Why Social Networks Don’t Work for Business

Web 2.0 seems to get all the press these days. I kinda feel sorry for its less popularTrust stepchild known as Enterprise 2.0. It smacks of some suit trying so hard to be cool and hip, but alas, we all know that enterprise software will never be the coolest thing around. I have yet to see the GL entry that can top the pictures of my daughters on Flickr. Of course, FreshBooks may come along and do something revolutionary and completely change my perspective, but man, that will be one hell of an invoice.

So for now, we’ll have to agree that comparatively speaking, the consumer software world is just more fun. The interesting question however, is if all these cool 2.0 concepts such as social networking, wisdom of the crowds or even the cool features like Digging apply in the business world at all?

As I reflected on this, I came to the rather startling conclusion that for me, 2.0 is actually more useful behind the firewall than in the consumer world. Let’s look at a few examples:

Example1:
Digg
: This is an absolutely brilliant concept. Have people vote on the news they like and essentially turn the old school publishing model on its ear. The core of that idea is a belief in the crowd and a simple tool to enable their voice. To their credit, they have turned media on its ear. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this compete snapshot comparing them to some more traditional media. Given the usage by the public at large, I wondered why I didn’t use Digg personally? I certainly have an account, but I never go read anything. The more I talk to people, the more I hear the same story. The knee jerk response as to why people I know don’t use the site is information overload. There is just have too much to read between email and rss, so they don’t get around to it.

Example 2:
MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIN: Social networking is probably the biggest change in how people use the web. With nearly 100M visitors there is something going on here, yet it hasn’t taken off behind the firewall. Obviously, there are many people who work at companies who have profiles on social sites, but the utility for work is just not there. Even for businesspeople who are into the “new web”, most treat these sites as a curiosity more than a tool to do business. I personally have a Facebook profile, but I never do any business on Facebook.

Same goes for LinkedIn. On the occasion that I go to LinkedIn, it is to approve a friend request from a colleague who is clearly job hunting. The last time I had any real traffic on my LinkedIn account was during the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle. The great diaspora of PeopleSofters was a boon for the network volume but did little for its actual value. I’d venture to say that most people working at companies feel the same (if they even know what social networks are all about). From a business perspective, these sites are glorified contact managers in the cloud. That’s about it.

So what about Digg and Social Networks make them unworkable for business? Or stated differently, what do they need to become relevant to the business world.

As usual, in the world of 2.0 it all comes down to people. Social sites cannot be all that useful for business until everyone is on them. It’s the law of network effects all over again (remember the fax machine example). The nuance today, is that the people on these sites have to be the ones I care about.

There are lots of people using Digg, MySpace, and more, but from a work perspective, that has very little use to me. I want my trusted group. In simple terms that can be thought of as ALL the employees of Oracle. Sure it would be nice to have people I trust outside Oracle in there, but all my co-workers would be a grand start.

Once you have the people you trust, all you need is content.

Take Digg for example, I don’t use it because I am not all that interested in the news the anonymous crowd read that day. However, I will read every link emailed to me by a friend or co-worker I trust. If I could see all the articles that people in Oracle Strategy thought were good, then I am game.

I don’t go to Facebook to find the phone number or a recent ppt created by a co-worker, but what if my entire company was on that system? What if I could segment those people and call out those that I trust, not just those that share an “@oracle.com” domain on their email? Or what if I could see the most recent bookmarks created by my trusted network in product development? Now that is a social tool I would use. Day in, day out.

When we inject trust into the equation. It’s altogether different. I have an implied social network I live and breath within at Oracle. They are not only important to me, but I to them. It’s an inseparable part of getting things done, and the power of social networks is that the relationships become explicit and the content is relevant.

Until we enable a richer, trusted experience behind the firewall, all these social tools will be relegated to novelty acts to business people.

AboutPaul

a.k.a.:ppedrazzi

51 comments

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  5. I liked your line about Content – “Once you have the people you trust, all you need is content”.

    But how do we get enough content? On the web, production and consumption are quite skewed – a small percent produces what a large percent reads, digests, paraphrases and shares. Access to common bookmarks on products, processes, shared external blog articles of interest is great but how do we seed enough conversations around those bookmarks for collective intelligence to emerge? Or is that a delusion 🙁

    In those virtual distributed hallways, how do we get folks to walk down, talk more outside of silos and boundaries? I guess i’m in two minds here – on the one hand i think perhaps managers on the ground themselves could do more to evangelize Appslab across the Oracle world – from an Oracle customer service rep to an HR recruiter to a QA analyst. On the other hand, i suspect seeding innovation is ultimately, well, seeding – not a preset path but an emergent phenomena.

    Anyways, my two cents.

