At the start of day two at the Alfresco Developers Conference in NYC, Jeff Schick, VP Social Software at IBM talked about the Collaborative Imperative of Social Business.

The Evolution of Social Growth

Social software usage is growing globally. When Web 1.0 met Web 2.0, most companies didn’t embrace it, nevermind understand how it would begin to impact the way we work.

No matter how much you resisted at first, it’s hard to ignore social media, networking and collaboration in the enterprise anymore. In fact, ignore it and risk becoming irrelevant.

Communication behaviors have evolved since the dawn of men. From smoke signals to the pony express to email to text message, communicating has become more of a social experience. So what does this mean for IBM, Alfresco and ECM?

What’s in Your Social Collaboration Strategy?

IBM’s social collaboration strategy is based upon the principle that people can drive collaboration and information. Inside IBM, there is the opportunity for human centric indexing. What people say and think is important and can make order out of volumes of information.

Creating familiar internal interfaces not only facilitates knowledge sharing, micro blogging and collaboration because it’s built to be a support platform for employees, but because the user is comfortable with the technology. The technology is so easy and intuitive, so that everyone (young and old) can use it.

IBM utilizes online communities. With more than 410,000 employees and 75,000 contractors, IBM can’t possibly share with each one individually. By creating communities and letting employees create their own, IBM is able scale their information sharing appropriately.

But sharing isn’t just connecting people with people, it’s also about connecting businesses, organizations and activities. By specifying tasks, notes or steps needed to complete activities, a simple collaborative discussion can yield great results, without a need for messy workflows getting in the way.

Connecting with Alfresco

Sharing information is only valuable when you can actually access your information. IBM Lotus meet Alfresco. Since January, IBM has been working closely with Alfresco.

The integration between Alfresco’s open source enterprise content management (ECM) system and IBM Lotus social collaboration products extends to Lotus Quickr, Lotus Notes, Lotus Connections and WebSphere Portal.

The goal is to bring connectors directly to IBM. By having the same view of the world that Alfresco has, users can quickly drag n’ drop and publish to external locations without having to leave the context of their work. It doesn’t elminate the many other ways that you could share a document, but it definitely provides a quicker and more efficient way of doing so, while offering more flexibility and operability. You can also build your own CMIS connectors so as to provide multiple ways and applications to access information from the Alfresco content repositories.

A More Social Enterprise

Ultimately, social collaboration takes more than just initiative. It takes connections with people and information. The more willing you are to embrace smarter technologies the smarter you can work.

Which leads us back to systems of engagement. While there are many benefits, there are also challenges. Content management takes more than just content, it requires that many different pieces come together. Yesterday we learned how to build models for desired behaviors, today we learned that social behaviors can drive collaboration. Every company has the capacity to engage, but not every company has what it takes to combine its system of records with a system of engagement.

Alfresco is committed to be a part of a company's system of engagement, and will continue to thrive so as long as there are systems to engage.

Though this is a developer's conference, we need to admit that there's only so much programming behaviors can bring. Modeling people's behaviors within the enterprise takes more than great connectors and CMIS; it takes unwavering support and leadership.