Enterprise 2.0, 2012’s big event is coming up and we’re excited to come to Boston next week June 18-21, to connect with our industry’s best practioners and advocates. In addition to a big announcement we’ll be making at the show, our CEO Eugene Lee will be making a guest appearance on a panel called “Innovation versus Integration” in Room 311 on June 19, 2:30pm led by Oliver Marks that will tackle the issue of how enterprise 2.0 solutions are changing the role of HR in company innovation.
Please be sure to stop by our booth for a product demo, to meet our team members from Socialtext and Peoplefluent, and pick up some of the cool giveaways we’ll have at the booth. We’re at booth 307. If you still haven’t made arrangements for attending, please Use priority code “E2Boston” or click here for a $500 discount on conference pass or for a free expo pass.
Leading up to the Enterprise2.0 Boston Conference, Socialtext will be hosting a free live webinar on June 6th at 10am PDT. The webinar, Social Transformation: Accelerating Industry at the Pace of Social, features E 2.0 Keynote speaker Andrew McAfee, whose new book, Race Against the Machine parallels the experiences and successes of Socialtext client, Industrial Mold. This is a unique story as while social software usage has grown tremendously among the traditional enterprise and businesses workforce, it has not yet been fully leveraged in the industrial landscape or other more traditional industries.
Why and how would an assembly line worker or machinist benefit from such a tool? Can a social software platform really reinvigorate an embattled industry sector and keep jobs close to home?
For Industrial Mold, the connection of information to the manufacturing floor is essential. Yet until implementing social software, that information was primarily stored in the heads of expert mold makers (a highly skilled yet aging workforce) with little to no connection between the front office and the manufacturing process. The executive team at Industrial Mold knew there was a better way to connect information with the manufacturing process as well as create an environment that would appeal to new recruits. With goals of serving their customers faster and better, Larry Housel, Industrial Mold’s Knowledge and Information Manager, looked into software systems that could transform their workplace. With employees residing both in offices as well as the shop floor, Larry and his team wanted a central easily searchable place for where order information, learning and training materials could be accessed. It was also important to be able to ask questions of peers, and share information with the company openly.
Leveraging human capital with technology innovation is now necessary in the industrial workplace as “Organizational and institutional innovations can recombine human capital with machines to create broad based productivity growth, ” as noted in Race Against the Machine.
In this webinar, we’ll be hearing from leading E2.0 expert Andrew McAfee about the intersection of technology and human capital and directly from Industrial Mold executives about how they’ve applied Race Against the Machine strategies to see significant impact to their business KPI’s as well as serving as a recruitment vehicle for a younger workforce.
Join us on Wednesday, June 6th at 10am PDT for this free webinar to learn more.
The event will also feature Socialtext customer the American Hospital Association (AHA). Karthik Chakkarapani, the AHA’s IT Director of Technology Solutions & Operations, will be hosting a session about how that organization built a vibrant social intranet on Socialtext. Karthik will speak Thursday morning (June 23).
Ross is acknowledged across the industry (even by our competitors) as a pioneer in the world of enterprise social networking. He co-founded Socialtext a full three years before Andy McAfee published his famous “Enterprise 2.0” paper for MIT Sloan Management review. He has been an advocate for utilizing social software to improve business processes and the way we work together in a collaborative context.
I can’t share too much about Ross’s talk yet, but here’s the description we submitted for the Enterprise 2.0 website that is now public. You can watch it live on E20 TV (free with registration).
The Social Software Evolution, Not Revolution
Social Software in the Enterprise adapts the best of the web with practices that make it work in the context of an organization. In this keynote, Socialtext Chairman and Co-founder Ross Mayfield will chart this evolution over the last ten years. Core patterns that have emerged help form strategic planning assumptions for Enterprises. But there are also core anti-patterns in social software deployments that fail to account for the context of an organization and their existing culture, processes, and infrastructure. While creative, they lead to tactical destruction. Understanding these evolutionary forces is critical for any strategic implementation seeking change and growth.
Karthik, who presents Thursday, plans to cover the following:
Consumer-oriented social media platforms are transforming the way that people communicate and accelerating the spread of information at the speed of light. This session provides an overview of Enterprise Social Collaboration, how to develop an effective strategy and implementation plan, and best practices and adoption strategies, as well as a demo of AHA’s collaboration platform using Socialtext. AHA has built a vibrant social intranet running on Socialtext and its success is largely due to utilizing enterprise social networking to enhance existing business processes and systems.
Eugene, our CEO, and many Socialtext executives will also be on hand. We look forward to seeing you in Boston!
