download the app doesn't mean you can use it. "Facebook at Work is only available to people who have set up a work account through their employer," the app states.

Facebook is limiting initial use to a select few companies as it continues to test the platform. The promise is a new social network with familiar interfaces that will limit itself to enterprise communications.

Where Social Collaboration Is Heading

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Social collaboration software has come a long way, both in terms of acceptance in organizations (if not daily usage) and products. Ten years ago social collaboration was mostly thought of as Facebook for the enterprise, an unfortunate tagline that suggested frivolity and not utility. Since then, social collaboration has embraced many different types of technology that help knowledge workers find and share content and ideas. An explosion of new ways to work together gradually coalesced into the form we see today. This process is driving what we can expect in the next year or so.

How a Mobile Social Network Connected a Start-Up's Employees

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Do enterprise social networks (ESNs) have the ability to influence or change company culture or identity? They do, although the experience will vary dramatically from organization to organization, and may be quite subtle or slow.

7 Reasons Why Facebook at Work Will Fail

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Would you move your business data and team conversations to a platform run by Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook advertising machine? While the Facebook for Business brand is nothing new, focused on providing a more effective advertising platform for businesses based on the social connections and information consumption of its 1.3 billion members, rumor has it that a new offering will target team and project-based collaboration under the brand Facebook@Work.

According to a new Financial Times report and related Business Insider analysis, the platform has been in development for years but is being piloted at a number of companies, and it "will allow employees to collaborate, edit documents, collect professional contacts, and chat with colleagues."

Discussion Point: Creating Long Distance Collaboration and Teams

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You may not like everyone who works in your physical office. But at least you know people well enough to have reasons to dislike them. After all, you spend eight or more hours together every day.

Not so in the virtual world, where the lack of serendipitous encounters and chance conversations make it all the more difficult to forge connections — and increase the ease of developing biased perceptions.

Sometimes even the warmest and most considerate people sound cold and abrasive on the phone. A shy person can be misconstrued as cool and aloof. And, curiously, someone suffering from massive insecurities can seem narcissistic and egotistical because he insists on hiding behind a wall of faux achievements.

So in the age of remote workforces, when employees are increasingly connected by technology rather than shared desk space, how do we make lofty concepts like collaboration and cooperation a daily reality?

Can we force people on opposite coasts to actually like each other? Or, failing that, can we just get everyone to respect each other enough to embrace a common culture?

Why Can't Enterprises Get User Experience Right?

2014-31-October-Ford-Factory.jpgA leading analyst recently said to me, “If enterprises cared about the user experience, SAP and Oracle might not still be in business.” Not to pick on those vendors -- they produce technologies that drive value in the enterprise -- but it’s no secret that the enterprise has lagged far behind the consumer world in terms of the user experience (UX). It’s bad. In enterprises we’re usually asking workers to accomplish tasks that are significantly more complicated than just booking an airline ticket. Arguably, those tasks drive greater revenue -- or cost savings -- than ticket booking for that travel website.

Each of us can chronicle bad experiences with the technology tools we use every day -- and if you’re in the enterprise, your pain may be even more excruciating than consumers. Not only are the experiences worse for you, but they are often ones that you do repetitively, so that pain piles up into long-term frustration and general dread. (Are you familiar with the term “Sunday blues”?)

How Documize and ThreadKM Approach Knowledge Management

2014-30-October-Potter-Toolkit.jpgIt's a good time to be in knowledge management. With the push to consumerization, new tools are released on a regular basis which simplify and help solve business problems, without negating the value of previous technological investments. Let's take a look at a couple newer releases that might fit nicely into your KM tool box.

Law firms and internal law departments have a well understood definition of the term "Knowledge Management." ThreadKM is a new legal focused KM tool that was launched earlier this month.

We've previously discussed the many intranet use cases that remain for simple web publishing of text based information. Good information sharing is the basis of a knowledge management strategy. Documize is a very different tool from ThreadKM, blending lightweight, templates-based structured authoring with a wiki based approach. Documize is in late beta and will be released soon.

When an Enterprise Social Network Gives More Tricks than Treats

2014-28-October-Groucho-Glasses.jpgIt’s that time of year when employees come to work dressed up in Halloween costumes of all types. On October 31, you’ll inevitably see zombie bosses, animals galore and a myriad of other getups meant to bring a bit of adult fun to a favorite childhood holiday.

But what if I told you that I knew the secret to changing your workplace identity the other 364 days of the year? What if I told you that I can help you create a costume so convincing that, even without doing much work, you will appear to be a Corporate Rockstar -- Mr. Popular or Ms. Helpful? It’s time to share the secrets of gaming your enterprise social network this Halloween.

There are many social technology vendors who offer data and analytics tools (either native or add-on) that claim to measure meaningful activity inside your community. Legend has it that this data can be used to find influencers, popular topics, important details and even experts. So in the spirit of Halloween -- and with a ghoulish grin -- I’d like to offer three easy steps to building an enterprise disguise by manipulating your activity inside an enterprise social network.

Post Spigit Merger, Mindjet Works on 'Transformative' Offering

The merger between enterprise software providers Mindjet and Spigit a year ago has produced ... well, you'll have to wait a little more for specifics.

The big reveal on what the merger will bring won't come until the company's conference next March. 

But it promises to be "transformative," according to San Francisco-based Mindjet's new chief marketing officer, Kevin Cochrane, who started last month after stints as CMO at OpenText and product vice president of digital marketing Adobe.

Mindjet is expected to serve up an appetizer of its product suite next week, but the full reveal doesn't come until the March conference, Cochrane told CMSWire. 

What to Do When Yammer Adoption Stalls

Plenty of companies have early success with Yammer. And then it stalls. Or they hit growing pains and the early enthusiasm wanes.

This scenario can happen to any enterprise social network (ESN), but it seems most pronounced in Yammer, partly because Yammer has such a large market share, but also because its freemium model means that the usual business-case test criteria (and the useful thinking that goes with it) can get bypassed.

Why Collaboration Solutions Fail [Infographic]

2014-13-October-communicateGo ahead. Give your employees yet another state-of-the art, fresh off the cloud (or out-of-the-box) solution for collaboration and communication.

Odds are few of them will use it anyway … unless you do two not-so-shocking things. Can you guess what they are?

Here's a clue: the technology itself isn't the problem. 

A new study by Softchoice, a Toronto, Ontario-based technology solutions and managed services provider, confirmed unified communications (UC) and collaboration tools have the power to accelerate productivity, bring people together and increase employee engagement. However, most UC implementations fail because employees are left out of the process, the research found.

Here's why.

ROI Is the Wrong Tool to Justify Social Investments

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Social media and social networking have become core business tools in the business world. Every major brand has some level of social media account or social engagement with its customers at this point, but the question remains how to measure the value associated with social media and social networking. To do this, companies look for a Social Return on Investment but get hung up in the process. Why does this happen? 

Don't Launch a Social Business Collaboration Solution Unless ...

2014-24-September-Kick-Off.jpgIt’s the season in which I find myself doing a lot of armchair quarterbacking on the weekends (which involves yelling at the TV from time to time -- Go Hawks!). I know I’m not alone. When you are that involved in the outcome, it makes the wins all the more sweet.

During the work week, I have the pleasure of actual quarterbacking for business collaboration, in partnership with customers and clients -- not to mention my own team. What I've seen is that the philosophy you bring to the table makes a real difference to your success.

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