|Image credit: Faithful Chant|
- Twitter Integration: Can we design people's profiles in such a way that it automatically shows their Twitter stream, if they've added the Twitter ID to the system. Yammer already does smart things like integrating selective tweets with the Yammer activity stream. How frictionless is it for people to post to the enterprise social network directly from Twitter! As a corollary how tough can it be to send selective status updates from the enterprise social network to Twitter?
- Facebook Integration: Can people who are my friends on Facebook automatically be my friends on a social business platform? Could we at least get a way to scan our Facebook friends list and find corresponding friends on enterprise network? Just as in Twitter, can we have a 'lifestream' that allows people to see what we're upto in our daily lives? Can the integration of workstreams and lifestreams help build a connected enterprise?
- Blogs: While internal blogging is cool, most people are unlikely to retire their own blogs and they'll still continue to post great, useful stuff in there. How can we integrate people's blogposts from the external world into the enterprise activity stream? This could be a big win from an enterprise knowledge standpoint. It's also a recognition for people's personal brand - a small gesture that leads to great personal satisfaction.
- A Rational Approach to Privacy : There's always a certain amount of risk averseness towards storing personal data on SaaS platforms. This being said, most great social business platforms are SaaS solutions, where data isn't on your private servers. I understand there are some concerns particularly in Europe, around mandating storage of personal information on the cloud. I still believe that there are a few things to be mindful of. Most people already put this kind of information on services like Facebook, where they have no ownership of data. This indicates a certain level of comfort with storing personal information on third-party systems. With most SaaS providers we're protected by an NDA. As long as you can determine a practical exit strategy, should storing personal data be really such a huge risk? Frankly, the constant status updates that people will post are far more personal than a company phone number. And if push comes to shove, can we offer a choice to individuals about storing what they consider personal data on a SaaS solution? Until we ask, we'll never know who has an objection. It's always a bad idea to base design decisions around the outliers in your organisation - it only means that your system wil suck for the vast majority.
- Composite Profiles: People already have profiles all across the web. Can we find ways to integrate profile data from established services like Facebook and Twitter? In fact, as a step to that, do our profiles need a 2.0 twist to them? Social business implementations still capture only old-school contact information on profiles. Can we start to capture modern, context information such as Facebook and Twitter IDs, blog urls, etc on profiles? Eventually, these could be data sources to help you establish a strong social media presence on the web. Imagine how easy it'll be to have a constantly up-to-date list of your employees on Twitter. Or for that matter, a constantly up-to-date employee group on Facebook. Collecting context information is only a first step to this.
This article is an adaptation of an article I wrote on our internal blogging platform at ThoughtWorks. That in itself is an example of the separation between the real world and the enterprise. I had plans to write a completely different article this week, but the thought of composite identities was too compelling not to socialise on this blog. What's your view on the topic? Feel free to drop in your thoughts into the comments section of this post.
By the way, I'm speaking at the Learning Solutions conference this month. I'll be at Orlando for the entire week, and am doing the following sessions:
- Social Learning without the Technology - Seven Patterns to Try Out: 1430, March 23rd
- What’s New In Blended Learning: with Julie Brink, Michael Tucci and Erin Gibbens. This is a Morning Buzz session on March 24th
- Social Learning and Social Media - Their Role in Learning: with Terrence Wing, Julie Rochon and Kathy Jeep. This is a Morning Buzz session on March 25th