  6. I liked your line about Content – “Once you have the people you trust, all you need is content”.

    But how do we get enough content? On the web, production and consumption are quite skewed – a small percent produces what a large percent reads, digests, paraphrases and shares. Access to common bookmarks on products, processes, shared external blog articles of interest is great but how do we seed enough conversations around those bookmarks for collective intelligence to emerge? Or is that a delusion 🙁

    In those virtual distributed hallways, how do we get folks to walk down, talk more outside of silos and boundaries? I guess i’m in two minds here – on the one hand i think perhaps managers on the ground themselves could do more to evangelize Appslab across the Oracle world – from an Oracle customer service rep to an HR recruiter to a QA analyst. On the other hand, i suspect seeding innovation is ultimately, well, seeding – not a preset path but an emergent phenomena.

    Anyways, my two cents.

  7. If you only listen to what your Oracle coworkers say is important and all your coworkers do the same thing, you could end up with a stagnant community. Might be good to get some fresh ideas in from outside.

    But how do you find people outside Oracle that you trust? And how do you find relevant information? That’s the hard part… and that’s where maybe Enterprise 2.0 has to go if it’s going to offer real value. Creating silo’ed social networks inside of big enterprises offers some value, but not transformative, explosive value.

  8. If you only listen to what your Oracle coworkers say is important and all your coworkers do the same thing, you could end up with a stagnant community. Might be good to get some fresh ideas in from outside.

    But how do you find people outside Oracle that you trust? And how do you find relevant information? That’s the hard part… and that’s where maybe Enterprise 2.0 has to go if it’s going to offer real value. Creating silo’ed social networks inside of big enterprises offers some value, but not transformative, explosive value.

  9. I think first the goals should be defined. Is the goal to use the wisdom of the crowd inside the company? Is it to build a vibrant community in which there are great contributions from everywhere and prevent the formation of any silo?

    The parts of web 2.0 most portable inside the firewalls may yet be Wikis and Blogs. NOT social networking (as it is practiced now).

    Both, if done well, can be brilliant tools for effective knowledge management and communication.

  10. I think first the goals should be defined. Is the goal to use the wisdom of the crowd inside the company? Is it to build a vibrant community in which there are great contributions from everywhere and prevent the formation of any silo?

    The parts of web 2.0 most portable inside the firewalls may yet be Wikis and Blogs. NOT social networking (as it is practiced now).

    Both, if done well, can be brilliant tools for effective knowledge management and communication.

  11. Amit – Good thoughts. Production is always done by the few, on the web or not. In regards to WOC, you don’t need that many people, but you do need diversity of opinion (cognitive). We have found it pretty easy to get that wisdom out there (via sites like IdeaFactory). Our challenge is actually harnessing it and using it. On innovation, I agree. I’d love to get more involved, but it is emergent. Some will join the party and others will sit. That’s ok

    Anne – Thanks for the comments. I am not saying an internal community is nirvana by any means, but you have to walk before you run and the vast, vast majority of companies have nothing. The main point being that without all the people in a company and the content behind the firewall, there is no business reason to even go to a Facebook, LinkedIN (insert network here). As I stated “Sure it would be nice to have people I trust outside Oracle in there, but all my co-workers would be a grand start”

    Jay – Today I agree. Wikis and to a much lesser extent, blogs are the main course. However, we are finding that it is the synergy of these things that really drives value and adoption. On the concept of goals, I do not see WOC and Community creation as separate. They are both important, but controversial behind the firewall. I fight battles on these fronts daily.

    Thanks all for the comments and conversation. Exciting times.

  12. Amit – Good thoughts. Production is always done by the few, on the web or not. In regards to WOC, you don’t need that many people, but you do need diversity of opinion (cognitive). We have found it pretty easy to get that wisdom out there (via sites like IdeaFactory). Our challenge is actually harnessing it and using it. On innovation, I agree. I’d love to get more involved, but it is emergent. Some will join the party and others will sit. That’s ok

    Anne – Thanks for the comments. I am not saying an internal community is nirvana by any means, but you have to walk before you run and the vast, vast majority of companies have nothing. The main point being that without all the people in a company and the content behind the firewall, there is no business reason to even go to a Facebook, LinkedIN (insert network here). As I stated “Sure it would be nice to have people I trust outside Oracle in there, but all my co-workers would be a grand start”

    Jay – Today I agree. Wikis and to a much lesser extent, blogs are the main course. However, we are finding that it is the synergy of these things that really drives value and adoption. On the concept of goals, I do not see WOC and Community creation as separate. They are both important, but controversial behind the firewall. I fight battles on these fronts daily.

    Thanks all for the comments and conversation. Exciting times.

  13. Personally, I think that the Wiki/Blog provide content but not context. Its the social network that gives the context for those inside the firewall. Having a wiki with no social context makes it up to me to find that wiki and that is an efficiency issue.

    I agree 100% on the “trust” pretext and that inside the firewall increases the trust. Inside the firewall can also help with the social network context. By knowing where you are within the organization (who you work for, what your job is) I can use that information to help give me some context to your thoughts and opinions.

