I had the chance to hear Gartner’s Jeffrey Mann at the ITxpo Symposion in Barcelona, Spain today giving a talk, “Creating Your Social and Collaboration Strategy.” Very timely topic as enterprise social is finally a done deal. Consensus has arrived that enterprise social has value and senior leadership is buying into the need to get started now and not later.
This is an important, crossroads moment for enterprise social computing. But we’ve reached the point of agreement without agreeing on ‘why and how’ of implementing social and collaboration platforms. One fork in the road leads to cynicism and the other toward success.
Starting with strategy
Mann first brought up the excellent points (not new, but worth repeating) around what a strategy is and isn’t:
Much of what he brought up isn’t new to those who’ve been in technology…that we need purpose, scope, justification, metrics, etc. But what he talked about next is what comes after enterprise social media is up and running. It is the justification few understand and even fewer are working toward. It blows away the thinking of social as a technologically advanced way to collaborate.
Next generation social – metadata
What lurks just around the corner from enterprise social technology is a focus on the metadata that social produces: Where are the groups that are active or inactive? What are the natural relationships between lines of business and other silos in the organization? What are the organizational hot spots that this metadata reveals? How should resource allocation change based on this information?
These are the benefits that have little do with an individual users and are have everything to do with collective information.
Beyond next generation – search
Once we get past paving the organizational cow paths with enterprise social, we’ll see the value of social as an excellent filter for information that goes beyond traditional Google and search. We’ll start to see the emergence of enterprise knowledge graphs that redefine how search results are presented. To get there, though, we have to move beyond the way we think about search and the role social has in creating a new context.
We saw a great example of this concept during Day 2 of TUCON 2012 in September. What may be currently interesting to know on Facebook or LinkedIn is quietly sneaking up on the market as the next great shift in how search is performed and work is done.
I call this Big Data’s Big Filter and it is the most personalized artificial intelligence that an organization has (and probably doesn’t know it).
Another conversation earlier summed up these trends nicely when a different Gartner analyst said, “Social phase one is about lubricating the conversations that already exist. Social phase two is about changing the way decisions are made.”
I couldn’t agree more.