Microsoft doesn't get mentioned in the same sentence with hot topic social networking too often, but a decent-sized collaboration and social networking implementation at Wachovia has netted Redmond a very flattering headline at CIO Insight: "Will Microsoft Become Facebook for the Enterprise?"
The comparison is a crucial one; we've been wondering for some time where Facebook would land in the enterprise. Employees' knowledge of and comfort level with collaborative tools has skyrocketed such that we're in an "Age of Collaboration" that enterprises -- especially the largest, most widely dispersed ones -- ignore at their peril.
New Paradigm think tank CEO and author of "Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything" Don Tapscott told IT Business Edge about a year ago that "...to operate effectively within this space requires flexibility and the commitment to constantly engage employees in a dialogue in order to navigate this new landscape together."
Now we're in the thick of it, and companies like Wachovia are taking Tapscott's advice and looking at Microsoft's integration and knowledge-sharing capabilities in SharePoint as the most expedient way to open up channels within their Microsoft shops.
This is just the kind of setup Microsoft needs to illustrate that it is the "people-ready business" it proclaims to be, as our Loraine Lawson blogged about recently. The CIO Insight article doesn't have tons of detail, but in the initial phase, more than 100,000 employees will have free rein to work/play with presence awareness, blogs, wikis and "community development" features like photo sharing. We expect to see more deployments that meld users' online work and personal lives.
Wachovia Director of eBusiness Pete Fields is a bit surprised that Facebook hasn't aggressively pursued its spot within the enterprise, a position that some thought was all but locked down by Facebook's open development platform and site stickiness.