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Social Networking in the Workplace Part 2

Abstract: This article provides an overview on social networking within the workplace.

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Vendors Mix Public App Features into Internal Solutions

Some software and application vendors today are taking an approach for providing a blend of enterprise social networking and enterprise collaboration with those often found in public social networking and public collaboration sites.  For example, Salesforce.com offers a company wide networking application called Chatter which allows users to create profiles and groups, see status updates, share files and make recommendations, plus much more.

Other technologies provide robust applications which are typically installed within the enterprise such as Oracle’s Web Center Services, which provides social computing services such as wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, forums, instant messaging and presence, people connections and activity streams, plus many more functions for the enterprise user.

Internal Solutions Don’t Natively Integrate with External Sites

Most enterprise social networking and enterprise collaboration applications do not provide an out-of-the-box connection to the public applications. Among the many reasons for this is the fact that there are so many different potential applications to integrate with. Other reasons include the challenges of integrating internal security with public domain security, controlling the sharing of sensitive materials outside of an organizations firewall, and ensuring that employees are able to follow company policies in regards to information sharing and company information policies.

Final Thoughts

We always want it all, but we must be aware of the practical constraints and challenges that may impede our goals. There are practical ways to share information through social networks. Many organizations have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn and share information freely with their target audiences.

Having a presence on these site channels to reach the masses has been very effective. However, these are external applications from a company’s enterprise and should be treated as such. Use caution with the information you wish to share, or invest in technologies like Oracle’s Information Rights Management where documents can be sealed for designated users.

Engaging the enterprise with public social networking and collaboration can be done, but do it wisely and for purpose….not just because you want it.

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