The number of businesses using social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube has undergone rapid growth over the past 12 months. There is no denying that social networking is going to be huge in 2011. As more people, spend more time using social media websites, businesses will expend more of their marketing resources to reach them. However, all the hype about social networking as a marketing tool has obscured another huge opportunity, social networking for communication and collaboration.
The features that have made social networking websites so popular for personal communication have been transposed to business environments. The result, a new breed of enterprise social networking solutions look set to transform communication, sharing, organisation and collaboration in the workplace. Enterprise social networking may be in its infancy but tools such as Yammer, Salesforce Chatter, SocialText and Tibbr suggest a very bright future.
The approach of each of these four tools to enterprise social networking varies and to compare them directly would be a disservice to their individual qualities. The market for enterprise social networking applications is hugely diverse and each application has been designed to best deal with a unique set of problems. Of course, there will be crossovers, and as the market matures, a minimum set of common functionality will start to manifest. But the long term success of each social networking tool will be determined by how the software evolves and grows to serve broad industry requirements and fit into niche working environments. Here’s taster of what four of the most popular enterprise social networking solutions have to offer.
Tibbr by Tibco, is one of the latest social collaboration platform to hit the market. First announced in 2009, Tibbr has been extensively developed with the goal of producing the archetype social networking tool for large enterprise environments. Tibbr follows a similar design philosophy to Facebook but users are able to follow subjects and machines. Tibbr’s capabilities for application integration will make it particularly enticing to large organisations that need a solution to optimise and prioritise data flow from existing internal systems.
- Salesforce Chatter
Salesforce Chatter incorporates CRM-based events with updates on people, documents and groups to create a real time news feed. Chatter has been developed to enable a secure environment for real-time communication and collaboration as well as a comprehensive set of features to streamline sales teams. The design is similar to Facebook and Twitter which helps dramatically reduce training and integration costs. The ability for users to investigate sales figures and seek out new sales opportunities makes Salesforce Chatter the market leader for sales-orientated business environments.
- Social Text
SocialText is a web-based enterprise social networking tool and provides common social networking features such as microblogging, user profiles, groups, directories and news feeds using separate applications. Businesses and organisations are able to use a selection of these applications to create a flexible and lightweight application that best suits their business needs.
Yammer is a well-established enterprise social networking service and was launched in 2008. Used for private communication within businesses and organisations, Yammer was created as a micro-blogging tool similar to Twitter but run on a closed network. Since its launch Yammer has since evolved into a fully featured enterprise social network. Access is management by the registration process; member’s can only join using a company email address, i.e. email@example.com. Yammer will appeal to businesses and organisations looking for a proven enterprise social network with a strong track record in commercial settings.