Yesterday was a big day for Socialtext and our customers, as we released Socialtext 4.5 at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Socialtext 4.5 builds on our goal of removing knowledge silos inside companies that stifle cross-departmental and enterprise-wide collaboration. As I write this post, my fellow Socialtexters are setting up our booth and hitting the conference sessions to talk with business and IT leaders about how they can get the most business value from social software.
First a little context on the news yesterday. Socialtext proudly operates as a software as a service company. We also run on an innovative, agile development cycle. That means we make improvements to our software every few weeks. Consequently, 4.5 highlighted many of the major features that our dev team has been hard at work on the past couple quarters. Like all our releases, our devs and product team do a great job of listening closely to our customers to put together features and improvements that help them accelerate their company’s business performance with social software.
With 4.5, we announced the addition of Socialtext Explore, a new feature that allows employees to find and discover not just links, but all the microblogging messages, pages, posts, pictures, and files they share with each other at work. We also announced a pre-built connector to Salesforce.com, which enables Socialtext customers to choose actions of virtually any type that happen in Salesforce.com, and automatically inject them as events into Socialtext’s activity stream. The connector was built on Socialtext Connect, our integration offering that allows you to integrate traditional enterprise systems with social software. Connect enables customers to build their own connectors to systems of all shapes and sizes. The Salesforce.com connector follows the launch of SharePoint Connector for Socialtext Connect earlier this year.
We were excited to see extensive coverage on Socialtext 4.5 from great media outlets like TechCrunch, CIO, InformationWeek, ReadWriteWeb and many others, and I encourage you to take a glance (the deeplinks lead to the article for those respective publications).
Ross led a session about “bringing enterprise 1.0 to enterprise 2.0,” in which we had some spirited conversation with attendees about how to align social software with existing business processes. Ross highlighted what has long been a passion for him and guided much of his thought leadership in pioneering the Enterprise 2.0 space: How social software can help exceptions to business process. This topic relates to a webinar we had recently, in which the Deloitte Center for the Edge discussed how OSIsoft (a Socialtext customer) improved its customer resolution time by 22 percent. We also recently highlighted how an accounting firm, Hayes Knight, utilized Socialtext Connect to tie its CRM system into a central activity stream. In that case, accountants cut the time in which they served customers in half.
We’re looking forward to watching our customer, Larry Housel of Industrial Mold & Machine, talk tomorrow about how large enterprises can learn from his company’s use of social software. On Thursday, Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee will discuss the state of microblogging in the enterprise, while Adina Levin, our co-founder and VP of products, will talk about using open web standards to help integrate social software with other key applications across the enterprise.
There have been a lot of great summaries of what was discussed at last week’s Enterprise 2.0 show in Boston. But for me, the most interesting topic was one that was not discussed: Culture.
That’s a big change.
Right up until a few months ago, Enterprise 2.0 discourse was dominated by a movement which I like to call the “Culture Crusade.” A collection of practitioners, analysts, consultants, and vendors alike have been saying that changing organizational culture is the key to successful deployment of enterprise social software. “If you don’t have a collaborative culture,” says the crusader, “all the tools in the world won’t help you.” The crusaders cited culture as the reason for failed implementations that led to the familiar phrase, “The tools were great, but we just don’t have the culture.” Consultants exhorted companies to make sure that their social software projects included a cultural change component.
Last week, the Enterprise 2.0 world turned a corner. Nobody pounded the table for cultural change. Nobody talked about incentives or change management. Nobody talked about transparency or modeling collaborative behavior.
Instead, people talked about process.
Eugene Lee focused his keynote on process. Mike Gotta and Marcia O’Conner talked about it in a breakout on microblogging. Rachel Happe, Dennis Howlett, Sameer Patel, and Ted Schaedler talked about it in our sidebar conversations and on blogs. The growing consensus: Social software delivers business value when it integrates with business process.
Process, rather than culture, is increasingly seen as the key enabler of social software in the enterprise. Rather than wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth about how to change organizational culture, we’re looking at how to insert social tools into the existing business process. Conversely, we’re also starting to look at how business processes can be redesigned and optimized now that these social tools are available.
This is the most pragmatic shift in focus since the inception of Enterprise 2.0. It will have huge effects on the pervasiveness of social software in the enterprise, because it shows a clear path to the business value companies can realize from their implementations.
I’ve been arguing for some time that social software achieves widespread adoption only when workers use it in the flow of work. Asking your colleagues to step outside their daily processes and tools to share what they know or network with others won’t get you very far. (Trust me, I’ve tried.) Bringing your colleagues collaborative tools and practices that make their daily processes better, faster, cheaper, and more interesting does work. It’s all about process. Improve the process, you win. Don’t improve the process, you lose.
