It’s always great to read a view point that’s so close to your own thoughts that you can’t say it better — and that’s exactly what happened when I read Padmasree Warrior’s post on the CISCO blog “5 Predictions For The Future Of Collaboration“.
Her first prediction echoes what we’ve been seeing as more companies turn to business social networking software to enable their internal and external collaboration requirements.
The prediction is:
“Collaboration Networks will be to Enterprises what Social Networks are to Consumers”
Padmasree says in the post:
“At Cisco, we believe that the rigidly structured silos that were traditionally put in place in most enterprises will give way to more fluid, ad-hoc communities of experts. Increasingly, companies will rely on Collaboration Networks that bring together “clusters of experts” to get critical projects completed. These groups will form dynamically to achieve a shared outcome. This self-organizing cycle repeats itself on an ongoing basis, as the need arises. It’s both efficient and effective, in part because experts are drawn to projects and are thus motivated — rather than being “assigned” in a top-down fashion.”
Social networking software architecture is ideal for creating a collaboration network platform for businesses. Every business has its own processes and its share of custom requirements from their software to blend in perfectly.
Business social networking software provides that flexible basic framework that allows for communication and interaction between people online. With its open nature, it acts as a set of tools for employees to leverage in their daily work — and provides the perfect platform to encourage participation and collaboration without having management impose software on them (as the Padmasree blog post points out).
Collaboration Software Will Go the Same Direction
If the rapid adoption of general social networking sites is any indication of things to come, collaboration software will go the same direction as a natural extension of this framework for business needs.
Just as social networking platforms like Facebook are now the broader structure within which other activities using software such as games, auctions, e-commerce, content sharing, and more happen, we are likely to see applications such as CRM, document management, spreadsheets, customer service modules, and more all within the confines of a collaboration software platform or social intranet software platform.
We already have customers building on an enterprise social networking software platform and customizing it for their employees and departments by adding components such as stock tickers, sales performance dashboards, and RSS news feeds to equip them with more than the basic collaboration functionality.
Given that platforms such as Communifire are geared towards customization and flexibility, is it too hard to imagine that in the near future, a sales person in an enterprise organization logs into his/her internal collaboration network and has access to the company CRM data?
What is certain, is that we are still at the early phases of social software for the business — and the future is bound to see this technology find its way to the core of businesses computing.
It’s already happening.