In the last 24 months many companies have caught Facebook Fever and decided that adopting Social technologies in the enterprise can help drive significant value. Some of the benefits sought are higher levels of employee engagement, better access to the right experts and lower communication costs. Additionally, many employees have used social tools on a personal level for years, leading to rapid adoption curves in the enterprise when they are available - something rarely seen in traditional IT / HR controlled intranet style environments.
The rise of social in the company has seen the rise of a gang of competitors vying to offer their services - Jive which went public in Dec 2011, Yammer (recently acquired by Microsoft, reflecting the heat of the sector), Chatter launched by Salesforce and Tibbr by Tibco.
These tools, to differing degrees, do ‘Social Enterprise’ very well. But they all suffer a major flaw from an IT strategy perspective - they are point solutions. Deploying them creates, for the CIO, yet another source of siloed information in the organization, and another source of cost (software cost alone for these tools can be hundreds of dollars per employee per year). Microsoft stands alone as having the potential to integrate Yammer into SharePoint, Office and Lync and offer a truly enterprise-wide collaboration environment, but knowing Microsoft how long will that take, and what will be the cost is anybody’s guess?
Given the excitement in the space it is not surprising that Google Apps has captured the attention of many large organizations as a possible solution for Social Enterprise. What excites them is a platform that offers not just Social, via Google+ the Google Social offering, but a complete enterprise-wide collaboration environment that supports structured data such as intranets and team sites, voice and video communications, real time document creation and editing, storage of terabytes of data and of course traditional enterprise mail and calendar. That is a lot of IT consolidation opportunity. And all of this for less than the cost of a stand-alone Social Solution, backed by a company with an unparalleled track record for pushing the boundaries of product innovation.
The unfortunate reality is that right now, Google+ is not viewed as ready, by some enterprises. It lacks a few key features such as ability to limit posts to within the domain, ability to sync groups - called circles - with the official corporate employee directory. Given the pace of innovation in the Google Apps suite (250 new capabilities released last year alone), we can expect that these gaps will be closed soon but for Google customers wanting to add Social Enterprise to the long list of capabilities covered by their Apps platform, they have to play an uncertain waiting game.
That is until now. White Stratus has launched an Enterprise-ready version of Social for Google Apps Enterprise customers. The solution closes gaps like the ones mentioned above and offers the ability to tailor your Social Enterprise environment just the way you like it. Twitter Integration? Private circles for execs? Keyword Monitoring for compliance? These can all be done using the White Stratus Google Social Enterprise solution.
The best news? The Google Social Enterprise solution is free for our Enterprise Google Apps customers and data can be migrated over to Google+ when it is Enterprise ready.
For more information visit page on Google Social Enterprise, or if you are feeling nostalgic for the good old days, email email@example.com
Written by Tim Drury, CEO, White Stratus