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The five evils of enterprise social

Matt Calkins, CEO, Appian | March 4, 2013
The history of enterprise collaboration technology is littered with abandoned platforms that were intended to "change everything." But many new social collaboration tools quickly end up on the shelf, collecting dust, unless there are compelling reasons to use it, and dramatic incentives for people to maintain it.

5. Enterprise social creates more silos. People put notes on the refrigerator because the fact that people have to eat makes it more likely notes will be seen and action will be taken. Enterprise social is like a note in a teenager's diary tucked under the bed upstairs - sure, the thought was recorded, but it's disconnected from the things people need to do each day.

After all the time, money and effort enterprises have spent trying to improve integration between people and systems through enterprise service buses, EDI, web services and APIs, enterprise social, in a way, is retrograde. There are already substantial silos in enterprises. There are silos within IT between business process management (BPM) and social media, and between other operational departments.

The solution is to marry the rigors of work automation with the reach and speed of social. We call this worksocial, and it delivers more than work automation or social ever could on their own.

For example, insurance claims outsourcer Crawford & Company has built a worksocial application called Crawford Community for catastrophe-related resource management. In a simple social interface and with a native-mobile app, it unites processes, rules, tasks, escalations and enterprise system data to do the real work of assigning adjusters, guiding them through inspections, completing forms and initiating claims.

Users see relevant events, collaborate and take action all in one social interface - regardless of the underlying systems of record involved. No more juggling screens and systems. When you can collaborate and execute in the same platform, in context, no matter where you are or what kind of device you're using, that's how silos are broken down. That's how work gets done.

Matthew Calkins has been Appian's CEO and Chairman of the Board since 1999. Prior to Appian, Mr. Calkins was an executive at MicroStrategy, a global leader in business intelligence software (he currently serves on the MicroStrategy Board of Directors). Mr. Calkins has been recognized as an Innovator and Influencer by InformationWeek, as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, as Executive of the Year by the American Business Awards, and as a top DC-area entrepreneur by Bisnow on Business.

 

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