We are far better at managing process than at managing organizational culture. We know how to study process, how to assess its breakdowns, how to re-engineer it, how to build tools that enable it. The shift to process means that, as they so rarely say in New England, you can get there from here. There’s a way to get to the types of processes and organizations to which we all aspire.
We also now have a workable approach to quantifying social software ROI. Business process, almost by definition, are measurable. Well-run companies know what metrics matter for each business process. They know how to measure those metrics. They understand the downstream effect that changes in their metrics have on the effectiveness of the process, and ultimately on company’s overall business performance. When we integrate social software into business processes, we automatically inherit the tools, frameworks, and benchmarks that have been developed in support of those processes.
In Eugene Lee’s keynote speech at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston, he talked about how social in the enterprise needs to be a layer, not a feature. The business benefits of enterprise 2.0 are realized when more people have access to information and are able to work together to solve problems across organizational silos. But if “social” is just a feature of each business application separately, the organization cannot make use of the social network for people to find information and solve problems. (There are business reasons to keep some information in close groups, and nobody wants every message in the organization flooding into their personal stream. But the benefits of enteprise 2.0 are realized when the constraints of silos are loosened.)
The opportunity for “social” to be a layer across applications is very similar to opportunity in personal social life. In a recent TechCrunch post, Robert Scoble wrote about the missed opportunities and connections because various services, including FourSquare, PlanCast, Tungle, Glympse, and Siri didn’t talk to each other. In Scoble’s stories, the silos create missed opportunities for personal connection – he runs late on a dinner with a friend, and misses a concert that other friends are attending. Earlier this week, I wrote about how existing standards and protocols can enable those connections today.
The Business Scenarios
The opportunities for connection, and the costs of missed connection are different in a business environment.
A customer-facing social media strategy is only as good as the organization’s ability to actually solve the customer’s problem. Imagine if a customer’s complaint on Twitter could be used privately for internal collaboration about how to solve the problem
Sometimes an issue surfaced by a line of business system needs input from people across the organization to solve – for example, an inventory issue that has sales implications
Bringing alerts and information from line of business system to the business social network helps get information and solutions from useful and surprising places
For an illustration, see slides 18-27 in the presentation below. Social streams aren’t about the replacement of business process with networks, but about connecting business processes to the network, and engaging the network to address outside of existing process.
Fulfilling The Vision With Today’s Standards
In order to fulfill this vision of social as layer – not a series of tools with disconnected functionality – - a set of protocols are emerging that allow people to follow each other across tools, and to get updates from each other across tools. It is exciting to see efforts to weave together these standards and protocols to enable this social layer.
Standard and Custom Content: The emerging ActivityStrea.ms standard provides a defined vocabulary for representing common types of social software actions – friending and following, posting, editing, liking, etc. In the enterprise, this will enable common social gestures like following and liking to be aggregated across tools, and across the cell membrane of the organization. ActivityStrea.ms was initially developed as an extension to Atom, but is now being represented in JSON, and in this form will be able to be included as Twitter Annotations.
Annotations: Twitter has recently announced annotations as a general-purpose way of embedding data and rich content, such as images and animations, into a social message. ActivityStrea.ms JSON representation can be carried as a payload in tweets. In an enterprise context, the beauty of annotations is that they can carry any sort of payload, so businesses can define their own data.
Interactions: Status updates have been messages. There are interesting opportunities to enable message to contain “actions” as well, like being able to share the message further. In a business context, an action might be a transaction like, for example, closing a support ticket.
Two-way Realtime: PubSubHubBub pushes feeds in realtime to subscribers over the network. WebHooks allow application developers to create event types that clients an subscribe to. This allows applications to keep data synchronized in realtime without constant polling. Salmon is a new protocol that uses PubSubHubBub and WebHooks to alert people of responses to their status updates, across the network.These new protocols enable realtime alerts and interactions, with web architecture that can cross organizational silos and boundaries.
Identity and Authentication: This is the area where the business and consumer worlds are the most different. In the enterprise world most good-sized organizations have a corporate directory using LDAP/ActiveDirectory for identity and auth credentials. Users need to access a defined set of applications behind a firewall; the solution is single signon, with SAML recently gaining some traction.
In the world of social/personal applications, Facebook has become a major identity provider, with OpenID based solutions competing as a distributed alternative; these options may converge as Facebook participates actively in the internet standards process. Instead of single signon, which is appropriate behind the firewall, the problem of the user needing to enter multiple usernames/passwords is solved with delegated authentication, using OAuth. As more enterprises want to use outside-the-firewall cloud applications, and more applications start to connect people across organizational boundaries, the internet standard stack may start to become more common for enterprises in the future.
Putting the pieces together
In order for this to work, these layers need to all work together. OStatus is a new initiative to test interoperability in use cases involving multiple parts of the stack. These protocols working together will enable people to engage in social interactions, across tools.
