What is it about social applications that make them so compelling? We all focus on what people do with them – communicate with friends and family through a network of connections. Obvious enough, but what makes them so compelling? Aside from the content, successful social applications provide an immersiveexperience. Think about it – you don’t go to a social site, learn something about another person and then fire up a separate email to them. You can do everything right on the site. You can virtually live and operate there.
Enterprise software with bolt-on social channels just isn’t the same. Sure, you can chat in one part of the application or the other, but what really happens when you then need to move to another part of the application? Did you switch screens? Did you have to wait to pull up another app? Was the same communication and network available in that space? Or did you suddenly find yourself in an alien world?
True cloud systems are marked by an immersive design – once you’re there they give you a completely immersive experience. They don’t want to let you go – once you leave, you might be gone forever. That was the lesson for social applications and communities.
True cloud needs to be a complete environment – both UX and supporting infrastructure and architecture – to provide an immersive experience. This is why the world of modular server-based applications just won’t cut it – it’s next to impossible to deliver the immersive experience.
Millennials will expect it. Corporations should as well – look at the productivity of the average teenager in communicating and connecting with their social networks. Will that same teenager be as productive upon entering the workplace? Will the applications they are “working in” be as compelling as the ones they’re living in?
There’s been much thought about how to make business applications compelling for Millennials. Gamification. Social media and networks. Completely mobile applications. How about something really, really simple? A single environment where they can get their complete job done?
A five year old can figure out how to work with and enjoy a tablet device and spend all day with it. A teenager doesn’t need any explanation on how to get on Facebook or any of the other social sites. A soccer fan doesn’t need a lesson on Twitter to join in on the over 8M tweets a match.
Why should the software running your enterprise be any different?