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Make social networking work for you

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Make social networking work for you

  1. 1. Make Social Networking Work for You Extend the Value of Enterprise Collaboration With iWay CEP Enable A White Paper by Vincent Lam
  2. 2. Vincent Lam Vincent Lam is the product marketing director responsible for marketing iWay Software’s entire product line. Mr. Lam has a diverse background in the technology sector and has helped position iWay Software’s products as best-of-breed in the competitive marketplace. Earlier in his career at the company, Mr. Lam was a strategic product manager. He introduced new strategic and innovative products to the marketplace such as WebFOCUS Magnify, the world’s first real-time transactional enterprise search solution. Mr. Lam’s background includes innovation at Wall St. firms, technology firms, and entrepreneurship.
  3. 3. Table of Contents 1 Executive Summary 2 Where Social Networking and the Enterprise Meet 3 Key Enterprise Collaboration Challenges 4 How Companies Are Reaping the Benefits 5 Maximizing the Value of Social Collaboration i6 iWay CEP Enable: Extend the Value of Social Collaboration 9 Conclusion
  4. 4. Executive Summary The rise of social networking at the professional level is a clear indication that companies of all sizes and across all industries need faster and more effective ways to communicate – internally as well as to customers, vendors, and other partners. While organizations are increasingly implementing enterprise collaboration platforms to enhance the way people work together and share information, the full potential of such solutions is not necessarily being realized. For these platforms to deliver optimal value, they have to work with all the information systems from across an organization. They also must be extended with advanced capabilities, such as complex event processing (CEP), business intelligence (BI), and analytics. In this white paper, we will discuss how the same concepts that have transformed personal communication are now being applied to enhance enterprise collaboration. We will also cover the benefits and challenges associated with implementing enterprise collaboration technologies, and highlight iWay CEP Enable, a powerful solution that can extend the value of enterprise collaboration platforms with broad-reaching integration capabilities as well as CEP functionality. 1 Information Builders
  5. 5. Where Social Networking and the Enterprise Meet As web technologies have advanced, users have become more empowered to interact and share information with each other in different ways. Web users connect in real time and at any time with friends, coworkers, and family members. The amount of people who participate in social networking forums is astonishing. For instance, Facebook has more than 600 million registered accounts. The number of people who use e-mail pales in comparison – Yahoo has approximately 257 million users, and Windows Live about 360 million active accounts.1 As Facebook and other social media have gained popularity, it has become obvious that the same principals can be used in enterprise environments. Applications such as Salesforce Chatter, SAP StreamWork, and Oracle Fusion streams are emerging to foster real-time collaboration and information sharing between business users. These platforms provide substantial advantages over solutions such as e-mail and instant messaging, which is why experts anticipate their rapid adoption in the near future. Forrester found that almost one-quarter of large enterprises are currently implementing or piloting programs using a community platform, and more than 30 percent plan to do so in the next year.2 The U.S. Online Community Software Forecast 2009-2013 from IDC predicts that the industry will reach a whopping $1.6 billion by 2013.3 Leaders at Cisco believe that enterprise social collaboration could eventually become a $34 billon market.4 While the basic concepts are the same, collaboration is much different in the enterprise than it is in people’s personal lives. The very sensitive and confidential nature of certain types of corporate information demands greater privacy and manageability. More rigid user administration is also a must because only certain stakeholders should be privy to certain types of discussions. 1 Brownlow, Mark. “E-mail and Webmail Statistics,” www.email-marketing-reports.com, 2011. 2 Parrish, Melissa. “The Forrester Wave Community Platforms 2010 Report,” Forrester Research, 2010. 3 “IDC Forecasts $1.6 Billion Online Community Software Market by 2013: Strong Growth Despite Recession – Corporate Culture Remains Inhibitor,” IDC, 2009. 4 “Cisco Targets $34B Market With New Collaboration Portfolio,” Cisco, 2008. 2 Make Social Networking Work for You
  6. 6. Key Enterprise Collaboration Challenges Deploying an enterprise collaboration framework brings with it a host of concerns and issues. For example, encouraging users to adopt it can be tricky, and an unpopular collaboration platform will be hard-pressed to be successful. Many of today’s most popular tools also have inherent drawbacks that may prevent users from completely jumping on board, including: ■■ Gaps in the information that is shared and distributed, since most social collaboration platforms limit communication to people (not systems) ■■ Social collaboration tools never truly become an integral part of day-to-day operations because companies rarely take the time to integrate them into the existing workflows ■■ Incomplete collaboration tools do not recognize other assets, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications, and limit the types of interactions that users can rely on the platform to conduct ■■ Leveraging multiple tools to facilitate many types of communication, such as instant alerts and order approvals, can be time-consuming and cumbersome, prompting users to bypass the collaboration tool On the other hand, when enterprise social collaboration platforms are fully integrated with all enterprise systems, they enable users to easily interact with them in a unified way. Instead of toggling back and forth between different screens and applications, they can get to all information, people, and processes in a consistent, real-time manner via a single, centralized solution. This ease and convenience can play a significant role in encouraging users to adopt the new enterprise collaboration environment. 3 Information Builders
