Social Content: Is your Content integrated with your Social Network?
By Jim Lundy
I spend my days talking with clients about Social Software and some of the critical success factors. Content is one of them. Social Content is the term I use to describe if content is integrated into an Enterprise Social Network. It is hard to use an ESN for work if you aren’t sharing the content that helps people get their job done. When Content is used inside an ESN, the ESN usage goes up. This isn’t rocket science. Facebook was designed around this premise. People go there because they want to see what others are up to. If picture sharing went down in Facebook, my argument is that so would the usage of Facebook by users.
Social Content and Enterprise Social Networks
In the enterprise, many people are still getting used to the idea of working Socially. One of the most critical factors to ensure long term success of the ESN is to allow the ebb and flow of work to occur there. A conversation I had this week illustrates this. One group was using SharePoint and others were using Yammer. The content repository was not connected, but it was clear that was one of the things that needed to happen.
Conecting Content Repositories to Social Networks is a must do option and not all vendors do it the same way. IBM announced that document libraries can be imported into Connections via IBM Connections Content Manager 4.5 (see Connections info from Luis Benitez). We’ll note that IBM is a major ECM provider and it is now beginning to offer clean integration across its Portal (Websphere), Content (Content Manager and FileNet) and Collaboration (IBM Connections) product families.
Many ESN providers can connect to SharePoint via CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services), but one thing we would observe is that there are few firms out there that offer standalone CMIS Connectors to SharePoint. It is also important to point out that SharePoint has always offered more than content management. See some of our research for more on that subject.
Jive Software offers a SharePoint Connector. They are also talking about their integration with Box, which uses its own API. We advocate using an open protocol such as CMIS versus depending on a vendor’s proprietary API. The reason? Proprietary APIs make it harder to switch down the road. The other reason to consider CMIS is because Microsoft SharePoint has CMIS support in SharePoint 2013 and also because most of the other ECM Vendors support CMIS.
Huddle, which is now expanding its US presence, doesn’t really need a connector since it offers collaboration and content management all in one Suite. It does offer integration with Microsoft Office and with SharePoint. However, because they have built-in Content Management, Huddle has replaced SharePoint in many government accounts. On top of its CM feature set, Huddle offers solid collaboration features and was one of the only content management vendors in our recent Aragon Research Globe for Enterprise Social Software besides IBM, Microsoft and Open Text.
There are lots of other ESN providers that have a connection to SharePoint. Cisco, Open Text, Oracle, Saba People Cloud, SAP Jam, SocialText, Telligent, Tibbr and others offer a SharePoint Connector.
Lastly, it brings us to Microsoft. SharePoint 2013 is here and so is Yammer ESN in the Cloud. Lots of enterprises are looking at Yammer as a compliment to SharePoint, particularly after the Yammer Price drop last year. Yammer is part of the Microsoft Office Division and Yammer is what the Microsoft Sales Executives are selling (note, it leaves Newsgator, former SharePoint Partner of the year, in somewhat of a lurch). With the Yammer to SharePoint integration, we still think there is a need for a cleaner integration than what we have seen, but we expect that to happen over time. It is safe to say that with new pricing, Yammer is attractive to many SharePoint customers.
The problem that still remains is getting the integration and the ESN implementation right relative to content. Most business professionals just want to get going, but part of the plan should include a way to ensure that content is being managed. There is a need right now for a set of clean connectors between all of these different CM and ESN systems. One of the last vendors to offer connectors to 40 different CM systems was EntropySoft, was just sold to Salesforce, which we suspect is going to use them with its announced (but not shipped) offering called Chatter Box.
Editors Note: Aragon Research covers both Social Software and Content Management as two of our primary coverage areas. Contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have a more in-depth discussion.