Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enterprise 2.0 Conference, Day 2: Evolution of Enterprise Collaboration (Ross Mayfield of SocialText)

Ross Mayfield is a real pioneer among vendors--his SocialText is one of the best applications that integrates appropriately with SharePoint.  He looked back at the history of enterprise social application evolution and talked about the differences between enterprise and internet adoption of such tools.

He's talking about evolution, not revolution, in enterprise social applications.

Much of the revolution has already happened.  He used to have to explain a wiki.  You can now say with some confidence that there is an established category of enterprise software and that it consistently demonstrate business value in specific use cases.

Ross reviews the history of social application development.  SocialText tried to fit wiki behavior into an application you could install inside the firewall in 2002. 

Microblogging inside the enterprise changed everything.  It was a lot easier to deploy and people took to it very quickly. 

In 2009 the "activity stream" became a dominant approach.

SocialText has tried to adapt web 2.0 tools.  No matter how big your organization is, however, it's smaller than the Web.  It's very different.  If someone does something bad, you can fire them.  Also, the scaling effect is not the same. 

On the web, a core set of contributors is 1%, 9% actively use, 90% don't.  In the enterprise, you have to bake it into the flow of work.  For instance, in company 95% actively use it in the flow of the work

Knowledge sharing is a by-product of getting these done in social systems.  You have to accept that it will be imperfect.  It doesn't matter so long as you are getting more of it shared. 

You need to keep doing the security, IT Admininstration, reporting / auditing, and so forth. 

Inside the enteprise, viral adoption generally won't happen. 

SocialText provides a "social layer" where the existing enterprise objects (documents, projects, tasks, enterprise records) become a topic of conversation.

Discovering content through people and people through content is really powerful (agreed!).

In implementing better collaboration, focus less on technology and more on the goal.

Imagine a "Kickstarter" inside your companies that would let you quickly gain budget or backing for internal projects.  There is more and more specialization on the web.  They commonly add a slight amount of structure, organize people around a goal, but not too much. 

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