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Salesforce: chattering its way to social integration in the cloud

Steve Hodgkinson | Nov. 26, 2009 announced the development of a social networking platform called Chatter at its Dreamforce conference last week.

Chatter joins at the back of the queue of other contenders seeking to bring social computing magic to the enterprise, such as Microsoft SharePoint, Lotus Connections, Open Text Social Media, Socialtext platform, Atlassian Confluence and many others. However, enterprises are starting to mature beyond pilots and false starts with stand alone social computing platforms. Many are now thinking more deeply about how social computing integrates with core business applications and workflow to embed collaboration into their organisation fabric.

Integration is only partly a technical challenge as anybody that has tried to implement SOA is well aware. It is one thing to create a technical interface to flow data between systems but another thing altogether to create a flow of useful, relevant and timely information. Chatter will be a useful addition to the Salesforce platform because it will provide a means to stimulate collaborative information flows between the users at the enterprises sales and service front line where the reality of integration plays out on a minute-by-minute basis each day.

Enterprise architects need to pay attention

As the scope of functionality provided from the cloud increases, and as a critical mass of users forms around particular platforms, architecture commitments will emerge by default. We may see the demise of enterprise-specific architecture in favour of de facto cloud architecture.

In a further illustration of Ovums proliferative innovation in action, enterprise architects may have to start their deliberations by pondering the question which integrated cloud platform(s) have our users already adopted?

Integration architectures may be driven as much by the power of social computing platforms to stimulate information flows as by APIs and technical integration.


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