    I think its the mix of all these elements that can [will] give exponential value to an organization. I do not think this is an if but a when.

    Sure, it will take some time, but it will happen because the crowd will find a way. The expectations already exist for me. Once I know that there is a way to do it better I will not be satisfied going back to the more manual approach. Just as memo’s are no longer a common tool in a corporation so too will distribution lists and emails be replaced by the tools of web 2.0.

  14. Personally, I think that the Wiki/Blog provide content but not context. Its the social network that gives the context for those inside the firewall. Having a wiki with no social context makes it up to me to find that wiki and that is an efficiency issue.

    I agree 100% on the “trust” pretext and that inside the firewall increases the trust. Inside the firewall can also help with the social network context. By knowing where you are within the organization (who you work for, what your job is) I can use that information to help give me some context to your thoughts and opinions.

    I think its the mix of all these elements that can [will] give exponential value to an organization. I do not think this is an if but a when.

    Sure, it will take some time, but it will happen because the crowd will find a way. The expectations already exist for me. Once I know that there is a way to do it better I will not be satisfied going back to the more manual approach. Just as memo’s are no longer a common tool in a corporation so too will distribution lists and emails be replaced by the tools of web 2.0.

  15. Paul: yes, you added that caveat of “walking before you run;” sorry I missed that. And in a huge place like Oracle, there are indeed major gains to be made just by encouraging informal social relationships that complement the formal hierarchy.

    It certainly makes things much easier in the short run to keep things inside the company since in the enterprise context the issue of security and privacy is so important.

    I’d agree with Meg that the social network gives the context. A social networking solution like Connect can help people actually find relevant knowledge captured in wikis and blogs.

  16. Paul: yes, you added that caveat of “walking before you run;” sorry I missed that. And in a huge place like Oracle, there are indeed major gains to be made just by encouraging informal social relationships that complement the formal hierarchy.

    It certainly makes things much easier in the short run to keep things inside the company since in the enterprise context the issue of security and privacy is so important.

    I’d agree with Meg that the social network gives the context. A social networking solution like Connect can help people actually find relevant knowledge captured in wikis and blogs.

  17. As someone who write about trust all the time, I found your comments unusually interesting and provocative. You’re raising a couple of issues: one is why successful “outside” apps don’t make it inside; the other is the nature of trust within as opposed to without.

    To the first point: remember when there was a struggle for internal communication software? It ended up being browser-based intranets vs. Lotus Notes. It seemed to me that way back when, AOL had a great chance to take over that role. No one else was better road-tested, no one else was as good at linking and organizing disparate groups of people.

    I think one reason it didn’t–and why most of the other external apps don’t make it either–is that the internal powers that be really, really don’t like the kind of structured, anarchic complements of those technologies, be it wikis, or whatever. It’s not the IT department saying no, it’s top management, commanding the IT folks to be wary of anything that, god forbid, might put intellectual capital at risk, or let people talk outside the corporate firewalls. It all has to be controlled. So my nomination for your first question is, overly controlling philosophies of management that pretty much suck the life out of interesting external technologies.

    As for trust, I find it interesting that in your last paragraph you say, “Until we enable a richer, trusted experience behind the firewall, all these social tools will be relegated to novelty acts to business people.” Yet the rest of the article talks about how successful those social tools are outside the firewall. The logical implication would be that those tools are making for “richer, trusted experiences” outside the firewall–moreso than inside.

    But I doubt you believe that. As you say, you live and breathe within your social network.

    I think a better explanation is that those tools are so much better than anything else available externally–but that they pale next to the water cooler and email internally. I’m not arguing for Luddite solutions to social networking, just saying that those are very rich, and technical solutions are going to have to be very good to be better. And all the while, you’ve got management trying to control communication.

    Just thoughts. I appreciate the way you’ve laid this out. I have to stop by more often.

    Thanks,
    Charlie Green http://www.trustedadvisor.com/blog Trust Matters

  18. As someone who write about trust all the time, I found your comments unusually interesting and provocative. You’re raising a couple of issues: one is why successful “outside” apps don’t make it inside; the other is the nature of trust within as opposed to without.

    To the first point: remember when there was a struggle for internal communication software? It ended up being browser-based intranets vs. Lotus Notes. It seemed to me that way back when, AOL had a great chance to take over that role. No one else was better road-tested, no one else was as good at linking and organizing disparate groups of people.

    I think one reason it didn’t–and why most of the other external apps don’t make it either–is that the internal powers that be really, really don’t like the kind of structured, anarchic complements of those technologies, be it wikis, or whatever. It’s not the IT department saying no, it’s top management, commanding the IT folks to be wary of anything that, god forbid, might put intellectual capital at risk, or let people talk outside the corporate firewalls. It all has to be controlled. So my nomination for your first question is, overly controlling philosophies of management that pretty much suck the life out of interesting external technologies.

