One of things that a lot of IT applications need is a way to asynchronously communicate information updates. Of course, the issue is that most of those updates need to be shared across applications from multiple vendors, so building that kind of functionality directly into the application framework doesn't make a whole lot of sense in a world full of application diversity.
That's why it's interesting to watch how software vendors are taking to social networks such Yammer as a vehicle for sharing information across applications. For instance, Nastel Technologies, a maker of application-performance-management software aimed primarily at the financial services sector, has taken to using Yammer to provide the equivalent of a private Twitter network for its customers.
According to Charley Rich, Nastel vice president of product management, the Yammer service gives customers a ready-made social-networking platform through which they can discuss APM issues without Nastel having to build that service from scratch. Rich says Nastel over time might add support for other social-networking services as other platforms evolve. But in the meantime, Yammer provides a communications platform for not only Nastel applications, but other applications the customer might be integrating with Nastel software.
Over time, just about every enterprise application is going to be tied into some type of Twitter-like service. In fact, some systems-management companies have already adopted Twitter as a vehicle for sending alerts. Even though many people still think of Twitter as a social-networking toy, the power of these platforms as communications frameworks for a whole host of applications is becoming more apparent with each post.