A couple of weeks ago Tom Petrocelli (@tompetrocelli) shared with me his brief “IBM Brings Social Workflows to SugarCRM with IBM Connections“. It was a good read with many of his comments jumping off the page for me :-) There was lots of good stuff in the article, but not wanting to turn this blog post into an epic novel, I am going to very briefly touch on just 3 thoughts I had when I was reading Tom’s article. I may write separate blog posts about these individual topics at a later stage, as I believe they all warrant more detailed discussion.
Tom touched on this point several times during the arcticle with quotes such as “to realize full value from the Social Enterprise, end-users need to tie these social toolsets more closely to everyday work product”. Deeply embedding social into the business of doing business is a topic that I have discussed several times on my blog and which I continue to believe is the key to social business adoption within the enterprise. Business applications and processes need to be “social-ified” so that the effort of engaging with the social services (sharing, connecting, collaborating, discovering) is no more than a click away, and is contextual to the job you are doing at a specific point in time so that the benefits of that participation are both immediate and measurable. You shouldn’t have to move away from what you are currently doing in order to appreciate the value of a Social Business.
Collaborative Decision Making
While Tom didn’t directly talk about collaborative decision making, he did menton that “social processes are the key to business agility”, a sentiment which I totally support. Historically business processes have been all about structure, reproducibility, with limited flexibility to go “off piste” and this has also been the case with decision making. And in much the same way that social is allowing business processes to be more dynamic and responsive to the business, so does the addition of social within the decision making process. However, the agility of social decisions comes at a cost which is that they often lack the “checks & balances” of the more traditional decision making processes. Therein we hit on the nirvana of social! If we can combine the discipline and governance of the structured approaches with the flexibility of social… Alleluia! The best of both worlds :-) And this is a topic I most definitely plan to talk more about in later blog posts.
Lead with Solutions, Deliver a Complete Platform
One point Tom made in the article was that “Two Heads Are Better Than One but Could Be More Expensive” referencing the fact that to benefit from the social workflows in SugarCRM you need to separately buy the IBM Connections product. The reason I want to respond to this point is not to talk about pricing or packaging (I leave all that good stuff to the biz folks at Sugar & IBM), but because I believe that this loose coupling of the social platform from the business application is the singularly most important characteristic of a successful social business strategy. I have spoken about this on several of my other blog posts, so I won’t flog a dead horse here other than to make one point… Social Silos.
Social Silos are becoming increasingly problematic with external social media (see related links below) and is something to be avoided at all costs within the Social Business. The greatest value from the application of social across the enterprise, is that it can “connect the dots” between information and process silos. However, this assumes that your social business platform (and the social network that it captures) is available across multiple applications. The last thing you want is disparate networks across your various business applications.
And finally a big thanks to Tom for sharing his article, I thoroughly enjoyed it :-)
Other blog posts where I talk about Social Silos…