Monday’s Musings: 10 Essential Elements For Social Enterprise Apps

Published on August 24, 2009 by R "Ray" Wang

Convergent trends fuel the push for new business solutions and platforms

The future of enterprise software is evolving from web-based apps, business process platforms, and service-enabled products; to a new class of more connected, social, and collaborative business software solutions.  This transformation comes from advances in the Web 2.0 world and a growing realization that business solutions must reflect how people actually perform work.  These trends point to a convergence and expansion of 10 mega themes:

  1. Evolution versus revolution
  2. Top down versus bottom up
  3. Reactive versus proactive
  4. Transactional versus behavioral
  5. Strategic versus tactical
  6. Horizontal versus vertical
  7. Individual versus community
  8. Company versus customer
  9. B2B versus B2C
  10. Data generation versus data analysis

Future business solutions and platforms will expand beyond Enterprise 2.0 and the knowledge worker

After much digestion of what’s happening in the various Enterprise 2.0 models, (e.g. Dion Hinchcliffe’s FLATNESSES mnemonic) and studying the Social CRM market, (e.g. CRM Magazine’s June 2009Social Media Maturity Model”), what’s next for business solutions or enterprise apps appears to be something bigger than usability, collaboration, social media, mobility, and technologies for the knowledge worker.  Enterprise 2.0. as defined by Andrew McAfee in his April 2006 MIT Sloan Management Review, touches on a world of emergent, free-form, collaboration that bring such Web 2.0 tools to the enterprise.  This definition provides a solid basis for building on key concepts in this emerging class of software solutions and platforms.  In fact, this new category moves beyond today’s Enterprise 2.0 definition and most certainly beyond the three letter acronym world of ERP, CRM, HCM, PBS, SCM, etc.

Ten elements define this next generation of enterprise business software solutions

Recent conversations with software vendors, industry luminaries, and customers highlight 10 elements required for future solutions (see Figure 1.).  These elements include dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness across 10 elements:

  1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models.
  2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed.
  3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time
  4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions.
  5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process.
  6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making.
  7. Engaging for all stakeholders. Software that opens up the system to new types of users, collaborators, networks, and communities.
  8. Pervasive & natural collaboration. Software that embeds knowledge worker skills into existing work flows.
  9. Self-learning & self-aware. Software that tracks preferences and identifies patterns for future correlation.
  10. Secure & safe. Software that meets security and disaster recovery thresholds.

Figure 1. 10 Elements Of Social Enterprise Business Solutions and Platforms

Source: Software Insider’s Point of View – 10 Elements Of Social Enterprise Business Solutions and Platforms
The Bottom Line – customers ready to transition must align with the right hierarchy of needs and design an apps strategy

Many surveys and studies about software budgets show that organizations devote 2/3’s to keeping the lights on and 1/3 to new projects and innovation.  In order to pave way for these new connected, social, and collaborative business software solutions, clients will have to fund these investments via apps strategies that deliver efficiency and massive reduction of costs.  These strategies will require a focus on business process optimization, technology strategies, and ecosystem leverage.  Form must follow function.

Your POV.

What elements are missing from the 10 for Social Enterprise Apps?  Do we have the right name for these solutions?  If not, what category of software should we be calling this?  Need assistance in crafting your future apps road map and strategy? Please post your comments here or send me a private email to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwareinsider dot org.

Copyright © 2009 R Wang. All rights reserved.

  • “Self-learning & self-aware. Software that tracks preferences and identifies patterns for future correlation.” That certainly gave me a lot to chew on. This is a feature similar to AI, I would like to presume. While I’ve only noticed this type of “self-aware” computing in MS Office of late, I find that the function could get a little too creepy at times. Though I do expect that this is, indeed the future of computing, I can’t help feeling a little apprehension mixed in with my excitement at what the future holds for Tech.

    Nevertheless, great points on projecting the standard for the future!

  • […] Ten elements drive key design points for next generation apps.  These design points showcase how advancements in consumer tech now permeate the enterprise.  Design thinking concepts drive dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness.  Based on existing research, deep dives into major vendor road maps, and validation with clients, five pillars of consumer tech have emerged as the foundation for future inspiration in the enterprise (see Figure 1): […]

  • Great point. We’ll have to rationalize best of breed and suite again in the next cycle, especially with all these aggregation solutions. Let’s see if onDemand delivery simplifies or complicates things. What do you think?

  • Steve, thanks for your comments. We look forward to reviewing your product later in the year as we begin evaluating vendors in this space. In the meantime, keep us posted!

