There's a lot of nuance when it comes to social networking in the enterprise and each use case for this technology is certainly not equal. For instance, discussions involving customers may not be as sensitive as internal conversations between employees. As a result, social networks for those different use cases may not only need to be managed differently, they could be deployed in completely different places.
With that issue in mind, eXo this week unfurled a free beta version of its social networking software that runs in the cloud. eXo CEO Benjamin Mestrallet says eXo Cloud Workspaces doesn't have every feature that the eXo 3.5 social networking service has for internal usage, but that's by design. For example, social networking environments in the cloud that are aimed at external users don't really need a lot of content management functionality. Mestrallet says what's important is that the management of eXo across cloud computing deployments can be federated.
Just as importantly, eXo is designed to allow IT organizations to not only customize the environment, but also utilize REST application programming interfaces to integrate the social networking environment with existing enterprise applications.
Social networks are rapidly evolving into platforms for building new systems of engagement classes that are redefining collaboration both inside and outside of the enterprise. The challenge is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to social networking in the enterprise and integrating those systems of engagement with existing systems of record will ultimately determine just how valuable these systems of engagement actually will become.
All of these changes will naturally take some time to play out, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that social networking platforms are about to have a profound effect on the enterprise that goes well beyond basic communication.