MEDIA

WyseTalk leads social business software revolution in SA

November 2012

The hype created by Microsoft’s deal to acquire Yammer for $1.2 billion continues to shine the spotlight on social business companies. Just when organisations were getting used to having social media strategies, enters the concept of social business. Some of the facts to make you sit up and take notice: The social business market is tipped to reach in excess of $4.5 billion in the next two to three years. Deloitte places it in the top tech trends for the year. IBM expects CEOs’ interest in social business to triple within the next three to five years off an existing 16% base. IDC recently concluded a social business survey, where respondents reported that using social tools internally made them 11% to 30% more productive.

Gys Kappers (CEO) and Gerhard Pretorius (CTO), co-founders of South Africa’s locally developed social business software platform, WyseTalk, realised there was a gap in the local market. Kappers, at the time, was completing his Executive MBA at the GSB, in Cape Town, going on to graduate with his Master’s thesis entitled: “The Delay of Social Business Software Adoption in the Enterprise and its Effects”, while Pretorius researched the various global offerings, realised their shortcomings having had first-hand experience at using an international product, and began the software build that resulted in WyseTalk.

However, SA companies have been remarkably slow adopters; an informal poll conducted among JSE-listed companies identified that not one has social business on their roadmap.

“In our experience in dealing with local companies, many are still seeing it as a toe-dipping exercise, despite the rationale and positive benefit being radical and obvious,” comments Kappers. “A number of larger companies have downloaded or purchased software packages like Yammer and are surprised when it becomes a white elephant or an internal Facebook. Firstly, companies need to understand that social business software is merely a tool; for a product like this to work inside an organisation, we need to spend time with the executives to align the social business roadmap and deployment architecture to the enterprise’s vision and strategies.”

Typically, WyseTalk will spend 8 – 12 weeks in this consultative phase before the rollout is affected. “You are telling CEOs that they need this product to improve collaboration, communication, innovation and operational efficiency, so it’s our job to ensure there is a measurable ROI.”

In addition to the standard features of social business products, WyseTalk allows for bespoke development to create your own look and feel, integration within your existing software platforms, conversation triggers from existing systems and external alerts, local pricing, upfront and ongoing consulting to align and refine your strategy, readily available technical resources, and the feel-good factor of buying globally relevant and proudly South African.

The industry was started in 2007, but what is social business exactly? Tom Eid, Research VP of Gartner, says it best: “For 2011 through 2015, the highest instances of software market growth will align to the business requirements of attracting and retaining customers, enhancing business processes, improving collaboration and social networking, managing content of all types, reporting of performance and results transparency, and workforce effectiveness and flexibility.”

Social business relies on collective intelligence from everyone within an organisation and critical stakeholder groups to address particular strategic objectives for a company, while social business software is the technology platform within which the right conversations can be facilitated for achieving the said strategy.