Enterprise OpenSocial

Heartened to hear that this years Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco features a session on ‘OpenSocial in the Enterprise’.  Mike Gotta, an analyst from the Burton Group, describes some of the issues that OpenSocial needs to resolve to become truly applicable at the Enterprise level – these include the definition of ‘friend’ and single-signon and other authentication issues. 

But his description of the general environment that enterprise developers find themselves in is pertinent to our enterprise – the academic biomedical research institution – and his approach mirrors our thinking.  The question is, how do we tie our (academic/biomedical research-focused) development of research networking products to the trends outside of us?

We need to start designing and implementing social networking platforms that have capabilities to span internal and external audiences. While initiatives that started off in the consumer market may not have the necessary identity, security, and other necessary services – alternatives within the enterprise are often not viable for consumer environments – so we are left somewhere in the middle – with no one particularly happy. Given overall consumerization of IT trends, it seems to me at least, that it’s more viable (in the social computing realm) to start with efforts like OpenSocial and ActivityStrea.ms and evolve them for the enterprise than the other way around.

OpenSocial & Best Practices for Social Networking Websites

XINGWhat is the best web design for a social networking platform? We’re certainly thinking about this as we plan on the release of UCSF Profiles, our research (as opposed to ‘social’) networking site.  Smashing Magazine has a useful article that summarizes key principles.  One of these is about standards – they encourage the usage of OpenSocial as a standard in building social networking sites.  And – we’re glad to say, we’re on it.  We’re in the process of extending our research networking product, ‘Profiles’, as an OpenSocial “container”. i.e. retrofitting the software so that it’s possible to use other OpenSocial applications, built, for example, for applications like Linked In, to plug and play with our product.  This will be a primary contribution of UCSF’s in the continued open source development of the Harvard-developed ‘Profiles’.