Welcome to Atlanta .NET Regular Guys Sign in | Join | Help

Is Social Networking behind in the Enterprise?

The short answer is Yes it is, but there are reasons.

There is a bigger problem than just Social Networking, which is that many enterprises are behind on the Web 2.0 push. I’m not sure they are behind, but there just isn't always a good business reason to push to something that could just be a buzz word. There are two sides to Social Networking that should be looked at (maybe in another post):

  • Social Networking for intranets (internal)
  • Social Networking for business web sites (external) and applications provided by companies

I was talking to a friend of mine that works at a large bank, and I told him that the first bank to figure out how to bring Web 2.0 to enterprise banks will have a major advantage. Now, this may never happen because you have to find the business reason for doing this first.

Back to Enterprise Social Networking, and keep in mind I will be looking at it from a SharePoint 2007 point of view. I think there are many large enterprises looking to bring in Social Networking right now. Most large enterprises are probably looking for a way to increase the collaboration they have now. If they weren't, they wouldn't be doing their job.

Some of the reasons preventing the private enterprise sector from adopting Social Networking might be based on a number of factors and challenges that are very different from, and may not affect, the public sector users.

  1. The governance of the sites, information, and time. You don’t want to have people on the computer all day trying to set up social networks and leaving messages on other people’s walls. This would not be a good use of time.
  2. Cost is one of the biggest factors that I have seen for why a company might not bring in the tools. This includes hardware and software costs. The investment can be very high for enterprise level tools, especially when the number of users starts to climb.
  3. Integration seems to be a problem that has always been a challenge. Some recent challenges have been how to integrate the data from these products. Although it is much easier in SharePoint 2007, this is still a concern for many companies.
  4. There are always features that companies want that they cannot get from a product, and that is where the community has to step up and create them. You need to have a good community of people continually improving the product. The good news for SharePoint users is that it does have great community involvement.
  5. There are always a large number of companies looking to see who “jumps” first and was successful doing so. As soon as there are a number of large companies that are successful, I think there will be a wave of other companies following the trend.
  6. Competition! Many companies don't know what the best solution is yet, and they are still evaluating what is out there. This can be a problem if your product is just like any other product available. For instance, some people use Linkedin and some use Facebook, but when you have free access to both, you can use both. If you had to invest a lot of money into each one, you may be forced to evaluate the cost benefit of each and select only one of them to buy. What would you do if you had to pick just one?

I am sure there are many other factors, but I think many customers are getting ready to move and they just need more time and/or resources, one of which being money. It is difficult to change without the availability of these.

Social Networking may be behind right now, but I don't think it will be for very long. I have been talking with some leading enterprise companies, and they are looking at the tools. They are looking not only for productivity, but also as a requirement to attracting good employees. Some of the best and brightest workers have come to expect a certain level of tools at work that help them accomplish their tasks.

Published 03-08-2007 10:15 by Brendon Schwartz
Filed Under:

Comment Notification

If you would like to receive an email when updates are made to this post, please register here

Subscribe to this post's comments using RSS



Matt Ranlett said:

Looks to me like Brendon's found a pair of favorite buzzwords - governance and social networking.  Great thoughts here though!
August 3, 2007 10:49 AM

Social Networking Bulletin - » Is Social Networking behind in the Enterprise? said:

August 3, 2007 1:15 PM

Is Social Networking behind in the Enterprise? (Online Social Networking) said:

October 16, 2007 6:34 AM

zxevil163 said:

Lu0nNu Hi from Russia!
March 18, 2008 2:44 AM

zxevil164 said:

kr3Oye Cool, bro!
March 19, 2008 2:30 AM

What do you think?


About Brendon Schwartz

Brendon Schwartz has worked in the Atlanta area User Group scene and is known around town as one of the Atlanta .Net Regular Guys (www.devcow.com). He is currently on the INETA Board of Directors as the Vice President of Technology and is a Microsoft MVP for ASP.NET. Today, Brendon works to solve real world business problems with Microsoft technologies, such as SharePoint, Office, BizTalk, VSTS, and .NET technologies. In addition to presenting at local user groups, he helped create the Free Training 1,2,3! series (www.freetraining123.com) to help developers learn Microsoft technologies. He presented material at the first SharePoint 1,2,3! event (www.sharepoint123.com) along with other members of the Atlanta Microsoft Professionals. Brendon has helped on the leadership teams of five different user groups, and has been interviewed for his community efforts on Pod Casts - including the ASP.NET Pod Cast, .NET Rocks! (Carl Franklin Road Show - Atlanta) and the SharePoint Show Pod Cast. At the first Atlanta Code Camp in 2005, he presented material on ASP.NET mobile controls.
Powered by Community Server, by Telligent Systems