As we move into the holiday season, and the year winds down, it’s natural to start to think about the things we want in the New Year. I have a small wishlist for Social Enterprise and enterprise applications. These are not predictions. It’s not what I think will happen; it’s what I want to happen. And I don’t always get what I want.
So here it is —Tom’s Holiday Wishlist for 2012
- More tools to help me get real work done. We’ve come a long way in 2012. More than 60% of the enterprise social network products I’ve looked at this year and many, many enterprise applications have added social workflows to their product features. These dynamic, lightweight tools for organizing and managing work are a real help. Now, we need to see even more tools such as analytics and sharing features woven into the daily worklife.
- User friendly social analytics. Understanding what happens in the Twitterverse, blogasphere, Facebook community, and other social media and networking sites is critical to all aspects of business. People don’t call to complain or praise or ask. They don’t even e-mail. They just get on top of a social mountain and scream through a virtual megaphone. No company can afford to be running blind when it comes to social media. What I want is not more analytics but easier analytics. These cannot be data scientist products anymore. They need to be tools geared toward marketing, sales, and customer service workers at all level. Oh, I want them less expensive, too.
- Consolidation amongst social collaboration vendors. You can only slice the baloney so thin before it starts to make a bad sandwich. When I find myself looking at over 30 enterprise social networks alone, I know the market is too fragmented. Ultimately, it makes buying very difficult. Competition is good but so is an organized and cohesive market. Right now, it’s too chaotic.
- A standard API for enterprise social networks. For the ESN to be of value, it needs to be a part of all the apps in the enterprise. While current efforts by SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft to integrate their ESN offerings into all the applications is the right direction, there will still be a need to integrate different ESN products into their applications and to integrate ESNs into homegrown and other vendors' applications. This is a daunting task for ISVs and IT alike when there are different APIs for every ESN. The industry needs to come together and design an API that provides bidirectional integration in the same way for all ESNs. Even if it’s a least common denominator, that will help a lot.
- Applications designed for the average knowledge workers. Enterprise applications have evolved into tools for reporting to management. They are generally too cumbersome for average knowledge workers to get real value from. When those same knowledge workers encounter many new generation mobile applications, they say “This is so much easier than the stuff I have at work!” We need to start to pull apart applications into bite sized chunks for different constituents within the enterprise. Those applications then can connect back to the big system of record to preserve and report.
I also wish for a Lamborghini, world peace, and a unicorn. I probably won’t get those so I will settle for list above. I especially want to see better design business applications. That, above all else, holds the promise of positively affecting everything we do at work. Businesses should want that too since it means higher efficiency and a more engaged workforce. It’s about time that we stop fighting with our applications and actually demand they help us get our work done.