Social networking tools
Tools that enable people to communicate with other people through the Internet
Enterprise social software, also known as Enterprise 2.0, is a term describing social software used in an enterprise (business) context. Examples of social software include Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Wikipedia etc. and these systems are generally used by individuals outside the work environment. Figure 1 below shows the relationship between Web 2.0, the enabling technologies and the Enterprise 2.0 concepts and tools used for business.
In an R&D setting it is possible to use adaptations of social networking tools to support knowledge sharing within the organization. The advantages that this brings include:
- Improved collaboration — leading to increased knowledge sharing between individuals and teams;
- Innovation — helps to break down silos and open up new connections between teams;
- Productivity — opens up networks within the organization improving both the quantity and quality of work.
One of the best examples of an Enterprise 2.0 tool is a wiki. A wiki is a page or collection of web-pages designed to enable anyone with access rights to contribute or modify content using a simplified mark-up language. Specific benefits for R&D organizations include:
- Allows easy capture and sharing of information;
- No programming or software skills needed by the content provider (user);
- Better and faster real time collaboration among employees;
- Can cut down on email and the need to forward attachments;
- Can reduce the need for meetings.
Currently, there are very few R&D organizations using Enterprise 2.0 tools but the numbers are expected to increase as the concept becomes more widespread and accepted in other business sectors. Example vendors/products active in this market include:
- Jive Software: Jive SBS (www.jivesftware.com);
- Awareness: Awareness Social Media Marketing platform (www.awarenessnetworks.com);
- Socialtext: Socialtext Collaboration Platform (www.socialtext.com);
- Microsoft: Sharepoint Server (www.microsoft.com);
- IBM: Lotus Connections (www.ibm.com);
- Oracle: Oracle Web Centre Suite (www.oracle.com).