Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Internal goes Social - It's ok to have fun at work!

This is a translation of an article in Computer Sweden by Marcus Jerräng. The original article (Swedish) can be found on

After the breakthrough of Facebook and Twitter, social media functions are quickly entering core systems in companies. Within a couple of years there will be social activity streams in half of all major companies.

It has been discussed for a long time but in the last few months several major system manufacturers have rolled out Facebook or Twitter like functions in their business solutions. IBM has Lotus Connections, Cisco has Quad, Salesforce has Chatter, and in Sweden Projectplace has just incorporated more social functions in their project collaboration tool.

The trend is strong and the reason is obvious: the enormous breakthrough of a specific social system.

-It's all happening quickly now and companies are quick to adapt. It must be because of Facebook, there is a familiarity with the new functions now, says Mattias Hällström, founder of and development manager at Projectplace.

Mattias Hällström still maintains that it took longer than he thought for social functions to penetrate the business place.

When Projectplace introduced pictures for all users, about five to six years ago, it was provocative for some users. But with Facebook people have got used to transparency.
-Now people are used to public conversations, says Mattias Hällström.

Business use of internal social functions is steadily on the increase. At least according to analytics company Gartner who predict that most companies will build internal social networks and/or allow business use of employees' personal accounts on other social networks.

More the half of major businesses will use activity steams à la Twitter by 2012, predicts Gartner. But service providers like American Yammer, who has specialised in a Twitter-like service for businesses, are in for a tough ride. Nine out of ten companies will have the function build into existing communications platforms, believes Gartner.

The prediction is that social network services in some companies will be the central communication solution - in these cases replacing email.

In four years, 20 per cent of business users will have replaced email with social networks as the primary form of communication, according to Gartner. At the same time we see that email systems get more social functions and social solutions increasingly get better support for email.

Still, Gartner warns that company IT departments are used to delivering technical systems, like email or conferencing systems, rather than social services that are targeted at specific business advantages.

The shift from platform to service provider will mean that as much as 70 per cent of the IT driven initiatives in social media will fail in the next three years. Projects have a greater chance of success if they are driven by business needs.

Mattias Hällström from Projectplace believes that one of the main advantages of the new tools is that they add a human dimension to work. Social is simply more fun. 

-Suddenly it's ok to have a good time at work, Mattias concludes.

Read more about the Projectplace Way and Social Project Management

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