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Enterprise social, big data and the relevance paradox

Information. We’re all grasping for it, we want it now, we want it all, and in a social and big data context we can have both.

Same goes for the enterprise social, organizational and process information can be had at our fingertips, Wikis, internal communication networks, it’s always there and always on. Look at the impact and noise generated out of various enterprise social conference events, the momentum is incredible. But it’s also in danger of imploding very quickly.

Ambiently unaware of the danger

Trouble is, with all this ambient awareness in the organization, do we actually know what to do with this information ? What is relevant, and which is actionable to help achieve the goal or task at hand. Indeed, would you even know where to look for the information or know what it looks like when you have everything within your grasp ?

You may not be aware of the relevance of what you possess because finding the information to put it all in context isn’t clear or immediately apparent, so how can you look for it ? And so the Relevance Paradox exists:

This occurs when an individual or a group of professionals are unaware of certain essential information which would guide them to make better decisions, and help them avoid inevitable and undesirable consequences. These professionals will seek only the information and advice they believe is the bare minimum amount required as opposed to what they actually need to fully meet their own or the organization’s goals.

Another danger here is that as enterprise software and big data analytics become more adaptive to an individual user’s needs, it learns their behaviors, filters the information according to historical data and use, and therefore potentially could deem a vital piece of real-time information as non-critical through this history and fail to deliver it.

Incompetence and chaos reign

This is especially true of archaic enterprise structures, where traditional top-down hierarchies can not sustain the growing need for an organization to embrace the social phenomenon. Incompetence and chaos reign. I’ve written about this before, and of the need to examine how lateral communication and flatter, community-based structures within the organization should be examined and developed.

There’s a burning desire to adapt and change the traditional way we conduct and structure business around social. We cannot simply implement enterprise social software into businesses and expect it to suddenly function properly. The fabric of the enterprise itself has to change and mold itself around this new paradigm in order to react to the new levels of speed and information it’s never experienced before.

If not, it won’t simply be a case of information overload, it’ll be game over.

Republished with permission

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