SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Courtney Abud

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Agile Computing, Release Management

@CloudExpo: Article

Software Developers Must Target the Social Enterprise

The networking to enterprise chasm

Many firms still dismiss the importance of social networking and some of them even ban employees from using these services while in the workplace. They think that "social" starts and ends with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other networks that might be best described as informal, consumer level and perhaps even fun.

It would be unfair to blame these old traditionalists who have dug their heels in and insisted that their traditional trading systems don't need fixing, let alone reinventing. It has been a so-called ‘paradigm shift' and a change in mindset toward social is sometimes a lot to ask for.

But that was social networking and that's not what we are talking about now. This is social business, social enterprise and social commerce in its most practical form.

The Networking to Enterprise Chasm
In between social networking and social enterprise there is arguably something of a middle ground. There are firms that have taken their ‘brand' into the Facebook consumer-level arena and forged relationships with customers quite directly. Anti-Virus protection company AVG and coffee shop chain Starbucks are just two examples of firms that have made the leap into social networking successfully, both of which now boast a large number of "fans" in this zone.

But this is not social enterprise. This is enterprise use of social networking and it's crucially important that we define this difference.

Onward from here, social enterprise would involve AVG or Starbucks or any other xyz company creating ‘social channels' inside their in-house (possibly partner connected) business systems.

What Is the Social Enterprise?
Put very simply, the social enterprise is basically Facebook at work. But the differences are important. Ram Menon is president of social computing at enterprise infrastructure company TIBCO. He asserts that although consumer-level social networking connects people effectively, it fails to connect business systems and also to make them a "part of the conversation" in the workplace.

As we now build the social enterprise (as opposed to the social network) Menon says that there have been two important stages in its growth:

Phase #1: This was the "let's just copy Facebook and rip it off" phase and many companies really did do this, i.e., cloud CRM company salesforce.com talks openly about how it has emulated all that makes Facebook great

Phase #2: This is where we really start creating an environment for work and productivity and social enterprise starts to benefit the bottom line

Who Lives in the Social Enterprise?
While the social "network" features people, the social "enterprise," according to TIBCO, is made up of more elements or objects:

  1. People
  2. Machines
  3. Business processes
  4. Locations
  5. Other enterprise infrastructure elements

"We now move to a point where machines and other parts of the enterprise can 'post' information to the social enterprise," said TIBCO's Menon. "If an EPOS cash till in Mumbai records a transaction; or if a car manufacturing plant in Chicago sends a 'job complete' event out, this data should then become part of the total information share that the business can use."

In this new world of the social enterprise, user behavior changes. We no longer "follow" events or data that are posted (as we do in the social network) - instead in the social enterprise we start to "act" upon the data that we see says Menon.

Software Developers Must Target the Social Enterprise
Returning to our headline and the suggestion that software developers must now target the social enterprise, how do we justify this claim? What we have here are social enterprise applications that carry data pertaining to business functions. Employees can openly, dynamically and collaboratively discuss issues related to defined parts of the business, and system data that will change the status of the business function is also shared in this space. This means that software application developers now have a chance to produce new apps that target, plug into and integrate with the new social enterprise system as and when a firm brings it online.

None of this will happen overnight in any firm and there is a Big Data consumption mountain to digest before we even start. CIOs should now perhaps look to the vendors actually selling ‘enterprise social' as a concept. Making sure that the vendors are eating their own dog food and using these technologies effectively on an internal basis is a good place to start.

Before that, think about lifting your employee ban on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + (and others) at work. It really is time.

•   •   •

This post was first published on the Enterprise CIO Forum.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Using serverless computing has a number of obvious benefits over traditional application infrastructure - you pay only for what you use, scale up or down immediately to match supply with demand, and avoid operating any server infrastructure at all. However, implementing maintainable and scalable applications using serverless computing services like AWS Lambda poses a number of challenges. The absence of long-lived, user-managed servers means that states cannot be maintained by the service. Lo...
With the new Kubernetes offering, ClearDATA solves one of the largest challenges in healthcare IT around time-to-deployment. Using ClearDATA's Automated Safeguards for Kubernetes, healthcare organizations have access to the container orchestration to dynamically deploy new containers on demand, monitor the health of each container for threats and seamlessly roll back faulty application updates to a previous version, avoid system-wide downtime and ensure secure continuous access to patient data.
Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simplicity and reach of the open web. With staff in 10 timezones, Isomorphic provides a global network of services related to our technology, with offerings ranging from turnkey application development to SLA-backed enterprise support. Leadin...
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Platform9, the open-source-as-a-service company making cloud infrastructure easy, today announced the general availability of its Managed Kubernetes service, the industry's first infrastructure-agnostic, SaaS-managed offering. Unlike legacy software distribution models, Managed Kubernetes is deployed and managed entirely as a SaaS solution, across on-premises and public cloud infrastructure. The company also introduced Fission, a new, open source, serverless framework built on Kubernetes. These ...
Emil Sayegh is an early pioneer of cloud computing and is recognized as one of the industry's true veterans. A cloud visionary, he is credited with launching and leading the cloud computing and hosting businesses for HP, Rackspace, and Codero. Emil built the Rackspace cloud business while serving as the company's GM of the Cloud Computing Division. Earlier at Rackspace he served as VP of the Product Group and launched the company's private cloud and hosted exchange services. He later moved o...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, will discuss how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galer...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
Technology has changed tremendously in the last 20 years. From onion architectures to APIs to microservices to cloud and containers, the technology artifacts shipped by teams has changed. And that's not all - roles have changed too. Functional silos have been replaced by cross-functional teams, the skill sets people need to have has been redefined and the tools and approaches for how software is developed and delivered has transformed. When we move from highly defined rigid roles and systems to ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
xMatters helps enterprises prevent, manage and resolve IT incidents. xMatters industry-leading Service Availability platform prevents IT issues from becoming big business problems. Large enterprises, small workgroups, and innovative DevOps teams rely on its proactive issue resolution service to maintain operational visibility and control in today's highly-fragmented IT environment. xMatters provides toolchain integrations to hundreds of IT management, security and DevOps tools. xMatters is the ...