  7. 7. How Companies Are Reaping the Benefits Enterprise social collaboration software is an ideal real-time communication medium that is, in many cases, becoming the preferred venue for many organizations. It not only facilitates information sharing among the different people in an organization – it encourages it. Implemented and managed properly, these social collaboration portals can become central hubs for communication. Users are able to share unstructured and ad hoc information and are encouraged to help each other, decreasing the time it takes to solve problems. For example, enterprise networking platforms allow for deeper remote collaboration than e-mail, instant messaging, or teleconferencing. In many cases, they can facilitate the same type of interaction that takes place in face-to-face meetings, minimizing travel costs. By enabling more rapid dissemination of critical information to employees, partners, and customers electronically, they can also eliminate the printing costs associated with distributing the same content via interoffice memos. Advanced use of such tools – for example, deploying shared workspaces for brainstorming, authoring documents, and more – can help organizations realize the true potential of enterprise collaboration in the form of faster time-to-market, greater product innovation, and improved partner relationships. However, a poll conducted by Forrester finds that two-thirds of organizations believe they are not getting enough benefit out of their enterprise collaboration tools. The analyst firm recommends fixing this problem by leveraging these platforms in a way that meets the widest possible range of business needs, and ensuring that the requirements of end users are effectively satisfied.5 5 Keitt, TJ. “The State of Collaboration Software Implementations: 2011,” Forrester Research, 2011. 4 Make Social Networking Work for You
  8. 8. Maximizing the Value of Social Collaboration In light of Forrester’s findings, organizations are seeking new and innovative ways to boost the return on their enterprise collaboration tool investments. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to integrate the collaboration framework directly into processes and applications. By making applications and automated workflows fully aware of the enterprise collaboration platform – a concept known as event stream brokering – companies can derive added value. For instance, a VP of sales can opt to be notified in real time whenever orders over a certain dollar amount are received in the ERP system. She can preview the purchase order and either approve or reject it – directly from the collaboration tool, and can include her colleagues in the event if she has questions or needs more information. This type of CEP functionality can extend the platform by adding the ability to detect certain behaviors and notify key stakeholders, without the need for explicit rules. It changes the way that people interact, with one another and the business processes on which they rely. It consolidates multiple tools, phones, and, e-mails into a common place where everybody is quite literally on the same page. Social networks also generate a lot of data, and while the immediate real-time nature of these networks is vital, archiving these messages is equally important. There is so much insight to be gleaned from them. Just as companies do with information in data warehouses, they need to consider applying things like BI and analytics to social network data. As these platforms become the conduits between people and processes, there emerges a terrific opportunity to see what’s happening in the enterprise. Insight into trends, usage, resource allocation, personnel, sales, marketing, and more can be obtained from this data. For instance, the concept of using “trending hashtags” in Twitter (e.g., #trending or #sales) to organize and track content is similar to what could be obtained from this data. 5 Information Builders
  9. 9. iWay CEP Enable: Extending the Value of Social Collaboration As more organizations implement enterprise collaboration tools, automated event management must become a key strategic component. This can be best accomplished by making real-time problem detection and notification an integral yet noninvasive part of the environment. This requires the ability to rapidly and efficiently generate rich and intuitive applications for CEP, seamlessly integrating them into the collaboration platform. With iWay CEP Enable, companies can make every enterprise system part of its collaboration solution, regardless of its source or location. iWay CEP Enable brings together the power of information integration and dynamic complex event processing, allowing real-time collaboration with Salesforce Chatter and enterprise applications such as SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. As a result, they can build