Enterprises are Riding the Social Wave. Will Healthcare Keep Up?

By Joel Selzer posted 12-13-2010 13:05


For anyone keeping score these days, the market for social business software, especially enterprise collaboration, is heating up.

Large software players such as Microsoft, IBM and all tout the “collaboration capabilities” of their products, from Microsoft's enhanced social features in SharePoint 2010 to the release of Chatter 2.0 by Salesforce. However, the real push is coming from a rapidly growing number of pure-plays like Yammer, Jive Software and Lithium.

IDC reports 41% of respondents have already deployed an enterprise social software solution. Which isn't surprising, since Chatter has more than 60,000 customers and Yammer is used by over 90,000 companies and organizations, including over 80% of the Fortune 500.

Market demand continues to fuel innovation, leading to new product announcements from MangoSpring, SocialCast and SocialText. To keep pace Salesforce recently announced Chatter Free to spur more rapid adoption, enabling licensed Salesforce users to invite non-licensed colleagues to use Chatter without incurring additional costs. Following on the heels of the $30m raised by Jive Software and $60m by Atlassian over the summer, Yammer just announced an additional $25 million to expand globally.

So it came as little surprise when Gartner recently predicted that social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications by 2014. When the market speaks, vendors and investors take notice.

So why is social business software such a hot topic? Jeremy Owyang of the Altimeter Group identified seven categories, 18 distinct classes, and over 1,000 vendors in a recent presentation he delivered to 100 Silicon Valley VCs entitled, “The Social Business Stack in 2011”.

While the entire social business software category is growing, the industry is seeing a significant spike in the “Social Platforms” sector, evidenced by the fierce competition described above.

Providers are offering innovative product features, enjoying high levels of user satisfaction, and integrating their offerings with traditional enterprise software.

The exhibitor hall at KMWorld 2010 - held in Washington DC from Nov. 16 -18 - showcased this growth and offered a glimpse into the future of enterprise collaboration and knowledge management. As each vendor made their pitch, it seemed clear that for enterprise customers, the message has sunk in. CIOs are increasingly attuned to the need for social business tools inside their organizations. In today's challenging global economy, innovation is the key to improving productivity and reducing expenses. As enterprises search for ways to get teams across disparate geographies and information silos working together more effectively and efficiently - they are tapping into the social wave spawned by Facebook and Twitter to drive widespread adoption of new social business software.

So what does the rise of social business software and enterprise collaboration have to do with our focus on the healthcare industry? It's simple really, given the staggering explosion of costs (expected to reach $4.6 trillion by 2019) and complexity within the U.S. health system, no industry is more ripe for innovation.

AthenaHealth co-founder Jonathan Bush shares one example at the Health Care Blog about the need for collaboration at the point of care for the purpose of clinical information exchange. Health Systems across the country are struggling to bring their staff and clinicians together to collaborate and share clinical and practice information more effectively. The only way to successfully develop standardized clinical content - order sets, care plans and clinical pathways - is to get clinicians talking to each other to develop best practices and uniform standards. As Jonathan puts it, this is health information exchange “as a verb instead of a noun.”

However, no vendor has delivered a complete and tailored collaboration solution specifically designed for the highly nuanced and complex clinical requirements within the health care industry. We created OzmosisESP for this very reason. Health systems, in particular, are struggling to overcome a growing information sharing and collaboration challenge. Today, information is trapped within disparate silos and locked away in the minds of hard to reach experts spread throughout the hospital or health system. With the explosion of health data spurred by growing EMR adoption, many systems have exceeded their capacity to make the right information available to the right users.


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