Thursday, December 4, 2008

Social Enterprise Software ...

Bill Ives has written a post which is a comment on a post about social enterprise software being an oxymoron. Quite interesting reading, both of them. Though, i dont much agree with the original oxymoron question.

To begin with, i am not quite sure which ones are the oxymoron ... social+enterprise, or enterprise+software, or social+software. The only thing that comes remotely close is social+enterprise. Which is where i quite agree with Fred Wilson ...

And most enterprises don't want their employees to be active members of a community that it can't control, monitor, and moderate. So the software that tends to be adopted by the enterprise is usually hobbled by the needs of the enterprise and cannot get that magical lift that an unbounded community provides.

No, i dont agree with that entirely, but to some extent. First of all, i agree that enterprises dont want their employees to be members of communities which they cant monitor or control. Having said this, if we are looking at the e 2.0 scenario, and looking at it only within the firewall, then i must say that all communities can be monitored and controlled by the organization ... whether that is a nice thing or not.

Coming to the second part of this, the software which gets adopted within organizations is hobbled by the needs of the enterprise ... but isnt this meant to be? Agreed, having an unbounded sense of community within the organization would be really nice ... but, having said that, i dont think there are many organizations that have been able to achieve that, with or without social software. So, this is probably not so much a function of the nature of social software, or the approach of organizations towards it, but rather, a function of the kins of problems that social software is trying to solve.

As Bill says ...

These tools are developed for businesses to solve business problems. Businesses are run and operated by people, for the most part for now, and these tools look at the social context of information.

The key point here being the social context of information. Or, put differently, the human aspect of information. And this is what social software can bring into the organization ... the human aspect of business, after having tried to totally remove this aspect in the form of human-independant business processes, and looking at an organization as a collection of business processes. This view of business has not helped ... no way to explain how the same business process, being run by two different people operates so different. The fact that business processes are, in the end, run by people, and these people need to connect with each other, in order to create more value through business processes is something which can be brought into the organization by social software.

5 comments:

VelaSwami said...

i am a newbie ... a fresh graduate from college.

one thing which i have learned in last 4 months of my life is that the organizations tend to gain a lot more when ppl connect with each other and with the work place.

as the time goes by the search to belong will intensify in most of my age group - and mind you this generation is more likely to take a chance!

unless ppl get a sense of belonging they cannot give there best.

Atul said...

are you saying, Swami, that you are more eager at building human relationships than purely business relationships? in other words, would you much rather run a business with your friends, or try to become friends with your business partners?

Cristina said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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Atul said...

thank you for the words of encouragement, Cristina.

VelaSwami said...

i would not say partners ... colleagues ... its them i am taking about.

somehow i have never understood how ppl end up working with big firms. i mean when the start complaining about job satisfaction, this and that.

why do ppl jump jobs? isn't that the reason why companies are sometimes scared to expose them to fresh ideas or areas easily? would they not prefer to give work to someone who will do it for the most time?