November 16, 2006 |
With all the discussion and hype on personal computing and usage trends, many people tend to think of social bookmarking and Web 2.0 as being a “social” thing. Yes, it’s useful for sharing the latest hit video or blog post – but that’s where it ends.
However, there’s an interesting sidelight to the information business – Business Information. Like the proverbial iceberg, most of it lies hidden away without too much scrutiny – and the prosaic nature of business transaction and information processing means that it doesn’t interest too many people either. B-o-ring, yes. On the other hand, if you look at the big names in the technology industry – IBM, Oracle, Sun, HP among others – a huge part of their business comes from businesses.
Is there an analogue to “social bookmarking” that makes sense for business? Yes, there is. The key to social bookmarking is that it harnesses the wisdom of crowds to bring order and classification to the problem of overwhelming content. The same technique solves a key problem for businesses; how do they implement “knowledge management”, helping share key insights and knowledge across the organization? Most large organizations have immense amounts of expertise on tap, yet these remain underutilized because no one knows that it is available, leave alone where it is available.
Unlike personal, entertainment oriented content, business data is often confidential or proprietary, and there is a need for appropriate protection measures.
Connectbeam brings tagging and social bookmarking to the Enterprise. Using methods similar to social networking, their application allows employees to bookmark, tag and share information with co-workers and across the organization. This is offered either as a service or as a dedicated knowledge appliance running within the firewall of the enterprise network, helping address concerns over data confidentiality while still providing functionality.
Cogenz is another similar offering; currently in beta, the website doesn’t offer too much detail apart from the blog. Some indications there that the value proposition appears to be similar; employee bookmarking and sharing, within an enterprise context. How and where it differs from Connectbeam and others of the like, is something I’ll be watching in the near future.
Apart from data confidentiality, there’s one other key aspect most large businesses focus on; seamlessly integrating into the existing framework, without forcing disruption of activities and processes. Or as Puneet Gupta of Connectbeam puts it - for Web 2.0 to flourish inside enterprise we need a passable bridge from Web 1.0
Perhaps, not just one – but many.