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May 13, 2008

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John Troyer

But the "non-social" enterprise software vendors also have to play ball and use open standards to integrate. When both sides agree to use LDAP, being a people overlay is easier. If every document has a canonical unique URL, then integration, at least at the widget level, becomes easier. If both sides both produce and accept RSS, well, you get the picture. Social (web 2.0) software likes lightweight integration. Otherwise we're back to EAI and middleware work again.

Target market

Overall the interview was fantastic; I learned many skills and facts that I need for the future.

Chuck Hollis

Agreed!

Chuck Hollis

A bit more on John's comment.

After thinking about it more, I guess what I'm saying is I don't want a push-pull replication model, for example, social software sucks the content of an LDAP database into its own world, and then tries to push any modifications back to LDAP.

Yuck.

Better that social software has no construct of LDAP contents other than what it can access in near-real-time (caching is OK).

I think there's a difference.

Mike Walsh

Chuck,

Great post. I agree with the social layer concept. In your opinion, will the companies that you describe within your post work with SaaS to provide this social layer or will everything need to be behind the firewall?

Chuck Hollis

I think that's an orthogonal discussion.

SaaS has to do with how the value is delivered: as a product, or as a service.

From a pure technical perspective, there's no reason why the different components couldn't be traditional, SaaS or some mixture.

But that creates complexity. Some (smaller) companies will inevitably drift towards SaaS for their core applications -- we can already see that happening today. And, of course, they'll want a social layer to go with that.

Other (larger) companies won't be using SaaS for core things like HR, LDAP, etc. so the opposite will be true.

Rich

Ideally - this should be a layer, but it can be freestanding as well. Minimally you can just have ldap integration for membership. The reason I say it can be freestanding depends on what the business context is and your understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. "connecting people" is a very broad theme. What specific problem are you solving and for whom? Have you adequately defined and analyzed that problem? After reading this entire blog, I'm not 100% convinced. It seems like you've been on this journey of discovery here and it's interesting -- but I'm wondering if you should be diving deep into the world of the sales force to truly understand some of the pain and problems they might face. For example, where do the social problems actually lie in sales, can you do some social network analysis to determine where knowledge lies, who are the goto resources, how sales communicates today and with whom? etc...

Having been someone "in the field" working with customers and also having been a goto resource for knowledge -- the biggest problem is product knowledge (what it can/can't do and what the expected behavior should be programmatically). Most of that knowledge is in a developers head or exists in a front line support person who deals with problems everyday. Other issues include finding the right resource who can help a client during a pilot or troubleshoot a production problem. Or it's in product management who can help with features and product direction. Ideally you need access to product management, engineering, support, etc... And you need it accessible remotely.


Doing the right analysis might actually reveal that 20% of people in the entire company might actually have all the knowledge and implementing a community might not do too much if they are not contributing -- or if a few of those key resources decide to leave the company.

I'd step back and rethink your ROI and relook at "how are we working and communicating and socializing today?" and map that out. Then say "how should it work ideally given the current tools out there"? How does Jive truly address those problems? That is approach is what Facebook does so well (at least in my opinion) -- they say "how do I socialize with my friends in real life today" and how does that translate to the online world and how does it fit my lifestyle?

Chuck Hollis

Best of luck on the brand-new consulting gig, Rich.

social software blog

Nice Trend... Very informative and so resourceful.

HR Software

Social software is going to be increased dramatically in 2009 - but you WILL NEED Experience - don't expect to come in an dominate a market, it just doesn't happen like thiat.

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