Social Business Software Technology Update – A Collaborative Evolution

In the past two weeks four key players in the fast growing social software technology market brought their visions of the connected enterprise to Switzerland.

IBM organized its local Connect event at Trafo Baden by “Energizing Life’s Work” with their Collaborative Software ConnectionsThe WorldWebForum from Beecom invited Atlassian giving an insight on how the Confluence Collaborative Wiki is used to grow fast. Google outlined how GPlus is filling up the gap from the project end of Wave. And Microsoft outlined in their event The Power of Working Social the ‘Way to an agile Enterprise’ showcasing Yammer.

On the way to unified collaboration
The players – all included in the Gartner market assessment (picture courtesy of Jive Software) – are working hard to integrate their Email/Groupware-Applications, Messenger (Chat/Video), Office-Software, Project Management, CRM/Ticketing-Systems, Content Management, Q&A-Expert-Systems, Document/Intranet Management Platforms and Social Networking Solutions to provide one unified collaborative platform.

The End and Re-Birth of Email
Beside that, all the players are heavily investing in their mobile application strategies and are fast catching up with the ease of use known from consumer-facing software. It was interesting to learn, that Confluence added a Quora-like feature in its platform to provide a “human” question and answer systems. With IBM the Connections-Feed will move to the Notes Email-Applications, where you can access social tools directly from your inbox.

Next Generation Discovery and Search Applications
The year 2014 seems to become a turning point in the social collaboration evolution. Google is tweaking their activity stream by filtering out information that does not fit into the current context. And plans to reveal the ‘missed’ updates at the time and place they predict you are in the social mood for, through the (voice enabled) search engine interface.
A glimpse on how the technology will help the workforce, was unveiled by Microsoft with their ‘Next Generation Discovery and Search Application’ with Code Name “OSLO” that gathers information from all collaborative product lines to provide the knowledge worker with context relevant business information trough the ‘Office Graph’:

The 3rd Generation of Computing
Even a step further is IBM leading the way with the Watson foundation using big (unstructured) data and analytics to give answers to questions through natural language processing.  IBM will release its supercomputer power for public use this year – ready to revolutionize also your industry.

If you would like to hands-on test the solutions: IBM offers a cloud version of Connections here, Microsoft’s Yammer can be accessed here and Atlassian Confluence here. And Google Plus here.

The Social Employee
With these tools a new kind of employee is developing: the Social Employee, that not only will change the way on how brands communicate themselves on the market and media place trough behavioral branding, but will account for a new approach on how corporate strategies are defined, corporate values are found, customers are served and business challenges are solved in an agile way.
After a very nice slide from PWC Switzerland: The ‘Digital Natives’ will represent the majority of the swiss population by 2019. Provident CIOs should prepare for this trend carefully to provide a future ready social collaboration infrastructure to stay an attractive employer for the ‘millennials’ joining the workforce.

On how these technology developments towards the ‘semantic web’ are adding additional layers of opportunities by transforming the way an organization is guided and how human capital insights can be used to keep & find talents and to predict an organizations ability to innovate, is  pointed out here.

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