Why do many collaboration projects fail? It’s not the software, and it’s not a lack of will to succeed. It’s not a question of following the wrong methodology, or an underdeveloped project plan. Collaboration projects largely fail because of a mandate to buy software and not considering how to use it. While a lot of collaboration software is cumbersome and poorly designed, it's the willingness of people to rely on these platforms to add value to how they get things done. And its not just about connecting to other people. The opportunity to connect with other systems will also help individuals and groups accelerate their productivity.
The value proposition of software is usually an argument about the number of features that are provided, and not about the number of different data types the software might support. Ultimately a platform that enables you to quickly connect different data types and augment this data in context to organizational business rules is more useful than a platform that has a raft of features that you’re unlikely to use. As traditional software in the enterprise has been developed for the IT buyer, where the adoption of a platform was mandated (what part did you play in deciding what HR, Payroll or Business Intelligence application your organization uses?), consider if these vendors were ever motivated to innovate the user experience for non-IT decision makers.
Enterprise Social Networks are opportunities to connect people with different data types through other people. Thanks to continuous innovation within the consumer space, one could suggest that Facebook with over a billion users, is the most successful software ever written. But Facebook wasn't mandated for use, rather millions of end users determined its value through the user interface experience and the simple tools it provides to stay connected and collaborate with others.
As organizations increasingly rely on the data they capture from their customers and the knowledge within their people, the application of this data and knowledge to remain competitive will require a collaborative network. As such organizations will increasingly find that Enterprise Social Networks are at the intersection of this data exchange and collaboration.