    As for trust, I find it interesting that in your last paragraph you say, “Until we enable a richer, trusted experience behind the firewall, all these social tools will be relegated to novelty acts to business people.” Yet the rest of the article talks about how successful those social tools are outside the firewall. The logical implication would be that those tools are making for “richer, trusted experiences” outside the firewall–moreso than inside.

    But I doubt you believe that. As you say, you live and breathe within your social network.

    I think a better explanation is that those tools are so much better than anything else available externally–but that they pale next to the water cooler and email internally. I’m not arguing for Luddite solutions to social networking, just saying that those are very rich, and technical solutions are going to have to be very good to be better. And all the while, you’ve got management trying to control communication.

    Just thoughts. I appreciate the way you’ve laid this out. I have to stop by more often.

    Thanks,
    Charlie Green http://www.trustedadvisor.com/blog Trust Matters

  19. Another difference with social media is that a site like Facebook allows me to connect with people who I have no other way to find. Companies tend to be good at building internal channels for finding people to get stuff done. I like the idea of applying Digg to the workplace – it would be a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff on the corporate wiki for example.

  20. Another difference with social media is that a site like Facebook allows me to connect with people who I have no other way to find. Companies tend to be good at building internal channels for finding people to get stuff done. I like the idea of applying Digg to the workplace – it would be a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff on the corporate wiki for example.

  21. Sunir from FreshBooks here,

    I’m known about the wiki world and I work at FreshBooks, so I feel like I have to reply!

    I think it’s mistaking what’s interesting about business software today to question why social networks haven’t taken off. As you mention, we all know that you’re demotivated to add friends on LinkedIn because they want something from you, whereas you’re motivated to add friends on FaceBook because you want something from them: a potential date, the sense of social belonging, keeping up with pictures of your newborn niece, etc.

    What’s interesting about business software today is that it is dramatically lowering the cost and risk of starting your own business. This matters a lot in today’s world. Since the 1990s and Business Process Reengineering (aka massive lay offs), there has been an upswing in professionals starting their own agencies. After all, you can’t fire yourself, so this path is alluring to many people who just want control over their own dream.

    That’s the story that attracted me to FreshBooks. I love talking to our customers who are somewhere between just starting out to successful, stable, and now growing. Their stories are amazing, and they could not have done it without using tools that make the little guy in New Mexico appear to his clients like he’s an enterprise-class company.

    So, sharing your pictures of your daughters empowers you as an individual to express what matters to you. Lowering the cost and risk of business empowers an individual professional to express their dream. It’s the same story, but in different arenas.

    So, the question that business social networks should address: how does this lower the cost / risk of the little guy doing business?

    It seems to me that LinkedIn may inadvertently increase the cost of doing business, initially, as it is one more information channel to distract a new entrepreneur. Yet,those on LinkedIn long enough and with enough contacts, use it to great effect. So, it’s a standard invest-now-for-gains-later trade off, which may be why it’s slow to grow but still surviving.

  22. Sunir from FreshBooks here,

    I’m known about the wiki world and I work at FreshBooks, so I feel like I have to reply!

    I think it’s mistaking what’s interesting about business software today to question why social networks haven’t taken off. As you mention, we all know that you’re demotivated to add friends on LinkedIn because they want something from you, whereas you’re motivated to add friends on FaceBook because you want something from them: a potential date, the sense of social belonging, keeping up with pictures of your newborn niece, etc.

    What’s interesting about business software today is that it is dramatically lowering the cost and risk of starting your own business. This matters a lot in today’s world. Since the 1990s and Business Process Reengineering (aka massive lay offs), there has been an upswing in professionals starting their own agencies. After all, you can’t fire yourself, so this path is alluring to many people who just want control over their own dream.

    That’s the story that attracted me to FreshBooks. I love talking to our customers who are somewhere between just starting out to successful, stable, and now growing. Their stories are amazing, and they could not have done it without using tools that make the little guy in New Mexico appear to his clients like he’s an enterprise-class company.

    So, sharing your pictures of your daughters empowers you as an individual to express what matters to you. Lowering the cost and risk of business empowers an individual professional to express their dream. It’s the same story, but in different arenas.

    So, the question that business social networks should address: how does this lower the cost / risk of the little guy doing business?

    It seems to me that LinkedIn may inadvertently increase the cost of doing business, initially, as it is one more information channel to distract a new entrepreneur. Yet,those on LinkedIn long enough and with enough contacts, use it to great effect. So, it’s a standard invest-now-for-gains-later trade off, which may be why it’s slow to grow but still surviving.

  23. Congrats on your selection by David Maister in this month’s Carnival of Trust. I had seen your post too (commented on it earlier) and enjoyed it a lot; glad to see it getting recognition.

