This is a blueprint for an organization integrated into and utilizing all aspects of social media, and is described in detail in this IBM white paper:
Technical Strategy for Social Business (9-page PDF).
Building your Expert Operating System
As McKinsey highlights in their ‘Harnessing Your Staff’s Informal Networks‘ article, enterprise organizations can improve their agility and knowledge management through leveraging professional community networks, that ‘overlay’ across their traditional hierarchies.
These structures can reflect the social dynamics that runs their business, their ‘Expert Operating System’, which can be encoded into working practices and achieve a very powerful framework for sharing best practices across their business networks, through Enterprise 2.0 functionality such as:
- Blogs and RSS feeds for live sharing of real-time information
- Wikis for equally quick but more permanent knowledge base material
Enterprise Social Search – Mastering organizational “Big Content”
These modes of work can be augmented and accelerated through additional tools and platforms, such as the Microsoft enterprise software suite: Sharepoint, Unified Communications and FAST Search.
Sharepoint can implement the various Social Business features, like Activity Streams, and the FAST Search engine then provides a powerful toolset for managing the large complexity of information that can arise.
For example even Microsoft themselves experienced the ‘Sharepoint Sprawl’ effect, where a lack of standards for Sharepoint sites and taxonomy structures within them resulted in a widespread collection of random web sites and unorganized content postings. In other words their organizational Big Data.
So they turned to their own tool and applied it to master this chaos, creating an ‘Infopedia‘ portal for a Salesforce 2.0 effect.
Enterprise Social Search is based on this core search capability, and then adds various aspects relevant to the “social layer”, such as peer to peer community models, social tagging of articles, “credibility indexing” and other features that basically means the documents are being organized by the people searching for them.
This has a range of possible applications, from cool new community web sites based on leveraging this reputation framework as the social organization structure, through to enterprise 2.0 knowledge management programs seeking to better connect staff and projects.
Best Practice Alerts – ECS as an enterprise architecture
Another very powerful FAST case study that highlights the role it can play in enabling an Enterprise 2.0 architecture is this one for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.
This provides a “best practice alerts” feature. In the same way Google Alerts works for the general web, FAST can be used but for specific enterprise information systems; in this case medical knowledge base applications.
With the ability to crawl all enterprise information sources, and make these feeds accessible to both user-centric tools like Alerts, and also to developers via API interfaces, it offers a framework for a content-centric approach to enterprise integration, one that spans across all of the data sources employees need to be informed.
This means it is searching all the documents, files and web pages within the whole corporation, and alerting users when new information is published.
With the NICE example above the value of this can be immediately seen, i.e. alerting healthcare staff to new developments in a particular treatment field like diabetes that would impact on their work, enabling “Best Practice Alerts”.