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Enterprise Social Networking

Facebook for the Enterprise -- Is Real Collaboration Finally Here?

In our personal lives (or at least for many of us) social networking has not only taken root, but has proliferated. Facebook is the de facto social outlet of choice. Recently I have become a big Spotify fan, and my wife is on Pinterest (I am not ready to add another quite yet). There is a reason we embrace these platforms. We are always looking to learn something new that may enrich our lives, and our friends are our best source of these nuggets. Yes, it takes "work" to be active in this social landscape, especially when you add LinkedIn and Twitter for business, but without question the benefits can be very compelling when the power of a social network kicks in.

As many of you are aware, this phenomenon is now charging into the enterprise -- Enterprise Social Networking. This is the next wave of collaboration within the walls -- physical and virtual -- of the organizations where we spend such a significant number of our waking hours. With the introduction of Planview Enterprise 10.4 we are introducing our first foray into this new domain via an integration and partnership with Yammer.

Is this the proverbial collaboration tool that we have been waiting for? The enterprise software space has made many stabs at the collaboration killer app -- email, content management, discussion groups, and SharePoint are all examples. Clearly SharePoint is everywhere, but do the use cases of all of these categories really equate to collaboration? I would venture to say no -- anything that feels like a "repository" does not equal collaboration in my opinion. Sure there is value to sharing stuff, but collaboration requires an interactive dialog, and that is the new ground that platforms like Yammer are bringing to life.Yammer

We have deployed Yammer internally at Planview and the notion of discovering nuggets within our company has already happened multiple times. As I said earlier, this nugget-effect is what makes the platform compelling and makes me come back. I routinely learn about new customers going live in record time, about successful sales calls (and some learning experiences), and gain real-time market intelligence from across the globe. I did not see all of this activity in real time before Yammer. At the same time, I can share my own feedback on calls with analysts, commentary on company news, and note industry events with the company in a low touch way that does not feel as invasive as the dreaded "company all" email.

This feels like real collaboration to me, and it is hard to imagine that it won't become more pervasive in the enterprise. Remember, most people under the age of 25 think that email is old school, and many have spent much more time in Facebook than email during the course of their lives. This reality is going to have a major impact on how this technology permeates the enterprise in the years to come. From our own experience it still has to mature from a company-wide, praise-based medium to one where teams collaborate on real work. The next phase is the discovery of nuggets at the everyday work level, and not just the corporate communications level. We think the integration between Yammer and Planview Enterprise has the potential to bring this maturity to life for our users.

Overall, I have no doubt that enterprise social networking will become a mainstream enterprise capability. There are too many people using these tools in their everyday life to not expect the cross over. Will Yammer, Chatter, and Jive end up owning these platforms, or will we all end up rewriting our apps with a social UX? It is still too early to tell. Either way, it feels like real collaboration is here and we are excited to take this first step with Yammer and Planview Enterprise 10.4.

I want to hear from you. What do you think about Enterprise Social Networking and what have you done within your organization to improve collaboration and communication among employees? Leave a comment below and share your experiences and insight.