Monday, August 4, 2008

Enterprise Social Network?

So, can a social network exist and work within a company? Well, some believe that it can be and along with other web2.0 technologies/ideas (e.g. wiki’s, image galleries & tagging/rating content) have loosely called this subject "Enterprise 2.0" or 'Socialprise' a term apprently invented by However its worth mentioning that some people still debate the existence of an Enterprise 2.0 market and others claim the term is an oxymoron.

But Forrester Research believes 50% of the Global 2000 are planning to adopt some type of Enterprise 2.0 solutions by 2013 and According to ABI Research, this market will be worth nearly $1.3 billion by then. In fact, Forrester's latest report "Facebook for the Enterprise" shows how some companies are already using some social networking features for:

harnessing the network to optimize workforce utilization, develop professional staff, retain talent, and locate expertise

To meet this apparent demand, even Oracle's On-demand CRM Rel15 [its Software-as-a-service (SAAS) response to] now includes social media functionality such as 'Message Center', which facilitates real-time commentary like a wiki and ‘Sticky Notes’. This allows users to tag objects with a comment, subscribe to the related message stream and expose this as a portlet or gadget for embedding in an external home page such as iGoogle. (Apparently there's "even more to come" from Oracle). And with the adoption of Open Social, it means companies looking to include Social Networks in their Enterprise software now only have to include one standard.

Awareness Inc. claim to be the leader in enterprise social media. They have developed a social media on-demand application that combines the full range of Web 2.0 technologies - blogs, wikis, discussion groups, social networking, podcasts, RSS, tagging, photos, videos, mapping, etc. - with security, control, and content moderation. They even have major corporations such as: McDonald's, the New York Times, Northwestern Mutual, and Procter and Gamble as clients.
Conversing with Kevin Andrew from Awareness recently, he claims that his clients:

build brand loyalty, generate revenue, drive new forms of marketing, improve collaboration, encourage knowledge-sharing, and build a "corporate memory."

However, just having the technology or services available to you doesn't mean you have a valuable tool instantly on your hands. For years companies have had different "Enterprise Collaboration" tools available in the form of software such as Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server, but are these really "social networking" platform? (Some companies such as Scotiabank think they are, perhaps because they make good headlines). I'd suggest that they are not.

So "social networks are open for business", but are there any examples of companies who have actually implemented a social network within their company? Well yes, Kodak employees who take photos in their personal lives now share pictures online about their hobbies, families, and travels.

Does anyone have any further examples?

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