Social Networking in the Enterprise

Getting users and applications connected in a secure, reliable stream can mean the difference between leading and being left behind in an increasingly social world.

Status update services, sometimes called microblogging, took off in 2010. A Pew Research Center study released on Dec. 8 revealed 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet also use Twitter. Using social media tools in the enterprise pits open sharing against corporate controls. It also opens a range of integration questions about how best to connect people and applications in an activity stream that is immediately relevant, secure and collaborative.

IT vendors, including Salesforce.com, Socialtext, Socialcast, Yammer and a host of others, have taken notice of the social media explosion by releasing a new wave of social media tools for the enterprise. The big bang that is the birth of social media platforms includes the initial formation of specifications and integration tools that seek to ease interconnection problems, while maintaining the fast-flowing and lightweight nature of social media interactions.

It's fair to say that business users aren't looking for another place to search for the information necessary to do their job. And IT managers in larger enterprises may encounter multiple social media platforms inside a single organization.

What's the best way to use social collaboration tools with partners? Is there a better way to integrate social media and back-end systems? The answer today is that a tangle of integration tools and a dearth of standards mean that IT managers must pay careful attention to a wide range of integration tools to curtail client creep. To this end, there are some emerging efforts that are worth watching.

This article was originally published on 12-17-2010
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