Three Areas I’d Like To See Improved In Social Business Software

November 20 2012 04:00:00 PM Comments Disabled
I spend a great deal of time advising software vendors ranging from stealth startups to the world's largest enterprise software companies. While I am optimistic about many of the innovations I see coming, I'm also troubled by some of the recurring themes.

The slides embedded below are from the presentation I gave at the excellent Defrag 2012 conference. They highlight three of the areas I would like to see software vendors improve upon.  It's a bit hard to follow without me narrating, but here are the general themes:

1. Activity Streams have great potential, but they need to become much more manageable.
Slides 3-8 highlight some of the issues with just throwing everything into the stream. Slides 9-13 cover some of the ways to reduce the clutter and enable people to focus on the information relevant and/or important to them. The methods range from better manual filters (which few people use) to automated filtering of streams based on the context of what you're working on.

2. People are ego-centric, tools should provide a way for them to focus on content from their point of view.
With all the hype around social, community and sharing... many vendors have strayed away from making it easy for people to find their own content. Files they created. Comments they made. Tasks they have to do.  Slides 14-17 talk about making it easier for people to work in a a "me" centric manner, or what I call 'Don't forget the Me in social media."

3. Analytics should focus on helping make decisions, not just show pretty pictures.
The point I make during slides 18-19 is that many vendors use analytics as eye candy. They show splashy graphs, leader boards and top ten lists. The problem is, that type of information rarely helps people get their jobs done. The next generation of analytics needs to provide more contextual relevance, helping people access the content, colleagues and communities that can help them make decisions faster and more accurately.

What areas would you like to see improved in the tools you use at your job?