While many social media tools built for the enterprise offer little more than basic communications capabilities, the market is shifting toward more powerful tools that foster collaboration. According to a recent IDC study, the social software industry is maturing quickly and developing a wider breadth of service. This is contributing to solutions that can operate within and outside of the corporate firewall, expanding collaboration capabilities in the enterprise.
Changes in social technologies
Social solutions designed for business use are shifting away from simple chat tools and toward a more diverse range of functions. The news source explained that blogs, wikis, activity streams and other social solutions are emerging to engage workers operating within the firewall and in external settings. This can enable employees to collaborate more effectively and contribute to better operational results.
Vanessa Thompson, research manager for enterprise social networks and collaborative technologies at IDC, explained that enterprise social media usage cases are changing based on new technological capabilities.
"Over the past few years, the broader social business landscape has seen sweeping changes in use cases, adoption, technology and attitudes," said Thompson. "Along with the maturity of social as a customer and engagement channel, use cases have grown into some broad categories, namely customer experience, sales enablement, digital commerce, socialytics, innovation management and enterprise social networks."
Social software's future
Social solutions will become a natural part of enterprise operations over time. Thompson explained that the maturation of this market will make social systems so pervasive as a part of every application that they will no longer be considered their own market segment. Instead, social will have a hand in almost everything in the enterprise. With social media becoming an embedded part of operations, organizations will need to develop a foundation for integration.
Business process management software can provide the automation and integration systems needed to make embedded social media work in the enterprise. While IDC's vision for social software is looking toward the future, there are already ways to include social systems as a built-in part of enterprise systems. To support this, companies have to work to integrate data between cloud, social and mobile channels. Otherwise, the data can quickly overwhelm employees, especially if it is delivered without a proper context. BPM software provides the technological base for the embedded social enterprise.
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