An Introduction to Enterprise Social Software

Gautam Ghosh
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An Introduction to Enterprise Social Software

Image representing Socialtext as depicted in C... Image via CrunchBase

Until now most of the blog posts on Social Samosa have been about organizations engaging with the external social web, with customers and prospects.

However, it is my belief that once organizations discover the real potential of social, then they'll realise it is not scalable with just a small team answering queries. Then they'll find that what they should have done first is make organizations social internally, freeing up their subject matter experts and other employees to connect and reply to customers.

Being social internally also means faster innovation as people get access to internal experts and information faster and growing employee engagement, as a McKinsey study has found each year

So which are the big tools in Enterprise Social?

  1. Yammer: Yammer can be described as the twitter for the enterprise. A SaaS based product, any employee can open an account and then invite colleagues to interact. People with the same email domain get access to each other and apart from sending short messages to followers you can also attach documents to those messages. It has a AIR desktop app as well as an iOS app for people to keep in touch with colleagues updates
  2. Chatter: Chatter is also a microblogging tool by Salesforce which can handily tie-in with its CRM software. So every time you update that sales lead or opportunity, your colleagues who are following you get to know of that update. With Salesforce's acquisition of Radian6 and then Rypple expect to see a lot more integrated product linking enterprise 2.0, social listening and employee recognition in 2012.
  3. Jive: Social Business Software: Jive offers a platform that can be deployed to build employee as well as external communities. What Jive also offers is a platform on which other business apps can be deployed, an app marketplace for the enterprise (like the one that Google Apps offers)
  4. SocialText: It's been ages since I used socialtext - and while I know of some "social layer" they introduced - the big difference in them is the ability to add google widgets on to an individual's dashboard, so when you login to socialtext you can see things like google reader feeds and google news updates and alerts that you can customise. Also more than one person can work on a document on a SocialText wiki replacing a need to email different versions to people to edit
  5. Qontext: It's an internal community for a company but which can also be customised to integrate with other SaaS based business applications like SCM, CRM, HCM as well as custom built business apps in the organization. Qontext also offers the ability to 'alert" certain people in the company to a status update/blog post/wiki/ video posted on the system combining the 'call to attention' of email with a more social user experience.

Other tools which I have not used but also worth exploring are IBM's Lotus Connections, Socialcast, Lithium and KineticGlue.

There are specialist tools like Spigit (for crowdsourced innovation within a firm) and of course, there's Microsoft Sharepoint and Email which a lot of firms like are making social!

Do you use an enterprise 2.0 tool at work? How much do you like it?

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Featured Image Courtesy: Rosaura Ochoa
SocialText Qontext Customer relationship management IBM Google Software as a service Microsoft Sharepoint Jive