Can social and collaborative networks be combined?

Here are a couple of posts, which I think help thinking through what tools are needed within an organization to make workflows more open and transparent and most of all more efficient and effective.

In The Future of Collaborative Networks, Aaron Fulkerson from Mindtouch shares his definition of a collaborative network:

This information fabric is a federation of content from the multiplicity of data and application silos utilized on a daily basis; such as, ERP, CRM, file servers, email, databases, web-services infrastructures, etc. When you make this information fabric easy to edit between groups of individuals in a dynamic, secure, governed and real-time manner, it creates a Collaborative Network.

He argues that social media applications are not good tools to solve organizational problems, but often add another layer of disconnected data and application silos. Oliver Marks agrees that there is a “need for flexibility and interoperability with existing applications and [that there are] crucial differences between consumer oriented social life networking and business focused collaboration networks.”

Patti Anklam goes so far as to talk about a tension between connection and collaboration and argues that there is a need to balance both in an organization. Her lesson:

[Y]ou can develop a good social network inside the organization to satisfy the needs for connecting, but when you want to collaborate, you need a tool that provides more rigor for content and task management.

So the solution is to have two separate applications? How will they interact or will they be two silos? What happened to interoperability? Can’t there be tools that can fulfill both needs?

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