It was inevitable that Twitter-like services would emerge targeting a business audience. While the term “microblogging” is frequently used to describe these platforms, they could also be considered as a derivative of group chat and instant messaging platforms as well. Within the enterprise, it is highly probable that IT organizations will classify these tools as messaging platforms (I would BTW). As a messaging platform, these tools would have to support security, logging, audit and archival functions to satisfy regulatory, compliance and records management demands.
These requirements might “ruin the party” about how people foresee microblogging taking off within the enterprise – but better to plan for such features now, and push vendors to deliver those functions, than ignore some basic blocking-and-tackling issues that inhibited rollout of enterprise instant messaging.
In fact, the other debate that will go on internally within enterprise organizations will be the overlap between microblogging tools and instant messaging tools that support group chat. Will existing instant messaging vendors (i.e., IBM and Microsoft) support Twitter-like capabilities as an extension of their existing UC platforms – or – will there be a sustainable market opportunity for new entrants to deliver such messaging tools to an enterprise audience?
Microsoft acquired Parlano some time ago which could be extended to be a “Twitter for the enterprise”. IBM’s Sametime already has large-scale broadcast and group chat capabilities as well. But, as my earlier post on social presence outlined – will UC vendors/product teams (who seem to have a narrow view of the world when it comes to social networking), expand their platforms (e.g., beyond SIP/SIMPLE) to support concepts related to social presence as well as concepts related to microblogging? Or will they continue to prioritize their own products as the be-all-end-all hub for these types of applications?
A Myriad of Microblogging Options…
The media event, which ended Wednesday night in San Francisco, has ironically been very high profile on Twitter, the platform famous for originating ‘ambient intimacy’, Other microblogging platforms with traction amongst users include Plurk, Pownce, indenti.ca and Jaiku, with more options popping up practically daily.
ESME is interesting because it focuses on real world application of Twitter style functionality in the SAP ecosphere. From early feedback the Vegas SAP TEchEd crowd didn’t go wild over this innovative project unlike Yammer’s reception in San Francisco, the reality is most internal enterprise people don’t understand the utility of this type of communication yet.
Yammer has a business model that allows rapid uptake of their service, which is anchored around urls. So if your company is arracanis.com for example those with @arracanis.com email addresses can join Yammer. If the owners of arracanis.com want any centralized control over this social network talking about their business they need to pay Yammer…
The bigger challenge – completely understood by early business Twitter adopters such as @zappos - is making a standardized micro blogging platform as intuitive to use as email or the telephone for business users.
For smaller ad hoc business uptake Twitter, Yammer and other services will fill a gap, but there is still a need for a secure internal service that will carry sensitive communication. The ESME’s of the world are working towards that, and it’s a communication and training battle…