comprehensive environments that provide instantaneous, unhindered visibility into automated events. Users can immediately uncover and alert stakeholders to critical operational activities, such as breakdowns or inefficiencies in core business workflows or technical problems that may negatively impact automated processes. Interaction and communication on correcting those problems and issues can then be effectively facilitated directly through the collaboration environment. iWay CEP Enable is a robust and full-featured solution that provides: Unparalleled Integration With Popular Platforms With support for online, real-time, and batch integration of more than 300 information assets, organizations can seamlessly link their collaboration tool to any enterprise system, on any platform, and in any location. This provides organization-wide visibility into all data as well as automated events and workflows. Powerful Event Processing Real-time, noninvasive, end-to-end CEP capabilities can be rapidly developed using an intuitive, integrated development environment (as well as graphical widgets), and then embedded into any collaboration platform through REST services, or via CEP Enable’s exclusive composite application- style web API. External technical events can be captured from systems such as ERP applications, mainframe transactions, databases, files, messages, B2B transactions, and third-party data sources. They are then correlated and aggregated into business events using iWay’s suite of more than 300 pre- packaged integration components. Users have complete visibility into any and all automated workflows and can perform advanced functions such as monitoring, reporting, recording, and filtering, as well as state-of-the-art visualizations, such as gauges and charts. iWay CEP Enable also offers the industry’s most innovative event-processing capabilities, including the ability to define implicit and explicit relationships between events, and an intuitive index that makes it easy to search and locate specific events and their details. This allows the engine to detect important activity and alert users without the need for a large number of fixed rules. 6 Make Social Networking Work for You
  10. 10. Users can also leverage the engine to define and dynamically trigger subsequent and follow-up actions. For example, event details can be automatically posted on Twitter, or sent to specified e-mail addresses. Unhindered Data Interaction Users will be able to interact with any information, from any source inside or outside the enterprise – including data generated during the execution of automated processes – directly from within the collaboration platform. APIs for Custom Coding Advanced developers can leverage APIs to create and incorporate highly sophisticated Flex applications, custom interactions between components, or specifically tailored functionality into their collaboration environments. Backward and Forward Compatibility iWay CEP Enable is fully compatible with existing and future versions of all iWay integration solutions, including pre-packaged integration components, business-to-business solutions, and enterprise information management (EIM) products. How It Works Let’s look at how iWay CEP Enable functions in a real-world scenario. (See Figure 1). Company XYZ has recently deployed Salesforce Chatter to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of interactions across the enterprise. It also maintains multiple ERP systems to manage a variety of back-office functions. iWay CEP Enable seamlessly brings the two together. Figure 1. The Collaboration Flow: iWay CEP Enable and the Salesforce Chatter environment working together. 7 Information Builders
  11. 11. One day, someone in the company opens a purchase order (PO) for $60,000, which is entered into the organization’s SAP accounting system. CEP Enable dynamically captures the event, translates it into a custom Chatter object, and instantly notifies appropriate Chatter users based on business rules defined by the environment administrator (See Figure 2). Figure 2. In the Chatter environment, users are notified of events based on their roles and access. Stakeholders, such as supervisors, can then review, approve, or reject the PO directly from within Chatter. The underlying SAP system would then be updated in real time to reflect the new information and PO status (See Figure 3). Figure 3. CEP Enable and Chatter allow events to be reviewed before they move forward for processing. 8 Make Social Networking Work for You
  12. 12. Conclusion Social networking has become an integral part of people’s daily lives – both at home and at work. In recent years, organizations have been applying the principles made popular by sites such as Facebook to their own operations using a variety of enterprise collaboration tools. Although there are many advantages to using these solutions, organizations are, for the most part, disappointed with the results of their efforts. The truth is that enterprise collaboration tools alone may not be enough to achieve the desired results. To provide real, tangible, measureable value, these platforms must be extended with innovative, state-of-the-art capabilities. iWay CEP Enable is a robust solution that allows companies to integrate any enterprise system into today’s most popular collaboration platforms. As a result, information access and sharing is significantly enhanced. Additionally, by unifying collaboration tools with applications and processes, iWay CEP Enable can facilitate unhindered visibility into automated events, enabling users to efficiently collaborate on solutions. 9 Information Builders
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