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@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Social Media Clouds

Enabling secure social collaboration

Welcome to Enterprise2.us, our new channel on Ulitzer focused on Enterprise 2.0, how businesses can use social media internally.

Where this overlaps with Cloud computing is a very hot area for new ventures, as it helps to bring together a number of disparate and also quite technical strands and packages them into business and user-centric solutions.

Enterprise social media
The term 'Enterprise 2.0' was coined by Andrew McAfee, who became widely known for the topic following his MIT white paper 'Dawn of Emergent Collaboration'.

This described how organizations could greatly improve their knowledge management capabilities through adopting the social software that powers Web 2.0 sites, like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter et al. He described a number of points about improving communications, like 'signaling' through RSS feeds.

As well as the technology he also talks about how this enables entirely new forms of organization. Ones that aren't structured in a hierarchical, 'command and control' form but rather as more free-flowing, 'emergent' patterns of self-organization.

Social Cloud services
The relationship Cloud offers is twofold, namely i) the ability to deliver this type of software, and ii) Inter-Cloud Services, how it will help exchange data between them.

For example one vendor that offers E2.0 software is Microsoft. Their Sharepoint product is an enterprise CMS (Content Management System) that includes the blogs, wikis and other social media tools required for Enterprise 2.0.

It can also be enhanced to the Nth degree through add-in modules. For example you can plug in Socialtext for very slick 'micro-blogging' services, as well as UC (Unified Communications) for embedding desktop collaboration tools like messaging and video. This goes right up to high-end enterprise applications for workflow, document management and so forth.

As highlighted this is a modular, Salesforce.com type platform approach to assembling enterprise software, and can be achieved through what I call a 'Private Cloud Application Platform'. This uses the SaaS aspects of Cloud internally.

Furthermore as highlighted in my article about the Cisco white paper, "Inter-Cloud Services" will become available from telcos and offer additional business value to this scenario, helping exchanging this social media data securely between different organisations. These 'social media clouds' will allow dynamic networks to form and exchange data like Presence, Activity Streams, Contact details and so forth.

These new tools offer much more dynamic ways of working but fundamentally to be of use they will need to scale across different supply chain organizations, and "Cloud Federation" will connect them in such a way that this becomes possible, enabling users to share files and updates but only through channels controlled through corporate policy.

What do you think?
Join in the discussion in our Cloud Ventures Linkedin industry group: http://Cloud-Ventures.net.

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