Part of the problem with social networking in the enterprise is that experience is fractured. There are social networking applications for the enterprise, but most of them are not all that well integrated with the web conferencing systems that business people increasingly rely on to communicate within the company and with the outside world.
Tibco recently moved to address that specific challenge with the launch of tibbr Meetings, which integrates the company’s social networking service for the enterprise with a variety of web conferencing and online meeting applications, including Cisco WebEx, Skype and Google Hangouts.
Tibco Social Computing president Ram Menon says that for social networking in the enterprise to succeed, it needs to be slipstreamed into the workflow patterns and communications services that business people already rely on.
In general, social networking in the enterprise is finding an acceptance challenge because it’s usually not associated with solving a specific business problem; for the most part, it creates another silo of communication that people have to manage. Menon says that tibbr is specifically designed to extend the social aspects of a business process, rather than merely be deployed as an alternative to email.
Like any communications framework, it’s hard to measure the specific value of an investment in enterprise social networking. For that reason, IT organizations need to make sure social networking in the enterprise is associated with improvement of specific sets of business processes. Otherwise, all the IT organization is really doing is setting up another orthogonal communications channel that over time many of the end users it was meant to serve will come to resent.