Social Enterprise Discussion and Next Collaboration Buzz?

Social Enterprise Discussion and Next Collaboration Buzz?

Collaboration is a tough word. PLM Is using this word all the time. For the last 10-15 years in this industry, I had a chance to see lots of variations on what means collaboration and what will be the next big shift in collaboration. Recently, I started to see multiple attempts to crack the holy grail collaboration using a “social” approach. However, despite the huge success of social networks and web 2.0 website, word “social” is still sound to me a bit fuzzy when applied to enterprise companies.

Yesterday, I’ve seen an announcement from Atalasoft presenting VizIt Social eXchange. Navigate your browser to the following link to learn more. The idea of conversation connected to a specific document in SharePoint make sense. I found a certain similarity between this idea and the original idea of “design discussions” presented by Chris Willams of Vuuch.

Collaboration and Complexity

The complexity is the biggest killer of the everything in the enterprise. Regardless on the future name and buzzwords, tomorrow enterprise systems will need to fight complexity. Social networks and Web 2.0 websites proved some ideas about how to organize and share information in a contextual form to make it very simple. However, manufacturing company is not a photo-sharing website. The complexity of the systems in manufacturing companies is going much beyond the ability of the social networking website.

What is the Meaning of “Social”?

I tried to understand the meaning of a word “social” in the way companies introduce it in their solutions. From what I’ve seen, it seems to me as an additional link between a user information and rest of the data. The amount of data connections in the enterprise organization is big. Implicitly, a connection between user and data does exist in the company.  The attempt of “social systems” is to make this information explicitly available. Make sense to me. So, “social” is just an additional information that can be captured and maintained by social systems.

What is my conclusion? I think “social” is the next buzz about collaboration. People don’t want to listen to the word “collaboration” anymore. This is meaningless. Everybody understands it differently. “Social” ideas are coming from the understanding of Web 2.0 experience and can present a new to people to work together. However, I don’t see a “social” effect as something magical. Users will recognize the pattern – “old software, different names”. So, to make something new and to remove a complexity will be the reality test for social systems.

Best, Oleg


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