Social software for the enterprise and “edge in” adoption

I have said before that I think adoption of social software by the enterprise will be edge in.

the more I think about it, the more sure I am that this will be the model.  Imposition from the centre won’t happen much because:

  • Even if they see the value CIOs will resist the loss of control
  • Cultural change is necessary to get the best out of social software – you can’t force that through software implementation, companies need to empower their people to take decisions and let a culture of collaboration emerge

And collaboration is what we are talking about – through wikis, blogs, social bookmarking and other messaging tools.

For edge in adoption to work it will help if services are:

  • value add for single users in an enterprise and then add more value when colleagues are invited (in the same way that it helps if consumer internet services offer personal value as well as social value if they are to get off the ground – the del.icou.us lesson)
  • Fully hosted – even a toolbar download can be impossible for employees of large corporations – particularly banks
  • Free to sample and cheap for small numbers of users
  • Quick and easy to get started with

37signals is doing this awesomely with their simple collaboration apps.

Similarly I have been playing with Socialtext recently.  I set up a free trial and used their wiki to organise my thoughts on a deal and now I am using it to collaborate with lawyers and the company.  It added value for me as a single user as a workspace, is fully hosted and I was able to get started v. quickly (initially using it as a place to capture due diligence questions and thoughts on the deal).  I haven’t started paying anything yet though…..

  • Mat

    Nic. Just catching up on your posts and saw this one. Great ideas on the overlap between consumer and enterprise internet apps.

    I agree that the concept of “Outside In” adoption is likely to be the most successful. Enterprise IT has a vested interest in the status quo, but grassroots adoption of a new technology is one of the fastest ways to change that mindset – assuming that the new technology benefits the business as well as the individual.

    This is helping me clarify my own thinking about the best way to launch Approvr.

  • Mat

    Nic. Just catching up on your posts and saw this one. Great ideas on the overlap between consumer and enterprise internet apps.

    I agree that the concept of “Outside In” adoption is likely to be the most successful. Enterprise IT has a vested interest in the status quo, but grassroots adoption of a new technology is one of the fastest ways to change that mindset – assuming that the new technology benefits the business as well as the individual.

    This is helping me clarify my own thinking about the best way to launch Approvr.

  • Nic, good post and very relevant – I’m co-founder of a start-up using edge adoption. We’re getting to grips with issues on enterprise edge adoption for desktop apps and having to make the app dead easy to install; zero touch set up and auto-update; as well as being super easy to use.

  • Nic, good post and very relevant – I’m co-founder of a start-up using edge adoption. We’re getting to grips with issues on enterprise edge adoption for desktop apps and having to make the app dead easy to install; zero touch set up and auto-update; as well as being super easy to use.

  • Pingback: The consumerisation of enterprise software « « The Equity KickerThe Equity Kicker()

  • Pingback: Enterprise software companies poised to grow more quickly than ever before « « The Equity KickerThe Equity Kicker()