One of the most promising new trends for workplace collaboration is the adoption and eventual maturity of activity streams. At a basic level we can think of activity streams as the differentiators that turned Facebook and Twitter into two of the most widely used online services in the world. However, in the context of business intranet software activity streams have the potential to be much more than social news feeds transposed to the workplace.
Consultant Bertrand Duperrin laments that 2013 will likely not see enough integration of effective activity streams into digital intranets. Duperrin considers activity streams to have tremendous future value in workplace systems as they centralize information access and create greater potential to improve situational awareness. However, activity streams as they are currently implemented tend to be coupled too tightly with social networks and draw too much from email, which is already a primary alert.
Similarly, CMS Wire has observed that traditional workplace structure is breaking down: the distribution and proliferation of projects are not as well defined by process or by business awareness as they once were. Unless there is an accompanying shift in intranet system technology, this situation will contribute to increased chaos and inefficiency in enterprise.
Many social software vendors integrate personal newsfeed-inspired features into their products. This step is part of the necessary phase of acclimating employees with the new tools, though it is certainly not the only step needed. The continued evolution of the activity stream in the social intranet environment must see innovations such as “APIs allowing any system to publish activities into the activity stream,” going as far as integrateing mobile sensors and enterprise social graphs in order to allow employees to make sense of the emergent patterns that appear in the chaotic digital workplace.