Posted by David Hablewitz
(If you’re following my Grand Canyon story, the next post is coming soon. This week is Lotusphere.)
The W3C sponsored an online forum to study opinions on social business. The results of the Jam have been compiled and they published their results yesterday.
The jam focused on 6 aspects of social technology:
- Identity Management for Social
- Mobile and Social
- Information Management
- Business Process Meets Social
- Seamless Integration of Social
- Metrics for Social Business
Not familiar with who the W3C is? In their words, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.” This is the organization that tries to define industry standards that make integrating computer systems possible. Without them, the world wide web (www.) would not exist.
As Lotusphere 2012 is all about Social Business, the timing of this report is appropriate. The report provides some great insight into the future of social business from the viewpoint of the jam participants. A few points:
- Only 18% of the participants Social Business is just marketing hype. I don’t hold much faith in the longevity of their businesses. But that also means 82% of those surveyed see Social Business as a real part of business today. That is important if you are in the business of Social Business. That means opportunity.
- Only 7% of the participants have only one identity on the web. Does that mean we all suffer from dissociative identity disorder? I hope not. Does it mean we don’t trust the world enough to let our whole self be seen by everyone? Perhaps at least to some degree. For example, many people don’t use the same identity on LinkedIn as they use on Facebook because they don’t want their employer or prospective employer to know about their personal life. But it may also say something about how people play many roles in their lives and that one identity cannot represent us appropriately. You see this in twitter profiles all the time: “CIO, whitewater kayaker, father”. This becomes relevant because it’s the commonalities you share outside of business that make the strongest bonds for doing business. It’s the fraternity effect, as I call it. For Social Business to be most effective, it will need to be able to handle our split personalities.
- The report reveals how we treat our constant-connections of mobile phones so differently from all other devices. Not just that technology must accommodate this in many ways including partial data wipes that remove corporate data while leaving personal data untouched. The implications go into the usability features of the devices themselves too. Think “It’s not business, it’s personal.” for a mobile phone, but “it’s not personal, it’s just business” for the desktop.
- The respondents also see value in social technologies in how they can handle exceptions to processes more effectively than structured forms. This will shine most in a crisis. If you are familiar with Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, you can see how this could fit in. Imagine a natural disaster hits the headquarters of a company. While their computer systems will survive if they properly setup a co-located data center, layers of leadership may not be available. Social technologies are inherently flat organizationally, allowing people at all levels to communicate directly with the people they need to in the most effective manner.
- An interesting point that will play out in the near future is the response to the survey question “I want social tools integrated with my other applications”. This is exactly what IBM is doing with IBM Connections and the Social Edition of Lotus Notes coming soon. 65% agree. I expect those that disagreed probably just couldn’t envision such an integrated world. They probably don’t realize that they already have that in places like facebook (if they use it.)
If you want an idea of where social software is going, this report is a worthwhile read.