Technologists, analysts and pundits love to talk about revolutionary changes within enterprise technology. New features, new technologies, and new ways of doing old things makes great news — and the bigger the leap in technology, the bigger the news cycle. That’s why you generally see the same news cycle around major platform updates, such as SharePoint 2016, in which the early news focuses on describing exciting new features, but often provide little detail about how these things will actually work. Later in the cycle, maybe 6 to 12 months following general availability, the content evolves to focus more on use cases and deployment issues. While we love to focus on the new, such as the latest social collaboration capabilities, the reality is that much of what we actually see within these platforms is incremental value, building upon prior successes to deliver solutions that are usually more stable and deliver on earlier marketing promises.
While there have been many revolutionary advances in the social collaboration category (with Beezy leading the charge!), many of these advances have been incremental and evolutionary improvements, building on past successes and growing expectations from end users. Granted, most enterprises have not been paying attention to the incremental changes. It usually takes something grand — like a major Microsoft acquisition, or major news from a SharePoint competitor — to grab people’s attention. The problem is that all of the fanfare and attention around this “big news” tends to shadow what is actually happening with the underlying technology. These incremental changes — the small but constant shifts in the layers of the social collaboration “fabric” — are what help you identify where things are really headed, and where your business should be focusing if you want to take advantage of them and develop your own competitive advantage.
And often, these incremental and evolutionary steps can actually hide the revolutionary change underneath.
Identifying the Next Layers of Social
What you have at the foundation of any social platform is a massive amount of data — some of it attached, associated with, in context of content within your environment, but much of it floating free, attached only to your profile (maybe) and other strings of data. Social collaboration thrives in an unstructured data world, helping individuals to achieve what no advance in artificial intelligence or machine learning can accomplish: connect people to disparate content and ideas that do not seem to have any discernible connection. The human mind is an amazing thing. A machine can connect points of data based on complex patterns, but the human mind can make connections that do not exhibit any pattern, based on history and experience and “gut feel.”
Creating social connections between people and content is just half of the social equation — you also need to do something with the data created from those connections.
My vision of the future of social computing is one of deeper analytical capability, business intelligence solutions that generate, read, and take action on the data created. The future of productivity is a socially connected web of structured and unstructured data that interprets the patterns we generate, and quickly learns from and takes action on the actions we take outside of these perceivable patterns.
Making Social a Competitive Advantage
The future of social is the future of Big Data, mixing much more complex automated or machine-based data capture, blended with the rich, user-driven context and metadata that cannot be duplicated by machine, to enable organizations to more deeply understand, and provide products and services for, their customers. Platforms should not limit your ability to take action against the data they generate, but should ensure that all data is accessible, consumable, and social.
What can you do today? Similar to the Big Data problem that most companies are pondering today, we don’t yet fully understand what we may do with this data in the future, so we better store everything we can today. For organizations, this means tracking versioning, capture trending data, create connections through social interactions, comments, and sharing as a way of generating more rich metadata and content around your experiences.
At Beezy, there’s a reason why we build our social collaboration solutions on top of SharePoint: we believe it provides the most robust and mature collaboration platform on the market today, and allows us to extend and enhances its core capabilities for our customers. We believe the next layer of social collaboration is about creating flexible, powerful user experiences that leverage SharePoint’s core capabilities. Every document uploaded, every comment shared, every threaded discussion, blog, or wiki created inside of Beezy lives inside of SharePoint, and not inside of yet another data silo.
The future of enterprise social collaboration will be an incremental change in how we connect and consume this data. With SharePoint and Beezy, companies have the ability to leverage the evolutionary strengths of the leading collaboration platform, SharePoint — as well as the revolutionary social collaboration features of Beezy. If you have not yet seen a demo of Beezy, contact us today.