When you’re charting new territory with a product or service, it can be difficult to explain exactly what you’re doing. It’s easy to say “We’re like XXX, but faster/cheaper/better.” But when you’re helping to create a new market, you have to invent a new vocabulary to describe it, or at least find old markets that can serve as analogies for the new market.
Such is the case with a rising breed of social, enterprise services. Wells Fargo analyst Jason Maynard is predicting a $4 billion market in “engagement apps” over the next few years, a market that hasn’t existed before and can therefore be somewhat squishy to describe. In a new report — “Fostering the People: The Shift to Engagement Apps” — he makes a valiant attempt:
Business applications are moving beyond merely transactional and analytical functions and are becoming critical tools to engage with customers, to improve productivity, and to facilitate collaboration within the enterprise and throughout the entire value chain. With the digitization of local commerce and the growing adoption of social operating platforms, mobile computing, and global value chains, we believe the trend toward business of adoption of “Engagement Apps” will grow rapidly and rise in importance over the next five years.
These systems represent a new layer in the application topology, moving beyond analytical and transactional systems. We define engagement apps as applications, processes and analytical tools that enable companies to actively interact and empower interactions with customers, with and between employees, and with external partners across the value chain.
These apps should be native cloud, socially aware, mobile ready, and embedded with intelligence. Collectively we contend the shift to engagement apps will manifest into a new system of engagement for these processes that sit above existing transactional and analytical applications and data. We think engagement apps can be segmented in the following three main categories: (1) social CRM or customer experience management, (2) internal productivity, and (3) external value chain collaboration.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
For those paying attention, this brief sentence comes from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. I really like this encapsulation, because it goes a long way toward describing how software principles, and particularly agile software development principles, are affecting the way we do business. Agile development is inherently social, is open to constant “interference,” and treats the conversation around software development as important as the lines of code written.
Why? Because that communication directly affects output.
Peel away the layers surrounding the complexity of some of the industry’s biggest trends, be it Big Data or open source or mobile, and you find an implicit need to be social. For example, much of the data in Big Data are created by social interactions, and businesses are increasingly being driven by mining those data to increase social purchasing behavior.
The software world is moving beyond tooling and rigid processes to focus on the communication around software. That’s what Nodeable does, making machine data intelligible and actionable by developers. Letting developers talk more freely with their systems, even as they increase their communication with other developers, makes them more productive. Which is why Nodeable exists.