“We need a Corporate Facebook”

This article was originally posted on July 27, 2007.

Despite an often dismissive attitude (by many people over the age of 40, enterprise software types, etc.) about Web 2.0 tools like Facebook as being mere toys, there is an increased acceptance of this type of tool, if not the tool itself, in the marketplace. Not just the consumer marketplace, but the corporate marketplace. A fine recent blog post from Dennis Howlett recently discussed this in depth, and rumors abound of suitors lining up to buy Facebook for this reason among others.

To underscore this point in my own mind, I encountered three separate recent instances of customers saying this is something that they need. Some examples:

  • “Our office environment is spread over many floors/buildings/cities/countries, and I need to know who that executive is that I just met in the hallway.”

The point that Howlett makes is much like the broader one almost universally accepted about Web 1.0: a new generation of users is entering the workplace, and they will never have known a world without tools like FaceBook.

Although it’s much more structured and not as mature (see the Enterprise vs Consumer discussion touched on at last year’s CIO Symposium at MIT), some of the basic framework for this “Corporate Facebook” type of application is present in tools that our firm uses and helps customers to implement.

In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, for example:

  • users maintain profiles that store definable attributes such as certifications, schools, projects, skills, etc., and of course a picture

I was discussing this today with a colleague who has experience building a SharePoint-based “Corporate Facebook” type of application in her previous job, and we’re planning on building a demonstration of this soon based on her experience and these customer conversations. Meanwhile, I’ve created an account on Facebook so that I can correspond with my niece and nephews, and perhaps post on this topic again if there’s interest. If you are interested in exploring this topic more, please comment below or perhaps write on my wall

Originally published at https://mikegil.typepad.com.

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Mike Gilronan

Project management, financial management, and knowledge management. Microsoft 365 aficionado, proud Sympraxian. Opinions and Philly attytood are my own.