While there is some significant potential for application social-networking tools in the enterprise, the challenge is finding the best way to use these tools to augment existing business processes versus trying to usurp them.
That's the hard-won experience of Timothy Young, CEO of Socialcast, which just picked up an additional $8 million in funding to drive the development of an application that could best be described as business activity management software that uses Web 2.0 technologies and related concepts.
Socialcast Ease is designed to replace e-mail systems and file systems with a more intuitive approach for managing workflow around a business process, says Young. The basic idea is that Socialcast Ease first identifies all the stakeholders associated with a business process, then sends them a Twitter-like message every time an event takes place related to that process.
For example, the process might be defined by a specific customer account, so all updates related to any process involving any number of enterprise applications are shared with everyone involved with that account. This makes sure no activity related to that account goes unnoticed.
Socialcast Ease uses lightweight REST interfaces to integrate with existing applications. In fact, the company also just announced support for integration with Microsoft SharePoint and mobile applications running on BlackBerry smartphones. SocialEase also comes with a rules engine that allows customers to not only define processes, but also to use widgets within SocialEase to update information in a specific application.
With all the data inundating our e-mail and storage systems, it's pretty clear that many organizations need to come up with new ways of working that decrease the amount of pressure on the IT infrastructure. And the best way to do that is to start intelligently embracing many of the collaboration concepts being pioneered in Web 2.0 applications for consumers on the Web.