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Is “social” really the best thing for enterprise software?

by Dave Hannon

November 8, 2010

By Dave Hannon

I’m not a software developer.  I’m a career business journalist who sees his job as asking the right questions at the right time. So I’ve got a question for the enterprise software market:

Are you sure—really sure—you should be building “social” features into our enterprise software systems?

I realize the worlds of consumer and business are blending in strange new ways lately. I’ve talked about the use of personal mobile devices in business. But bringing “social” features into enterprise software just feels wrong. Maybe I’m just getting all Betty White here, but when I think of “social” I tend not to think of increased productivity. And frankly, my concern is that it’s the software industry chasing the latest bell or whistle without really going to the business users to find out if and how they can leverage this functionality for improved business.

Now, social CRM is blazing the trail, building in more social aspects into CRM. And if there’s anywhere “social” make sense in the enterprise it’s in sales and marketing (I’d argue much more the marketing side than the sales side). And social CRM has been almost universally hailed as the best thing since Atari. But are the social aspects helping sell or just one more way to chase leads? It’s a real question—I’m not a salesperson haven't used social CRM.

So convert me: Someone post a comment with a REAL example of how social features within an enterprise application helped you do your job better than you could prior to social being in your enterprise system. Maybe I'll even write it up in the next blog post here. But mostly I want to see what others are seeing.

Or aren't.

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