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'Enterprise Facebook' enjoys major adoption

Chris Kanaracus | June 24, 2009
More than 40 per cent of Booz Allen Hamilton's 20,000 employees are adding content to Hello, its homegrown social portal

To that end, programs like Hello aren't meant to replace other software, Smith suggested.

"[Microsoft] SharePoint is great if you know who you're working with and want to manage a document," whereas Hello is meant to help workers seek out information from colleagues they don't know, he said.

Hello is important because it represents "a big user with deep pockets" that was able to bring a range of social software technologies into a cohesive whole that serves business needs, said analyst Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Beagle Research.

"I think you'll see other enterprises looking at it, and you'll also see other vendors looking at it as an example of how to bring their products to market," he said.

Nonetheless, one company's social networking strategy may not be appropriate for another's, according to collaboration software consultant Oliver Marks.

"A lot of people try to find a framework or case history that has worked in another company and graft it on," Marks said in remarks prior to Smith's presentation. "But this is really like a bespoke tailored suit. You have to try it on and see what works for you."

That philosophy is reflected in the fact that, according to Smith, BAH is not planning to sell Hello to its clients.

Instead, the company is using the software "to get a conversation started" around enterprise social networking, and subsequently put together something that matches the customers' IT infrastructure, which may be heavily oriented around a particular technology like .NET or Java, he said in an interview.

 

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