Less than a year after Facebook went public the backlash is in full force. That doesn’t mean social is going away. For the business world, it’s just getting started. Of course there’s a huge difference between consumers using public social sites and companies intent on using the power of social to collaborate better with employees and partners. The operative word here is intent. I recently caught up with Sameer Patel, General Manager of SAP Enterprise Social Software, who told me why companies aren’t lining up to become social enterprises. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation. The entire interview can be found here.
“The Facebook concept works in the public forum because there is intent behind each post. In the business world you need intent, but it comes from business process applications, data and analytics, content and documents, and connecting people. Social has to be considered a means to a defined, productive business end. Social has to show up when and where I need it most. It has to make a difference. It can’t be in siloes, and has to be seamless across all applications. That’s what make social relevant to the core business problems the company is trying to solve.”
Essentially, SAP has turned social on its head. That’s because activities like new hire onboarding, invoice approvals, budgeting, callcenters, and sales require a different approach. Islands of collaboration don’t cut it. Social software has to provide capabilities directly connected to the processes people use. Or they simply won’t use it.
That’s emphatically NOT the case with SAP’s social solutions. SAP Jam is a great example of translating the value of social to the business environment. This collaborative platform is integrated with SAP applications, targeting areas where collaboration adds the most value: CRM on-premise and on-demand, learning management, and finance on-demand.
Sameer tells me that SAP has already sold 2 million seats of its learning management solution. SAP JAM is integrated with SuccessFactors Learning, as part of the BizX Suite. Directly from the learning application, employees can create, share, and find all kinds of content, including videos, from the experts they need to do their jobs, even on their mobile devices.
It only makes sense. Human Resources doesn’t need a social business objective. They have to find and onboard top talent fast. Sales doesn’t want to become a social enterprise. They want to make their numbers. The list goes on and the lesson is clear. Social has to be embedded in the business applications people rely on daily. That requires deep domain and industry process expertise on top of an integrated platform that includes collaboration. It’s not about the social enterprise. This is about the serious fun of running a successful business.