Enterprise Social Software A Trend That Needs To Be Tapped On

Author: Jay Pullur
CEO, Qontext Inc
Social software, as we all know, started in the middle of the last decade as a new way to enhance individual self-expression through media sharing, content creation, and interaction. Since then, it has quickly spread to other areas such as marketing and now it enters the core of the enterprise.

CIOs today are looking at not just keeping the lights on, but at ways to improve the way their organization operates. This year, social software is among the top trends of corporate IT, along with virtualization and cloud computing. The expectation is that social software will positively contribute to knowledge management, process efficiency, innovation, and organization ability to respond to change.

If one observes the flurry of recent product announcements, a common thing noticeable is a simple set of Web 2.0 like tools, integrated into a social activity stream private to an organization. Too many products appear similar in their approach. However, I believe that bringing great adoption within an organization’s internal user base (typically a smaller community, compared to the public social networks on the Web) requires a mix of social activity with business content.

We designed Qontext as an enterprise social network that easily integrates with other business applications used by sales, marketing, HR, engineering, service, distribution, and more. It is similar to the Salesforce Chatter™ and Tibco Tibbr™ that bring application feeds into social interaction streams for its users. Qontext goes a step further, to create a two-way flow between applications and the enterprise social network, enabling contextual collaboration (hence the name Qontext).

I believe that one of the greatest challenges for product vendors in the enterprise social software space is to step up the pace of their product innovation to match the quickly growing wish list of their user communities. One is no longer satisfied with just tweets, file sharing, and discussion forums. The products would soon grow and specialize in different directions such as those oriented to internal and pre-existing content, partner and customer interactions, highly mobile and distributed workforces, departmental use-cases, and more. Young product vendors are better equipped in this nascent market to innovate faster and bring products that established vendors may want to acquire.
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