Editor’s note: Software companies talk to their customers about collaboration, but do they deliver it in their own operations? Historically, most have focused heavily on the concept of small teams and everybody getting into a room and solving issues. Collaboration was real time, face-to-face and ad hoc. But the exigencies of today’s market, the market opportunity, and how software has matured creates interesting scenarios. Sandhill.com asked Ram Menon, EVP at TIBCO to share his opinion on social sprawl and what companies need to evaluate to block out the noise and start getting down to business.
The Sunday night we all learned Osama bin Laden had been killed, I was playing a quiet game of chess with my 10-year-old son. My phone vibrated in my pocket. I picked it up to see a Facebook message from my neighbor, who first informed me of the news. As I waited for my son to make his next move, I watched a flood of information wash over me via Facebook and Twitter messages shared by friends.
For me, this served as another quintessential example of how social technologies have transformed the way we communicate and consume information. Not too many years ago, I would have had to be watching television or listening to the radio to learn news of a similar magnitude in real time. Now, I simply let the information flow to my fingertips.
So, when you come to work, you probably hear some say, “You should replicate Facebook inside of your company. It’s the new wave! It’s the revolution that will automatically transform your business!”
It all sounds nice. The problem is it’s a farce.
The truth is, early attempts to bring social networking inside companies as a work tool have failed. They have failed because they lack a pragmatic focus on the business process, systems, and culture that actually makes companies operate (and make money). Free social computing tools – which almost gleefully don’t understand the needs of businesses – fall on their face after a few months of use because people don’t actually get their work done in them. They’re the proverbial “extra thing I gotta check.” And if they’re not working in them, why log in anymore?