Forbes on “Completing the Social Business Transformation” has just run a piece that is a must-read for anyone contemplating how social technologies should be used in the enterprise. “Completing the Social Business Transformation: A Manifesto,” by Dan Woods, is a clear-headed reminder that we are still at the tip of the iceberg in realizing the value of social business technology – and that most enterprise social tools are woefully immature from a business value perspective.

“It is possible,” he writes of Jive, Chatter, Yammer, etc., “to see these suites as the end of the road, as the culmination of a set of capabilities into a product category that will last for 30 or 40 years like ERP or CRM. I reject that view and instead assert that the culmination of Social Business will instead be a new paradigm that changes how knowledge is captured, how processes are designed, how applications are created, and how work gets done.” (emphasis added).

Appian knows what to call that new paradigm: worksocial. We are the only vendor that is delivering it today.

Dan writes that Social Business will reach its zenith when a number of elements combine. I’m paraphrasing, but those elements are:

  • BPM engine (both for caputuring how social activity is transforming processes and for rapid model-driven development of solution interations)
  • Social framework for collaboration and knowledge capture
  • Integration with read/write access to a broad range of existing enterprise applications
  • Constant connectivity through native mobile apps

He uses a great metaphor in describing the “so what?” of this convergence:

“So instead of one environment for work and one for social business,” he writes, “in the world I am imagining applications will be more like the heads-up display in a first person shooter video game.”

That display will serve up constantly updated data about the business issues you care about, directly from the systems of record. It will enable both directed and open collaboration around key events, and the ability to take business action directly from the same interface. As if that weren’t enough, Dan sees myriad other business benefits:

  • You will be able to monitor the activity of others and subscribe to be notified about events.
  • You will be able to reshape and extend the environment, adding new knowledge or descriptions of structured or partially structured process.
  • You will be able to see an audit trail of what is happening in different arenas.
  • You will be able to draw on the collective intelligence of the enterprise to make the most effective decisions.

This last point about collective intelligence is, in my opinion, perhaps the most important aspect of worksocial and what Social Business needs to be. The best business outcomes happen when all people who have insight or experience to contribute swarm around a moment of decision. They must collaborate quickly. They must be armed with easy access to the right data. They need access to processes and systems in order to execute activity. They need this all in one place, in an easily-consumable way, wherever they are. They need worksocial.

Learn how Appian’s worksocial makes Social Business mean real business value.

Ben Farrell

Director of Corporate Communications