SharePoint 2010 and Enterprise Social Computing: Kill or Cure

It is important that SharePoint 2010 is not allowed – even for a few months - to redefine and therefore limit the scope of Enterprise Social Computing.
SharePoint 2010 is a significant improvement on Microsoft Office SharePoint Sever 2007 (MOSS) in terms of the out-of-the-box social networking functionality it provides.
For example, its default My Site is much more appealing - and it comes with new or improved ‘Web 2.0’ features in areas such as its Noteboard and its pervasive Tagging, Commenting and Rating facilities.
Which means SharePoint 2010 will enable you to create - more easily than with MOSS – something resembling a ‘Facebook for the Enterprise’.
Which is very good thing. But it’s not Enterprise Social Computing.
There has been so much ‘social’ noise around SharePoint 2010 that some people are wondering if it might actually be an Enterprise Social Computing ‘solution’. We know this because a number of our partners, customers and prospects have asked us if it’s true. It isn’t .
We believe the journey should start with SharePoint. But we believe that it will continue to involve significant custom development and/or third party social application products to take full advantage of the platform it provides.
This is because Enterprise Social Computing is about a whole lot more than social networking inside the firewall. It demands...
  • Real applications that can get the combined intelligence of ‘the network’ focused on specific business problems.
  • Tools for driving and monitoring adoption – and to track and celebrate performance against priorities such as input to innovation and knowledge sharing.
  • A Reputation System to recognize individuals for becoming more engaged and for using SharePoint to become more effective corporate citizens.
  • Integrated BI/Social Analytics and change management tools to steer an organization towards ever higher levels of transparency and connectedness.


It’s these elements that define a coherent Enterprise Social Computing strategy; it’s these elements which take you above and beyond a ‘Facebook for the Enterprise’ and deliver significant performance improvements, cost savings and competitive advantage.
SharePoint 2010 (like MOSS) does a great job of providing the unified infrastructure - the plumbing - that enables organizations to develop as social networks; we believe it should be seen as the pervasive platform for serious Enterprise Social Computing - but not its solution.
SharePoint 2010 will, when it arrives, provide some additional social tools that some individuals will enjoy using. And without any further investment, they might encourage some workgroups to start using them to collaborate and network more securely inside the firewall.
But they won’t be used consistently. They won’t be used universally. And you definitely won’t know what you don’t know.
The announcement of SharePoint 2010 was always going to be a speed bump for some organizations’ investment in their MOSS platform.
But it is important that the noise around it is not allowed - even for a few months - to redefine and therefore limit the scope of Enterprise Social Computing.
Generally, Microsoft is happy to position SharePoint as ‘The Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web.
We’d go further and say that SharePoint is the platform that can enable and inspire a paradigm shift from Enterprise 1.0 to Enterprise 2.0.
The only thing that stands it in its way right now is ‘message creep’ that positions SharePoint 2010 as some kind of final destination. Check out nGage at oisoftware for an alternative view.