  24. Congrats on your selection by David Maister in this month’s Carnival of Trust. I had seen your post too (commented on it earlier) and enjoyed it a lot; glad to see it getting recognition.

  25. Charles,
    Thanks for commenting. Paul’s post is generating some noise, which is good. The trackback to David’s Carnival of Trust is dead (and so is the one on your blog). Is that the exercise, i.e. a 404 lesson in some people will click any link? Anyway, it sounds interesting. Maybe you can update.

    We’re still feeling our way along with the internal network. Trying to find the right buttons to push and learning as we go. Paul tells me he expects to meet Andrew McAfee this month at some convention (I glaze over when convention talk begins), so that should be interesting. Fundamentally, I think they agree, but our methods seem a little different.

    Keep reading. I hope you find other interesting nuggets for commenting.
    Jake

  26. Charles,
    Thanks for commenting. Paul’s post is generating some noise, which is good. The trackback to David’s Carnival of Trust is dead (and so is the one on your blog). Is that the exercise, i.e. a 404 lesson in some people will click any link? Anyway, it sounds interesting. Maybe you can update.

    We’re still feeling our way along with the internal network. Trying to find the right buttons to push and learning as we go. Paul tells me he expects to meet Andrew McAfee this month at some convention (I glaze over when convention talk begins), so that should be interesting. Fundamentally, I think they agree, but our methods seem a little different.

    Keep reading. I hope you find other interesting nuggets for commenting.
    Jake

  27. Sunir,
    Thanks for commenting. I like what you guys are doing at Freshbooks. What you say about enabling customers through the ease of your application rings true with me. A long time ago, before I got seriously jaded, I used to feel that way about building customizations, like it really made a difference to the customer.

    We’re working to bring that message back internally (for jaded folks like me) and externally (to suspicious customers) through community and collaboration.

    As for social networks, they still need to find the killer app to keep me (and scads of other adults) interested b/c other than networking, what is there? I think even the core users (college, high school) will soon wonder the same thing as their lives get busier as they exit college.

    This feels like a blog entry, so I think I’ll save it and insert cliffhanger here.

    Jake

  28. Sunir,
    Thanks for commenting. I like what you guys are doing at Freshbooks. What you say about enabling customers through the ease of your application rings true with me. A long time ago, before I got seriously jaded, I used to feel that way about building customizations, like it really made a difference to the customer.

    We’re working to bring that message back internally (for jaded folks like me) and externally (to suspicious customers) through community and collaboration.

    As for social networks, they still need to find the killer app to keep me (and scads of other adults) interested b/c other than networking, what is there? I think even the core users (college, high school) will soon wonder the same thing as their lives get busier as they exit college.

    This feels like a blog entry, so I think I’ll save it and insert cliffhanger here.

    Jake

  29. While I tend to agree that not all businesses can do business on Web 2.0, it is up to the business to create a plan and put that plan into motion. We are a Myspace Marketing Firm that takes these pages and puts them into real world use. The whole concept of social networking is to connect people, businesses, individuals, etc and make information shareable. If a business doesn’t want to share information then that’s their loss. We have proven that these sites can be used for good. Restaurants are blasting their daily specials to regular customers via email, text messaging, bulletins and news feeds. Real estate agents are showing virtual video tours, as well as live chat. The list goes on and on. If you have a little page with no useful information, then yes social networking is just curiosity and a waste of time, but if you can grasp the power and take a plan into action, you may just be surprised with the results!

  30. While I tend to agree that not all businesses can do business on Web 2.0, it is up to the business to create a plan and put that plan into motion. We are a Myspace Marketing Firm that takes these pages and puts them into real world use. The whole concept of social networking is to connect people, businesses, individuals, etc and make information shareable. If a business doesn’t want to share information then that’s their loss. We have proven that these sites can be used for good. Restaurants are blasting their daily specials to regular customers via email, text messaging, bulletins and news feeds. Real estate agents are showing virtual video tours, as well as live chat. The list goes on and on. If you have a little page with no useful information, then yes social networking is just curiosity and a waste of time, but if you can grasp the power and take a plan into action, you may just be surprised with the results!

  31. Hullo Paul,

    I actually got a job @ Oracle through LinkedIn (though I am not there now). The interesting thing was that I found out who else was being interviewed for the role (through LinkedIn) – and I knew them! So we had some back channel chat about the role & the hiring manager & so forth.

    Having worked at both Oracle & IBM, I think that IBM actually has the drop on Oracle in terms of Whatever 2.0 tool development & deployment within the enterprise(Although Norm Gennaro & co are doing some fantastic things).

    Here is Australia, Whatever 2.0 inside the enterprise means wikis, wikis & maybe, uh, a wiki? The social networking tools do require trust but trust rarely stretches across an entire organisation. It’s lumpy. There are pockets here and there. I mean, Paul, you’re a cool guy & I trust you but those guys over there in sales/marketing/R&D/finance – well, I’m not sure if we trust them or not. I would suggest that the relative failure of tools like Visible Path is that you have to recognise this lumpiness of trust: Trust is not the default setting.

