Vendors No Longer Shy Away from Facebook Comparisons

Ann All

There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when some old fogies -- including me -- thought of the idea of Facebook in a work setting with scorn, if we thought of it at all.


My, how times have changed. While many executives still worry that their employees will waste more time using collaboration tools than they'll gain in productivity improvements, three-quarters of execs recently surveyed by Kelton Research plan to increase the use of collaboration technologies in the coming year.


They'll have plenty of tools from which to choose. The vendors selling them aren't shying away from Facebook comparisons; they're encouraging them.


Nicholas Cumins, an SAP executive I interviewed about the company's nascent Sales On-Demand application demonstrated at its recent Sapphire conference, told me Sapphire attendees commented that the app's interface "looked a lot like Facebook." The app incorporates technology from StreamWork, SAP's collaborative decision-making environment. IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson wrote about StreamWork earlier this year when it was still called 12Sprints. (I interviewed another SAP exec about StreamWork recently and will share his comments in a post later this week.)


StreamWork will be a collaboration contender, along with Microsoft's SharePoint, Google Wave and's Chatter. I wrote about one company's use of Chatter last week. Guess what? The company's CEO described Chatter as "a combination between Twitter, Facebook and Google Wave, focused on the enterprise." In a commentary published on TechCrunch, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asked, "Why isn't all enterprise software like Facebook?"


IBM is also in the mix with an updated, cloud-based version of its Lotus software. Like Salesforce with its development platform, IBM has ambitious aspirations of creating a business process ecosystem in the cloud, IT Business Edge's Mike Vizard wrote last week.


Yet another collaboration entry is in the pipeline. As eWEEK reports, Cisco will introduce its enterprise collaboration platform at next week's Enterprise 2.0 conference. Called Quad, it will incorporate social features including profiles, updates, video communications, microblogging, posts, people search, RSS feeds and auto-tagging. According to the article, Quad will support integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange, and EMC's Documentum product. Of course it will integrate with Cisco products as well, including Cisco Unified Communications solutions, WebEx conferencing, and Show and Share social video technology.


One feature that sounds especially neat is MyView, a customizable space that enables users to view people and projects they're following, check the calendar, communities and activities they're involved in, and initiate communications via instant messaging, e-mail or video conference.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 6, 2011 7:44 AM Ratna.Deepak Ratna.Deepak  says:

They will have lots of tools that to decide on. The distributors promoting them aren't shying away from Facebook comparisons; they are encouraging them.

Apr 29, 2011 9:37 AM free laptops for students free laptops for students  says:

isnt this an invasion of privacy?

Apr 29, 2011 9:51 AM Liam Liam  says:

Interesting read - I guess with the rate that we currently develop technologies, this is naturally going to occur with progression. It's good that CEO's are jumping on board now though and embracing the further advancements when they come along

Apr 30, 2011 6:59 AM Success Success  says:

If used in the right way, collaboration technologies can actually improve efficiency in the workplace. In the not so distant past, I have known projects of significant size fail to meet deadlines because of key people being out of the loop.

It is a balancing act for sure, but with proper training and commitment from all collaboration technology will ensure that failures are minimized and everyone is in the loop.

May 2, 2011 7:29 AM Bollards Bollards  says:

Interesting to see that they're being encouraged to use Facebook. It can be a great promotional tool if people engage with people in the right way as opposed to spending time on there playing farm based games!

Aug 24, 2011 1:20 AM EMR Software EMR Software  says:

We're seeing the collaboration even in the healthcare arena. Patient privacy makes it difficult, but doctors are asking for a way to communication with each other in a Facebook format. Will be interesting!

Aug 31, 2011 6:51 AM rent villa rent villa  says:

Thanks for the detail Ann. It was a cool reading. Keep up , I like how you work.

Sep 2, 2011 7:23 AM rent villa rent villa  says:

This tool is excellent. Thanks for sharing, i really enjoyed the healthy update.


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