IT in Canada sat down recently with Lubor Ptacek, VP, Strategic Marketing, OpenText, and Andrew Dixon, SVP, Sales and Marketing, Igloo Software, to get their predictions on workplace collaboration and social platforms in 2014.
1. Communication still about face time
As social media continues to develop, people will take advantage of new forms of messaging to enhance their communications.
“I believe there is going to be a shift toward adopting and embracing more visual types of communications, even in the enterprise,” said Ptacek. “We see it in the consumer space, where anything from 6-second videos like Vine to things like Snapchat seem to be very popular. I think that indicates that people do like to communicate visually, so we’ll probably see much greater emphasis on visual collaboration than just the textual one.”
Instead of text-based platforms, people will be able to interact with each other through quick videos and photos – like detailing, for example, how to install a product or quickly troubleshoot a problem.
2. Companies want the full package
Point solutions will disappear in favour of solutions that offer a suite of social tools.
“People don’t want just one tool,” said Dixon. “They want a whole suite of tools to help them engage in social media.”
In addition, no longer will the corporate intranet be a place where documents go to die. What was once a platform for one-way dissemination has received a significant facelift.
“The corporate intranet is undergoing a facelift and being augmented with a whole bunch of new social media tools like wikis, forums and microblogging,” said Dixon. “Now your Intranet becomes this two-way platform of collaboration and [you can] collaborate with different project teams, so that you can work together to produce content.”
3. No more blindly jumping on the social bandwagon
Say goodbye to generic marketing platforms. Companies in 2014 will be more cautious in deploying social strategies and focus more on personalized content for specific audiences.
“I think most organizations are really going to stop blindly jumping on the social bandwagon, and instead, they will be asking themselves what their purpose is,” said Ptacek. “If I need to improve the efficiency of my sales force, or if I need to improve the processing of insurance claims, then those kinds of specific applications will be driving it, rather than the deployment of the generic, enterprise-wide social platforms that we’ve seen in the past.”
Social technologies are being adopted at a rapid pace. Companies anxious to deploy a social strategy both inside and outside their companies would do better to first plan out what they want to achieve with that social strategy.
4. Social analytics get really, really good
Big data and analytics are unlocking so many secrets of the world. In the coming years, analytics will also unlock the science of people’s behavior. Through social analytics, marketers will be able to detect a customer’s patterns of behavior. Companies will have more insight into how people work together.
“You’re going to see social analytics and reporting on people’s social behaviours on a scale that you’ve never seen before,” said Dixon. “We’ve now given a whole bunch of users in companies new tools to help them interact with information and each other. That will generate a huge amount of data on how people work together and how they work with information.”
5. IT embraces cloud-based social tools
The new workplace is all about being connected. Employees are increasingly coming into work with more and more expectations of the productivity tools that they’re given. If those tools don’t meet their expectations, they’ll find more productive tools outside of the company that can run on any device, such as the consumer file-sharing app Dropbox. The rise of bring your own app (BYOA) will see IT departments deploying cloud-based, easy-to-use tools that satisfy their criteria for security and integration, while also running on any browser or device.
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