Enterprise Social Software: Conflicting Opinions

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bubble-370270_640Recently, an article in PC World magazine argued that there has been a lag in the level of user adoption and engagement for Enterprise Social Software. The article notes that “in a great IT industry irony, enterprise social networking (ESN) software, designed to boost interaction and collaboration, is often ignored by users and ends up forgotten like the proverbial ghost town with rolling tumbleweeds.” This reported trend is surprising given that the author also notes that,  “spending on this type of software is expected to grow from US$4.77 billion this year to $8.14 billion in 2019, according to MarketsandMarkets.”

The article continues with further observations of this phenomenon, including a quote from a Gartner analyst who estimates “that between 70 percent and 80 percent of companies she talks to about their ESN deployments are struggling with it.”

Some easy explanations for this may be that employees are reluctant to have another “inbox” to check – email in the smart-phone era requires enough time and maintenance. The value may not be easily apparent, and employees may not see how the software helps them accomplish their day-to-day jobs.

Yet, here at IT Central Station we were surprised by these analyses, as many of our users have given us the opposite impression. In fact, one user in particular wrote a review for Salesforce Chatter and “busted” three traditional myths about Social Software usage, including “I’m swamped with email now I’ll be swamped with Chatter posts.” He says that in his experience “internal email significantly reduces when organisations start to use Chatter. Communication that would have taken place by email now takes place by Chatter.” Read the full Chatter review

In addition, another reviewer writes that, “It’s likely that once people start to use them, Enterprise Social Networks will take on a life of their own and new uses will be found for them. My feeling is that their use will continue to grow and you’ll begin to find them embedded in every organization that you visit.” Read the full Social Software review

Perhaps an explanation for the conflicting views can be found in a point that the article’s author makes – that there has to be a business goal behind the implementation of Social Software, as well as proper training. Additionally, “Organizations need to ensure that ESNs are woven deeply in to their core business processes in areas such as sales, marketing and engineering.”

Perhaps, without these important elements, the solutions are not as effective.

Find out what real users are saying about Enterprise Social Software solutions — check out IT Central Station’s reviews, including reviews of Yammer, Liferay, and Jive.


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