The central concept in making this vision real is that “social” is not a set of silo’d services with social features – it’s a layer that crosses multiple services. The way to bring this about is to support standards and interoperability. The social layer, connecting people across application and organizational silos, will enable organizations to solve business problems and get business value.
It’s been a busy week in Boston, where the Socialtext crew has been talking with practitioners, analysts and journalists about the benefits of enterprise social software and what to expect in the coming year.
Tomorrow, Socialtext’s CEO Eugene Lee (@eugenelee) will be keynoting the conference at 10:40 a.m. eastern (which you can watch live here). Among many things, Eugene will highlight the importance of focusing on business value and offer some solutions for how the industry will move forward to better serve companies that want to get the most from their enterprise social software implementations.
It promises to be a very compelling talk, and we hope you can check it out.
I’m thrilled to announce that Socialtext’s CEO Eugene Lee will keynote the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston the week of June 14-17. In his talk, Eugene (@eugenelee) plans to focus on how social software provides value to enterprises by transforming key business processes inside their organizations. While many in the world of Enterprise 2.0 seem to concentrate on the issue of adoption, Eugene will make the case that the focus should be helping companies use social software to solve specific pain points in their organizations and accelerate their ability to pursue new business opportunities.
For us, the Enterprise 2.0 Conference has been the place to hear from the best thought leaders in the industry who are working to help companies utilize social software to meet their business objectives.
Other keynote speakers include:
Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, Center for Digital Business, MIT Sloan School of Management
JP Rangaswami, CIO and Chief Scientist, BT Design
Murali Sitaram, Vice President and General Manager, Cisco’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform
Gentry Underwood, IDEO
Eugene is excited to share what he has learned from his experience in the world of collaboration, and the thousands of Socialtext customers who give us valuable feedback and insight each and everyday.
It’s been a great week for both the Socialtext team and our customers here at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Leading up to the event, we focused intensely on approaching this conference from a thought leadership perspective. Principally, we believe it’s time for the Enterprise 2.0 facet of the software industry to demonstrate the business value that these social technologies provide our customers and lay out a framework for how companies can get started.
I think we’ve constructed an excellent foundation for that effort with our six ways to get business value from social software, a paper we released this week at the conference. Based on our experiences with our customers, we highlight how companies can derive business value from their use of social software within departments, across an organization or with their customers and partners. By improving both formal and informal processes with social software, organizations can enable their employees to share and find the people and information they need more quickly. When this happens, it helps people satisfy their customers, react to change and capture new business.
While we’re proud of the research and work we did with customers to make this paper come to life, we know this is an ever-evolving challenge. We look forward to hearing ideas from more companies, colleagues, analysts, and our competitors to help improve upon it.
Are you looking for information on how the new generation of collaboration and social networking tools can help your business? If so, the Enterprise 2.0 conference, running November 2-5 in San Francisco is a great place to hear from the industry’s experts.
Several Socialtext employees will be presenting, and we want to make sure you are there to hear from them. So, if you register by midnight Monday Oct. 26, you can save 40% off the conference fee by entering code CNGSES132 when you sign up.
We’ll also be demonstrating the latest and greatest version of Socialtext, including the newly released SocialCalc, so please drop by our booth on the Expo floor. You can get a FREE pass by registering with the discount code CNGRESCMX.
Socialtext speakers include:
Michael Idinopulos, Vice President of Professional Services
Beyond McKipedia: McKinsey, Adoption, and the Future of Work
Tuesday, November 3, 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
In this session Michael will share the best practices your need to help a successful rollout of Enterprise 2.0 tools inside your organization.
Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext
The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise
Tuesday, November 3, 4:15 pm-5:00 pm
This panel moderated by Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research, will discuss how companies can utilize social messaging to improve external and internal collaboration. It will include topics such as security, governance, and compliance.
Adina Levin, Vice President of Products & Co-founder, Socialtext
OpenSocial in the Enterprise
Wednesday, November 4, 10:15 am-11:00 am
Moderator Chris Schalk from Google will be leading a panel discussion on how enterprise software vendors are leveraging OpenSocial to enable delivery of innovative social applications within the enterprise.
Weblog on gaining business results from social software.
On this blog, Socialtext staffers and customers explore how companies can gain the most business value from their use of enterprise social software, including microblogging, social networking, filtered activity streams, widget-based dashboards, blogs and wikis.
The webinar features a presentation and demo by The American Hospital Association (AHA), an organization that used the Socialtext platform to build a more social intranet that connects employees with the relevant colleagues and information they need. Tim Walters, a senior Forrester analyst, shares his research that highlights what key trends are driving the need for social intranets in the enterprise.