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The Facebook Phenomenon

According to a recent Forrester Research survey, 28 percent of enterprises with 500 or more employees have some form of social networking initiative, while 20 percent are considering it. Behind these figures: the runaway popularity of social networking services like MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. The buzz around these sites jumped recently, after Facebook announced it would open its APIs to developers.

What's at stake here? Potentially, a lot. Facebook has a huge and growing audience that includes a rapidly expanding business clientele. Apps linked into the Facebook platform using its APIs can be immediately accessed and leveraged by Facebook users, removing much of the friction in delivering services across organizations.

RDN Executive Editor Jeffrey Schwartz caught up with Burton Group Principal Analyst Mike Gotta. According to Gotta, major platform players like Microsoft, IBM and BEA are well aware of Facebook's appeal and are working to provide social networking systems. He says the key issue retarding Facebook adoption (compared to maturing software like IBM Lotus Connections and BEA AquaLogic Pages) is the lack of robust policy management for managing roles, security and workflow.

From a developer perspective, Gotta warns dev managers to carefully consider issues related to information gathering and dissemination. He also notes another challenge when it comes to developing social networking applications.

"Designing social applications is different than designing business applications," Gotta said. "It's not like you're processing a transaction or the typical CRM, ERP or line-of-business application."

Is your company looking to deploy a social networking platform as a way to link individuals and streamline information flow? E-mail me at

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/17/2007 at 1:15 PM

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