The Rise of the Social Revolution

By Christian Buckley posted 09-22-2011 18:58


"the social business revolution is starting to take hold in companies. These solutions are starting to empower  individuals, enabling them to challenge traditional hierarchies and bypass communication road blocks. It is also enabling the knowledge worker to better communicate with suppliers, partners and remote employees."

From Mark Fidelman's article on the rise of Yammer

Everyone seems to be looking for the "killer app" of social computing, because it makes nice marketing copy. You can wrap your head around a product or a specific feature. Don't hold your breath. Like the old Palmolive liquid dish soap commercials, you're already soaking in it.

There will be no big bang. There will be no killer app. No single vendor will "own" the space. And the tools and technologies that will dominate the information worker space for the next couple decades are already here.

Feeling deflated? Don't be -- I really do believe in what Fidelman says up above.  People are feeling empowered, and they are subverting process and bypassing confused and out-of-touch decision makers to better communicate and collaborate with customers, suppliers, partners, and each other. Viva la Revolucion!

One way people are doing it, as described in the link above, is with Yammer. All you have to do is sign up, and register your company. It's as easy as submitting your email. As a cloud-based solution, all it requires is connectivity, and your team can access a shared Twitter communication stream (and other features) directly from the browser. Now, integrate that with other platforms or with your intranet, that's a different story. It's just a tad bit more difficult. But there's a path, and it begins with end users searching for tools that allow them to get better at their jobs.

SharePoint has a similar model, although a much more complex platform. Microsoft was very wise to offer out a very powerful free version. Companies have spent years building and tweaking their intranets, and suddenly, out of nowhere (10 years goes by fast) SharePoint does out of the box what took a team of people months or years to build. Maybe not as powerful in certain verticals (ECM, for example), but powerful enough to grab the attention of every competitor. It's a multi-billion dollar business for Microsoft -- hard to argue with that kind of success. And while many of SharePoint's features are not considered social features, per se, I am in the camp of collaboration = social. So SharePoint is social by nature. And because SharePoint has enabled teams and end users to break out of the IT bonds and, in many cases, self-serve their collaboration needs, SharePoint is a major mover and shaker in the social revolution.

Back to my anti-big-bang premise:

Stop looking for the next big thing, because it has already arrived….it was just a slow burn. My entire career has been part of the social slow burn, from bulletin board services to automated fax to email to instant messaging to peer-to-peer file sharing to music streaming to blogging to wikis to online meetings to the tagging of anything and everything so that its all searchable and connected to everything else. The tools are here -- now it's just a matter of organizational configuration. Find the pieces that fit, and move forward. Try things out, break some things on the way, and figure out what works for your team, for your customers, for your partners. 

#socialcomputing #buckleyplanet #revolution #Yammer #sharepoint #SharePoint