New Services Provide Twitter, Facebook Capabilities for the Enterprise

Twitter and Facebook provide a plethora of efficient collaboration and messaging capabilities, but businesses have been hesitant to officially use these services in-house for security and control issues. Socialcast, Socialtext and Huddle are three services designed to offer the features of Twitter, Facebook and other Web 2.0 technologies in a way that is palatable to the enterprise.

If you ask someone to name some of the hottest services on the Web today, a few candidates are certain to come up.

The micro-blogging service Twitter was hot among techies last year, and now--thanks to celebrities such as Oprah and Ashton Kutcher-it is well-known among the general public. And, already generally popular is Facebook, the social network that has changed the way people connect with friends and colleagues. While they are starting to seem old in comparison, the classic Web 2.0 technologies also command a lot of mind share.

But what does all of this mean to businesses? Many individuals within companies embrace these technologies, but the businesses themselves have been hesitant to adopt them in-house. Public services such as Twitter and Facebook, while potentially valuable for controlled company information and marketing, are too insecure and uncontrollable for internal company use.

However, that doesn't mean businesses don't see the attractiveness of these technologies and the potential they have to improve company productivity. A service like Twitter can easily cut down on company e-mail, improve work and project tracking and keep employees connected. And a corporate-focused social network can boost collaboration and project management, as well as improve knowledge and expertise awareness, within a company.

So while companies may not want to use Facebook and Twitter for internal employee use, products that take the features of these services and add on business-friendly capabilities could be welcome.

For this eWEEK Labs review, I looked at three SAAS (software as a service) products that leverage technologies similar to Twitter, Facebook and classic Web 2.0 products and attempt to revise them for business use: Socialcast, Socialtext and Huddle.

All three have different focuses and take different approaches toward using these new technologies to improve business productivity. Some businesses will find one or more of these products attractive immediately; others will most likely choose to stick to classic collaboration and messaging platforms such as IBM Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint.

However, eventually all companies will use the features found in these products, as it is inevitable that they will become standard features in collaboration and management tools in the not-too-distant future.