3. Multiple Communication Systems
A variety of communication channels within the enterprise social network can speed the pace of business and potentially lead to cost reductions.
"A super simple but effective way to develop collective intelligence within a knowledge-intensive firm is to get people sharing their reading and writing through Enterprise RSS, bookmarking and blogs." Lee Bryant, analyst with Headshift, a London-based social-computing consultancy, wrote in a blog posting. "This is an order of magnitude cheaper than traditional internal information sharing, newsletters and research."
According to Bryant, harnessing the power of instant-messaging is another vital element of an enterprise social network.
"There is a lot of interest right now in replicating the success of micro-messaging systems such as Twitter within the enterprise," he wrote in the same blog. "This has all the benefits of instant messaging with the advantages of being embedded in your working groups and networks but with less interruption cost."
As previously documented by eWEEK, Facebook and other general social-networking sites have been known for their potential security risks, with user data vulnerable to attackers.
Any enterprise-specific social network, therefore, will have to be secure on a number of fronts, including protecting against any vulnerabilities found in third-party applications integrated into the network.
Facebook already requires that developers, before they can create anything for the site, comply with policy guidelines that prohibit malicious activity. Developers for enterprise-based social networks could conform to the same guidelines.
According to a report issued by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners of New York, the number of small businesses that utilize social networking services will double in 2009, to roughly 600,000 organizations. On top of that, around 500,000 small businesses will use a social-networking solution in their advertising or promotional efforts.
Of course, if everything goes well, those small businesses then turn into medium-sized businesses and from there into truly massive enterprises. As the number of employees expands, any social network layered on top of the organization will need to scale appropriately.