  • Ray,

    Excellent article delineating a path and a requirement set for the future. Unknowingly, we have built an application that matches your succinct model…unknowingly because we didn’t know your model existed and of course our application has taken the better part of 7+ years to conceptualize, market test, design, apply for IP, and develop. If your 10 elements of the next generation enterprise software was a quiz, we would get 8 of them correct right out of the box. On number 6 we might get partial credit and, I’m sorry, number 9 wasn’t in the course work at all (sorry, the recent start of school must be bringing back pop quiz nightmares).

    We set out to solve the intractable problem of ERP or BoB, which also manifests itself in homegrown applications as well: Integration Risk is a killer. Existing business systems choke the business they are supposed to help: modifying them, integrating them or replacing them verge on suicidal. CIO.com recently reported that there is only a 7% probability of success (on time/on budget)…with odds like that its a wonder any company even considers attempting the maneuver. And even then, after months and months of time and perhaps millions and millions invested what do you get? An even more rigid, support intensive application that sits on your chest and throat. But given those were the only options available to them and that the pain was finally too great to ignore they were compelled to action despite their own experience and the IT landscape littered with failed projects.

    Enterprise Add-On (EAO), our patent-pending software, is a direct answer to elements 1 – 4, 7, 8 &10…#5 we answer with our Benchmark Tool that simplifies the ability to measure that part of business that has the biggest impact on the only two metrics that matter: Top Line and Bottom Line growth. Partial credit for #6 is found in EAO with its ability to extend available information and push that data to one or more destinations using various protocols, including a simple email. As I said before, we have not yet developed a self-learning version of the application but you’ve got us thinking about that now.

    EAO “freezes” the existing systems; advocating neither modification, integration or replacement of these investments. Instead, we strongly advocate that our customers protect their investment in their existing systems, regardless of age or sophistication. If your existing applications are 3 years old and already don’t meet your current business objectives, don’t throw them out or go back to the vendor or SI to modify it….its stable enough to run your business today and you don’t want to go through that mess again. If your applications are homegrown (HG) and 25 years old, why throw out what works?

    Freezing these systems protects not only the investments already made but it also retains their command and control of your business and reduces the 2/3 of the IT budget spent on the feed and caring of these systems. EAO was built to take care of the technology, data and process limitations of these systems and eliminate the operational and budget disruption required to accommodate new business requirements that fall outside the existing systems boundaries. Companies can systemically address productivity, accuracy and quality initiatives that retain existing customers, create new markets and improve profitability. No longer do you have to eat the entire elephant in one sitting, instead focusing innovation in the areas of your business that offer the greatest opportunity for reward. EAO scales down to a single operation in a single facility for a single user; allowing the measurement of value in as little as one week before deciding if a full scale investment and roll out to the entire operation is justified (our Benchmark Tool even identifies the low hanging fruit).

    So we are in full support of your defined vision for the next generation of enterprise applications. We are pleased to see such validation of our own efforts and to get a pop quiz presented to us that we were actually prepared to take.

  • Excellent article – I think that those 10 attributes for the next generation of enterprise apps are spot on. The one element I might be “Convergent vs. Point Solutions.” I’ve seen many senior executives that seemingly get lost in the numerous “dashboards” that supply information about the business. They have the sale funnel dashboards (salesforce.com), the BI dashboards (SAP), the process flow dashboards (Cordys, Appian, etc), the project dashboards (too numerous to mention), and so on. The overload of disparate information sources is resulting in executives who give up and have staff generate convergent reports sourced from the various sea of sources. I see the next-generation of apps as providing some relief to this problem by either performing functions previously handled by multiple systems or possibly by aggregating data from the point solutions and presenting a single, integrated view to the management team.

  • […] 10 Essential Elements For Social Enterprise Apps Recent conversations with software vendors, industry luminaries, and customers highlight 10 elements required for future solutions (see Figure 1.). These elements include dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness across 10 elements: 1. Role-based design. Software designed around how users perform work including applicable security models. 2. Consistent experience across channels & deployment options. Software that is agnostic to where or how that software is deployed and accessed. 3. Contextual & relevant delivery of information. Software which understands what information to provide users at a point in time 4. Configurable & adaptive. Software that can be modified to meet changing conditions. 5. Outcome-focused & results-oriented. Software that tracks key metrics across an end to end process. 6. Proactive, predictive, & actionable. Software that anticipates requests and supports decision making. 7. Engaging for all stakeholder […]

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