Social computing is an important strategic platform for increasing workplace collaboration and knowledge management. It is also a platform for modernizing enterprise applications to connect collaboration with business processes and transactions. The benefit is tangible productivity gains and customer value.
Addressing both parts of this equation – social-enabling “horizontal” strategic knowledge management functions and “vertical” mission critical business applications – is key to unlocking the full potential of social computing in the enterprise.
The disruptive nature of social computing within society at large is well-known. Businesses are recognizing the transformative powers of social computing and are becoming compelled to take action themselves or risk losing value and a competitive advantage.
Organizations are still exploring how best to leverage social computing as a platform for increasing workplace collaboration and knowledge management. They are also developing strategies to modernize enterprise mission critical applications to connect rich collaboration with business processes and transactions. In addition, businesses need to deliver and be able to measure tangible productivity gains and customer value from their social computing initiatives while at the same time managing inherent risks such as security and privacy.
Correspondingly, organizations need to develop an integrated strategy to maximize the value from their social computing investments and initiatives. As a result, they will be able to address various challenges such as security and privacy and determine how and where to gain the best return on investment.
As enterprise-class social computing technology matures, we anticipate that the adoption of enterprise social computing will spread and feature-rich platforms. We envision a four-phase model for the adoption of social computing in the enterprise starting with the:
- adoption of point solutions and public domain solutions;
- migration to enterprise-class platforms with a full suite of functionality; and
- then to rich integration with enterprise processes and mission-critical applications.
Value will be unlocked as organizations integrate these collaborative platforms with transactional business applications. These platforms are designed to add collaborative workflow capabilities to mission critical systems in areas such as exception handling and complex problem resolution. Typically these are not addressed within the confines of these core systems. Social computing will emerge as a new strategic organizational capability that extends across the entire enterprise, connecting the workforce, customers, and partners. Social computing will enable users to better manage organizational knowledge and provide human-centric collaboration capabilities to support mission critical business processes and functions.