Microsoft = Facebook for the Enterprise

The nation’s fourth largest bank will roll out a social networking service for 110,000 employees over the next several months, giving workers a sophisticated knowledge-management platform that combines the user-friendly approach of the popular Facebook service with broad integration into Wachovia Corp.’s business applications.

Joining Newsgator meant immersing myself in Microsoft products as the company is heavily invested in them. In fact, it was one of the aspects that attracted me, I’d done open source for years and thought it would be a good challenge to learn the Microsoft stuff. I have not been disappointed.

On of the pleasant surprises I had as I was busy drinking from the firehose over the last week is how complete Sharepoint 2007 is. I will post more about Newsgator’s Social Sites product, which is built on top of Sharepoint in a later post as I am still learning the ins-and-outs of this new product. At any rate, Sharepoint has impressed me.

Microsoft has some massive implementations and, of course, much of that is possible because they have an integrated approach to the other components that make large deployments feasible, like Active Directory and administration infrastructure.

The idea that Microsoft could be the "Facebook of the enterprise" requires a degree of imagination but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that knocking down big deals like the one highlighted above will position the company as one of the largest social networking providers out there.

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6 thoughts on Microsoft = Facebook for the Enterprise

  1. There are certainly cases were Microsoft falls behind and never catches up in a space but Microsoft will absolutely be player in “social networking for the enterprise”.

    It may take some imagination to see Microsoft as the “Facebook of the Enterprise” today but that’s partly because a lot of the discussion about Enterprise 2.0 is still pretty concentrated in places like Silicon Valley and Boston.

    My company has been selling an Enterprise Wiki based on the Microsoft stack for the last couple of years and even though it didn’t win us a lot of points early on we’re really starting to see that decision pay off. For example, being built with Microsoft tools makes it easy do things like instantly convert a Word document into a wiki page.

    I would expect NewsGator is probably seeing a similar dynamic were their Microsoft centric approach made them a bit un-cool in certain circles but could be a smart decision in the long run.

    I talked to a couple of Microsoft people at the Enterprise 2.0 conference and even though a lot of their arguments centered around why you need a unified social networking platform from one big vendor (namely Microsoft) instead of a “best of breed” Enterprise 2.0 products it seemed to me they had seriously integrated many of the Enterprise 2.0 concepts into their approach. Which was in contrast to many of the other large traditional big players at the conference who basically took their existing slide shows and changed some of the titles to “Enterprise 2.0”.

  2. Blimey – that’s a change of tune Jeff. Not long ago you were describing Sharepoint as a ‘bag of bits.’

    I’ve just kicked Sharepoint off a deal in favour of other technology, Microsoft based but way ahead of where MSFT is at. I can tell you exactly how far ahead. 3 years. Because that’s when MSFT said they’d have the features that exist in the selected solution.

    I don’t doubt they’ll be an important player and may over time become the pre-eminent player. But they’ve got a lot to do. Simply waving ‘standard’ in from of people won’t be enough.

  3. Sharepoint 2003 certainly was a bag of bits, 2007 is quite a different story. I was having beers yesterday with Ross Mayfield and we were laughing because I’m now in the MS world and he is speaking up at a MS partner event for CIOs about Sharepoint.

    I think the fact that Sharepoint isn’t the be-all-end-all solution is what is attracting partners. If MS keeps those opportunities open we’ll see a healthy community build around it and that’s good for everyone.

  4. Pingback links for 2007-09-15 at Chris Dalby Untangles Networks
  5. Pingback NewsGator Social Sites Launches : Venture Chronicles

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