The Social Enterprise Needs to Start with the Individual

Michael Vizard

Most work is accomplished via a series of individual efforts that collectively make up a project that leads to a business outcome. For all the talk of collaboration these days, most projects are made up of a series of asynchronous tasks that usually have to be accomplished in a specific order to achieve a certain goal.

Given that reality, Clarizen CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski says that for all the talk about the social enterprise these days, increasing productivity needs to begin and end with the individual. As such, the social enterprise needs to first and foremost be about making it easier for an individual to accomplish tasks in a way where information about the status of those tasks can be transparently shared with the rest of the enterprise.

Nowogrodski says most social enterprise efforts today are missing that point. As a software-as-a-service application, Nowogrodski says Clarizen is all about replacing individual calendaring tools with an accessible project management application that people actually want to use. Once they start using it, however, information about the status of any task that relates to a project transparently rolls up into the application. That means that days when project managers have to call status meetings to figure out what elements of a project are on time and which ones are delayed are over. All that information is readily accessible inside the Clarizen application. After that begins to take place, all the benefits of having a centralized application to track all that work naturally accrues to the business. Technically, Clarizen is a project management application. In reality, Nowogrodski says Clarizen is all about giving individuals an application that makes it easier for them to do their jobs.

For all the talk these days about the so-called "social enterprise," very few of the social networking applications being put forward today are tightly coupled to any business process. They almost invariably try to impose a top-down structure on workflow in the name of the greater good versus relying on a bottom-up approach that is closely linked to the self interests of the employees. What providers of many social networking platforms are trying to do is impose a process on individuals in the name of a synchronous collaboration model that doesn't reflect the realities of the daily work experience, adds Nowogrodski. In fact, he says that as the work experience becomes more mobile, it's becoming more asynchronous. That's one of the reasons that Clarizen now makes its application service available on a variety of mobile computing devices.

In essence, Nowogrodski is saying that people first and foremost want access to productivity applications that make it easier for them to do their jobs so they can get on with the rest of their lives. That means offering tools that allow people to spend more time accomplishing tasks rather than talking about them.

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