There’s no doubt that enterprise applications are getting more social with each passing day; the challenge is finding a way to provide a common layer of social software that can be invoked by multiple applications.
SAP this week took a crack at solving that very problem with the release of SAP Jam and SAP Social OnDemand, a set for software running on premise and in the cloud that is designed to not only provide collaboration applications, but also a framework that allows applications to invoke a common set of social APIs.
According to Sameer Patel, SAP GM and global VP of enterprise social and collaborative software, SAP is trying to infuse social software technologies into every business process. To accomplish that goal, SAP is combining Jam social networking software it gained with the recent acquisition of SuccessFactors, and the Streamwork collaboration software that SAP developed. In some instances, says Patel, customers need access to traditional collaboration software, while at other times a more structured approach to building a collaborative business process is required. In either instance, maintaining the business context around any given process is critical, says Patel.
Patel says SAP will extend this layer of social networking software across not only its own on-premise and cloud software, but to providers of third-party applications as well. SAP will expose the API for that layer of software to customers who want to integrate their own custom-built applications.
Slowly but surely, the way organizations work is being transformed by increased usage of social networking software. But rather than thinking of social networking software as a distinct application, vendors such as SAP are starting to make a case of social networking as a framework for unifying any number of business processes. In fact, social networking software is a key component of a rapidly emerging API Renaissance period in the enterprise.