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4 Reasons Facebook for the Enterprise Isn't Enough


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Discover why Facebook-like platforms sound like a good idea, but ultimately fall short on the demands and processes of a larger organizations.

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4 Reasons Facebook for the Enterprise Isn't Enough

  1. 1. tibbr | Now, the Information Finds You.
  2. 2. t i b b r ® – O v e r v i e w1 Four Reasons Why “Facebook for the Enterprise” Isn’t Good Enough The concept of adapting consumer social networking tools for use inside of businesses isn’t new. By the early 2000s, mostly without their IT department’s blessing, people began utilizing chat rooms, community forums, wikis, blogs and other social computing mediums into their companies. As Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity, start-ups and incumbent application vendors sensed a market need. So they set about adapting these consumer technologies for enterprise use, and a new software market was born. The problem is, the majority of these social computing efforts failed. In fact, by 2008, Gartner found that 70 percent of social software initiatives were failing. The reason wasn’t simply that the market remained immature; social computing companies wrongly assumed that building “viral features” into their products would make them succeed inside businesses. As these tools blindly mimicked Facebook – without any regard for what features business users might actually need in their day-to-day work - they fell flat on their face. When line-of-business managers brought in a free tool outside their IT department’s purview, the fate would be mostly the same. The company would get a spike in adoption for a couple months, but enthusiasm would abate as soon as people realized they needed to get their job done; the tools they needed to execute key business processes were absent. The proof of this failure isn’t hard to find. According to a recent 2011 Kelton survey, nearly 82 percent of end-user respondents said they still lacked the communication tools necessary to collaborate seamlessly and connect with people and information from other business units. Go on Twitter or attend any social computing conference today, and the conversations all these years after the first implementations remain the same: How do we get social computing adoption? The very existence of adoption groups speaks to a macro market problem: Early adopters who placed big bets on social bought thousands of seats that have become shelfware inside their organization. Adoption was managed like companies were a community on the consumer Web, which doomed their social computing efforts. It has created a booming market for consultants, community managers and Venture Capitalists, but a frustrating and expensive one for companies who simply want to leverage the power of social computing to make their businesses run more efficiently.
  3. 3. t i b b r ® – O v e r v i e w2 1. Moving Beyond People: Why Machines Still Matter Social computing has been celebrated for its ability to empower – and connect – people. As a result, during the first wave of social computing inside businesses, the primary use case centered around tearing down deep-rooted knowledge silos. While helpful, busting these silos by connecting people isn’t enough to make social computing platforms a long term, strategic investment. Why? Up until now, social computing platforms have been divorced from the data and systems of record that employees rely on each and everyday to get their job done. As a result, social computing has been “an extra thing to check,” rather than a work tool that’s essential for their work. In addition, knowledge sharing is only half the problem: The other issue centers around the inherent attention management challenges when it comes to pulling data from multiple systems and applications, a pain point that’s starting to be felt. According to Kelton, around two-thirds of end-users said they would benefit from being able to access all their business data from one unified interface, which they lack today. To ensure success, a social computing platform must serve up the relevant events and updates from CRM, ERP, expense, inventory and document management systems (to name a few) that employees utilize each and every day. In doing so, they utilize social computing to enhance business process and improve key performance indicators. And during the past six months in particular, some companies have begun to gain traction in this area. For example, OOCL is a shipping company with 6,000 people and 1,000 partners. Across its entire ecosystem, OOCL needed a better way to collaborate better around the status of cargo shipments. Rather than simply deploy an internal social network – and hope people manually grabbed relevant data and shared it with the right people – OOCL integrated its social computing platform with its track and trace system. Now, employees receive pertinent updates on shipment delays, and have open, collaborative discussions when there are delays or issues in the process. As a result, they can resolve issues faster. In Asia, a wholesale bank has 4,000 relationship managers responsible for handling customer requirements. In the past, they had to receive and input customer data into a Siebel CRM system. Then, they would have to relay requests onto relevant product people who could help serve the customer needs. The collaboration around this process was ad- hoc and not efficient. To improve this business process, the bank integrated its Siebel CRM system with its internal enterprise social computing platform. There, both the relevant relationship manager and associated product person would receive customer updates, and collaborate openly about the proper solution.