    All that said, I think that social networking tools PLUS visualisation tools (of the SNA/ONA variety) PLUS content (you can see what I’m into on my internal blog or my internal wiki entries and that might give you a clue as to whether you can trust me) will evolve into something interesting. We just don’t know what it is yet.

    Matt

  32. Hullo Paul,

    I actually got a job @ Oracle through LinkedIn (though I am not there now). The interesting thing was that I found out who else was being interviewed for the role (through LinkedIn) – and I knew them! So we had some back channel chat about the role & the hiring manager & so forth.

    Having worked at both Oracle & IBM, I think that IBM actually has the drop on Oracle in terms of Whatever 2.0 tool development & deployment within the enterprise(Although Norm Gennaro & co are doing some fantastic things).

    Here is Australia, Whatever 2.0 inside the enterprise means wikis, wikis & maybe, uh, a wiki? The social networking tools do require trust but trust rarely stretches across an entire organisation. It’s lumpy. There are pockets here and there. I mean, Paul, you’re a cool guy & I trust you but those guys over there in sales/marketing/R&D/finance – well, I’m not sure if we trust them or not. I would suggest that the relative failure of tools like Visible Path is that you have to recognise this lumpiness of trust: Trust is not the default setting.

    All that said, I think that social networking tools PLUS visualisation tools (of the SNA/ONA variety) PLUS content (you can see what I’m into on my internal blog or my internal wiki entries and that might give you a clue as to whether you can trust me) will evolve into something interesting. We just don’t know what it is yet.

    Matt

  33. ***** First off let me start by saying that this is a very thought provoking post and definitely putting Web 2.0 or social networking across the board in an enterprise would be a force fit and receipe for failure. But there are strong use cases and trends emerging now for social networking and Web 2.0 in the enterprise so couldn’t resist responding to it. *****
    Web 2.0 seems to get all the press these days. I kinda feel sorry for its less popular stepchild known as Enterprise 2.0. It smacks of some suit trying so hard to be cool and hip, but alas, we all know that enterprise software will never be the coolest thing around. I have yet to see the GL entry that can top the pictures of my daughters on Flickr. Of course, FreshBooks may come along and do something revolutionary and completely change my perspective, but man, that will be one hell of an invoice.
    ***** Have you heard of this hipper, cooler cousin of ERP called CRM who deals closely with the entity called “customer” that’s at the center of a number of social and Web 2.0 initiatives and CRM probably spells invoiZe with a “z” ;-). Imagine being a sales guy and getting your next opportunity update via a Widget on your desktop or mobile phone. *****
    So for now, we’ll have to agree that comparatively speaking, the consumer software world is just more fun. The interesting question however, is if all these cool 2.0 concepts such as social networking, wisdom of the crowds or even the cool features like Digging apply in the business world at all?
    *****Agree that the consumer software world is just more fun and it always has been. But cool 2.0 concepts absolutely do apply to the business world as well. Imagine plowing through useless links to outdated spreadsheets and pages returned when searching for some HR information on your own internal portal. Now imagine a Digging system within an enterprise portal that Digg’s documents. You would be way more efficient. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. *****
    As I reflected on this, I came to the rather startling conclusion that for me, 2.0 is actually more useful behind the firewall than in the consumer world. Let’s look at a few examples:
    Same goes for LinkedIn. On the occasion that I go to LinkedIn, it is to approve a friend request from a colleague who is clearly job hunting. The last time I had any real traffic on my LinkedIn account was during the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle. The great diaspora of PeopleSofters was a boon for the network volume but did little for its actual value. I’d venture to say that most people working at companies feel the same (if they even know what social networks are all about). From a business perspective, these sites are glorified contact managers in the cloud. That’s about it.
