"The growing number of companies offering private-label social network solutions, as well as IBM's recent entry into the field with its Lotus Connections social software platform for business, is a sure sign of increased demand. Other companies, like LinkedIn and Ryze, have social networking at the core of product offerings that generate revenue by bringing offline business networking practices into the online world. And corporations are continuing to incorporate advertising on affinity networks in their campaigns to reach highly targeted audiences with measurable response rates. Social commerce is also catching on - think about Amazon. We can all learns from them on improving sales.
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Erica Driver, principal analyst at Forrester Research, agrees that enterprises are taking collaborative networking tools more seriously, particularly for purposes of internal communication. "Right now, social networking is being used primarily for knowledge management and expertise location within companies," she notes. "It can be an extension of the enterprise directory." A basic directory may have an employee's name, location, and job title, but an extended profile format that is the kernel of a social networking platform can allow employees to add details about competencies, project experience and past positions, and to blog and share bookmarks. This added detail can make harnessing the enterprise's internal knowledgebase easier and, with proper access controls, can be useful information for customers as well. Driver cautions, "You have to show the information in context, and selectively," depending on who is viewing the profile, but she adds that most of these tools have such access control embedded."
Networking Opportunities: Social Networking for Business - by Nancy Davis Kho, ITtoolbox
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