Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Andreas Grabner, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, David H Deans, Automic Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, CRM

Microservices Expo: Article

How Should CIOs Engineer the New Social Enterprise?

What is social enterprise software anyway?

As we know, Chief Information Officers are generally ‘change and upheaval averse' because it is, after all, mostly prudent to resist change. With change comes risk, new user training, new integration challenges and a bottom line with increased cost. But new social enterprise trends cannot be brought to bear without taking the necessary steps that form Business Process re-Engineering (BPE) and its associated evils.

If process re-engineering within the commercial space has indeed developed a bad name, this may be down to the fluffier of the fluffy management consultants who operate in this space. The serious, non-fluffy and very real process of moving to new social enterprise platforms is now a very pressing challenge for many CIOs (and CEOs) who realize that they must adapt to the new way of working practices if they are to optimize efficiency.

What Is Social Enterprise Software Anyway?
The kind of social business tools we are focusing on in this new zone of work practice include:

  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Wikis, knowledge banks and databases
  • Workflow activity tracking tools
  • Forums for community discussion
  • Tagging and bookmarking tools
  • Content recommendation and also people recommendation engines

Stuart McRae is executive collaboration evangelist at IBM, so that basically makes him a social enterprise software tool missionary devoted to explaining why this new obligation to change working practices is so important. The move to social enterprise tools is a bit like the email adoption boom of the early '90s he says. "Comments like ‘we'll never use email' gave way to conversations where CEOs asked their CIOs ‘why do all of my peers have an email address on their business card, but I don't?' - the concept of leveraging social media and networking for internal and external conversations is clearly Crossing the Chasm (in Geoffrey Moore's words), even if it is not yet mainstream."

Dominant Social Manifestations
McRae argues that the cultural, behavioral and organizational changes that will be the dominant manifestations of social business are only just now starting to appear.

We can look back at the last decade of the previous century and see that a massive change in our work methods brought about by the arrival of email was just one of a number of coincidental developments that drove new organizational models in every business vertical.

"[Email] combined with wide area networks, laptops, mobile phones, videoconferencing, mass air transportation and acceptance of English as a common language for business turned work into something you did from anywhere, not somewhere you went. [There has also been a] shift to services industries as the engine of growth and to globalization as the dominant organizational trend in business," said IBM's McRae.

He further argues that today, social media (and ultimately new social enterprise practices) are integrating with the proliferating use of mobile devices, cloud computing, analytics on Big Data and more besides. These factors will now coalesce and be amplified by (in all probability suggests McRae) a congruent set of "non-IT" trends like the emergence of major new world super-economies and mega-cities, low-cost airlines and high speed trains, rural broadband and true "always on" networks.

McRae's Seven Pillars of Social Enterprise Wisdom
For Stuart McRae there are seven pivotal stages, factors and facets of making social enterprise a success and these points may indeed form a checklist that CIOs should now be aiming to target.

#1 - Social enterprise is not a pilot. This is not a rehearsal and firms should realize that the progression to adopt these new tools is an imperative.

#2 - Senior stakeholders (and of course by that we generally mean employees) within the organization need to buy in to the social enterprise mindset and lead by example. It is not an "option" to use social enterprise tools; it is part of the job.

#3 - Closely linked to point #2 is the stipulation that social enterprise tools must be embedded at the heart of work for every user, i.e., social is not something you do as well as work, social is something you do as part of the way you work at the core.

#4 - We need social enterprise to flourish in an environment where there are no silos of excluded individuals so it must be open to all. The only caveat here is that grouped control of certain discussions where a need for confidentiality arises can still be managed. Everyone from the receptionist (or this may be the CEO's personal executive assistant) to the sales director has to get involved.

#5 - There must be integration with the way people work today, i.e., plug ins for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word, to allow users to blog or integrate with social channels right from the application that they are already used to using. McRae notes that this is core to IBM's product portfolio in this space.

#6 - The firm must continually monitor and look for obstacles that might impede or slow down social enterprise adoption and eradicate and remove these hindrances when they are identified.

#7 - A social firm will need to create and build communities of champions that record their success and barriers as they carry out their own idea generation. Ideas need to pass through a process of (i) suggestion (ii) discussion (iii) voting and (iv) graduation.

Note: It's important to remember that outgoing and gregarious sales directors are often excellent external communicators, but very poor when it comes to their internal messaging. For this reason, the receptionist may win over the sales director in terms of social enterprise champion.

How Do We Get Truly Social?
"In many organizations, successful use of social tools is happening today when small groups of employees with a common pain point figure out how to address them by finding a suitable social platform and focusing on their problem, not the tool. While the choice of a poor tool will prevent success, you will not hear about those projects - just the ones that succeed - and there the selected tool only needs to be ‘good enough' for the specific problem in hand," said McRae.

Social business practices and the wider development of social enterprise platforms and tools by major IT vendors from IBM but also Box, Cisco Systems, Citrix Online, Google, Microsoft, salesforce.com and Yammer are already having a major impact upon the way we work. We, the users, are driving these trends through our own preferences for using tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the mainstream outside of the workplace.

There will be a need to agree upon and implement acceptable levels of net-based etiquette to corral and control our use of social enterprise tools. But as IBM's McRae insists upon asking, "Isn't all etiquette social anyway?" It can't be that hard to be social, can it?

This post first appeared on CIO Enterprise Forum here.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Carbonite will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Carbonite protects your entire IT footprint with the right level of protection for each workload, ensuring lower costs and dependable solutions with DoubleTake and Evault.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...