Consumers today can share specific information with specific groups of people on social networks, such as Facebook and Google Plus, and they can access their photos, music and the like on multiple devices thanks to cloud synchronization services. And they carry these expectations over into the workplace. To meet these demands, vendors are adding more social collaboration features to their platforms, but issues about user-friendliness not to mention IT security concerns have made it a rough transition.
Social collaboration in the enterprise
Lotus Notes, for example, integrates with IBM Connections, which features a Facebook-like layout where end users can post status updates and comments, plus project pages where team members can upload and view media. Microsoft SharePoint lets users build internal Wikis and search across multiple enterprise systems. And social networks have also given rise to a new breed of social-first enterprise collaboration platforms, such as Jive Software’s Engage. This kind of platforms will in future lead to IT security leaks and lop holes.
In addition the problem with these platforms is that, like most enterprise software, they don’t really work well with each other. Users are able to access their personal data and files from multiple platforms and devices, and if they can’t do the same at work, it will be tough for IT to get buy-in.
Scenario from Google+ (plus)
It’s not a given that consumer-oriented social networks could fare better in business settings, but that hasn’t stopped at least one vendor from trying. Google has added Google Plus to Google Apps, its cloud-based productivity service for businesses.
Google Plus lets users place their contacts and colleagues into Circles, or specific groups that can only see specified shared information. A personal user might have Circles for his friends, family and coworkers, for example, so his dad, mom and boss can’t see party pictures he shares with his friends. For social collaboration in the enterprise, users could build Circles for different departments or project teams they work with, allowing them to share and discuss documents and information with relevant colleagues.
The worry is that employees could post sensitive or confidential corporate data for the world to see (either accidentally or maliciously), because Google Plus also lets users share information publicly, even through Google Apps. Just last month, a Google engineer wrote a lengthy rant about the downfalls of Google Plus and accidentally shared it with all of his followers. Most of the Collaboration platforms that aim going cloud should add features of data governance to avoid any IT privacy and security breach.