How to position social business software with other enterprise apps

May 10th, 2010 by Gia Lyons Leave a reply »

I routinely assist clients in positioning the use of social business software (SBS) with their other enterprise communication, collaboration, and networking applications and activities. This laundry list usually includes things like:

  • content management systems,
  • team sites,
  • the company intranet, and
  • the employee directory.

I’ve lost count of how many have asked for a Jive SBS vs. SharePoint “best use” comparison chart, for example.

But, more often, SBS systems “compete” with what goes on in:

  • email,
  • instant messaging,
  • conference calls, and
  • face-to-face meetings.

As my friend Roy Wilsker puts it, SBS addresses all the messy collaboration that goes on before some thing becomes a Something.

Or something like that.

So, I ask you to check out this diagram. The intent is to help folks figure out how to use SBS systems most optimally, and in the most complementary fashion with all the other stuff they use. Please, look beyond my obvious lack of graphical artistic talent (I clearly love Skittles), and tell me what’s missing, what’s confusing, what you like, whatever’s on your mind.



  1. Not sure if it fits but where is the water-cooler accidental meet-up? If it’s included in F2F Mtgs then the SBS equivalent might be to start a discussion thread or add a comment to an existing one, or to send a link to the person you bumped into.

    Depends if you are the info seeker or the info giver at the water-cooler.

    Wasnt this always Lotus Insts’ best example of ‘as-is’ collab?

    • Gia Lyons says:

      Ah, good point John. Intentional F2F versus ad hoc/serendipitous F2F. There’s definitely a difference.

  2. John Woodworth says:

    I would add social bookmarking. Before SBS, people were passing along links or attachments in e-mail, or they were saving their ‘favorites’ in personal link-lists. Social bookmarking allows people to post pathways to important things. Bookmarks save time and encourage a little knowledge sharing.

    If SBS is a piazza, remember the number ONE activity in a piazza is people-watching. People are always checking out each other’s clothes, what they are wearing… what books they are reading and what newspapers they bought at the stand. Social bookmarks are the Hermes scarves of SBS; thought leaders’ bookmarks attract attention of other people.

  3. Jim Vasconcellos says:

    What about calendaring & scheduling, and CRM? For C&S I can see automatic updates to the SBS (with user approvals). And CRM could be linked to with a logic engine to match opportunities with developing discussions.

  4. Gia Lyons says:

    John, good point. I view social bookmarking as a feature of SBS. Maybe I should list the most typical features?

    Jim, I definitely see C&A being added, but I would argue that people don’t actually collaborate or network in CRM (although that may have been the original intent of the solution). I’m trying to stay away from applications that are inherently not designed for collaboration and networking. Nobody has ever confused SBS with CRM. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. John Tropea says:

    This is a good post Gia.

    The social platform most certainly aims to take the market share from IM and email.

    It’s often about the conversations, the work in progress, the workings out that went into that document.

    Not only can you understand the know-how, but the know-why. You can now see all those mini-decisions that went into a document that the document doesn’t tell you, as it’s not the job of the document to tell you all this otherwise it would be as thick as the bible.

    We don’t want to upload all emails in the DMS at the end of the task, instead we want to use micro-blogging, blogging, forums during the task, that way they are uploaded as it happens.

    The real beauty is that conversations are then open to diverse input…more cooperation as more people are aware (within and with other teams)

    Anyway, I always wonder why platforms like SBS are not the Intranet itself eg. Thoughtfarmer

    We have communities at work and social networks are coming. But there is also an Intranet re-design project happening…what if they get a social Intranet with group spaces and networks…what then.

    My thoughts

  6. Gia Lyons says:

    John, well said. I’m going to blog my response, because it got way too long for a comment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Avery Nelson says:

    I am kind of new to social bookmarking but social bookmarks presents great resource when doing research.-.;