Definition

systems of engagement

Contributor(s): Ben Cole

Systems of engagement are decentralized IT components that incorporate technologies such as social media and the cloud to encourage and enable peer interaction. A system of engagement differs from a system of record, an information storage and retrieval system that provides a centralized, authoritative source of data elements in an IT environment containing multiple points of data generation.

The concept was first outlined by Geoffrey Moore in his 2011 white paper titled "Systems of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT: A Sea Change in Enterprise IT." In the paper, Moore called systems of engagement the next step in the evolution of IT-enabled consumer experience in the global marketplace and said it requires "empowering the middle of the enterprise to communicate and collaborate across business boundaries, global time zones, and language and culture barriers, using next-generation IT applications and infrastructure adapted from the consumer space." Moore stated that systems of engagement need communications technology that allows real-time connections and lets people interoperate both synchronously and asynchronously. These technologies could include wikis, real-time chat capabilities, crowdsourcing, Web conferencing, video streams and video conferencing, Moore wrote.

Moving away from systems of record and toward systems of engagement requires major changes to content management processes and strategies. Disconnected systems such as supply chains, vendor ecosystems and business operations must be integrated to operate as a unified whole under systems of engagement. To achieve this integration, cloud-based platform technologies are often deployed to enhance collaboration. These changes to content management systems also likely require new processes for securing, storing and deleting records.

This was last updated in February 2016

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