Collaboration software was designed for the information worker and it has indeed, helped tremendously by giving people more ways and channels to communicate and work together on content. However, collaboration - in its more traditional definition - is too limited for what information workers need because it doesn't acknowledge the entire work flow, it typically helps with different points along that process. What instigates collaboration in the first place? What is the actionable results from the collaboration? Who and what are the actors in collaboration and how trustworthy are they? When are formal processes appropriate and when are more informal processes needed?
I like to think of this information work process as a circular thing, one work flow impacting and influencing others. The process is sometimes kicked off formally - through perhaps a executive strategy discussion - and other times the process is kicked of by an informal conversation between two colleagues. To me, the process looks something like - each step informed by the information source:
The other thing about information work that sometimes goes unacknowledged is...if you don't publish, broadcast, and get buy-in you might as well have fell a tree in the middle of Alaska for the amount of impact it will have. So to me information work is not effective if it doesn't get marketed to the audience it is intended to impact. Many, many people do not get this...working slavishly but feeling like they don't get the acknowledgement they deserve because they fail to 'market' their work.
Social networking software adds a critical layer to information work by giving sources (people, groups, organizations) referenceability and trust from people in the network - and making work transparent. That trustworthyness makes information work go much faster. Social software adds to the mix, giving the participants in information work different ways to informally discuss, promote, and publish information.
However, one thing that social software does not address is that there are also structured and formal methods to operationalize a great idea and all organizations have these structured processes. Organizations need both the structured formal processes (to ensure reliability, compliance, quality) and the informal processes (to encourage innovation, affinity, and to expose differences & opportunities). There is need and a place for both...but in order to really help organizations, the formal and informal processes need to be closely linked so that information can be viewed through the lens of an organization's formal structure or through the lens of and individual's perspective...but each view needs to include everything.
The challenge for collaboration, social media, and content management vendors is to enable customers to associate content with both formal and informal methods of discovery and tracking. Both matter - and it is not a holy war between a monarchy and anarchy... what we are shooting for is democracy.