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Enterprise Twitter – the BPX view

Earlier today I saw a number of Tweets from SAP’pers I’ve come to know talking about Enterprise Social Media Experiment or ESME. While the wiki is billed as a thought experiment about how an enterprise style Twitter could be built, I’m thinking that BPX’ers should be in the mix.

Plenty has been written about the qualities Twitter brings to conversations people engage in who are otherwise dispersed around the world. Key to that is the notion of ambient intimacy as espoused by Lisa Reichelt:

Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible.

Twitter has unquestionably evolved way beyond the original ‘what are you doing?’ idea. Its greatest strength has been that its open API’s allow the development of all kinds of applications. PB Wiki has a list which seems to grow almost daily. Our own Craig Cmehil has built an application based on Twitter but which has become a social object aggregator: eventtrack. Craig has also developed an enhanced Twitter clone, ShoutIt, which is now being ported to the NetWeaver platform.

It is natural that SAP’pers should think about NetWeaver as a platform on which to build new applications. Darren Hague says:

SAP is known for producing a reliable, scalable platform, NetWeaver, which seems like a natural place to build such an environment with an enterprise focus. Not only would there be real-time “microblogging” and conversations, but this could be controlled by existing security mechanisms (role & group filtering), would be logged & audited (necessary for compliance etc.) and would be content-searchable in a secure manner (TREX).

I won’t pretend to know enough about NetWeaver to make an informed comment but some SAP’pers have suggested that NetWeaver is too complex for startup style entrepreneurs to develop against it and therefore alternatives might emerge. While there is a certain logic to this, the benefits Darren mentions outweigh the disadvantages. Instead I would be encouraging existing NetWeaver third party developers as the focus for an initiative of this kind.

BPX’ers could add valuable insights into how such a service might be used in conjunction with an array of applications: CRM is the obvious one but also in GRC. For instance, while developing content for risk policy creation, ESME might usefully allow users to get immediate assistance (as opposed to feedback via RSS/email) for issues they might have.The ability to share and circulate among a group of co-workers would help collapse the time taken to get things done.

Another example might be where there is an out of range action that has been picked up for monitoring and review. While we might regard email as the natural transport mechanism for delivering an alert, why not ESME? Would that add value or simply be a noise addition?

There is no doubt in my mind that a Twitter clone for enterprise could be extraordinarily valuable. Marrying its capabilities to BPX might prove a challenge but one I believe is worth pursuing. 

As a hint about the level of interest, the listed in the wiki climbed significantly this afternoon.

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  • Hi,

    I think the wiki is a great place to start a project like this, because it allows community members from a variety corporate settings (size, region, etc.) to create a more complete list of user requirements. The different technical backgrounds of those involved also helps provide a good foundation for the project.

    I found the transition of the conversations from twitter / plurk to the wiki to be very intriguing. This is just the sort of capability that ESME should better support to help companies move ideas from a totally informal / unstructured environment to a platform where the idea can be further developed.

    I’m also interested in the project, because it might represent the technical basis for dynamic social networks that change according to what I’m doing.


  • Hmmm.  I see I’ve been missing some of the “real action”  .  ESME? Plurk?  Do tell us more about this thought experiment.  Or should I be tweeting or plurking dhague directly?