    *****Agree that 2.0 is very useful even behind the firewall. Lets not look at application of technology purely from ones own perspective as it would often fall short, but lets do some customer role playing and value emerges. If I were to design my SFA application based on how I sold my S/W I would barely sell a few seats to the next big HiTech company. Same goes for the Web 2.0 – LinkedIn – Social Network analogy. Imagine a sales guy going in the final stages of closing a large deal and going into meet this CIO. He looks the customer up on a social network like LinkedIn and finds out that he went to Stanford just like he did and is an active member of the Silicon Valley Golfers Association an an avid golfer just like him. Now here’s an insight no contact manager would’ve given the Sales Rep unless he would’ve already met the CIO in the past. I feel that a large part of Web 2.0 and Social Networks is all about social and behavioral insights that were shared either explicitly or implicitly with the larger web. *****
    So what about Digg and Social Networks make them unworkable for business? Or stated differently, what do they need to become relevant to the business world.
    As usual, in the world of 2.0 it all comes down to people. Social sites cannot be all that useful for business until everyone is on them.
    ***** That’s not true for me. I actually find LinkedIn, Facebook and other networking sites very useful for work, research and consultation and actually have only marginally connected with the Oracle folks I know on those networks *****
    The nuance today, is that the people on these sites have to be the ones I care about.
    ***** Here I agree that you need people on the network that you care about, however the care or trust aspect can be defined and controlled by you the user and does not have to be driven by the enterprise factor like every employee in Oracle has to be on Facebook for it to be beneficial. In fact over a period of time as you move through companies and jobs a large chunk of people you care about and network with for work related purposes might be outside the current enterprise you work in. *****
    There are lots of people using Digg, MySpace, and more, but from a work perspective, that has very little use to me. I want my trusted group. In simple terms that can be thought of as ALL the employees of Oracle. Sure it would be nice to have people I trust outside Oracle in there, but all my co-workers would be a grand start.
    Once you have the people you trust, all you need is content.
    Take Digg for example, I don’t use it because I am not all that interested in the news the anonymous crowd read that day. However, I will read every link emailed to me by a friend or co-worker I trust. If I could see all the articles that people in Oracle Strategy thought were good, then I am game.
    ***** What if you’re an engineer tracking a very hot and fast moving open source space or a sales guy tracking the fortunes of one of your prospects companies or a support guy trying to research and get real life experiences about whether a newly introduced IBM Servers are faster than the HP ones. What if you used something like a Yahoo Pipe to punch in your area of interest based on your role above and now get work/business related up to the minute information (feeds) coming from Digg, TechCRunch, ZDNet, social networks, news aggregators, bloggers. *****
    I don’t go to Facebook to find the phone number or a recent ppt created by a co-worker, but what if my entire company was on that system? What if I could segment those people and call out those that I trust, not just those that share an “@oracle.com” domain on their email? Or what if I could see the most recent bookmarks created by my trusted network in product development? Now that is a social tool I would use. Day in, day out.
    ***** The power of Facebook is not in being a global contact manager. We have the ATT yellow pages for that *****
    When we inject trust into the equation. It’s altogether different. I have an implied social network I live and breath within at Oracle. They are not only important to me, but I to them. It’s an inseparable part of getting things done, and the power of social networks is that the relationships become explicit and the content is relevant.
    ***** I absolutely agree with your social network within Oracle concept, however it shouldn’t imply that other social networks that one has formed and has access through services like LinkedIn and Facebook where you’re networking and interacting with previous professors, ex-colleagues and managers are less effective or important. *****
    Until we enable a richer, trusted experience behind the firewall, all these social tools will be relegated to novelty acts to business people.
    ***** For me Web 2.0 and social networks are still an evolving area so its too early for me to relegate it as novelty acts. Also I feel that one of the things this article does not do is distinguish between internal social networking and external social networking products. It also does not distinguish between social networks that can be setup through any generic products like Wiki’s and Blogs vs the branded and popular Facebook and LinkedIn social networks available as a service on the web.

