Many companies are looking into social tools for their internal
organization. Lots of others just select what related companies have
chosen. Hoping this is the right choice.
As with selecting content management systems, many struggle to select a
social platform. There are so many tools out there and they all say they
can help you support internal networks. How to choose the right one? Is
there a right one? Does the success of a tool elsewhere mean it will
also be successful in the company you work for?
The Social Now conference
in Porto (June 26-27), organized by Knowman
addressed these questions. And it did so in a unique way. Basically the
idea was to have social tool vendors present based on a concrete
company case that wanted to move forward in knowledge sharing, idea
management and collaborative project work. The vendors were asked to
share their approach in 20 minutes and then an expert panel helped the
company ask the right questions to the vendors. Many brave vendors
, Microsoft Sharepoint
, SocialIBIS, Oobian
, and Spreadd
Also, several expert talks were given:
about how social concepts and tools can improve knowledge workAna Neves
(also conference organizer) gave two talks: one about selecting social tools and the other about adoption techniquesHugo Magalhães
helped the audience decide whether to go for Saas or not Joaquín Peña
shared the insights from the Spanish Enterprise 2.0 conferenceLee Bryant
closed the converence with a talk about the social organization.
I think the conference was truly
unique and successfully helped the audience gain more perspective in the
social tool landscape. There was lots of discussion during the
conference in which participants shared their situations and tools they
are of have tried. Furthermore the vendors were open about what they are
good and less good at and also answered the hard questions in
What struck me during several
presentations was the fact that many vendors address the process-side of
work and how their social tools relate and connect processes to
networks and vice versa. I think this underlines the fact that the
social tool market is maturing. And this approach clearly helped the
audience with their adoption questions, because most organizations spend
lots of improving processes. Social tools are more than fun, they help
get daily work done and improve the overall business.
Another interesting insight is
that Oracle (with Webcenter) and Citrix (with Podio) are taking on
Google, Microsoft and IBM. Both are extending their current, more
traditional offerings with social tools.
A final insight: innovation happens at the edges. John Hagel and Seely Brown stress this in The Power of Pull
The Social Now conference proved this to be true. The smaller vendors
all had much more innovative approaches to the social space. Take Podio
with which users can build their own widgets to get the information or
application they need to do their work. Or Spreadd that connects all
kinds of tools to a public stream trying to automate as much narration
as possible. Or Oobian that semantically analyzes content and
connections to provide insights over huge amounts of data. And
SocialIBIS that converts your stream for text to speech so you can
listen to the stream while on the move. Or Zyncro that translates stream
updates in the language you understand. Just to list some of the
features of these platforms!
I was curious if this new way to
set up a conference would work. I think it did. Most conference are
focused on business or IT. This conference took a more integral
approach. The conference was well-structured, an impressive list of
vendors presented, there was lots of discussion going on during, before
and after the program. I really enjoyed it.
What do you think of the concept of this conference? How could this conference be even better?
And are you in the process of selecting a social tool? What’s your approach?
All the tweets and other posts about the conference can be found here