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The Importance of Social Software in the Enterprise

October 29, 2010 - 1 Comment

Over the next few years, there will be a big transformation in the workplace as large numbers of Gen X and Y individuals start entering the workforce. As these same individuals rely on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter for communication, employers are pressured into bringing similar tools into their enterprises but, in a secure manner. Back in June, we announced limited availability for Cisco Quad, our software-based enterprise collaboration platform, and the response has been overwhelming.

When applied against specific operating problems, enterprise social software is a mission critical application for those companies that want to grow, expand into new markets and increase productivity. It can transform the workplace and provide unmatched benefits to an organization:

  • Easier access to resources and expertise, allowing the user to reach out to a large number of relevant participants and bring them into a virtual discussion around a specific problem or challenge. It also captures, and makes searchable, these informal conversations.
  • Real-time communications through integration with voice, IM w/presence, conferencing, and video
  • Saves time & resources and drives better utilization of existing systems through pre-integrations with common IT infrastructure platforms
  • Delivers social networking without the risk by using built-in, rules-based policy management to any sensitive data, in any format, behind the firewall
  • Simplifies content management with streamlined content sharing and search capabilities
  • Meets the needs of the mobile worker with apps designed for mobile devices

Enterprise social software provides benefits unmatched by consumer social media sites. Consumer social sites like Facebook and Twitter provide tremendous benefits for business when it comes to interacting with the external world. However, they provide for completely the opposite when it comes to internal or secure partner/supplier interaction. While there may be some overlap between your personal and professional relationships, it’s minimal because, ultimately, you are communicating different things to different audiences. True collaboration is both internal and external. It extends to real-time communication with people in-person and via voice, video, chat and conferencing. True collaboration ties together virtual connections with real world connections.

Privacy related issues also make consumer social media sites the last place business users want to store intellectual property and use to connect with colleagues on a professional level. Business users want many of the same social features they use in their personal lives, but applied in a highly secure and customized way for the enterprise.

For companies that want to grow, they need to ensure that employees can easily find information and expertise and form teams that work together for accelerated results. Cisco Quad helps them achieve this and is the reason work will improve when collaboration software is deployed in the enterprise.  I’m a living example of this change, as are Cisco employees and customers who are using Cisco Quad today.

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