Yes, I have called software vendors snake oil sellers. Last year I wrote, “Now social learning is being picked up by software vendors and marketers as the next solution-in-a-box, when it’s more of an approach and a cultural mind-set.” In 2005, social learning online was a fringe activity that we had to test using open source platforms like Drupal. Now everything is “social”. I remember when we ran our informal learning unworkshops in 2006 while the major enterprise software vendors ignored us or privately told us there was no market for this stuff. Now they use our words to sell their products.

Usually I represent the buyers of enterprise software, not the sellers. I have advised vendors on how to improve their products but my aim is not to make an easy market for their sales. I want to help organizations democratize while simultaneously improving their overall performance. As an independent consultant, I maintain a perspective of vendor neutrality. I do not represent any other companies.

While some people have inferred that I may be vendor hostile, let me tell you what I learned today about a software company – Socialcast. They are not my client and I do not have any stake in the company.

During a web presentation today, I saw that Socialcast gets a critical part of workplace performance right. They understand that collaboration has to be embedded in the workflow. Their “secret sauce” is the ability to integrate with a wide variety of other enterprise software applications. These are tools that workers use every day. Socialcast enables conversations around and between these systems. There is no requirement to leave the workflow to collaborate.

I’ve used Socialcast for several months and must say the learning  curve is negligible. It’s simple and effective. You are up and using it very quickly. This is a company that understands online collaboration and reduces silos instead of creating a new one.

So there you have it. If you want the endorsement of a vendor-neutral consultant, just do a good job and you’ll get noticed.

4 Responses to “Vendor-neutral”

  1. Kare Anderson

    Yes, “collaboration has to be embedded in workflow” and companies that leverage the full value of social software will use financial and operational metrics to choose a hairy problem to solve, then choose the apt team and software to solve it, measuring progress as they do, so all employees can see why and how to use the technology.

    Vendors like SocialCast (I have no biz connection to them either) that recognize that performance improvement is a valuable goal for applying the unique capabilities of social software will inevitably become valued partners with their clients, honing the strategic and operational methodology and the technology as they gain tacit knowledge working together to improve their collective process. As an avid fan of collaborative methods that enable us to accomplish something greater together than we can alone (and a fan of this blog) I am coming to see how the internal biz use of social media will be at least as market shaping as the external uses, and when companies adopt a strategic use of both, and host ecosystems that harness talent inside and outside the company then they have a great chance of shaping the market in which they serve and being a major player in it…. these are echos, in part of the thinking of John Hagel and John Seely Brown.

    • Harold Jarche

      Very good point, Kare: “I am coming to see how the internal biz use of social media will be at least as market shaping as the external uses”. Using social media for collaborative work will have a much larger impact than for marketing. Most companies do not see this yet.

  2. Jeff Ross

    Glad to see this post about Socialcast and how they really do understand workplace collaboration. If this presentation is the one I think it is, I had the good fortune to give the example of Humana’s experience with Socialcast during it. The people at Socialcast have been great partners for over a year and I look forward to future innovation from them.

    • Harold Jarche

      Yes, Jeff, it was your presentation. Sorry I didn’t connect the name with the presentation. I’m not advocating only Socialcast, but they seem to really understand that learning (collaboration) has to be part of the workflow and not separate from it. Another platform I’ve used is Brainpark and I just heard about Qontext.


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