Social is the interesting trend today. The power and size of social networks, and how they continue to grow, capture people’s attention. So much so, social has captured the interest of enterprise software vendors (CAD, PLM, ERP) with their attempt to replicate the success of social networks and other social oriented software in the enterprise.
There is much discussion on how to apply social in the enterprise; many companies are experimenting with different solutions. Facebook is demonstrably one of the leaders in social with their 1B users involved in the consumer social experiment. I find where developments in social are heading to be instructive. I read an interesting article on TheNextWeb, What will Facebook look like in 2022. Ten years is a long period of time. What I found fascinating is the authors’s guess of how much Facebook is morphing towards a “data-oriented” environment. Here is my favorite passage:
The Facebook of 2022 will look a lot more like a data warehouse; that is, a utility providing users and web developers an easy way to store and access personal information. Facebook will create new ways to experience and operate with this data, such as a lineup of mobile applications and a massive external advertising network that has inherent advantages over Google’s publisher network. These changes come both from the opportunities presented by the rich set of data that Zuckerberg holds tightly, and by the consistent and growing threat of mobile. Facebook in 2022 will look much more utilitarian, but no less influential.
The passage resonated with some of the things we are doing at Inforbix. We believe a strong product data foundation is a means to achieving success with social initiatives. You may recall a recent post where I discussed product data and social collaboration in manufacturing companies. I will be talking about this topic during the coming “Social PLM 2012 virtual conference”. My session will explore how to integrate product data in manufacturing companies to boost social PLM collaboration. Here is a list of other speakers and topics.
What is my conclusion? A strong data foundation is required to build an enduring social eco-system. We have seen an example of this with social on the web. Web based social networks rely on a strong data foundation created by 10 – 15 years of internet history. Enterprise software is not there yet. Inforbix is experimenting on how to build a foundation of product data openness to enable and release the power of social in the enterprise.