Looking into the future, web technologies and social networking usage will be significantly integrated into work life. This prediction is based on business and social trends, and emerging patterns. There are tools available to enhance communications, marketing, PR, productivity and collaboration, which have increasing popularity in the workspace, some of which I will examine in greater detail.
Firstly, it is important to note that resistance to web technologies and social networking within an organisation is rapidly disintegrating. Although there is a lag for some, organisations have been accepting the effectiveness of enterprise2 tools. Some tools such as blogging, micro-blogging, social networking, Email, outsourcing, storage, and documenting have shown their worthiness in the corporate setting. Issues in information ownership, security, and reliability are still present but with many variations of enterprise2 solutions, so it isn’t a question of why, it is what and when.
Jive is a great enterprise software vendor that incorporates the best techniques of web tools into reliable, culture sensitive, productive software. Jive like many others have been extremely popular for business but as a vendor of enterprise tools, how do they different themselves? Well one of the ways is by profiling employees much in the same way that Facebook allows you to profile yourself. This is demonstrated in their software release, Jive SBS 4.5. This is scalable software with excellent usability, which includes integrated blogs and wikis. But what makes is great, is its customisation and an extension beyond organisation firewalls and offers SharePoint integration, for those stubborn Microsoft lovers.
Software vendors are emerging to take on tasks associated with enterprise social networking tools. But some open sources methods are emerging. The disadvantage of this is the associated risk involved. SAP and Novell had heavy investments in Google Wave. Today Google Wave was canned and developers are diverted to other project. SAP is a leading international software development company that has introduced a number of web tools to enhance their business operations. Uniquely they have developed an add-on for businesses within Google Wave. Google, when developing the Wave platform encouraged this but due to Google’s perpetual beta strategy, businesses have been reluctant to integrate, and see it as risky (for good reason). Nonetheless, this type of platform has much potential. Besides having add-on’s developed for specific business purposes, the platform was a robust email client. This is used by SAP and the outcome is a hybrid platform to collaboration; mashing email, instant messaging, and social networking into the one platform.
What can be very useful to enterprises is collaboration. In a large corporation, sharing resources and solving complex problems is a significant issue. Another tool seeking to solve this is micro-blogging. A popular vendor of micro- blogging tools is Yammer. Yammer can be used to discuss and present difficult problems and solutions within the company. Sharing knowledge and encouraging employees to engage in the organisations can transfer a company social capital and create a competitive advantage. Utilising productivity tools like yammer has seen success in companies. Primarily, this is a push strategy of information, but is very effective in reducing the communication barriers within the hierarchy, fostering openness and transparency.
Many emerging tools can deliver greater value to an enterprise. Some are still in beta stages, some have already integrated into thousands of businesses from, SME’s, to Enterprises, to government. Many more tools are available, similarly promoting collaboration, productivity, and social networking. The difficultly for business to choose what is suitable for their culture, organisational structure and tools that meet their expected outcomes. Open source, hybrid, individual services tools, add-ons, plug-ins are widely available, but suitability is very much dependant on business operations. Nevertheless, there are ways for all business to improve operations through enterprise tools. And the right tools will ensure successful outcomes.