The Adoption of Social Computing in the Enterprise
This whitepaper by Nicholas Evans (UNISYS) succinctly describes the current state of the organisational social technology landscape. As identified by Nicholas we are on the cusp of an information revolution where connections between geographically dispersed individuals will become a valuable corporate asset. This dynamic shift in the application of collaborative technologies must be recognised & incorporated into corporate strategies now to harness the full benefits of this movement.
I agree with his statement that “Along with cloud computing and next generation mobile computing, social computing is perhaps one of the top three most disruptive technologies making its way into the enterprise.” This is a movement that cannot be ignored, but must be effectively managed to guide both internal & external organisational collaboration in a direction that adds benefit and minimises any associated risk. Nicholas discusses two drivers to adoption namely the generational effect of younger staff merging the use of social technology in both their personal & professional lives for benefits obvious to the modern knowledge worker. Secondly, organisations are recognising the productivity & relationship benefits of establishing strong connections between employees, customers and Vendors, an emerging trend now understood by CIO’s and other enterprise architecture decision makers.
A four phase technology adoption/adaption lifecycle is presented. i.e. how an organisation may adopt/adapt an emerging technology to suit the changing needs of the enterprise so that ultimately it is embedded and ubiquitous. The four components of this cycle are summarised as:
1. Off-the-shelf solutions – the use of Facebook & Twitter like applications without modification to establish a social network presence.
2. Enterprise Class platforms – the deployment of maturing organisationally focused social computing platforms created for knowledge management and innovation practices
3. Integration with existing Enterprise applications and processes – it may be possible to enhance existing legacy applications with collaborative tools to reduce decision cycle times and improve exception handling protocols.
4. Pervasive and embedded capabilities – the incorporation of social technologies as a standard feature of mainstream enterprise wide applications.
Nicholas provides a nice summary of the benefits of social technology as enabling “users to build new bridges across human collaboration, to integrate structured and
unstructured information, and to optimize business processes and transactions”.
A brave new world is upon us…though some questions remain –
* What is current best practice application of enterprise wide social computing for process improvement?
* How can this technology be deployed/governed/measured?
* What are the software vendors offering in this space at the moment?
* What are the blockers to adoption & risk factors? How can these be addressed?
* Any defined approaches to retention & reuse of collaborative knowledge?
Sounds like a good PhD research project!