Observe consumers buying, searching, looking for opinions. Then watch sales personnel, marketing folks, and customer service agents, delivery and logistics workers. They are highly social. They are looking for advice from others who have ‘been there and done/tried that.’ Now look at the productivity software that they use. iPhones, iPads, Google, Bing (hey – it is happening), Kayak, Yelp!, facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are big. Videos are big, whether HowCast or YouTube or just linked to Carrefour or METRO or The Home Depot or Lowe’s or H&M.
Now go inside of the enterprise and check out the state of the art business applications from the largest software companies. How social are these apps? How much real-time decision support is there? I mean without integrations with other stuff like OpenText or Jive or Bazaarvoice or Teradata or a bevy of other bolt-ons. Most clients would say that the native business applications from the big software houses that consume most of their discretionary budget are not innovating quickly enough.
That is why I mentioned the Struldbrugs. For those of you who have forgotten Ninth Grade English Literature (or World Lit is you are from Asia, Africa, maybe), the Struldbrugs were the immortals of Glubbdubdrib island in Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels. But not immortals eternally innovating, but immortals eternally consigned to aging and infirmity. Not Cullens’ by any stretch. (forgive me if I got some of the story line jumbled here – it was a…… a long time ago!)
There are many positive signs of change a-comin’ in the pace of change from the likes of Microsoft with the Outlook Social Connector and many other advances in Redmond. It is not for a lack of playing catch-up. But what clients are frustrated with is the eternal position of looking outside of their biggest partners for innovative ideas. Right now, “All Things Social” is the undertaking of the moment for most organizations. That might be tapping the collective, or fostering collaboration, or sparking customer engagement.
It’s time for the large enterprise software houses to step up aquisitions in the social software space, and to invest more in developing innovative products and broadcasting their thought leadership. This final point is important. Once inside of the right department at these companies, should you succeed, you will hear and see terrific ideas bubbling away and products being readied for market. It is just taking too long for them to reach the user audience.
Give your favorite large enterprise application vendor a poke and let them know you are waiting, impatiently. In the meantime, don’t be afraid of entanglements with the smaller and more nimble innovators in collaboration and Social CRM.