Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Glenn Rossman, Janakiram MSV, Steven Mandel

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
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
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.