  4. 4. t i b b r ® – O v e r v i e w3 2. Unifying Communications in the Era of Asynchronous Communication Another reason past social computing efforts have failed is because the platforms punted on having key unified communication tools. They either didn’t have them at all, or they integrated old ones in a cursory way – such as adding an IM handle field to a social networking profile. If users collaborating on a social platform want to shift their asynchronous microblogging messages into a synchronous conversation via IM, video or audio conferencing, those tools must be right there at their fingertips. Up until now, there’s been too much friction to make that transfer, especially around conferencing: You need send a calendar invite, get a third-party service, and call up dial-in information and meeting passwords that nobody can remember. This friction in transferring from social communication to unified communication may seem trivial (a few minutes here, a few minutes there). But over time, it adds up and burdens users. Consequently, native unified communications are needed in social computing platforms. They must make it simple to launch a video chat, start IMing, and share desktops with the simple click of a button from a company’s enterprise social computing platform. 3. Imposing a Little Structure During the early days of social computing, it was necessary to move away from the highly structured digital data organization that typified desktop computing in the 1990s. It was just too inefficient. On the desktop, the filing cabinet metaphor endured. Digital filing cabinets with thousands of folders holding thousands of office files jammed our computers, which had lousy search capabilities to boot. Content management systems weren’t much different (and when you consider the volume of files and information they held, they were even more maddening to navigate). Sure, we didn’t have as much paper, but information discovery for the end-user was a nightmare. So quite sensibly, social computing adapted the unstructured nature of the Web. Simply tag information, and find everything via search later.
  5. 5. t i b b r ® – O v e r v i e w4 The issue is, once a social computing platform received any kind of critical mass, it was too unstructured for its own good. Traditional tagging like what we had on the consumer web failed because people decided to classify things in different ways, and because this was around work events and not a news article they read, the stakes were a lot higher. One person might tag a something “sales proposal,” while others might have called it “sales presentation.” As a new user, which do you follow? One or both? And which one is more relevant? Searches often turned up the wrong content or outdated content, making it harder for people to leverage the knowledge and data injected into their social computing platform by both colleagues and systems. Thus, a new moderate approach is necessary: Subjects. By sorting a social platform by subjects with light moderation from an admin, you can create a simple information hierarchy for users to peruse before they create a new subject (and sub-subjects beneath it). These subjects can be completely searched and indexed, and tied in as filters for activity streams. Thus, you can insert the right amount of structure and allow fine-grained consumption of critical content and information – without going back to the days of the dusty filing cabinet. 4. Social Sprawl: Together We Stand, Divided We Fall The popularity of social computing has made many companies a free-for-all of different platforms and silos. On one hand, you might have a free internal social network that a mid-level manager brought in without IT’s permission – completely unsecured and divorced from the systems your company has in place. On the other hand, you have a point enterprise application – say in sales – that provide basic microblogging and updates from that one system – but it’s siloed off from the other people, functions and systems that exist outside that department. Then you have partners, customers and vendors that you need to engage with as well. How do you toggle between your internal social network, and all these other secure extranets? In its totality, this amounts to social sprawl. The key to fixing social sprawl rests in having one unified interface, or a social layer that people rely on to get their job done. People need to be able to use one login and URL, and engage seamlessly between their activity streams. They need to have the confidence that they’re sharing the right information with the right person at the right time.
  6. 6. t i b b r ® – O v e r v i e w5 Conclusion: The Social Layer Must Bring Together People and Machines to Enhance Business Process While the first wave of social computing tried to mimic Facebook and other popular consumer Web tools, that metaphor won’t translate well in the enterprise. “Viral” features and incentivizing people to log in to win iPads won’t generate long term business value; it’ll just create small, fleeting spikes of engagement. Adoption only gets fostered if people feel – immediately upon logging in – that their enterprise social platform will help them get their job done faster and better. To achieve this goal, social technologies must integrate tightly with – and enhance – a company’s existing business process. At that point, it’s no longer “an extra thing to check.” It becomes the go-to work tool for the modern enterprise. Disclaimer: This document (including, without limitation, any product roadmap or statement of direction data) illustrates the planned testing, release and availability dates for TIBCO products and services. This document is provided for informational purposes only and its contents are subject to change without notice. TIBCO makes no warranties, express or implied, in or relating to this document or any information in it, including, without limitation, that this document, or any information in it, is error-free or meets any conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without our prior written permission. Copyright © 2011 TIBCO Software Inc. All rights reserved TIBCO Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TIBX) is a provider of infrastructure software for companies to use on-premise or as part of cloud computing environments. Whether it’s optimizing claims, processing trades, cross-selling products based on real-time customer behavior, or averting a crisis before it happens, TIBCO provides companies the two-second advantageTM – the ability to capture the right information at the right time and act on it preemptively for a competitive advantage. More than 4,000 customers worldwide rely on TIBCO to manage information, decisions, processes and applications in real time. Learn more at Tel: +1 650-846-1000 +1 800-420-8450 Fax: +1 650-846-1005 Global Headquarters 3303 Hillview Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94304