Enterprise Social Networks
With the advent of Enterprise Social Networking, businesses have an opportunity to organize their communications, collaborative processes, and interactions in new, improved, and more vital ways. “Enterprise Social Networking” is the use of one Online Social Network within the same Business. Enterprise Social Networking is one of the new forms of online software considered “Enterprise 2.0”. Besides proprietary Enterprise Social Networking, any form of online Social Software, (even consumer Social Networks), that are incorporated into business processes, can be considered “Enterprise Social Software” upon its use in a business, or commercial, environment.
The benefits of Enterprise Social Networks include increasing the productivity of knowledge workers (managers/professionals), improved employee relationships, open and collaborative recognition of exemplary employee performance, open sharing of ideas that can expedite the process of forming new programs and departments, reduced email volume, reduced time spent reviewing intra-company communications, faster dissemination of information to employees, better awareness of project statuses, inspiring of innovation throughout the company, the knowledge of employees becoming searchable, and improved internal/external enterprise collaboration.
With individuals having greater communications ability via Consumer Social Networks, (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Businesses need to participate in Online Social Networking to secure their commercial positions. Simultaneous to businesses engaging in Intra-Enterprise Social Networking, businesses can expand awareness of their products via external Online Social Networks, and create vastly more informative content. Content that can exist in a Online Social Context, and is therefore more vital.
Eventual Capabilities of Enterprise Social Networks
Social Networks emerging as an Enterprise Technology, (with the Social Network as the top layer of all the other enterprise applications), has been progressing for the last two years. The major software providers in Enterprise Collaboration, and in the Consumerization of Enterprise IT, are Salesforce, IBM, Microsoft, and Google.
With a Social Network at the top layer over all other Enterprise applications, the resulting Enterprise Social Network could possibly be called an “Enterprise Layer Social Network”. If the Enterprise Social Network contains within it productivity programs and accounting/database capabilities, it could be considered an “Enterprise Systems Social Network”. The final version of Enterprise Social Networks might encompass all of an Enterprise’s information systems, and would then exist as a “Whole Enterprise Systems Social Network”.
The Enterprise Social Network, Yammer, has the capability of producing word processing documents collaboratively within the network application. Yammer merged with Microsoft on June 14th 2012. Eventually Yammer, as a Microsoft Enterprise Social Network application, might gain the capability of having the entire Microsoft Office set of online productivity applications within a Social Network context. It is possible that Yammer’s internal collaborative word processor could be replaced by a collaborative version of Microsoft Word. With the rest of the Microsoft Office programs becoming internal, collaborative productivity programs within a Enterprise Social Network, the former Yammer Social Network can then become a Microsoft Office 365 top layer application, and possibly also utilize an internal version of Microsoft’s SkyDrive for collaborative file storage. Other possible additions to a Yammer-based Microsoft Enterprise Social Network could be Video/Text Conferencing, Calendar view of messages, activities, tasks, and events, and collaborative website creation and management.
The public Social Network, Google+, could become a top layer application incorporating Google Docs collaborative productivity programs, Hangouts for conferencing, Calendar/Tasks for a time based view of collaborative activities, Google Drive for collaborative file storage, and Google Maps for social mapping. Collaborative analysis, advertising, marketing, enterprise telephony, and website creation/management is also a possible capability of Google+.
The Files sections of future Enterprise Social Networks would need to have inter-Social Network sharing capabilities. Google+’s eventual integration of Google Drive for collaborative file storage will need to have the ability to share files with a Microsoft Enterprise Social Network’s integration of SkyDrive.
Many business will possibly find the first Enterprise Systems Social Networks incompatible with their unique business needs, and will use Enterprise Social Networks only for the purpose of email volume reduction messaging, and then rely on external applications for business processes, creating word processing and spreadsheet files, and for storage of files.
An actual Enterprise Systems Social Network, (that encompasses an entire Enterprise I.T. Department), will not exist until enough applications are available to account for the various requirements of businesses. Therefore, developing proprietary applications that work within competing Enterprise Social Networks will become a vital industry. Third Party productivity app stores within Social Networks will become more popular.
Enterprise Systems Social Networks can also benefit from social analysis applications, social marketing, social mapping applications (derived from Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, etc.), social news posting, and leveraging of other Web 2.0 online software, including online, collaborative knowledge based applications.
Competitiveness of Enterprise Systems Social Networks
With the advent of Enterprise Social Networks, and then Enterprise Systems Social Networks, new proprietary capabilities will emerge, and will possibly give pioneering Enterprises an advantage in driving business. Engagement across the entire spectrum of consumer social services will become more efficient. Improved content will result, and the potential of internet communications will be further realized.
Seamless integration of advertisement, analytics, marketing, engagement, and online data, will exist for the first time in one place. When placed in the context of online collaboration, an organization’s structural, procedural, and cultural processes will be affected. Enterprise Systems Social Networks will require new work methodologies by employees of companies. These new methodologies require the leadership of the top of the hierarchies of Enterprises. Leading this change in the business world is, interestingly, a greater task than the technical implementation of Whole Enterprise Systems Social Networks.