The case for stripped-down Enterprise 2.0 tools


Content management systems live and die by requirements, but sometimes even the longest checklist in an RFP won't deliver tools that yield real results. There's a lot to be said for simple Enterprise 2.0 tools, said Tim Young, founder of Socialcast and vice president for social software at VMware.

"Simple tools are incredibly powerful," said Young Nov. 15, during a keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif. It's very difficult to solve a complex problem with a complex tool, he added.

"What we've been doing with customers is actually moving away, stripping away functionality and making it very, very simple by just focusing on one or two activity screens. And we've actually begun to see the value in this," said Young.

Average employee participation six months after deploying simpler tools is moving from from 20 percent to 88 percent, he said.

VMware is internally experimenting with a simplified social tool called "Niko Niko," which means "smiley" in Japanese. Toward the end of each work day, employees are prompted--through their email client or mobile device--to indicate how they "felt at work today" by selecting a happy face, a neutral face or an unhappy face.

Mood is a very basic workforce indicator and by assessing it they're helping "management become coaches," said Young. The data can be sliced and diced in many different ways: mood by peer group, mood by day of the week and mood by department, to name a few.

"We're driving an incredible amount of knowledge with this very simple tool," said Young.

VMware hopes to soon release Niko Niko as free web service to be used with or without Socialcast, said Young.

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