When it comes to the Web, technology transformations have followed a general trend of moving from the research space to the consumer space and then to the enterprise space. While presence and popularity in the consumer space is considered to provide hype-value, its the adoption by businesses and utility in enterprises that adds true credence and commercial value to technologies. Case in point being the adoption of e-mail as the communication vehicle of choice for business.
Social networking is in, what can be called, the transition phase from being just a popular trend to true enterprise utility. While the Web 2.0 buzz ( the buzz has lasted rather long ) has set enterprises abuzz, the exact value from the implementation of Web 2.0 in the enterprise is yet to be quantified.
The article at TechNewsWorld mulls on the prospects of Web 2.0 in the enterprise and brings the relevant doubts concerning Web 2.0’s ROI into focus. While enterprises are wont to not being left behind on being at the fore front of implementing technological innovations, the fact remains that there are no concrete proofs on the ROI that enterprises stand to gain from Web 2.0.
While a number of issues plague the precise implementation (if one exists) of Web 2.0 over processes in encompassing an enterprise, the fact that has to be taken into consideration is that perhaps the investments will bear fruits only when the Generation Y enters the workforce. For a generation accustomed to FaceBook and MySpace for managing all communication and information, the enterprise Web 2.0 dashboard may be the perfect switch in a workplace.
In fact, I see more potential for social networking in the professional space than in any other. The reason being that in the professional space, users have a definite reason to maintain a profile with information that needs to be shared, connected and is most importantly credible. Several features developed on top of LinkedIN’s platform also bring into light the different ways in which professional contacts can be highlighted and made usable.
And while we discuss the topic of social networking in the enterprise space, much attention has to be given to the field of social graph. Visualization of an individuals social connection data can provide invaluable insights into several parameters that affect the health of an organization. It is one direct metric on the density and breadth of relationships within an organization. IBM’s research in this area and the tool called Atlas that helps provide visualization of social data are only a beginning to the type of innovation that will aid in measuring the health of an organization like never before.
For 2008 there have been several predictions with reference to the waning of Social Networking fever. Perhaps this may happen. But my view is that this year enterprises will really awake to the immense possibilities of the connectivity that social networking will bring to large organizations. Social networking in the enterprise will perhaps be the panacea for growth pangs, making large organizations more closely knit, manageable and well, organized.