Enterprise Microblogging: A new Hype? Yes & NoDirk Röhrborn
Recently, Microblogging has been a trendy topic, in particular when it comesto enterprise use of microblogging. But why should this mostly public exchange of short messages revolutionize the business world?
The enthusiasm of the web 2.0 community for this topic may easily lead to the assumption that this is a new hype. Virtually every couple of days a new microblogging services is launched, especially for enterprise use. For instance, Yammer.com won the TechCrunch50 Award. Jeremiah Owyang published an Overview of Twitter-tools for the intranet that is beeing continously extended by commentators. A little analysis shows that tools like yammer either just copy the basic principles of Twitter.com or at least try to adapt them to business use.
What are the reasons to believe in sustainable success of microblogging in the enterprises?
In my eyes it needs understanding, simplicity, low cost and last but not least a clear benefit for the end user:
- Understanding: The microblogging idea is easy to grasp. Everybody knows post-it-notes, personal notebooks and SMS on mobile phones.
- Simplicity: Typing short texts into a webbrowser or smartphone is quite easy, even for those who are not so literate with IT
- Low cost: Open Source or Software as a Service: Microblogging tools are available at low or no cost
- End user benefit: “…optimizes the communications in teams and enterprises“. No kidding! As I said, just another hype ?!
So, we need to take a closer look at the benefits of microblogging for enterprises. There are a number of helpful articles around that give us some hints, e.g. by Joachim Niemeier at Centrestage.de. What will make microblogging a success? This is my version of the story:
- Micromessaging (short messages): Microbloggimg simplifies ad-hoc / realtime communication similar to the SMS service for mobile phones. This reduces e-mail load to some extent. E-Mail will rather be used for mor formal communication. But, microblogging must be more than just Micromessagging.
- Awareness / Serendipity: Through the regular monitoring of the message stream in the microblogs it is much easier to stay up to date with the numerous projects and activities of a company that by skimming through a plethora of public file or exchange folders, instant message logs or mailing lists.
- Microdocumentation: The structured recording of micromessages generates a contiunous, centrally available documentation of events, decisions, ideas, problems and solutions without an extra effort. Formerly this was scattered around many tools like e-mail, instant messaging, sharepoint etc. and needed a lot of time to be re-compiled afterwards.
- Microlearning: The availability of this previously unavailable micri-documentation will make learning processes easier, e.g. for the training of new employees or the de-briefing of projects.
Through this there will be a large number of application areas where micrblogs can be used with good benefit: Here are some examples:
- project team communication an documentation
- communication support for strategic change management processes
- documentation of customer contacts in sales, marketing and support
- continous documentation of technical systems, e.g. complex machines, computer systems or machine logbooks
- work shif documentation in the producing industries
- coordination of editing processes in document production and media
Pure micromessaging system like twitter, yammer, laconica or socialcast focus on the quick exchange of short messages in the user’s contact network. They are people-centric. This however, is not enough to exploit the full potential of micromessaging in the enterprise.
About a year ago we at Communardo decided to develop a new microblogging system for our own use. Our software development team has been working hard to combine the most important ideas of blogging, messaging and tagging into a new kind of microblogging service. Now that we have been using our tools for some time internally, we decided to provide enterprise microblogging services at communote.com.
In the coming weeks we will present the ideas of communote in this blog (in english), in our company blog humannetworkcompetence.de (in German) an at conferences and barcamps.