    But all in all a very interesting read and certainly got me thinking. *****

  34. ***** First off let me start by saying that this is a very thought provoking post and definitely putting Web 2.0 or social networking across the board in an enterprise would be a force fit and receipe for failure. But there are strong use cases and trends emerging now for social networking and Web 2.0 in the enterprise so couldn’t resist responding to it. *****
    Web 2.0 seems to get all the press these days. I kinda feel sorry for its less popular stepchild known as Enterprise 2.0. It smacks of some suit trying so hard to be cool and hip, but alas, we all know that enterprise software will never be the coolest thing around. I have yet to see the GL entry that can top the pictures of my daughters on Flickr. Of course, FreshBooks may come along and do something revolutionary and completely change my perspective, but man, that will be one hell of an invoice.
    ***** Have you heard of this hipper, cooler cousin of ERP called CRM who deals closely with the entity called “customer” that’s at the center of a number of social and Web 2.0 initiatives and CRM probably spells invoiZe with a “z” ;-). Imagine being a sales guy and getting your next opportunity update via a Widget on your desktop or mobile phone. *****
    So for now, we’ll have to agree that comparatively speaking, the consumer software world is just more fun. The interesting question however, is if all these cool 2.0 concepts such as social networking, wisdom of the crowds or even the cool features like Digging apply in the business world at all?
    *****Agree that the consumer software world is just more fun and it always has been. But cool 2.0 concepts absolutely do apply to the business world as well. Imagine plowing through useless links to outdated spreadsheets and pages returned when searching for some HR information on your own internal portal. Now imagine a Digging system within an enterprise portal that Digg’s documents. You would be way more efficient. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. *****
    As I reflected on this, I came to the rather startling conclusion that for me, 2.0 is actually more useful behind the firewall than in the consumer world. Let’s look at a few examples:
    Same goes for LinkedIn. On the occasion that I go to LinkedIn, it is to approve a friend request from a colleague who is clearly job hunting. The last time I had any real traffic on my LinkedIn account was during the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle. The great diaspora of PeopleSofters was a boon for the network volume but did little for its actual value. I’d venture to say that most people working at companies feel the same (if they even know what social networks are all about). From a business perspective, these sites are glorified contact managers in the cloud. That’s about it.
    *****Agree that 2.0 is very useful even behind the firewall. Lets not look at application of technology purely from ones own perspective as it would often fall short, but lets do some customer role playing and value emerges. If I were to design my SFA application based on how I sold my S/W I would barely sell a few seats to the next big HiTech company. Same goes for the Web 2.0 – LinkedIn – Social Network analogy. Imagine a sales guy going in the final stages of closing a large deal and going into meet this CIO. He looks the customer up on a social network like LinkedIn and finds out that he went to Stanford just like he did and is an active member of the Silicon Valley Golfers Association an an avid golfer just like him. Now here’s an insight no contact manager would’ve given the Sales Rep unless he would’ve already met the CIO in the past. I feel that a large part of Web 2.0 and Social Networks is all about social and behavioral insights that were shared either explicitly or implicitly with the larger web. *****
    So what about Digg and Social Networks make them unworkable for business? Or stated differently, what do they need to become relevant to the business world.
    As usual, in the world of 2.0 it all comes down to people. Social sites cannot be all that useful for business until everyone is on them.
    ***** That’s not true for me. I actually find LinkedIn, Facebook and other networking sites very useful for work, research and consultation and actually have only marginally connected with the Oracle folks I know on those networks *****
    The nuance today, is that the people on these sites have to be the ones I care about.
    ***** Here I agree that you need people on the network that you care about, however the care or trust aspect can be defined and controlled by you the user and does not have to be driven by the enterprise factor like every employee in Oracle has to be on Facebook for it to be beneficial. In fact over a period of time as you move through companies and jobs a large chunk of people you care about and network with for work related purposes might be outside the current enterprise you work in. *****
    There are lots of people using Digg, MySpace, and more, but from a work perspective, that has very little use to me. I want my trusted group. In simple terms that can be thought of as ALL the employees of Oracle. Sure it would be nice to have people I trust outside Oracle in there, but all my co-workers would be a grand start.
    Once you have the people you trust, all you need is content.
    Take Digg for example, I don’t use it because I am not all that interested in the news the anonymous crowd read that day. However, I will read every link emailed to me by a friend or co-worker I trust. If I could see all the articles that people in Oracle Strategy thought were good, then I am game.
    ***** What if you’re an engineer tracking a very hot and fast moving open source space or a sales guy tracking the fortunes of one of your prospects companies or a support guy trying to research and get real life experiences about whether a newly introduced IBM Servers are faster than the HP ones. What if you used something like a Yahoo Pipe to punch in your area of interest based on your role above and now get work/business related up to the minute information (feeds) coming from Digg, TechCRunch, ZDNet, social networks, news aggregators, bloggers. *****
    I don’t go to Facebook to find the phone number or a recent ppt created by a co-worker, but what if my entire company was on that system? What if I could segment those people and call out those that I trust, not just those that share an “@oracle.com” domain on their email? Or what if I could see the most recent bookmarks created by my trusted network in product development? Now that is a social tool I would use. Day in, day out.
    ***** The power of Facebook is not in being a global contact manager. We have the ATT yellow pages for that *****
    When we inject trust into the equation. It’s altogether different. I have an implied social network I live and breath within at Oracle. They are not only important to me, but I to them. It’s an inseparable part of getting things done, and the power of social networks is that the relationships become explicit and the content is relevant.
    ***** I absolutely agree with your social network within Oracle concept, however it shouldn’t imply that other social networks that one has formed and has access through services like LinkedIn and Facebook where you’re networking and interacting with previous professors, ex-colleagues and managers are less effective or important. *****
    Until we enable a richer, trusted experience behind the firewall, all these social tools will be relegated to novelty acts to business people.
    ***** For me Web 2.0 and social networks are still an evolving area so its too early for me to relegate it as novelty acts. Also I feel that one of the things this article does not do is distinguish between internal social networking and external social networking products. It also does not distinguish between social networks that can be setup through any generic products like Wiki’s and Blogs vs the branded and popular Facebook and LinkedIn social networks available as a service on the web.

    But all in all a very interesting read and certainly got me thinking. *****

  35. I think the key here is relevance. As you mentioned, trust … Both of them need to go hand in hand. Though, I would like to add that the important point here is not just creation or articulation of thoughts, but sharing of thoughts, which truly generates greater knowledge.

  36. I think the key here is relevance. As you mentioned, trust … Both of them need to go hand in hand. Though, I would like to add that the important point here is not just creation or articulation of thoughts, but sharing of thoughts, which truly generates greater knowledge.

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