Enterprise Social Software
Enterprise Social Software is a kind of social network, which is used in enterprises,
which are businesses or commercial environments. They are designed to facilitate
internal communication within organizations and are modified versions of classical
intranets that exist in companies. The term Enterprise Social Software generally
describes this class of tools. As of 2006, "Enterprise 2.0" had become a catchier term,
sometimes used to describe social and networked changes to enterprises, which often
includes social software (but may transcend social software, social collaboration and
There are certain primary functionalities that the Enterprise Social Software must have.
Some of them are listed below:
Search: allowing users to search for other users or content
Links: grouping similar users or content together
Authoring: including blogs and wikis
Tags: allowing users to tag content
Extensions: recommendations of users; or content based on profile
Signals: allowing people to subscribe to users or content with RSS feeds
The following are the secondary functions of Enterprise Social Software:
Freeform function: There should be no barriers to authorship.
Network-oriented function should require web-addressable content in all cases.
Social function: Transparency, diversity and openness should be stressed upon.
Emergence function: It should require the provision of approaches that detect
and leverage the collective wisdom of the community.
The main advantage of an Enterprise Social Software is that user / employee
experiences and performances are closely linked, and each one can make use of the
resources developed by the other. This is beneficial to an organization in the way that it
reduces workload per employee, and also reduces the average time required to carry
out a particular task.
Data to be used:
The goal of groupware software such as Moodle, Landing pages, Enterprise
Architecture, and sharepoint, is to allow subjects to share data – such as files, photos,
text, etc for the purpose of project work or schoolwork.
A major question of Enterprise Social Software projects is to aggregate information
contributed by a person to provide personal "activity streams" to follow. Semantic
identity matching and reference reconciliation methods used to interconnect Linked
Data Sources can provide a solution here.
Strategy to be adopted:
Today’s networks and data centers are being tasked to support a variety of rich,
bandwidth-intensive applications and services, including unified communications, realtime analytics, social graph management, activity streams, micro-blogging, wikis and
social networking, as well as pervasive video sharing and streaming. They often must
also support external connections to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and
LinkedIn. And they must allow real-time applications to share bandwidth with more
traditional, asynchronous business-critical applications, such as ERP and CRM.
To truly enable seamless collaboration internally and externally, enterprises need a
robust, highly tuned IT architecture that delivers security and performance across a
variety of applications and endpoints, including mobile devices. But in many
organizations, investments in IT architecture have not kept pace with application
development and deployment.
In the past, IT departments simply threw more bandwidth at network and application
performance issues, but that doesn’t address the need to support the multiple modes of
collaboration that ESS delivers. Today, the answer is not to add more capacity, which
becomes prohibitively expensive, but to deploy the flexible and on-demand IT
architecture and network infrastructure necessary to deliver a superior collaborative
The following issues must be considered when deploying an ESS platform:
Extended memory technology: As video and social analytics become pervasive, and
more and more content gets delivered and stored, memory capacity becomes
Centralized provisioning and management: Centralizing these components to better
manage them across the platform automatically reduces the number of specific and
manual tasks associated with provisioning and management.
Application monitoring: Real-time and non-real-time monitoring is necessary to
identify the differing traffic on the network.
Load balancing: This becomes more dynamic as services and applications become
Wan optimization and bandwidth management: These are necessary to ensure traffic is
properly prioritized, allowing the most important applications (and, in some cases,
users) first crack at the network.
Low latency: As voice and video are delivered alongside other applications, latency
becomes an issue; maintaining low levels is critical for acceptable performance.
Security, governance, and compliance: As collaboration grows inside and outside the
organization, involving partners and customers as well as employees, it’s important to
maintain the necessary policies to ensure compliance, and to protect information inside
and outside the company. Since social technologies give everyone a “voice,” work and
data become more transparent—and, potentially, more at risk.
As employees take advantage of ESS, they require next-generation networks and
infrastructure services that can support a variety of workloads. This is especially true of
today’s comprehensive, integrated ESS suites, in which many programs are running
simultaneously on the enterprise network and the end-user’s desktop and/or mobile
devices—a marked break from the point solutions of yesterday.
As companies deploy a mix of software and endpoints, often from a mix of vendors,
they must consider that adding multiple vendors and products to the equation only
increases the complexity. Today’s collaboration platforms are complex enough; adding
the need to assess, evaluate, properly deploy and manage a variety of components from
a variety of vendors is cumbersome, costly and, often, unnecessary.
Today, enterprises must leverage their IT investments to deliver a clear competitive
advantage. That requires a flexible, on-demand infrastructure that enables a rich
collaborative experience and ultimately adds to an enterprise’s bottom line.When
thinking about a collaboration platform that fits a given business’s needs and
requirements, it’s important to evaluate comprehensive solutions that will grow as the
business grows. Enterprises should work with vendors that have a long-term
collaboration vision, and that understand and offer the underlying infrastructure needed
to support it.
A well-architected solution that spans applications and network infrastructure benefits
everyone. It helps deliver a seamless experience for end-users, while giving architects
and IT managers the value of easy deployment and management. Integrated, end-toend solutions generally run more smoothly and better support advanced applications
like ESS; they also give IT managers one point of contact for all support.
Obstacles in implementing an Enterprise Social Software:
Even though implementing Enterprise Social software seems like a brilliant idea for all
organizations, there are certain obstacles that can be faced during the process. Some of
them are listed below:
1. Command and control culture: Not every organization wants to be transparent
and flexible and invite participation from every quarter. The CEO might see
corporate social media as giving employees the tools they can use to plot against
the company. They might not want to foster the illusion of democratic organization
if that’s not the way you want to run the company.
2. Facebook Connotations: Many people refer to Enterprise Social Software as
‘Facebook inside the company’. Even though the name ‘Facebook’ ensures that it
will spread virally, Facebook does have many negative connotations. Management
sees the name ‘Facebook’ as a frivolous, time-wasting medium people use to share
jokes. Even using the word ‘Social’ makes its more difficult to sell the concept
3. Profusion of tools: The explosion of social software tools is a source of great
innovation, but also a lot of confusion. Organizations can easily wind up with
several enterprise social networks used by different teams or departments, or for
different purposes, along with social applications for purposes such as project
management or employee recognition, each coming with their own user profiles
and activity steams and notions of how connections are formed.
4. Lack of integration. In enterprise IT, integration is the universal goal that is never
quite perfectly achieved. Perfection is not achievable, but for every application
there is a threshold of "good enough" integration to make the system usable. One
of the hurdles that successful enterprise social networks must clear is having
enough integration with relevant systems such as corporate directories and content
management systems that they deliver on their promise as next-generation, peoplecentric portals.
5. Competition from free public social networks. Employees will inevitably
compare their experience on an enterprise social network with the one they enjoy
on consumer sites such as Facebook. That can be a problem if the enterprise
experience suffers by comparison by being awkward to navigate, frustrating to
use, or missing important features.
6. Optional vs. mandated. With few exceptions, such as the case of the French IT
services firm Atos banning e-mail in favor of social collaboration, organizations
that adopt internal social software promote its use but do not make it mandatory.
Dictating a solution might be easier. At least, it might sound easier. But voluntary
adoption is probably the right approach. If social software really is so wonderful,
employees ought to gravitate to it naturally, as something that makes their lives
easier. If the adoption is not happening, maybe it's the social network that needs to
change to accommodate employee behavior, rather than the other way around.
Today’s enterprise networks and infrastructure must be able to handle the content and
data-intensive traffic that results from the use of Enterprise Social Software to deliver a
seamless experience, without jitter or latency, while continuing to run mission-critical
business applications. Yet even as they are running richer, bandwidth-intensive
applications on their networks, companies are not upgrading their legacy
infrastructures to meet the needs of advanced collaboration. Traditional network
infrastructure wasn’t designed to run complex, social networking and real-time
applications, and standard management tools weren’t designed to handle the bandwidth
requirements of rich collaboration applications.
Solving this problem requires a highly scalable, flexible and on-demand network
infrastructure comprising many components, including network and bandwidth
optimization, real-time application monitoring, and traffic prioritization. The success of
an enterprise-wide collaborative experience hinges on many factors, including change
management and organizational readiness. But it also requires a concurrent
improvement in network infrastructure and performance to ensure the applications
work as they should.